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Old 01-22-2013, 10:32 AM   #16
wdaly
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
What alignment for your book have you chosen?
I'm still at the testing stage: I'll try both options, on Kindle and iPad (which are the only formats we'll be distributing on). Personally I prefer range left setting on my Kindle. Justified text also looks especially bad in iBooks, regardless of type size, so we're possibly leaning to range left setting.

I'll update you!
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:39 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Turtle91 View Post
I would be interested to know what scientific analyses produced the result that "most people prefer justified."
It's commonly referred to as the Jon-Jon method in many circles.

When I'm reading, I'll usually notice ridiculous gaps before a ragged-right edge. But mostly, I really don't care. If the book is engaging, the justification tends to "go away."

Obviously people are more accustomed to full justification in books. But they've frankly never been given a choice in the matter until very recently. So I suspect what they prefer is yet to be determined. Now that choices are available, time will tell.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:13 AM   #18
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Blast you JSWolf (Jon?)!! I had things to do this morning but you made me go research the history of typesetting!! lol

Jon IS correct in that fully justified text was considered to be "professional" and left justified to be "amateurish". Amusingly however, that opinion was promulgated by none other than the typesetters guild - you know the guys that laboriously hand set the type to go on the printing presses. They would take pride in the fact that it took them several hours to properly space the words on a page to achieve the full justified effect.

It was also pretty comical that the articles that were written extolling the virtues of full justification were all....wait for it.....left justified!! lol

I don't think there is that sense of pride anymore since the same effect can be had with the click of a button. So to continue to say that left justified is amateurish is like saying "only peasants ride in anything less than 4 horses and 2 coachmen."

Aside from the obvious - that what you like to see is purely personal preference - there have been some arguments that the erratic spacing employed by full justification might unwantingly emphasize certain words over others and cause eye strain (no, I'm not kidding - full quote below).

I will concede that full justification CAN look better in a narrow multi-column document like a newspaper...but on most of today's devices/apps there just isn't the real estate available to make multi-column an acceptable solution (yes Faterson, except of course with Marvin on an iPad). For a single column full justification just doesn't make sense.

Here's a part of one of the articles I read - and the one I paraphrased above. It can be found here.

(Emphasis added)
Quote:
On the typographic scene, there has been vivid discussion about whether range left or full justification is better(-looking). There is no conclusive, objective evidence for the superiority of one or the other; it is often considered a matter of preference. Preference, however, will not be discussed here. For more about the historical debate between advocates of justification and those who prefer left-aligned text, see Kinross (1994). Rather more important is the effect of full justification on readability. In a recent article, Stiff (1996) discusses the large number of factors that should be considered and the intricate relationship between them with regard to function rather than to aesthetic preference. Unlike the way such discussions are traditionally introduced, Stiff asks why anyone would choose to justify text. He states that the motivation of many typographers is simply that unjustified text is considered second-rate or careless. This view seems to have arisen from very strong conventions; it is just ‘not done’ to print a book unjustified, because it was not done like that before. Reading performance (readability), however, has not been found to be better for either justified or flush left text (Fabrizio, 1967; Hartley and Burnhill, 1971). An exception was found for poor readers; those people read unjustified text more quickly than justified text (Zachrisson, 1965; Gregory and Poulton, 1970).

It seems that the line endings of text receive much attention while in fact, word spacing and hyphenation seem to be the actual issues in the debate on justification (Hartley and Mills, 1973). No two lines of text are of equal length when letter spacing and word spacing are kept constant, even after crafty hyphenation. Therefore, for justification it is left to computer software to provide optimally balanced, variable spacing where this was done by hand in earlier times (a laborious process). As a result, readers will not grow accustomed to one and the same amount of space that signals the beginning of each new word or a uniform distance between letters within a word. Kinross (1994) argues that even if full justification is not found to affect readability, certain words might be emphasized unwantingly as a result of word spacing that is wider than the spacing between words elsewhere in the text. Also, it can be readily assumed that some readers will experience discomfort with variable spacing and frequent hyphenation. This effect will probably hardly be noticeable for wide text blocks; full justification is sooner permissible in such a case than when narrow columns of text are used. This, however, touches upon the topic of line width, which will be given attention shortly. Before turning to this aspect of typography, some less common kinds of justification will be discussed.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #19
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Another reason ragged was considered second rate, is good justification (in solid type) takes time (and SKILL).

The sloppy justification we commonly see, just inserts space between words.
Better justification will also insert thin (lead) spaces between letters to help avoid monster gaps between words, that took time and skill on the part of the type setter.

Letterspacing is the closest control we have, and not all devices support it
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
Another reason ragged was considered second rate, is good justification (in solid type) takes time (and SKILL).
Yes, absolutely. I can't imagine taking that much time just getting words to look right.....oh wait....I do that all the time!! lol

I think letterspacing for an ePub on a computer would be very impractical...wouldn't you have to set that for each and every line to properly fill that line....and then wouldn't it change on different devices with different widths and/or portrait vs. landscape mode?? I'm asking because I haven't played with letterspacing much.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:24 PM   #21
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Good typesetting systems (like TeX) have some clever algorithms to find the best set of linebreaks possible, this takes into account the whole paragraph, and not just on a line-by-line basis, considers hyphenation and allows for character protrusion (optical margins) and font stretching (to an unnoticeable extent, but making a different in the visual spacing). There's no reason why an ePub reader could not use some slightly more advanced algorithm that the "typewriter" engine we usually see...

