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Old 02-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #16
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Zetmolm View Post
You want the dust jacket scanned? Why? An ebook needs no protection from dust.
As long as we think of ebooks in terms of copies of pbooks and not as an independent medium they will never be mature.
Which, of course, is why the so-called "cover" is nothing but a useless waste of space.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jozawun View Post
Which, of course, is why the so-called "cover" is nothing but a useless waste of space.
I don't need fancy "covers" for ebooks. I only ever see them as thumbnails on my eink black-and-white reader. I've had a few library ebooks that just have the author and title as the cover page, and that worked fine for me.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:05 PM   #19
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I agree with HarryT. All of the examples are due to poor standards, lack of adequate proofing and corrections.

I don't think it's a case of ebooks not reaching maturity yet as much as publishers not reaching maturity yet in how to handle ebooks and create them as meticulously as they should be created.

Edit: I enjoy a nice-looking cover, even if it's in black and white because I set the cover image as my standby screen on my reader, which I really like to see when I pick up my reader. Those images can be compressed nicely though without showing any quality loss as long as the publisher gets someone to do it who knows what they're doing and doesn't either include a huge image that's 300KB in size and is a waste of space, or a badly pixelated image that looks horrid.

Last edited by Ripplinger; 02-01-2013 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:03 PM   #20
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I respectully disagree that the format has any issues at all. In fact, the format is so mature that those who feel that they have to improve it to justify their existence are trying to shoehorn more and more useless crap in to it, to make it more like a multi-media web page (yeah, I'm looking at you, EPUB3).
You know, I'm a serial lurker and really shouldn't go controversial in my very first post, but ... I'm not into introductions and have to disagree. I actually think there isn't a single layer of the whole ebook publishing format (meaning as in "channel format"[1]) which doesn't have issues.

Competing open and proprietary file formats, built on top of ever-changing standards, with multiple proprietary drm schemes and mathematical typesetting somehow quirked on--that's a makeshift solution. It undoubtedly works and is fine for volatile media, but I'm not so sure it's adequate for books, which tend to outlast the average twitter junk of the day. Slightly.

On the device side: limited support for proper microtypography, not even trying to avoid cardinal sins like widows and orphans. The result is readable, but very little else. The dead tree books are far more refined. Doesn't mean I don't like ebooks, just that some minor flogging in the right places might improve the experience.

Worse, it's in the publishers' best interest to "enrich" content, because static text is just sooo hard to sell to the masses. Given your obvious love for epub3, I suspect you might agree this is an upcoming issue with the ebook publishing format, especially with the brick and mortar type publishers slowly going extinct. For bibliophiles, anyway.

Cheers.
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[1]: Sorry, non-native speaker, sometimes hard to be precise without annotations.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Julius Caesar View Post
I think eBook format is far from mature due to current problems I noticed:

1. Books that contain pictures and diagrams may be poorly transferred at low resolution and may cause ugly pixelated graphics for mathematical notation (even very simple stuff like "¼").

2. Scanning may make a mistake that doesn't exist in the printed format. For example 1" being replaced with "i", words may get chopped off and combined with other words.

3. Many books contain end notes and foot notes that are not properly linked. You have to manually flip back and forth which is very cumbersome for an eBook.

4. Original artwork from the cover are often replaced by an ugly generic cover.

5. Dust jacket and back covers are not scanned.

6. The fact that there is no single acceptable format that works for every e-reader. The most common format, ePub, does not work for the Kindle. Books bought from an online book store may not work with another eReader without hacking.

eBook has been in the market for 5 years if not longer. How much longer can we expect before eBook format becomes fully mature?

I know not all eBooks have this problem. Newer eBooks published in 2012 and later may have less problems but what really irritates me is publishers are often rushing to make a profit by scanning their books quickly, selling them quickly without bothering to check for errors. And there is no guarantee that contacting them would do any good.
There are some eBooks that are flawless in presentation. That should make it apparent to anyone with a functioning intellect that the problem is not with the format but with the connection between the chair and the keyboard.

The majority of published eBooks comes from amateur writers, not experienced publishing houses. You might as well complain that the cakes you bought at a school fete are not equal to those from the best Patisserie in Paris.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnha View Post
You know, I'm a serial lurker and really shouldn't go controversial in my very first post, but ... I'm not into introductions and have to disagree. I actually think there isn't a single layer of the whole ebook publishing format (meaning as in "channel format"[1]) which doesn't have issues.

Competing open and proprietary file formats, built on top of ever-changing standards, with multiple proprietary drm schemes and mathematical typesetting somehow quirked on--that's a makeshift solution. It undoubtedly works and is fine for volatile media, but I'm not so sure it's adequate for books, which tend to outlast the average twitter junk of the day. Slightly.

