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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 05-15-2013, 04:32 PM   #46
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don't care at all for emulations of dead trees. let them rest in pieces.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Background 'Paper' effects reduce contrast on 8 level EINK displays and make it tiresome for these 'vintage' and worn eyes
It reduces the contrast on any eInk screen be it 16- or 8-shades.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:55 PM   #48
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Here is my takes on the answers.

Quote:
Old-fashioned and "aged"
Won't look good on eInk

Quote:
Old-fashioned but clean
Might not look good on eInk

Quote:
Modern appearance
Won't look good on any reader. Modern seems to be wide margins, small text size (set as small in CSS), paragraph spaces, indents that are (too small, too large, or none), large spaces for chapter titles. So modern is out since it's like that in mist cases.

Quote:
Don't care - I'll read it as-is
Can't do that as chances are it'll look modern.

Quote:
Don't care - I'll change it anyway
Yes, I will so it looks good.

Quote:
I don't read "vintage" books
I have not had an occasion to read a vintage book in a very long time
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:04 AM   #49
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I see by some of the responses (hi, Wolfy) that I should have let my nit-picky chew on the descriptions a bit more. By "Modern", I really meant "within the standards of good ebooks", meaning sensible margins, indents, etc. I agree that most print books, including vintage scans, *have* large margins, deep indents, dozens of blank pages to force chapter starts on the recto (right-hand) page, and other detritus no longer used in well-done digital format.

Mostly the Modern choice was *intended* to put emphasis on modern punctuation and (sometimes) grammar/spelling. As opposed to treating antique punctuation and spelling as something graven in stone, which MUST be preserved in the new electronic production. I have seen too many changes to such in second and third editions of 19th-century books to believe in the "sacredness" of the typesetter's choices in the first edition.

Does this make anyone wish to change their mind and cast their vote for Modern?

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Old 05-17-2013, 12:29 AM   #50
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If by modern, you mean no paragraph spacing (not even .3em that some publishers use now) and a sensible indent like 1.2em, margins about 5-9pt (at most) and no line-height, then yes, I'd go with that. But I would still change it to no margins.
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:35 AM   #51
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I'd love to see you play with your idea, GG. No one else -- certainly not any major publisher -- would bother to try it in epub format. Neither would most MR book creators (though Pynch veers close with his painstakingly faded covers, his CSS is remarkably clean).

I applaud you for wanting to try something new (by which I mean old). If I know you, you'd offer your books in both formats anyway -- ultimate vintage and old-fashioned but modern -- which means that everyone would win.

Even so, I voted for the latter, since that's my ultimate preference for old books. Even hoary tomes looked new at one time; besides, nonstandard formatting can be problematic. Every bookseller and device-maker seems to want to impose their own flavor of epub, which can make for unintended anomalies.

I'd love to see the result of a vintage paper background in CSS, but I have the feeling it would end up looking like the old-film-stock filters that everyone used with Avid in '90s post-production: The same pattern of pseudo-aging on every page/frame rather than anomalies throughout, as in a book/film that truly is old.

Have you ever seen a TV commercial that adds layers of flickering and scratches to what's clearly digital video? The result of your experiment could end up looking that way, too -- unless you found other ways to introduce variation and make the effect appear more organic.

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Old 05-17-2013, 12:43 AM   #52
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I picked "old fashioned but clean". I like to see the original layout of a book as it was published (within reason of course). If chapter headings were centered and italics, it stays the same in the ebook. If the beginning paragraph had no indentation and the other did, that also stayed the same in the ebook. If the copyright page had smaller text and all centered, ebook the same.

That did not mean if there was a 1" margin on each side that the ebook would have a 1" margin as well, or chapters start so far down that only a few lines of text end up on the page. Some formatting is just absurd to transfer into ebooks. And while I'll use a specific size and font style for title pages, copyright info, the main text of the book is free from a defined font so readers can pick whatever is most comfortable for them to read.

The text itself though, and to me more importantly, stays exactly as it was originally published and not changed other than for an apparent true error in spelling. Punctuation, terminology, even how words were spelled, etc. during the time the book was published of course will be different than what we use now. That doesn't mean I tamper with their original words or punctuation at all though. To me that's part of the charm of picking up an older book, to read as it was back then, and I would not like to read what someone else considered a "modernization" of the original words. I would avoid the changed books.

So no, I still don't want to see "modernized" ebooks. I prefer it as the author originally wrote it, word for word, and punctuation unchanged. It's not like the older style makes it so people reading it today can't understand the text. I really see no point in changing it.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:29 AM   #53
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I might play around with an antique format, just to see what falls out of the hopper. It would, of course, probably only be readable on a tablet or pc. Maybe a color reader, I don't know how well those render.

@Ripplinger, the question that arises when reproducing a vintage book is which edition to follow. I've done several books that had extensive changes between the first edition in 1870 and the "authorized" third edition 20 years later, and I followed the changed punctuation and spelling in the later edition. Was that the wrong thing to do?

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:44 AM   #54
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Kindle doesn't support this, but you said ignore it.

..I thought about it, and honestly I can't. This whole styling of books is much ado about nothing

What I want from any e-reader is good contrast, long battery and ability to change font size (sometimes my eyes get tired (I have astigmatism), so I go for bigger fonts).

