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Old 01-22-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
JasonB
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Digitizing back covers.

I only purchased a reader recently, and have only bought about a dozen eBooks from the Sony Store since, but I've already spotted something that strikes me as a bit odd.

Of those books that I've seen, everything about the book seems to be digitized - except the back cover. You get the front cover, the copyright page, any introductory information, and then the actual book itself. But you don't get the back cover.

This doesn't impact anything about the reading of the book itself, but it does hinder your ability to "show" the book to somebody else in a social situation. With physical books, when asked "What are you reading?" you can simply hand the book over to the person who's inquired. This almost always results in them turning the book over to look at the back cover and read the plot synopsis. (Only occasionally is the book actually flipped through.)

With readers, this isn't possible because there is no back cover. So how do you say, "Here..." to somebody to have them read a plot summary? It doesn't seem as if you can. You're forced to actually describe it to them yourself. This is a small part of the whole physical book experience, but I think it's a somewhat important one from a social standpoint.

Does this strike anybody else as odd? (Or, perhaps, I just haven't encountered a book yet - I wouldn't be at all surprised - that actually had this digitized and then added as the last "page" of the book.)
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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First, welcome to the forum I see that this is your first post.

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Does this strike anybody else as odd? (Or, perhaps, I just haven't encountered a book yet - I wouldn't be at all surprised - that actually had this digitized and then added as the last "page" of the book.)
This has been discussed before on other threads. I guess it is a "bit" odd. But then again, those summaries are there to sell the book. For the buyer in a book store to read in order to make a purchase decision. In the ebook world that summary info is in the ebook store/web site.

So, I guess I don't find it odd. But, I do think adding the summary to the content of the ebook would be a nice idea.

BOb
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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I did do a search on "synopsis", "summary", and "back cover" for this, but didn't find any other threads. (Admittedly, I only searched this specific forum - as I thought it was the most appropriate for the discussion.)

I find this interesting. I, myself, always like to look at the back cover of books - not just when I'm buying one, but when I see somebody else reading one I might be interested in, or happen upon one in a room somewhere.

If I were to walk into a room and just find readers lying around, I'd quickly get frustrated because there would be no easy way of determining what the content on the reader was "about" - unless I was already familiar with the author or the title.

I know that the digital world isn't going to be (nor necessarily should be) the same as the analogue world - but I'd like to think the experience should be at least as enjoyable in all contexts (where that makes sense) as possible.

I like my new reading experience, and will likely prefer eBooks over real ones moving forward, but I kind of thought that this is one area where it isolates you. (Of course, there are other areas, such as sharing uploads, etc., where the opposite can happen.)

I would like to at least see a summary - if not the actual back cover itself. The fact that we get a front cover makes things seem a bit inconsistent.

I don't suppose that there's some kind of publishing standards board for eBooks that could be contacted about something like this? I'm guessing this is all much more to do with individual publishers than anything else.

P.S. Thanks for the welcome. <grin>

Last edited by JasonB; 01-22-2009 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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While I can't think of any dedicated threads, it has come up from time to time particularly in various threads in the "Which one should I buy" topic.

The way that I get around this problem is that I use copy/paste from the book description found at Amazon.com, a book review site such as www.fantasticfiction.co.uk, or the online book store into a plain text file. Since my Kindle is perfectly happy with the plain text file, I just transfer the file to the Kindle and then I have the description handy. This is very helpful when the book is part of a series -- I create one file for the entire series and now I have the sequence/order as well as the description of the individual books in the series.

And, not every eBook has the front cover. If the publisher doesn't own the rights to the cover art, they just substitute a plain-text "cover". This has happened to me several times with recently published books.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
First, welcome to the forum I see that this is your first post.



This has been discussed before on other threads. I guess it is a "bit" odd. But then again, those summaries are there to sell the book. For the buyer in a book store to read in order to make a purchase decision. In the ebook world that summary info is in the ebook store/web site.

So, I guess I don't find it odd. But, I do think adding the summary to the content of the ebook would be a nice idea.

BOb
Several formats permit adding this data. Mobipocket Reader on a pc can make use of this data very well and ePUB has a special place for it as well. It is often used on a web site for selling the product but there is no reason it shouldn't be displayable as Mobipocket reader does. Feedbooks is adding it to their downloads.

