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Old 05-07-2009, 11:19 PM   #46
JSWolf
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Originally Posted by Sonist View Post
Thanks, JSWolf. I just looked at the file in Calibre, and it looks good. But am I wrong to assume, that everything your EPUB file does, can be done just as well, with the new version of Adobe?

Just like the web, e-publishing will evolve from mostly text-based, limited design pages, to richer, more print-like look - see for instance the image attached.

A page like this should not reflow, because it will lose its visual effect. And while I know a PDF file will have no problem with it, I am not sure, EPUB can do it (please correct me if I am wrong.)

My point is, why not just use one format, from desktop to ereader, for complex layout pages which should not reflow, as well as for simple text pages which should reflow? The only format I know, which can do all this, is PDF.
That ePub you looked at looks great on a 6" eink screen and it will look great on a 9.7" eink screen. Take your average letter sized PDF and try to display it on a 6" screne and nowhere will it look good enough. That ePub can have the fonts increased in size and still look good. It reflows very nicely.

PDF has it's place. But that place is not as an eBook format. ePub can do a lot of complex layouts that will look good on different screen sizes. PDF is a fixed size. If you take a look at reflowing a PDF, it tends to look like shite. PDF's stron point is printing. You can give a PDF to someone who can print it as it was meant to be. ePub is meant for reading. Also, PDF is fixed. ePub (wothout DRM) I can go in and make changes to the layout by editing the CSS to have it look as I want. So if someone gives me an ePub with paragraph spaces, I can go in and fix that to how I want by removing them. It's all quite a nice system. PDF is just the way it is.

Also ePub bases it's page numbers on the amount of content. So they are pretty consistent. I can say a specific passage is on page 35 and it will be no matter the size on screen. So if I take my 505 and resize to say medium, that passage on page 35 will still be on page 35 even if I found it on page 35 wen the size was set to small.
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:31 AM   #47
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PDF is to ePUB as image-based PDF is to text-based PDF.

For a given configuration, there's nothing in ePUB that can't be done in PDF (just take a screenshot of the ePUB and make a PDF out of it). But ePUB is flexible and versatile, you can change screen size, font size, margins, justification, headers, etc. With PDF you can't, it's WYGIWYS, there's no more there than what you see.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:29 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonist View Post
A PDF gives an accurate representation of a page on screen, preserving both fonts and design. It is as close as one gets to the printed page, and I believe, the best way to replace a printed page.

I personally would rather see screen size standardization, showing pages as meant to be shown by the publisher, then reflowing. There is standardization for paper sizes, why not for screen sizes?

But for those who desire, the new PDF SDK allows reflowing.

In addition, PDF is already an established standard on the desktop. And, at least on a desktop, a PDF can be annotated, searched, stickies can be placed on it, and so on. Not sure if the current mobile version allows this, but if it doesn't, I'd imagine it will soon.

So, again, isn't it better to establish a standard (and PDF currently seems to be the best one I've seen), instead of fragmenting an already confused market with new formats, like EPUB?
Well, the problem with pdf is that it contains most of the limitations of print. Yes, you have total control of the layout. That's not a feature; that's a bug. Even proposing the layout/design person does zir work all over again for different screen sizes doesn't solve the underlying problem.

For example, let's suppose Robin Logos is laying out _Pride and Prejudice_ in PDF for e-book readers. Zie lays it out four times, for 5 inch, 6 inch, 9.7 inch and 10 inch screens (as someone suggested in another post). Oh, then someone points out that it would be nice to be able to read this e-book on PDAs and mobile phones. Robin sighs, and lays out versions for 3 inch and 2.5 inch screens. Someone else points out that the 10 point type Robin has used, while perfectly fine for people with young, strong eyes like Robin's doesn't work so well for people with vision problems. Robin grumbles and lays out 12 extra versions, for all the above screen sizes with 12 and 14 point font. Someone *else* points out that some people need better separation between lines of text to be able to read rapidly, while some people will want less, to get as much text per page as possible. Robin screams in anguish, then, after 15 minutes stamping around swearing lays out 36 *more* versions for all the above combinations of screen and font sizes, with 3 and 6 point spacing between lines. Someone brings up the question of margin sizes. Robin Logos winds up in the dock for attempted murder, but the jury lets zir off on the grounds that no normal person would have done differently under the circumstances.