Anyway, a book should not specify any alignment, or font, or line-spacing, or margins... except where needed for particular designs. Those features should be left to the reading software to apply. Relying in a reader's ability for overriding is a bad idea. If I have a centered paragraph in a normal book, overriding would set this paragraph as justified, or left-aligned, or whatever.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Anyway, a book should not specify any alignment, or font, or line-spacing, or margins... except where needed for particular designs. Those features should be left to the reading software to apply. Relying in a reader's ability for overriding is a bad idea. If I have a centered paragraph in a normal book, overriding would set this paragraph as justified, or left-aligned, or whatever.
Overriding just overrides left or full justification. It does not override something centered.

I've taken all the left and/or justify out of an ePub and left just the center.

ADE 1.7.2 defaults to left justify.
ADE 2.0 defaults to left justify.

There is no way to specify the justification other then what is specified in the CSS. But because ADE 2.0 support hyphenation, I'd want justified. But I can see where some would want left justified in ADE 1.7.2. We cannot please everyone. So it has to be one or the other and overall, full justified can look better.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:34 PM   #23
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I throw in my vote for justified text. Since Gutenberg, the vast majority--overwhelming majority--of books have been justified, and I suspect the majority of readers expect to see just that. It's possible to format an e-book to minimize the ugly-gap problem, which anyhow is vanishing as e-readers become more sophisticated. I see few professionally formatted books on my Kindle or Fire that suffer from this problem.

And a book is not a web page. Not yet, anyhow.

@OP: You can see my style sheet at http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com/

If the style sheet exists in the same folder as the underlying html file, Sigil will incorporate it into the epub.

Good luck!
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Overriding just overrides left or full justification. It does not override something centered.
That depends on the software, I have seem some that override everything.

Even if it is as you say, there are things you don't want overriden. For instance, poetry fragments in a book are better left left-aligned (no pun intended). Even if you want your main text justified (which I want), the poetry must not be overriden.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:55 AM   #25
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My 2 cents --

If there is good hyphenation then fully justified looks ok

If there is not good hyphenation, than full justification always seems to create rivers of white in the text that IMHO are distracting

Since most ebook tools/standards do not seem to have good hyphenation (based on my VERY little experience) left justification seems to be easier to read

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:47 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
But the problem is that a number of Readers/reading apps/programs do not allow changing the alignment. So by going left justified, you'd be doing a disservice to more people then you'd be doing a service.

You have to make a choice when the eBook is created. It has to be justified or left justified. You cannot have both
Well, yes you can, in different sections of your text.:-)
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:48 PM   #27
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While I don't recommend it
Every Paragraph can have it's own style (marhins; Indents; Justification...)
D'oh! that is what a stylesheet is for.

My basic preference is just a few styles, with special cases added as needed (A Lean- Mean Stylesheet)

Body sets the overall style
.chapno < the chapter head: with top and bottom margins
.firstpara < usually no indent
.normalpara < indented
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:35 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
While I don't recommend it
Every Paragraph can have it's own style (marhins; Indents; Justification...)
D'oh! that is what a stylesheet is for.

My basic preference is just a few styles, with special cases added as needed (A Lean- Mean Stylesheet)

Body sets the overall style
.chapno < the chapter head: with top and bottom margins
.firstpara < usually no indent
.normalpara < indented
You have your ePub even more crowded then I'd have mine.

I would use <p>text.</p> and have the p style set to what I want including the indent.

Then for a nonindent style...

Code:
body {
widows: 0;
orphans: 0;
margin-top: 0;
margin-bottom: 0;
margin-left: 0;
margin-right: 0;
text-align: justify
}
p {
margin-top: 0;
margin-bottom: 0;
text-indent: 1.2em
}
.nonindent {
text-indent: 0
}
.spacebreak {
margin-top: 2em;
text-indent: 0
}
<p class="nonindent"> is for a paragraph to start with no indent at all. <p class="spacebreak" is for the space in a section break right before this paragraph.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:15 AM   #29
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Please, do not left justify. It looks amateurish and most people do not like left justified. They want full justified. Please go with the people and go full justified.
While full justified text looks better on a large page with ample space, left-justified text is arguably easier to read*. Full justify can make text look very strange on smaller displays. It's a difficult call, but I tend to think that left justified should be the default.

* I have actually produced a paper book with left justification. It was a book about reading disabilities, which was also intended for people with those very problems. We consulted the guy in charge of accessibility at the University of Oslo, among other things he was adamant that the text should be left justified.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:21 AM   #30
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>* I have actually produced a paper book with left justification. It was a book about reading disabilities, which was also intended for people with those very problems. We consulted the guy in charge of accessibility at the University of Oslo, among other things he was adamant that the text should be left justified.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yeah. And his reasons for that preference were just as spurious as the others we have heard in this discussion!

The point, in reference to eBook construction, is that although you can code instructions to L-justify, some reading devices will ignore them, some users will be able to over-ride them. So don't fall TOO deeply in love with your preference :-) The same goes for margins, and paragraph spacing.
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