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Old 04-08-2013, 08:08 PM   #1
ficbot
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A few quick questions

I am almost done my first book formatting project; it is a book which has a new translation out which is costly and full of errors in the Kindle version, so I downloaded the older translation (which is public domain, published in 1850) and am formatting it to read on my Kobo. I have a few quick questions:

1) Do you generally transcribe and include the copyright page? It's very long and has a bunch of stuff on it about being transcribed into the register by clerk Suchly Suchly on Suchly date and goes on for a bit. So far I have it in there but I am not sure it needs to stay.

2) Where/how do I put the information that I obtained this book from the Internet Archive and have cleaned it up and checked it against the PDF scan> Is that for the book description in the post where I uploaded it, or should I include it in the book itself?

3) I want to share the book as widely as possible since I went to all this trouble for it Obviously I plan to share it here. Would it be worth setting up a Smashwords account and uploading it there too as a free download? I heard you can upload ebooks directly there...

4) The author was very fond of exclamation points and at times, his formatting regarding them is inconsistent. For example, he often puts them mid-sentence and then does not capitalize whatever follows. Should I leave his lower case letters as is, or should I capitalize them so people don't think the book has errors?

Thanks for any advice. I will be done with the book this week and would love to share it.

Last edited by ficbot; 04-09-2013 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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I know that much more knowledgeable folk will be along, but meanwhile I can tell you what I do when re-habbing public domain books.

1) I don't transcribe the original copyright page. Sometimes I make an image of a particularly attractive title-page from the original, and the info happens to be there.

2) I make a "About" page right after the titlepage. On it, I include the book title, author,
illustrator (if any), original publishing date, a short description of the book (Wikipedia, Goodreads, Library Thing are good sources if you can't think of what to say yourself - do give credit if you use these). On the bottom section of the page, I include information and credits for source text, illustration images, clip art, and embedded fonts. Also brief notes about the formatting used, such as "Cross-linked end-notes and HTML Table of Contents." Some folks put this information about the book production at the end of the book instead.

4) I have seen this in many 18th and early 19th century books, and I leave the non-capitals alone. However, I do often see a colon followed by an emdash, and in later editions they changed that to a colon only. So I use only the colon, even though the transcription is from the first edition. Also, sometimes spelling morphs throughout the course of a book, and I change spelling to match. This results in another note for my "About" page: "Minor spelling and punctuation changes for consistency."

I hope this might be a little helpful. Yes, DO post your new book in the MobileRead Library. Make us proud!

Last edited by GrannyGrump; 04-09-2013 at 01:19 AM. Reason: add information
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:35 AM   #3
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P.S.
3) I know little about uploading to Smashwords, but I do know that Manybooks and Feedbooks also take "donations".
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for your answers! May I send it to you for a quick look before I upload it?
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post

3) I want to share the book as widely as possible since I went to all this trouble for it Obviously I plan to share it here. Would it be worth setting up a Smashwords account and uploading it there too as a free download? I heard you can upload ebooks directly there...
FYI, Smashwords doesn't allow the publication of public domain works.

From their FAQ...
Quote:
Can I publish public domain books on Smashwords?
No. You must be the original author of the work, or the exclusive electronic publisher or distributor of the work. The only exception to this rule is if you are the author of the public domain book.
Try Feedbooks and Manybooks instead.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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What's wrong with MR's Patricia Clark Library?
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:02 PM   #7
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What's wrong with MR's Patricia Clark Library?
Nothing. As she said, she'll be posting it here she was just looking for other places as well.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:42 PM   #8
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ficbot said:
Quote:
May I send it to you for a quick look before I upload it?
You may (I only have personal opinions to offer, of course, but pleased to help.)
PM me.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:51 AM   #9
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I'm not sure that I have much useful advice about your original post, ficbot, since opinions vary so much, and so much seems to be a matter of taste. I really don't think there are any clear cut right or wrong answers to your question.

For what it is the the main principles I work by are
- ebooks are not print books, and should not be bound by the same conventions
- when making an ebook from a print book there is no need or virtue in trying to make it a facsimile.
- one can learn a lot from looking at other peoples' ebooks and using what seems to work.

For your specific questions:
1) If it's a public domain print book then copyright does not apply. I generally make a title and copyright page to the effect that the ebook is the MobileRead edition and may be freely used for non-commercial purposes.

2) Put the information anywhere it makes sense to you. I generally put it in both the original post and in a colophon at the end of the ebook - where I also put a brief description of the methods I use to make the ebook, that it validates, and what ereaders I have tested it on.

3) I can't offer any advice on Smashwords; I simply don't know.

4) I suggest that you do whatever makes sense for you, remembering that the people who read the ebook will be used to 'modern' punctuation. As long as one maintains the author's words and sense I see no harm in simplifying his or her punctuation. For what it is worth I detest mdashes, and never use them.

I hope this helps.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:37 AM   #10
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Being of a somewhat vacillatory nature, I've ended up including all the text in the e-book file – but original copyright information and suchlike is hidden as HTML comments. Should I for any reason wish to make a more faithful version, then that's a simple editing job.

I've found out that clearly stating which edition you use as a source is important. Not only for demonstrating clearly it is in the public domain, but many readers are also often interested in what edition they are reading.

Just for the record – mdashes – I'm quite fond of them, actually –
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
4) I suggest that you do whatever makes sense for you, remembering that the people who read the ebook will be used to 'modern' punctuation. As long as one maintains the author's words and sense I see no harm in simplifying his or her punctuation. For what it is worth I detest mdashes, and never use them.
Although punctuation is, of course, an "editorial" decision, I personally prefer to leave the original punctuation. As has been noted, mid-19th-century punctuation was not exactly the same as modern usage, and having exclamation marks without an upper-case letter following was entirely normal usage for that period.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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I would expect they used ! where we might bold a word. The ! in this case does not mean the end of a sentence. Font emphasis wasn't that predominant in those days.

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Old 04-12-2013, 01:28 PM   #13
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I would expect they used ! where we might bold a word. The ! in this case does not mean the end of a sentence. Font emphasis wasn't that predominant in those days.

Dale
DaleDe - you continue to amaze me - how do you know this stuff??
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:54 PM   #14
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DaleDe - you continue to amaze me - how do you know this stuff??
Anyone who reads 19c novels can't help but notice the difference in the way that punctuation was used compared with today.
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:28 PM   #15
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Just for the record – mdashes – I'm quite fond of them, actually –
Slight correction here...

Just for the record–em-dashes–I'm quite fond of them, actually–
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