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Old 01-23-2009, 01:03 AM   #6
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This is one of the reasons why I convert my ebooks - so I can add a nice-sized cover image, any book series information, and the book description, as best as I can find one.

In my opinion, it's not just to sell the book. I buy too many books, so it's often I've bought a book two years ago, and I'm only just getting around to reading it now. The "back cover" reminds me of the storyline and why I bought it in the first place.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:17 PM   #7
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Baen ebooks have a "Cover" section which includes (small) cover, synopsis, endorsements and publishing info. For example:
http://www.webscription.net/chapters...435710__c_.htm
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:15 PM   #8
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What bothers me more than not having a back cover, is not having a full size map, in those fantasy books. They are just unradable now. Usually is just a thumbnail or little more than that.
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Old 01-30-2009, 03:42 AM   #9
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I'm glad to hear about this being done with Mobipocket and it being added to some of their downloads. Hopefully, the trend will continue on to other formats.

If I weren't so lazy, I would convert mine just to add the back cover text to the end of my books also. (But I am lazy, and doubt I will. <grin>)

Quote:
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What bothers me more than not having a back cover, is not having a full size map, in those fantasy books.
Personally, I hardly ever look at those maps. However, I'm just now reading the latest in the 3rd set of Thomas Convenant books - and I'm glad to say that the map seems to be fully reproduced. (You just need to flip left and right between what would, I think, fit on a single page in the real world.)
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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actually I think the best place for a back cover is the second page.

lets say you are browsing your book shelf on any device. its a whole lot easier to get to page 2, that to page 400. that way when you are browsing for a book to read, you can go read the Synop.

If you cant find the back page. I find the Synops on barnes and Noble to be pretty good. I find Amazons suck most of the time... if they are even there at all. Im going to start putting the synops on the front of the Ebooks I create now i think
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:51 PM   #11
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Surely, though, the primary purpose of the "blurb" on the back of a book is to allow someone who picks it up in a book shop to find out what the book is about and hopefully tempt them into buying it. With an eBook, that function is fulfilled by the description of the book in the store catalog, and hence the "blurb" is unnecessary to have on the book itself.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Surely, though, the primary purpose of the "blurb" on the back of a book is to allow someone who picks it up in a book shop to find out what the book is about and hopefully tempt them into buying it. With an eBook, that function is fulfilled by the description of the book in the store catalog, and hence the "blurb" is unnecessary to have on the book itself.
Perhaps unnecessary but still nice to have. Some formats including mobi and ePUB permit this data to be in the file itself and available for display on the Library screen. This is a nice feature IMHO, since it helps you remember what the book was about when you decide to read it.

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Old 01-30-2009, 01:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andybaby
actually I think the best place for a back cover is the second page.
lets say you are browsing your book shelf on any device. its a whole lot easier to get to page 2, that to page 400. that way when you are browsing for a book to read, you can go read the Synop.
Excellent point. You're right. I guess in an ideal situation, it would be also be included along with the table of contents link. There's be a separate "summary" or "synopsis" entry that you could select.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
With an eBook, that function is fulfilled by the description of the book in the store catalog, and hence the "blurb" is unnecessary to have on the book itself.
I already replied above to pilotbob on this point. <grin> If I'm shopping for a book online, you're right. I don't need it in the ebook itself because it's right there on the Web site. (At least, it should be. Even there I've seen some books that have no description and I've had to go to Amazon, or some other vendor, to read about it that way.) But if I want to hand my reader to a friend who's inquired about what I'm reading, having it on the Web site (and not somewhere in the ebook itself) doesn't help me much. Nor, as with FizzyWater, does it even help you if you've downloaded something a while ago and forgotten since then what it's about (and don't have access to the Web site).
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:10 PM   #14
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Okay, let me ask a newbie question. How do I go about re-authoring a DRM (Sony Store) LRF book to include such a blurb? Will the DRM prevent its modification, or can I modify it anyway - although it will still be tied to my own reader?

(I guess that if this can't be done, I can just create text files with the same names as the book titles.)

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Old 02-13-2009, 10:00 PM   #15
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Hi, Jason. I believe for current LRX (DRM'd Sony books) your second option is your only one - you can make yourself a separate file with the "back cover" data in it. Or, if you use Calibre, you could make yourself an accompanying LRF with the cover, back cover, and whatever else you want (if you want additional images that won't go with the plain text file).

I don't remember seeing a way to decrypt the LRX books.
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