On the device side: limited support for proper microtypography, not even trying to avoid cardinal sins like widows and orphans. The result is readable, but very little else. The dead tree books are far more refined. Doesn't mean I don't like ebooks, just that some minor flogging in the right places might improve the experience.

Worse, it's in the publishers' best interest to "enrich" content, because static text is just sooo hard to sell to the masses. Given your obvious love for epub3, I suspect you might agree this is an upcoming issue with the ebook publishing format, especially with the brick and mortar type publishers slowly going extinct. For bibliophiles, anyway.

Cheers.
--mario
_______
[1]: Sorry, non-native speaker, sometimes hard to be precise without annotations.
Exactly. Currently a huge amount of - especially typographical - techniques is blissfully ignored by both device and file format deciders.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:11 AM   #23
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The majority of published eBooks comes from amateur writers, not experienced publishing houses. You might as well complain that the cakes you bought at a school fete are not equal to those from the best Patisserie in Paris.
More precisely, the majority of published ebooks come from amateur writers without professional editing and typesetting (yes, this is still needed for ebooks). Most of the rest are back catalog books that are rush-scanned and not edited (where you get 1 <-> l swaps, inserted page numbers mid-paragraph, odd line breaks, etc) or by lazy shops that just publish the PDF that they'd otherwise send to the printer rather than formatting for ebook (thankfully this is happening less and less often, though it's still the norm for technical books).

As you say, it's certainly possible to make high quality, gorgeous-looking ebooks. Unfortunately, that costs time, and time = money.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #24
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:09 AM   #25
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On the device side: limited support for proper microtypography, not even trying to avoid cardinal sins like widows and orphans.
eBook typography rules and controls belong in the reading app, not in the file format, simply because the file knows nothing of the rendering device (Screen size, resolution, aspect, etc).

A good reading app *should* have embedded algorithmic rules for white space, line spacing, widows/orphans, and even formatting style (Via templates). But that stuff is *hard* to code. So, at best, we get hyphenation and user-set margins and spacing and at worse none of the above or one-size fits all typography.

Going back to the days of the now-deprecated but still mourned MS Reader app we can find better embedded typographic rules than in most modern reading apps.

Now, that is just the theoretical typographical purist critique.
The real world reality is that mainstream consumers don't care about typographical issues as long as they can set reasonable font sizes and the available font families aren't aggresively ugly.

For the ebook market of today, the formats are mre than adequate and the reading apps acceptable. There might be an opportunity for one of the payers to gain a minor competitive advantage by offering quality dynamic typography in their reading app but impact is likely so small there are higher-priorities at Amazon and Apple.

What we have isn't perfect but it's good enough for the market.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:46 PM   #26
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Worse, it's in the publishers' best interest to "enrich" content, because static text is just sooo hard to sell to the masses. Given your obvious love for epub3, I suspect you might agree this is an upcoming issue with the ebook publishing format, especially with the brick and mortar type publishers slowly going extinct. For bibliophiles, anyway.
To me, "enriched content" means "it's not a book any more." It's a web page. A multimedia web page. I have zero interest in a book with animated GIFs and blinking text, and music that plays automatically. Especially there is no chance that those will not be used predominately for advertising.

Turning ebooks in to multimedia web pages will only amount to abandoning the book market. At which point independent publishers (mostly self-published authors, I suspect) will rush to fill. Poorly, for the most part, but hey, Sturgeon was an optomist.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #27
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Most of the rest are back catalog books that are rush-scanned and not edited (where you get 1 <-> l swaps, inserted page numbers mid-paragraph, odd line breaks, etc) or by lazy shops that just publish the PDF that they'd otherwise send to the printer rather than formatting for ebook
I'd be happy if the OCR errors at least involved a spell checker. I just finished a book where every single instance of "little" (the book used the word "little" a lot) ended up "litde." While that was the most common error, it was not the only one by a long shot.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:51 PM   #28
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To me, "enriched content" means "it's not a book any more." It's a web page. A multimedia web page. I have zero interest in a book with animated GIFs and blinking text, and music that plays automatically. Especially there is no chance that those will not be used predominately for advertising.

Turning ebooks in to multimedia web pages will only amount to abandoning the book market. At which point independent publishers (mostly self-published authors, I suspect) will rush to fill. Poorly, for the most part, but hey, Sturgeon was an optomist.
Agreed.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #29
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What I would like to see is some standardization of page numbering, translations by ... corrected and the proper publication dates of when the book was physically printed and/or converted into ebook format. I get frustrated when I am looking for a specific translation of a classic work.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:21 PM   #30
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Exactly. Currently a huge amount of - especially typographical - techniques is blissfully ignored by both device and file format deciders.
You cannot blame the format for typographic techniques being ignored. You have to blame the software used for reading.
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