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View Poll Results: Vintage (e)book appearance -- Your preference?
Old-fashioned and "aged" 10 7.41%
Old-fashioned but clean 36 26.67%
Modern appearance 39 28.89%
Don't care - I'll read it as-is 28 20.74%
Don't care - I'll change it anyway 19 14.07%
I don't read "vintage" books 3 2.22%
Voters: 135. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #16
HarryT
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If I wanted to read an "aged-looking" book I'd use a PDF page scan of the original (which is, in fact, exactly what I do when I proof-read many of the ebooks that I create for the MR library). A page background image would be horrible on an eInk device.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:48 PM   #17
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I sorta like a mixed approach. While I kinda like the old-fashioned but squeaky clean look, I'd rather see ebooks compiled to look appropriate for the setting and time they were written. So a 1920s Lovecraft piece would look good with typewriter fonts and slight paper grain, a King James Bible with curly F and S and old-style fonts, spiky gothic headings in a piece of vampire fic, or maybe a clear dot-matrix text font for a sci-fi piece.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:55 PM   #18
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above all, a book needs to be readable. First, I hate it when ebooks have embedded fonts, and I can't use my preferred font for reading on my Paperwhite. Second, I don't know how readable an old-typewriter effect font would be. If given an sf book by even my absolute favorite authors that were set in dot-matrix font, I wouldn't read it - too hard. Font choice should disappear and make the reading of a book easier, not more difficult. Brain power I spend on deciphering a font is brain power not used on understanding the content.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:24 PM   #19
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When I scan old books, I prefer to keep the look of the original as much as possible as far as layout goes. I might force smaller fonts for the copyright page as it is originally, same with the dedication, but the main text of the book has no fonts or sizes specified so the user is free to read with their preferred font.

I'd remove any attempt to create a background image on every page if I picked up a book like that.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
above all, a book needs to be readable. First, I hate it when ebooks have embedded fonts, and I can't use my preferred font for reading on my Paperwhite. Second, I don't know how readable an old-typewriter effect font would be. If given an sf book by even my absolute favorite authors that were set in dot-matrix font, I wouldn't read it - too hard. Font choice should disappear and make the reading of a book easier, not more difficult. Brain power I spend on deciphering a font is brain power not used on understanding the content.
True, but does your reader allow you to change the default font from TNR to something else? I find TNR a bit harder to read than some typewriter and dot matrix fonts, which is why I always embed a clone of Bookman or New Century Schoolbook when I'm compiling an ePub, and sometimes a font for headings as well.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:41 PM   #21
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I don't understand - what is TNR?

I find that, as I grow older, i like a slightly heavier font with slightly wider line spacing - if the lines are too close together, I lose my place.

If your so-carefully embedded fonts are too light for my eyes on my Paperwhite, I'll go into your book and explode it with Calibre and take out your embedded fonts - and be sufficiently annoyed that you're forcing me to do so that i may wind up not ever reading your book.

I do like Bookman and New Century Schoolbook in printed books, but I'm not sure how they'd display on my Sony 350 or my Paperwhite.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:39 PM   #22
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Times New Roman
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:19 PM   #23
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oh, I never thought of that.

I use Amasis XL, not TNR.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
I don't understand - what is TNR?

I find that, as I grow older, i like a slightly heavier font with slightly wider line spacing - if the lines are too close together, I lose my place.
TNR is Times New Roman. I find it frustratingly small and light for its point size, compared to the earlier New York truetype font that was bundled with the early Macs.

That and using TNR instead of Bookman or Palatino would shave up to a page and a half off a short college paper.

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If your so-carefully embedded fonts are too light for my eyes on my Paperwhite, I'll go into your book and explode it with Calibre and take out your embedded fonts - and be sufficiently annoyed that you're forcing me to do so that i may wind up not ever reading your book.
Yeah, I prefer bolder fonts, so hopefully you won't have a problem with anything I compile. Not that I have any self-compiled ePubs available just yet- the two I've done have been for personal use only because I don't feel like using a scanned PDF. The stuff in my signature is all from the Meatgrinder.

Quote:
I do like Bookman and New Century Schoolbook in printed books, but I'm not sure how they'd display on my Sony 350 or my Paperwhite.
Ironically enough, I've had a bit of trouble getting them to work on my Android tablet. They seem to look fairly good, though.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:30 PM   #25
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If I notice the font and background, it's a problem. My preference is that neither stand out in any way. There are obviously some exceptions for certain types of books, but for normal texts, I neither care about nor want to be aware of typefaces, special formatting, etc. Readability is king.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:37 PM   #26
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I don't mind having the option to use a vintage-looking typeface but I don't want to be forced to see a background image that may compromise readability.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:50 PM   #27
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I don't care if it looks old or new, as long as it's readable.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:07 AM   #28
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I hate "ye olde booke looke" with some crappy barely readable font that looks like something once used to publish Dickens in the newspapers. To me, that distracts from the reading experience, and tends to make me put the books aside. I want a font that is clear and legible, which lets me focus on the words' meaning not their appearance.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:33 AM   #29
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Hey, thanks to everybody who has responded! I must have struck a tender spot.
So I guess the "aged-paper" is right out, huh? @Xanthe, can't we even entice you with the scratch-and-sniff mildew?

I see by the poll count that the preferences are highest for a clean appearance (clearly understandable!), with a few outliers wanting the "aged" appearance, and a few more outliers who don't read vintage books anyway.

I think probably these preferences would hold true for any genre/style book. It looks as though I will continue to do my book projects as I always have.

I've never embedded a font for body text in any of the books I have uploaded here, just so readers *can* use their own choice. But I often do use decorative fonts for titling and drop-caps. But wouldn't it be wonderful if all devices/apps could allow the user to use a Publisher Font for body text, and still adjust size and leading/kerning?

@wombat, why you be dissin' that cute little Comic Sans?
No, I know it is unsuitable for body text, it's too restless. It is why I won't use Charis SIL in spite of all the online love --- The letter heights seem to vary just a bit, and to my eyes give a "hills and valleys" appearance.

I saw a remark somewhere that somebody sometimes uses Courier New, and that one I totally don't understand -- the font is so light and thin, I don't even like to use it on a pc monitor, but use instead Bitstream Vera or Deja Vu when I need a monospace font. Monaco is my first love for monospace, but it's not re-distributable. I'm test-driving the recently released Courier Prime (SIL OFL License).

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Old 05-09-2013, 01:53 AM   #30
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#4

I never change the font of the books I read. To me, a font is a font is a font. When I turn my K4 on, I read. I never use the dictionaries, never take notes, never underline or highlight passages, etc. Those features are wasted on me.
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Unless it's Comic Sans :-)
I don't see anything wrong with Comic Sans when it's used appropriately. When formatting my own stories I use Comic Sans for text that is handwritten by someone within the story (such as a diary entry or a handwritten letter to someone).

I've also found Comic Sans a very readable typeface, even at a small size. It's for that reason that I often use it when composing my e-mails although I send them out as plain text.

As far as formatting goes, I prefer modern formatting since the most important thing to me is being able to easily read the story. When properly formatted, the user should have an option to make it appear the way that he/she wants to view it. This includes formatting it in an old-looking style.
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