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Old 02-05-2013, 06:30 AM   #1
Katsunami
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To be honest: I'm so tired of it

This rant may be viewed as sort of a whine on an eBook/eReader forum, but I jus thave to say it to get it out of my system.

WHY, OH GOD WHY?!

Why is *everything* that has only the slightest bit to do with digitalization or computers so *incredibly* .... ..... and riddled with the most idiotic errors ever?!

I'm still hitting the same snags as in 2007 when reading eBooks. Bad covers. Bad formatting. Incorrect Table of contents. Wrong tags. Why do I need to fix paragraph indentation, tags, table of contents or layout in an official ePUB book I've just bought?

Seriously. eBooks have been around for years. Sometimes I have a feeling that publishers run their text through an automatic eBookifization-program, stick a cover on the front and put it into stores for anywhere between €2 and €20. And DRM on top of that, with many of them. Some books are not even *worth* sharing. How can anybody take work seriously when it's often carried out so sloppily?

I've deleted 10 books from my Kobo library yesterday; all free ones, granted. I'll make them myself, using the Gutenberg text (edit: or get them here at MR). I've written school reports in LaTeX that looked more professional than some eBooks I've bought (free, and for prices between €2 and €7.50 or so) in the last few days.

Sometimes I wish I've never (re)started to use eReaders and think I should have just replaced all my pockets with hardbacks so I don't have to worry about anything. Not about readability, layout, or usability in the future.

Blergh.

Rant over.

Last edited by Katsunami; 02-05-2013 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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I couldn't have said it better. It is quite surprising to see such badly formatted books and such poor use of formatting in the first place.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Sometimes I have a feeling that publishers run their text through an automatic eBookifization-program, stick a cover on the front and put it into stores for anywhere between €2 and €20.
Sometimes??
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:18 AM   #4
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I couldn't agree more. No ebook gets loaded onto my reader without first exploding it in Calibre, ripping out the crappy CSS and replacing it with something sane. My bugbear is seeing italic and bold text marked up with spans. It's not semantic, it's lazy.

Books with missing scene gaps, missing italics (not even done in the aforementioned lazy way), hard coded hyphenation. Really, it's enough to make me pirate on principle. Almost.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
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I would add the bad spell-checking to the list. I mean, I do make a lot of mistakes in English (that I'm not aware of), so if *I* can spot mistakes in a book, then the job's not done properly
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m00min View Post
I couldn't agree more. No ebook gets loaded onto my reader without first exploding it in Calibre, ripping out the crappy CSS and replacing it with something sane. My bugbear is seeing italic and bold text marked up with spans. It's not semantic, it's lazy.

Books with missing scene gaps, missing italics (not even done in the aforementioned lazy way), hard coded hyphenation. Really, it's enough to make me pirate on principle. Almost.
I feel exactly the same way. I do the same; first I'll open a book in Sigil and see how it looks, and check the tags with EPUBMetaDataEditor. Then I start fixing stuff where necessary. Because of Sigil (and knowing XHTML, CSS, and so on) I only ever buy books in EPUB-format if I can.

You know? Some publishers actually use Calibre to create their EPUBs. I don't know what their source format is, but in some books I've bought, I see Calibre's automated style sheet using the ".calibre" classes. Some of these books can't even be sanely deciphered.

I have actually been thinking to export a book into a plain TXT-file, and then create my own EPUB out of it in Sigil. Then I will have a perfect eBook in the end, but who has the time to do it? It can take hours for a long book, especially when you have to put things such italics back in there.

You know.... I PAY for a book so I DON'T have to do that.

I've got a few books I've "found" on the internet. The text is very good, but the formatting was bad. It took me an hour or two per book to fix each of them. With these books, I don't mind, because they were never offered in any eBook format. How they got to float on the net as EPUB (scanned? typed over?) I don't know.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
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Inconsistency is annoying, too. I've been reading a series, via the library, and all the books in the series are from the same publisher. Most of them have been in good shape, with a few rare typos. But one book in the middle of the series had a lot of typos, new paragraphs started in the middle of a sentence, etc.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
You know.... I PAY for a book so I DON'T have to do that.
Not only that, but think of the time it would take away from reading. I only recently (since joining MR) learned of Sigil and have been tempted to learn what it's about so I can repair some much loved ebooks. But...that would cut into the time I set aside for reading, which is precious to me.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #9
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If you know (X)HTML and CSS, then Sigil is not very difficult. In that case, it's actually very easy to learn. You could grab a short text from Gutenberg. Create an EPUB out of it with Sigil; then it will be only one file. Split it up (chapters are nice split points obviously, as are parts of a book), mark the chapter headings so they can be added to the table of contents, write a small stylesheet (it really doesn't need to be very big). Put tags and a cover in with EPUBMetaDataEditor, and then post the book into the MobileRead Library.

You've now learned (the basics of) Sigil and eBook creation.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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The thing about tidying up ebooks is that I don't want to do it before I've read them in case I accidentally spoil myself, and after I've read them unless I think I'll re-read it a lot it's not worth my time.

The main time I edit ebooks is to split up collections into individual books. Once I did it to remove the "free preview" chapter of the author's next novel so that my kindle would say 100% when I'd finished the book and not 78%. Not even sure if I'd do that again
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:54 PM   #11
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I usually have a quick go at fixing the formatting and then I can read.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:55 PM   #12
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The thing about tidying up ebooks is that I don't want to do it before I've read them in case I accidentally spoil myself, and after I've read them unless I think I'll re-read it a lot it's not worth my time.

The main time I edit ebooks is to split up collections into individual books. Once I did it to remove the "free preview" chapter of the author's next novel so that my kindle would say 100% when I'd finished the book and not 78%. Not even sure if I'd do that again
That's some preview chapter.... or it was a very short book
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:59 PM   #13
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I'm not that picky, I guess. I'll only "fix" the most egregious formatting problems (ridiculous margins or ugly-ass fonts or something). Coverart, metadata, paragraph indenting/spacing/justification... doesn't trip me up at all. I won't create a book like that, but I'll read the hell out of one with no problem. I used to try and fix them first, but I didn't get anything done except fixing ebooks--no time for reading.

Errors?? Too many errors and I ask for a refund. Plain and simple. Otherwise... life's too short to spend a lot of time prettying something up I'm only likely to read once anyway.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:03 PM   #14
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Errors?? Too many errors and I ask for a refund. Plain and simple. Otherwise... life's too short to spend a lot of time prettying something up I'm only likely to read once anyway.
That's the problem: If I buy something, I don't intend to use it only once. I do not own a book that i don't have read twice. At least. Same with games and movies.

Therefore I don't own a lot of stuff.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #15
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I feel your pain, but I'm a lot more irritated by crappy writing than by crappy formatting.
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