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Old 01-06-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
Gideon
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Kindle's "Topaz" Format Looks Like Crap

Anyone else noticing this? Almost every topaz format book I get is hardly readable compared to the standard Amazon text. I'm getting a lot of half-formed letters, bad spacing, etc.

I gotta admit, I'm starting to get a bit frustrated with the apparent lack of quality control going on at Amazon.
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:04 AM   #2
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I've seen this once or twice. I wonder if topaz allows for embedded fonts? The bad ebooks could be a result of a poor font choice.
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:09 AM   #3
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I believe that is the main reason topaz gets used - they just pick bad fonts so often. They are 'prettier' but they just don't display well at that resolution. Lower case b's look like h's, etc.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
Anyone else noticing this? Almost every topaz format book I get is hardly readable compared to the standard Amazon text. I'm getting a lot of half-formed letters, bad spacing, etc.

I gotta admit, I'm starting to get a bit frustrated with the apparent lack of quality control going on at Amazon.
You have a good point. You do contact Amazon and let them know, right? They are famous for immediately crediting you the amount of the book. If enough people do this, perhaps they'll get the message....
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
I believe that is the main reason topaz gets used - they just pick bad fonts so often. They are 'prettier' but they just don't display well at that resolution. Lower case b's look like h's, etc.
Actually, topaz is used becuase the DRM hasn't been broken yet.
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
They are 'prettier' but they just don't display well at that resolution. Lower case b's look like h's, etc.
These are definitely embedded fonts, but I'm not even sure that they are "hinted" and/or anti-aliased. In other words, the same font at the same resolution would probably look better in ePub using its embedded ttf font capability. Has anyone come across an example of a TOPAZ ebook available in a different format elsewhere? The most likely formats would be PDF or ePub.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Actually, topaz is used becuase the DRM hasn't been broken yet.
but, it has been broken, google will lead you to where the software is available and how to use it. it's not quite as simple as removing the drm from an azw file, but it works.

also, i downloaded a 'free' book from amazon that was in topaz, so i doubt you assumption is correct.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:50 PM   #8
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Topaz isn't used because of the drm. It is a way of going from print books with no electronic version to a digital book. It builds a "font" for each book by assigning an arbitrary number to each different "glyph" the software funds in the text.

The text looks bad because you are looking at real print characters, which often have mistrikes.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:06 PM   #9
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alansplace View Post
but, it has been broken, google will lead you to where the software is available and how to use it. it's not quite as simple as removing the drm from an azw file, but it works.

also, i downloaded a 'free' book from amazon that was in topaz, so i doubt you assumption is correct.
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AFAIK, TOPAZ is not been broken as such. The tool you refer to strips TOPAZ DRM, but only if you do it on the machine with Kindle software on it and the valid key.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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I think that at the time that post was written (early 2009) the Topaz tools weren't available yet. Now they are but many people still avoid Topaz because of the formatting issues and the fact that the scripts are very complicated. Thankfully Topaz books are fairly rare.

As for Topaz looking like crap. It certainly does. Actually most of the time Topaz makes crap look pretty in comparison.
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:01 PM   #12
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The only decent use there is for Topaz, imho, is for using the embeddable-font property (or whatever it actually does) to put foreign language books written in a non-Roman/Greek script on the Kindle without having to resort to installing font hacks/trying to read squinty-sized PDFs.

Unfortunately, while the format's been cracked so you can take apart and convert a Topaz book to something else, no one has yet written tools to *make* a Topaz book, which I'd actually kind of like.

Last edited by ATDrake; 06-27-2010 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Forgot a few words, without which the sentence didn't make as much sense.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:16 PM   #13
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Well, you probably have to blame the publishers rather than Amazon, right? Or is Amazon completely in control of what DRM they use? One more reason I never DRM my files.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:01 AM   #14
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Just to clarify it just doesn't look like crap, it is crap. If there would be clear visiual "badge" stacked on each ebook on amazon saying if it is in TOPAZ format or not i would never ever buy again another book in TOPAZ. It looks awful, DRM stripping is painful and much bigger files.
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:58 PM   #15
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I actually have some topaz books where the formatting looks fantastic. Don't get me wrong... I still hate it for other obvious reasons, but the two topaz books I own look and read just fine.
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