And in the meantime, anyone wanting to read Robin's PDF of _Pride and Prejudice_ can choose between 54 versions! Talk about e-babel. And we haven't even gotten into fonts yet, or how to handle the pictures.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:14 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
Well, the problem with pdf is that it contains most of the limitations of print.
- It differs slightly from paper-destined workflows.
- Typesetters and graphical designers (yes, illustrations, too) like that control over the medium.
- You get justification and full hyphenation, they are defined by limitations of your tools, not epub implementation on the device.
- Licensing for embedded fonts is already solved.
- There is only one version, "download for Sony Reader" (or bigger devices).

Compared to Sony BBEB or ADE ePub DRMed content that we see these days, such a book would look gorgeous, and the only inconvenience for the end user is inability to increase font size.

The perverse truth is that single DRM scheme used for ePub at this time, ADE, comes with PDF as a lure, too.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:27 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ankh View Post
- It differs slightly from paper-destined workflows.
- Typesetters and graphical designers (yes, illustrations, too) like that control over the medium.
- You get justification and full hyphenation, they are defined by limitations of your tools, not epub implementation on the device.
- Licensing for embedded fonts is already solved.
- There is only one version, "download for Sony Reader" (or bigger devices).

Compared to Sony BBEB or ADE ePub DRMed content that we see these days, such a book would look gorgeous, and the only inconvenience for the end user is inability to increase font size.

The perverse truth is that single DRM scheme used for ePub at this time, ADE, comes with PDF as a lure, too.
Graphic designer in control instead of the reader, check.
Whatever justification and hyphenation decisions the designer made, no matter how much less legible to the reader, check.
Fonts whatever the designer chose no matter what the reader would prefer, check.
Page size chosen by the designer, no matter what would be convenient for the reader, check.
Font size chosen by the designer, no matter what the reader's needs might be, check.

Like I said, all the limitations of print. In exchange for what? The more elegant layout of print--when print's layout is more elegant.

To each their own, I guess.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:55 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
To each their own, I guess.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see those PDF's. I don't want to see DRM either, yet it is forced upon me, and the option is to not buy if I don't like it.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:36 PM   #52
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Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see those PDF's. I don't want to see DRM either, yet it is forced upon me, and the option is to not buy if I don't like it.
Oh, I would actually *like* to have a reader that could handle pdfs. I would like to be able to read (/search/annotate) articles from academic and scholarly journals that are only available as pdfs at present. I don't imagine I'm going to have much luck persuading journal editors to switch electronic formats when they have a backlist going back years and often more than a decade in pdf.

However, that doesn't mean that I agree pdf is the best format for ebooks, as Sonist appeared (I thought) to be saying.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:00 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
Graphic designer in control instead of the reader, check.
Whatever justification and hyphenation decisions the designer made, no matter how much less legible to the reader, check.
Fonts whatever the designer chose no matter what the reader would prefer, check.
Page size chosen by the designer, no matter what would be convenient for the reader, check.
Font size chosen by the designer, no matter what the reader's needs might be, check.

Like I said, all the limitations of print. In exchange for what? The more elegant layout of print--when print's layout is more elegant.

To each their own, I guess.
Look, there are some who don't buy fashion or design magazines, don't shop at designer stores, don't eat at restaurants with fancy presentation, don't take a shower except on major holidays, and just don't get this "design" thing.... But many others do. In the PC world, Apple has made a nice living from this.

As I mentioned before, the web has come a long way from the time of barely formatted text. Back then, a 9" screen was considered standard. Slow connections imposed content restrictions.

Today, we have larger monitors, and much content which is designed to look a set way, and often is not viewable on a 2" screen. And some of it will get even more "designed," as capabilities improve.

It seems like some think ebooks will forever be stuck in 6" gray and black screens. Or that the only purpose for ereaders is to read Word-looking text files, or text-books.

But the fact is, if ereaders are to be successful, they have to be able to show pages which are designed, and meant to be viewed a certain way. I gave the example of Nylon Magazine above, because it is a publication which has been pushing electronic delivery. But this is where this whole industry will end up, fancy ads and all.

PDF, with the new mobile SDK, provides the capability for reflowing simple text, thus addressing what seems to be the main concern for many here. But, PDF also has the capability to present publications like Nylon, the way they were intended to be viewed.

By sticking to a single standard which addresses both requirements, publishers can simplify the currently over-fragmented, confusing to consumers market, and ensure some future compatibility.

EPUB just muddies the waters, IMO.

In a couple of years or so, when larger screens are cheap, and there is color, PDF will still be a valid format. You'll have continuity, with the same file format for both your color, designed pages, and for your all-text, reflowable pages. What is the problem with that?

