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Old 04-01-2008, 12:45 PM   #1
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Page numbers (again)

It would have been a great benefit if the World Page Numbering Consortium could make us a page numbering standard and that this could be implemented in all reader devices and software (as an option).

The standard should somehow define how much text that goes on a page.

This would help us all:

1. To know where we are in a book. Bookmarks only solves this problem when using the same device, and not when we want to look up the text on another device or when we want give the world or our mother a reference. Provocative speaking: Not being able to make references to text is a look-up that can be compared to DRM.

2. To know and to communicate the length of a text or portion of text. Is the novel 100p or 1kp, how much have I read? How long time will I use to read the rest of it?

Percentages alone could only be used to solve problem number 1 if the World Percentage Book Referencing Consortium gave us some recommendations regarding how the percentages should be calculated. Such algoritm would not be stragit forward taking into considerations on differences between different formats and embeded media, talbes etc. The slightest difference in the algorithm calculating percentages would make percentages useless on 59.2% in a 1kp book.

Percentages do not help with issue number 2. Without page numbering (which of course is not perfect) I am clueless of how to know or refer the length of a text. Kb could be an option for nerds, but it would not work because of compression, embedded media etc.

An alternative would be that the publisher defines pages for each book (as is common practise for pbooks today ) and embedded the page numbering in the markup of the ebook. This would solve both problem 1 and 2.

Thoughts anyone?

(I know that this has been discussed in other treads earlier but no conclusions have been made so far ;-))
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:54 PM   #2
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Thank goodness it's April Fool's day. I was worried that you might be serious .
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:14 PM   #3
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It a good thing that you keep track of the dates, Harry ;-)
However, this is dead serious.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:18 PM   #4
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There's really a "World Page Numbering Consortium"?
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:33 PM   #5
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If page numbers are that important, why did you not get a Sony Reader PRS-505 which already has proper page numbers?
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:47 PM   #6
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If page numbers are that important, why did you not get a Sony Reader PRS-505 which already has proper page numbers?
Some people might not believe these are 'proper page numbers' since they vary depending on the font size that is chosen.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:53 PM   #7
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Harry:
There are currently no such consortium. Neither is there a World Percentage Book Referencing Consortium. At least, not that I am aware of (except IDPF of course)

Jon:
I am not familiar with the page numbering features of the Sony Reader. How does it work? If they solve both my point 1 & 2 they should be implemented in all formats and readers. If not we need something better. My point is that page numbering should be consistent on different readers and formats and that this is not archived by referring to the number of pages actually displayed on one particular device using one particular font size. This is of course not the single most important feature for e-reading.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:13 PM   #8
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Even within a single device, page numbers are not robust/consistent. As you move forward, change font, move backward, encounter "forced pagebreaks", etc., the exact placement of pagebreaks is not constant (even with the same font settings). So I feel pagenumbers cannot have a better accuracy than +/-1.

But I agree, at least knowing the total number of pages in a book would be welcome.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:20 PM   #9
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I guess the point is that, if you want to reference a book, there are perfectly satisfactory ways to do so already. For a novel, the chapter number generally suffices: "In chapter 27 of Great Expectations, Dickens says....", while for things like plays and poetry you have standard act/scene or line numbering.

I personally regard page numbers as an artifact of paper books which have no place in the eBook world. All I really want is an easy indicator of how far through a book I am, and the Gen3's "progress bar" is a perfectly satisfactory method of showing that. That's just a personal view - I know that not everyone will agree.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:57 PM   #10
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Harry,
Many books have a structure that is helpful for making references, but this is not the case for all books. Further, this kind of references is generally less precise and more wordy to use than simple page numbers. That is the reason page numbers are used in scientific and legal papers.

IMHO page numbering is one of the great features of the paper paradigm that should be kept (in an abstract form) in epublishing, at least until someone comes up with something better.

Last edited by Prospect; 04-01-2008 at 07:27 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:33 PM   #11
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How many times is this going to be rehashed!! It's almost as bad as DRM.

