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View Poll Results: Should eBooks have paragraph spacing
Yes - it helps break up the text 18 33.96%
No - it creates excess page turns 19 35.85%
Don't mind - I really don't think about it 4 7.55%
A bit - how about half a line height gap 12 22.64%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-22-2009, 05:18 AM   #1
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Paragraph spacing when creating eBooks?

Having recently done a couple of eBook conversions for general use, I'm intrigued as to whether there's a concensus about peoples preferences for blank lines between paragraphs in eBooks, so please vote!

I know there are some people who feel very strongly about this one one way or the other, but I'm not sure what the balance of feeling is!

With the books I did, I went with spacing, as that seemed to be closest to what the originals had done, but it wasn't discussed either way.

Last edited by gwynevans; 04-22-2009 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:00 AM   #2
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We've done a survey on this before - in the "Book Uploads" forum, I think it was. It came out about 50:50 between people who like paragraph spacing, and people who don't.

It's not necessarily an "either/or" choice: for example, many people prefer paragraphs to be spaced on a small screen, such as a PDA or iPod, but prefer paragraphs to be indented on a larger screen, such as an eInk Reader.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:05 AM   #3
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The previous thread and poll on the subject is here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31316
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:14 AM   #4
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The golden rule is: hard-code as little as possible.

In this case, encode paragraphs with just <p>Text</p>, and leave the display decisions (spacing and indent) to the reader, both software and user. If current software does not allow, in some cases to set preferences, change software or press the software writers to modify that.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:44 AM   #5
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If current software does not allow, in some cases to set preferences, change software or press the software writers to modify that.
Certainly, the ePubs I created can be user-modified by tweaking the margin for the <p> tag in the CSS, and it would be nice to be able to set this via a setting on the Sony Reader, for instance, but in the meantime, the question remains. i.e. Should the default be the actual default of 1em, or 0, or maybe 0.5em?
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:47 AM   #6
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We've done a survey on this before - in the "Book Uploads" forum, I think it was. It came out about 50:50 between people who like paragraph spacing, and people who don't.
Ah, I missed seeing it over there - having done so though. I'd like to leave this one here as it's got the compromise option of a 1/2 space & it might be interesting to see if that makes a difference...
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:56 AM   #7
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I like indented and no spaced.

I am used to indented paragraphs and only empty lines between two... hmm, no idea if there is a word of it... meta-paragraphs (smaller than chapters, larger than paragraphs). So, whenever I see an empty line at the end of a paragraph, I think a new section is coming up.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:21 AM   #8
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When we read pBooks, did we go clamoring for paragraph spaces? No we did not. Did we even thing ... hhmm.. this book would be better if it only had paragraph spaces.... No, we did not. Why did we not do that? We didn't ask for paragraph spaces because they do not look nice.

And on an eink device, all they do is cause more page tunrs and use up mor ebattery and still do not look nice. The way most books are formatted, we use non-indented paragraphs to designate the beginning of a new section be it a new chapter or a new section of a chapter.

It is easier to read with no line spaces and indents. The paragraph spaces throw off the eye and make it harder to read. Especially when you get a lot of one line dialog scenes. That really breaks things up way too much and makes it even harder to read.

Do you want to make it harder to read eBooks for people or do you want to make it easier?
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
When we read pBooks, did we go clamoring for paragraph spaces? No we did not. Did we even thing ... hhmm.. this book would be better if it only had paragraph spaces.... No, we did not. Why did we not do that? We didn't ask for paragraph spaces because they do not look nice.
Hmm, without wanting to argue in favour of any particular choice, the voting suggests that it's not as clear-cut as you assert.

Maybe the reason that pBooks are printed without para spaces are down to economics, in that the extra spacing would have a physical effect, and there wouldn't have been enough of a preference for them in order to overcome that. With eBooks, however, there's no cost difference and the split vote shows just as many people wanting then as not, which, given the lack of spacing on pBooks, is itself interesting, in the way they're choosing to differ from the 'standard' reading experience...
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gwynevans View Post
Hmm, without wanting to argue in favour of any particular choice, the voting suggests that it's not as clear-cut as you assert.

Maybe the reason that pBooks are printed without para spaces are down to economics, in that the extra spacing would have a physical effect, and there wouldn't have been enough of a preference for them in order to overcome that. With eBooks, however, there's no cost difference and the split vote shows just as many people wanting then as not, which, given the lack of spacing on pBooks, is itself interesting, in the way they're choosing to differ from the 'standard' reading experience...
Actually there is a cost difference. Line spaces add more pages. More pages add more page turns. More page turns use more of the battery. More use of the battery means more charging. More charging means more electricity is used. More electricity being used means higher electric bills.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:57 AM   #11
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When we read pBooks, did we go clamoring for paragraph spaces? No we did not. Did we even thing ... hhmm.. this book would be better if it only had paragraph spaces.... No, we did not. Why did we not do that? We didn't ask for paragraph spaces because they do not look nice.
....And on an eink device, all they do is cause more page tunrs and use up more battery and still do not look nice. The way most books are formatted, we use non-indented paragraphs to designate the beginning of a new section be it a new chapter or a new section of a chapter.
....It is easier to read with no line spaces and indents. The paragraph spaces throw off the eye and make it harder to read. Especially when you get a lot of one line dialog scenes. That really breaks things up way too much and makes it even harder to read.
....Do you want to make it harder to read eBooks for people or do you want to make it easier?


Oh - that's better. No nasty paragraph spaces.

I think the difference might be down to the resolution of the device. On low-res devices(< 100 dpi), a paragraph space might be better. On eInk (> 150 dpi) I much prefer no paragraph space, but an indent instead.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:19 AM   #12
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I voted NO, but not because "it creates excess page turns", but because the text looks better without the space and with indents (I wish I could remove the default spacing in Cybook's mobipocket reader). A full line spacing also makes it difficult to see where there should be really a space, as when there is a change of scene, or a substantial time passes.

Quote:
in the meantime, the question remains
Not for me, I create DRM-free books, whoever doesn't like the formatting can easily change the defaults (even more easily with ePUB) if the e-book reader they're using does not do that already.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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I voted NO, but not because "it creates excess page turns", but because the text looks better without the space and with indents (I wish I could remove the default spacing in Cybook's mobipocket reader). A full line spacing also makes it difficult to see where there should be really a space, as when there is a change of scene, or a substantial time passes.
The paragraph spacing in most Mobipocket eBooks i why they use 2 or three full lines to seperate sections. And I also think most Mobipocket eBooks use too much space at the top of a page when you get to a new chapter.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:31 AM   #14
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I prefer the breaks between paragraphs, my opinion only. If your opinion is for no paragraphs that's fine, it's your opinion only. Both opinions carry no weight what so ever beyond the fact that it's your preference.
No body is right or wrong.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:59 AM   #15
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I prefer the breaks between paragraphs, my opinion only. If your opinion is for no paragraphs that's fine, it's your opinion only. Both opinions carry no weight what so ever beyond the fact that it's your preference.
No body is right or wrong.
Do you like paragraph spaces on a large screen?
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