Last edited by Sonist; 05-08-2009 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:06 PM   #54
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Look, there are some who don't buy fashion or design magazines, don't shop at designer stores, don't eat at restaurants with fancy presentation, don't take a shower except on major holidays,
Sonist, you are welcome to disagree with me about the importance of design versus content in e-books. But to imply that I don't shower is, in my opinion, completely uncalled-for.

You can do better than this.

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But the fact is, if ereaders are to be successful, they have to be able to show pages which are designed, and meant to be viewed a certain way. (snip)
I have no problem with e-book readers *capable* of displaying pdf. Indeed, I believe I have expressed my excitement about the prospect on more than one occasion.

I simply don't believe that pdf should be the *only* format e-books come in, for reasons I have gone into before. If you don't care about adjusting font size, or line spacing or justification or whatever, I'm happy for you and your young, strong eyes. Try to imagine what it's like being a person who does care about such thing. In no small part because you may someday be such a person.

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Originally Posted by Sonist View Post
PDF, with the new mobile SDK, provides the capability for reflowing simple text, thus addressing what seems to be the main concern for many here.
I am unfamiliar with the bleeding edge of pdf capability, but I stand ready to learn. Are you trying to tell me that it is possible to adjust font size and line spacing and margins in pdfs? That it is possible for the end-reader to specify the font s/he likes best? I would be very happy to hear that and would like to learn more about it--it would eliminate many of my objections to pdf as the default format for e-books.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:04 AM   #55
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... But to imply that I don't shower is, in my opinion, completely uncalled-for.....
I never....!
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:40 AM   #56
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #57
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My wife prefers to read with a larger size font then I do. That's fine. That means if I format an eBook, I only have to do it ONCE. She can increase the size easily. But if I had chosen PDF, I would have to make two copies. One for her and one for me. I'd rather one nice looking reflowable copy that I can make and that we can both use.

Now lets say I make PDF for my 505. They would look fine. Now Sony comes out with a reader that uses a larger screen and I get that. My PDF then are no good for it. But had I made it in ePub, it would be fine for a larger screen.

PDF is fixed. ePub is not. The sample that I posted looks very nice on my 505 and on my computer screen. A PDF for a 6" screen is not going to look nice on a 9.7" screen.
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:07 PM   #58
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A PDF for a 6" screen is not going to look nice on a 9.7" screen.
Why is that? Correct me if I am wrong, PDF's look fine on the bigger screens , the opposite is not the case.
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:46 PM   #59
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With "full-page sized" you mean A4- or letter-size. I can perfectly read full-page PDFs in my Cybook, when the page is 9x12 cm
And I do comfortably read regular journals in PDF format on my PRS-700 without reformatting them or even reflowing them

I LOVE PDF. Right now, 100% of my digital books are in PDF format. I can't stand the other formats.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:48 PM   #60
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And I do comfortably read regular journals in PDF format on my PRS-700 without reformatting them or even reflowing them
So do I. Or rather, I read letter-sized fanfic PDFs with fancy graphics & layouts, and deal with what looks like 5pt text on the screen. I'd like it a bit larger, but not enough to reflow, because reflowing often runs the dialogue together. I often read 6x9 publisher's promo PDFs without reflowing. (That is, after I remove the security lock and change the metadata so the book is named by title, and not "9780765341419.pdf," and add the author, because the publisher is oblivious to metadata.)

I love PDFs. I just don't think they're a great format for mobile devices with various screen sizes.

I've got a lot of friends who do a good portion of their web browsing on their iPhones... PDF is never going to be a great format for a 2.5" screen. I read hundreds of ebooks on my Cliés before they died--I think two of them were PDFs, before I gave up on the software.

No e-Ink reader currently offers the option that meant most to me on the Clié: font size control. A choice of six sizes, regardless of the original file's settings. For PDFs to become standardized, they need two major feature shifts: Much better reflow (and it doesn't matter how well ADE does reflow; the e-Ink readers aren't using ADE), including reflow that works on phones, and the ability to shift font sizes down as well as up.

10 pt font on a 3.5x4.5" page, for my 6" screen, works me; putting that same file on a 9" screen would make the text too big to be comfortable. I suppose that could be covered by allowing it to zoom out--but if I wanted to lose 20% of my screen to margins, I'd've added those in.

And if publishers want PDFs to become the standard format for mobile ebook readers, they need to start including the right metadata. Or acknowledge the legality of sending a copy to someone else, who has the software necessary to make the file work on their machine.
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