1. Page numbers are archaic, the only possible reason to support them is to refer to pbooks that don't have an e-version

2. References of sufficient granularity can be achieved using paragraph numbers (and please don't trot out the three isolated examples where paragraph numbers don't work). The only software support needed for this is to make e-book reader software that can display an overlay of automatically generated paragraph numbers.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:37 PM   #12
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There's a clear need for page numbers. Let me give you the earth shattering reason why.

If we had all moved onto electronic paper in the 70s, and paper didn't exist...

Then when Harry Potter books come out nobody can go around saying "Dumbledore dies on page 596" because page 596 is an outdated concept.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prospect View Post
It would have been a great benefit if the World Page Numbering Consortium could make us a page numbering standard and that this could be implemented in all reader devices and software (as an option).

The standard should somehow define how much text that goes on a page.

This would help us all:

1. To know where we are in a book. Bookmarks only solves this problem when using the same device, and not when we want to look up the text on another device or when we want give the world or our mother a reference. Provocative speaking: Not being able to make references to text is a look-up that can be compared to DRM.

2. To know and to communicate the length of a text or portion of text. Is the novel 100p or 1kp, how much have I read? How long time will I use to read the rest of it?

Percentages alone could only be used to solve problem number 1 if the World Percentage Book Referencing Consortium gave us some recommendations regarding how the percentages should be calculated. Such algoritm would not be stragit forward taking into considerations on differences between different formats and embeded media, talbes etc. The slightest difference in the algorithm calculating percentages would make percentages useless on 59.2% in a 1kp book.

Percentages do not help with issue number 2. Without page numbering (which of course is not perfect) I am clueless of how to know or refer the length of a text. Kb could be an option for nerds, but it would not work because of compression, embedded media etc.

An alternative would be that the publisher defines pages for each book (as is common practise for pbooks today ) and embedded the page numbering in the markup of the ebook. This would solve both problem 1 and 2.

Thoughts anyone?

(I know that this has been discussed in other treads earlier but no conclusions have been made so far ;-))

And your points 1 and 2 remind me of something. Some people should not be allowed to read. There should be a government agency whose job it is to ensure that only licensed readers are allowed to peruse fiction books. The licensing should be tough. Anyone who fails to figure out that reading fiction is for enjoyment should be denied licenses - and any chance of bringing children into this world.

Derek
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
How many times is this going to be rehashed!! It's almost as bad as DRM.

1. Page numbers are archaic, the only possible reason to support them is to refer to pbooks that don't have an e-version

2. References of sufficient granularity can be achieved using paragraph numbers (and please don't trot out the three isolated examples where paragraph numbers don't work). The only software support needed for this is to make e-book reader software that can display an overlay of automatically generated paragraph numbers.
I only use my reader for fiction and no need for paragraph numbering like the bible does. It is been available for all kinds of media: minutes left to an mp3/video/tv-show. I've read my entire life with a physical reference on a p-book, [current page] / [total pages] (without changing the current font size), as reference to how many of this story is left to enjoy. (whining like a child) Beceause I want it should be sufficient reason for a programmer to add that to the software.
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
2. References of sufficient granularity can be achieved using paragraph numbers (and please don't trot out the three isolated examples where paragraph numbers don't work). The only software support needed for this is to make e-book reader software that can display an overlay of automatically generated paragraph numbers.
I agree that using paragraph number could be a good alternative to page numbering. The concept is the same as with abstract page numbers, but I have to agree that paragraphs would be more logical and precise and would work in most cases. There would of curse usually be far more paragraphs then pages but I think that I can get used to that.

However for this to work there has either to be some agreed way of counting paragraphs set down by the World Paragraph Counting Consortium or the numbering has to embedded into the mark-up of the book by the publisher. On paragraph level I think that this has to be done by the publisher to be sufficiently precise. (Which would also resolve the issues with the three situations where paragraphs does not work - Marcel Proust, Comics and ...what is the last one?)

But what about text length? Since use of paragraphs vary quite enormously from genre to genre and between different authors I do not think that paragraphs could solve this issue?

Last edited by Prospect; 04-01-2008 at 06:30 PM. Reason: typos
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