As for the style, I do like nicely done headings or a stylized first letter of the chapter, but that's about it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I prefer the e-ink to any other reading option even if it includes stylized books.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:55 AM   #55
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What I find odd is that people are responding to GG's query as if it pertained to every future book they might own. I find her ideas interesting because they pertain to specific books that she's considering creating.

We can always return to the formatting of every other book. Why not check out GG's results before condemning them in theory? Have you seen her editions of Mark Twain? They're damned interesting, and in no small part because she tries to retain the flavor of the printed edition.

GG:

When you're incorporating later changes into an earlier edition, one thing to consider is whether the later edition is authoritative. Editors of early editions of Emily Dickinson changed her idiosyncratic punctuation because they thought it was incorrect, but later editors restored it. In her case, I'd go with the later edition.

However, other editions of earlier books, such as De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, are considered to be less concise than the originals. Most readers prefer De Quincey's dream narrative as it was originally published, not the later tome which became a compendium of narrative-undermining digressions. Keats's "Load every rift with ore" led to Lard every cleft with air.

Sometimes it's best to create editions for each version. Cf. facsimile editions of Alice's Adventures Underground, which, as you probably know, is the earliest presentable version of Alice in Wonderland and features illustrations by Carroll himself. Imagine trying to create one version out of both. The only solution would be to include both versions in their entirety sequentially.

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Old 05-17-2013, 11:20 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannyGrumpy View Post
@Ripplinger, the question that arises when reproducing a vintage book is which edition to follow. I've done several books that had extensive changes between the first edition in 1870 and the "authorized" third edition 20 years later, and I followed the changed punctuation and spelling in the later edition. Was that the wrong thing to do?
For myself I'd prefer reading the original published in 1870, but following the third edition when converting to ebook isn't wrong by any means.

The difference is authorized changes vs someone converting to ebook deciding to make changes.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:01 PM   #57
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For myself I'd prefer reading the original published in 1870, but following the third edition when converting to ebook isn't wrong by any means.

The difference is authorized changes vs someone converting to ebook deciding to make changes.
This highlights an issue I have with this poll. There is a major distinction between typography and layout on the one hand and content (e.g. word usage, punctuation, ...) on the other.

I agree that content should not be changed. If there are multiple "original" versions all approved by the author then you can make a choice between them. The first edition is not always the best. Charles Darwin reworded his "Origin of the Species" several times in responce to numerous misreadings and misinterpretations making the 6th edition (the last he personally oversaw) likely the best.

Personally, I rather like some of the old-style typographic traditions though not the truly antique. At the same time, I abhor any typographic stylings that were done to adjust for the nature of a paper book that don't apply to digital readers. These include fonts for the body text, margins, and line spacing. These should be controlled by the reading software/device. The body of ereaders provide all the margin needed beyond a trivial space between text and bezel.

Also on the abhorrent list are stupid gimmicks like textured or faux-stained backgrounds. No book designer worth their salt in times past every designed a book to look like that. They designed for clean paper. That an old book now displays such attributes is merely a sign that it has been mistreated, something an ebook should never emulate.

That said, I do like the older art style ornaments often seen in older books. There can be worked into ebooks easily and, when done well, look good. An example would be this edition of The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:24 PM   #58
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I really meant "within the standards of good ebooks", meaning sensible margins
the device already provides margins
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:56 AM   #59
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I went with old fashioned but clean and am very curious to see what grannyGrumpy’s book will look like if she decides to do it, because I like her Twains a lot. (Would you tell us which book you’re thinking about, gG, or is that supposed to be a surprise?)

I agree with Prestidigitweeze that a lot of the comments read as if gG wanted to apply her proposed stylings to every book out there which is obviously not the case. There are already lots of threads discussing if the device/user or the book designer should generally determine the layout of an ebook, but this is not really one of it, as grannyGrumpy’s question already implies that she wants to define it herself.

I am working on a collection of Laurence Sterne’s writings at the moment, which will try to retain as many of the layout choices of the first publication (Sterne personally supervised the printing process) as make sense for an epub version, including big margins, every combination of italics, smallcaps and spaced letters imaginable, and the long “s”. Some of those might need getting used to, but I think that “easily digestible” is not always what one should go for.

Looking forward to your book, grannyGrumpy!
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:00 AM   #60
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I've been offline for several days, and see that there has been further discussion. It seems this subject of book appearance, along with copyright issues, can always rouse up some debate. Some interesting points have been made whichhave altered *some* of my opinions. I still can't feel married to problematic punctuation, or inconsistent spelling within a book, even if that was the way it was printed.

Hey, does anybody ever think about the fact that someday Twilight and 50 Shades will be considered "vintage?" Somehow, the term seems inappropriate...

I probably jumped the gun by posting this poll, because I still have a long cycle of Twain ahead, trying to do his travel books in illustrated versions. And to say that they are "copiously illustrated" is an understatement, so that will probably take many weeks.

I haven't any specific book in mind for an "antique vintage" project, does anybody have a request? [yes, I plan to make an alternate "clean" version as well. ]

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