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View Poll Results: Do you prefer blank lines after all paragraphs in an ebook?
Yes. Strong preference for one after all paragraphs. 19 25.00%
Yes, but it's not a big deal to me. 15 19.74%
No, but it's not a big deal to me. 19 25.00%
No. Strong preference for no blank lines. 23 30.26%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-31-2008, 08:01 AM   #1
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Blank Lines

I have a strong personal preference to see a blank line after every paragraph in ebooks and I've been converting and uploading all my ebooks to MR this way. But I know some disagree and I now see that at least a few people strongly disagree. Can I see a show of hands, please? I'd like to know if I need to change my ways or at least format two sets of books (one for me and one for uploading). Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:06 AM   #2
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It's entirely a matter of personal choice, VR. I prefer not to have them myself, but I have no strong objection to them. What I was objecting to, in the post to which you're probably referring, is the use of blank lines where they simply shouldn't be - eg between lines of poetry.

Note that most implementations of the MobiPocket Reader will leave a gap of about half a line between paragraphs, so adding an "explicit" blank line is not really necessary in Mobi books.

Hope you didn't read more into my post than I intended!
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:19 AM   #3
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There's no misunderstanding, Harry. But your post did cause to me think about this topic which I have wondered about for some time. I was unaware, for example, that Mobipocket Reader applies an additional small gap between paragraphs. I wish the Sony Reader did that. I wouldn't want the additional full line in that case. And I can see how one and a half lines in Mobipocket would be annoying. Still, I would like to know people's preferences and adjust accordingly.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:27 AM   #4
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My personal preference is not to have blank lines between paragraphs, but to have an indent. My reasoning is that this means fewer page turns, so a slightly longer batter life.

But I have no objection to reading a book with blank lines between paragraphs, and, where there are very long paragraphs, a blank line can improve the look of the book.

I would carry on just as you are, VR. Your books always look very good.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivaldirules View Post
I have a strong personal preference to see a blank line after every paragraph in ebooks and I've been converting and uploading all my ebooks to MR this way. But I know some disagree and I now see that at least a few people strongly disagree. Can I see a show of hands, please? I'd like to know if I need to change my ways or at least format two sets of books (one for me and one for uploading). Thanks.
Well, if you are formating a book, you should really use the format you prefer yourself. It's up to the reader to adapt to the book, not the other way around

As for myself, I have no real preferences in the matter. As long as it's a good book, it doesnt really matter for me if there is a blank line between paragraphs or not. And it's not something I stop and think about either
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:34 AM   #6
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I'd better amend that in the interests of accuracy: some implementations of the MobiPocket Reader insert spacing between paragraphs - eg the CyBook Gen3 does. Others, such as the Windows MobiPocket Reader, don't (but it does allow you to adjust the inter-line spacing).

All versions of the Mobi reader indent the first line of a paragraph (unless this is specifically altered by the book itself).
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
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My personal preference is not to have blank lines between paragraphs, but to have an indent. My reasoning is that this means fewer page turns, so a slightly longer batter life.
Yes, the important point is that paragraphs need to be delineated in some fashion, whether it be by an indent, or by extra spacing. By default, with most Mobi implementations, you get both - an indented first line and about half a line spacing between paragraphs.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:42 AM   #8
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This subject is quite interesting for me, too.

First, my personal view is that I like to have paragraphs separated by one empty line.

FBReader, which I use extensively on my EEE, offers the possibility to introduce such a line by making it possible to adjust the distance between paragraphs in a properties tab. Mobi reader software does not offer that possibility. Neither do any hardware readers, afaik.

So it's up to personal preferences for the ebook maker, I guess. Worth a feature suggestion to mobi and the hardware readers, though.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:54 AM   #9
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I do find a blank line separation between (fully justified) paragraphs visually appealing while reading ebooks, but, oddly enough, not as much when reading pbooks!

I think this has manifested itself from first reading ebooks on my Gemstar REB1200 since, by default, the native software used to convert .html to .imp, uses blank line separation.

As a result, that's what I was first exposed to, so I "guess" I prefer it better.

While writing my Mobi2IMP software converter, I did discover a way to make a .imp without blank line separation, but then use of an indent was most definitely required!

Should you change your methods of ebook creation? NO! I can just take your .prc version (if available) and then roll my own using Mobi2IMP.

BTW, keep up the good (converting) work!!!
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I do find a blank line separation between (fully justified) paragraphs visually appealing while reading ebooks, but, oddly enough, not as much when reading pbooks!
I agree and I'm not sure why. After a year and half reading on a Sony Reader, it still seems just a touch unnatural in ways I can't describe and I find the blank line between paragraphs comforting. Perhaps if the display format was larger (an iLiad, for example) I wouldn't need the blank lines.

As to changing or not changing the way I create ebooks, yes, I understand that it's my choice and that I should do what I want. But I also want to do what is most useful for people who will read them and if I can make a small change that makes a difference, I will choose to do that. Of course, I say that but I think I'm still doing em-dashes incorrectly and haven't made the effort to fix that either. And I still have posted books that have hundreds of annoying textual errors that need correcting. It seems that everything is a work in progress with me.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:10 AM   #11
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It seems that everything is a work in progress with me.
It never stops being a learning experience. Look at the number of books that I've posted multiple versions of!
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:13 AM   #12
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As to changing or not changing the way I create ebooks, yes, I understand that it's my choice and that I should do what I want. But I also want to do what is most useful for people who will read them and if I can make a small change that makes a difference, I will choose to do that. Of course, I say that but I think I'm still doing em-dashes incorrectly and haven't made the effort to fix that either. And I still have posted books that have hundreds of annoying textual errors that need correcting. It seems that everything is a work in progress with me.
but just think vr if everything were perfect in the world how boring that would be.

as long as paragraphs are delineated by something (indent or blank line) i'm happy... i think i do prefere (somewhat) a blank line, because the tendency for ebooks is to format them with very little margin space (sometimes none at all) and i need some white space in the page. if there are decent margins, then just an indent is fine.

ironically i can't seem to decide what my personal preference on this is, i think my taste has been influenced by working in web too much (in html, paragraphs are automatically separated by a blank line, unless you define it otherwise, now that seems quite normal to me for any kind of screen reading).
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:23 AM   #13
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To me, it is a readability issue. The blank line allows the eyes to signal the end of a paragraph and, therefore, the start of the next iteration of the thought. I feel that it is easier to read that way.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:26 AM   #14
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Does the Kindle automatically add spacing between paragraphs, pshrynk, like the Gen3 does?
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:30 AM   #15
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The haggard Omnibus that I dl'd yesterday (Thanks Harry!) does not have spaces between the paragraph breaks. they are indented, thankfully. the book i bought from Amazon today also does not. The Pratchett book I bought from FW also does not.
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