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View Poll Results: What is your preferred font size in eBooks?
smaller than 10pt 7 14.89%
10pt 12 25.53%
11pt 5 10.64%
12pt 18 38.30%
14pt 11 23.40%
16pt 1 2.13%
18pt 1 2.13%
larger than 18pt 3 6.38%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-17-2009, 08:44 PM   #1
ahi
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Preferred Font Size in eBooks

What is your preferred font size?

If a publisher releases eBooks as PDF files (that use the proper 4.9"x6.9" paper size), what font sizes should those files use? (My assumption being that multiple files should be made available to provide the eBook in multiple font sizes.)
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:27 AM   #2
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It depends. If I'm reading in bed without my glasses on*, I like a very small font - 7pt, say. If I'm reading in normal light with glasses, I like something around 12pt. If I'm in low-light levels, 18pt is comfortable.

That's why I use Mobipocket ebooks - so I can change the font size at will.

The problem with PDF for me is not that it's often set in A4/US Letter page size, but that it is in a fixed layout and font size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahi View Post
What is your preferred font size?

If a publisher releases eBooks as PDF files (that use the proper 4.9"x6.9" paper size), what font sizes should those files use? (My assumption being that multiple files should be made available to provide the eBook in multiple font sizes.)

*I'm short-sighted (myopic), so without my glasses I need to have the ebook less than 15cm away. The one advantage to being short-sighted. I don't need reading glasses in bed :-).
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:48 AM   #3
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For me the answer is "don't use PDF". Use a format such as Mobi, which allows the reader to determine what font size to use.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:13 AM   #4
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I like small fonts, in the Cybook I use the 3rd smaller font, In the PDFs I create I use 9pt.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
For me the answer is "don't use PDF". Use a format such as Mobi, which allows the reader to determine what font size to use.
I understand that point, Harry. But proper typesetting is sufficiently complex that I dare say it is (or at least going to be for some time) impossible to create documents that can resize to a font size not explicitly anticipated and accounted for by the typesetter. After all, changing the font size even in a latex document almost always means manual/human fixing up of the results is again required.

In other words, though correct me if I am wrong, the choice seems to be between professionally typeset eBooks and eBooks with resizable fonts. I get the impression that many people prefer the convenience of the latter at the expense of the former (assuming the results are not too atrocious).

This makes me think that the best solution would be if multiple PDF files (one for each font size) could be encased in a single one, letting the reader choose which they want to view.

Short of that though, you really don't think, Harry, that PDF files provided in multiple font sizes could address the same problem almost as well?
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
That's why I use Mobipocket ebooks - so I can change the font size at will.

The problem with PDF for me is not that it's often set in A4/US Letter page size, but that it is in a fixed layout and font size.
Do multiple font size PDFs, MobiPocket, and ePub files cover most everyone and every popular type of eBook reader?
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:11 AM   #7
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We'll just forget PDF even exists.

But Mobipocket and ePub should cover most devices out there for at least one of the two formats.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
We'll just forget PDF even exists.

But Mobipocket and ePub should cover most devices out there for at least one of the two formats.
Thank you for your answer.

As to the comment about PDF... I find the swearing off of the only format that can recreate a document of the same quality as the dead-tree book... illogical.

Not that I want to start any discussion on the topic. I see in the forums it is a well traveled subject. But personally, I cannot bring myself to start reading books that look like they were typeset in Microsoft Word... for me, that's a step backwards, and not what I paid in excess of $300 for.

I will be sure to provide the standard Mobipocket and ePub formats though, as the demand for them is very clear. Is there another format, JSWolf that would be good to add, to save people from having to do their own conversions?
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahi View Post
Thank you for your answer.

As to the comment about PDF... I find the swearing off of the only format that can recreate a document of the same quality as the dead-tree book... illogical.

Not that I want to start any discussion on the topic. I see in the forums it is a well traveled subject. But personally, I cannot bring myself to start reading books that look like they were typeset in Microsoft Word... for me, that's a step backwards, and not what I paid in excess of $300 for.

I will be sure to provide the standard Mobipocket and ePub formats though, as the demand for them is very clear. Is there another format, JSWolf that would be good to add, to save people from having to do their own conversions?
If you do want to have PDF, please do so for the 6" screen size. That would mean the PDF would be usable on the 6" screen sized eink devices. Also, please no large margins in the PDF. Most PDF it seems come from Word documents and the default Word margins are just too large.

As to other formats, I would have to say LRF is one popular format to have. I know the 505 & 700 can handle ePub, but the 500 cannot. eReader would do for some as well. And the last format I would suggest is MS Reader.

If you are doing this without DRM, then one thing I can suggest is make your ePub as good as you can and then give Calibre a try to convert the ePub into Mobipocket and MS Reader. That might give you good results that way and a lot easier converting.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:43 AM   #10
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That's great advice, JSWolf, and I will take it gratefully.

Any chance you could take a gander at the PDF eBooks of Sun Tzu's The Art of War I posted in another thread, and let me know if you have any suggestions in addition to the ones you already stated? Try 11pt and 14pt size ones in particular, if you are willing to oblige me.

Thanks, and thanks in advance if you can take the time!
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:21 AM   #11
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i am not sure the exact size that i use on my kindle, it is the second smallest one which i think is somewhere around 11 pt.

i think that one of the advantages on ebooks is the resizeable fonts and (for the kindle at least) does not greatly effect formatting. yes it would be nice thing to resize .PDFs so they fit on my kindle but that is one of the properties of the format. what would be nice is if .PDFs had a way of being cleanly converted into .MOBI, .EPUB or some other format that is easier on devices with limited screen real estate.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bannson View Post
i think that one of the advantages on ebooks is the resizeable fonts and (for the kindle at least) does not greatly effect formatting.
If the formatting is already typographically poor (and/or mundane), reflowing will not make it any worst. If the formatting is typographically sound, reflowing will necessarily make it worse, whether or not it is discernible to the untrained eye or not.

(And while the change may not be discernible, chances are very good that if shown both the typographically poor and the typographically well prepared page, you would be able to intuitively tell which one is better.)

It simply comes down to the fact that typesetting is not something that computational automation can get right. For any real world text of any meaningful length, it simply isn't possible without the aid of human judgment calls.

Check out this file ( http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...1&postcount=22 ) for a simple enough demonstration of what PDF can do. It is made for the Sony PRS-505's (roughly) 9cm by 12cm screen.

I am most curious to find out how it is on your kindle. (Am I correct in assuming it supports PDFs?)

If you have a digital camera or a camera phone and are willing, I would also be grateful for some quick shots of it on your device.
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:01 AM   #13
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unfortunately the kindle 2 does not natively support .PDF's. they can be used but only through conversion either using amazons service, a third party program (i use calibre), or savory. thats why i said it would be nice if .PDF's could be cleanly converted to another format.

having said that, i did check out "the art of war" and converted it using calibre into .MOBI. to me it seemed to turn out pretty well compared to the .PDF however there was some formating loss.



you can see here that while it is converted there are some problems. but as far as resizing text i think that the kindle does a good job. when dealing with .PDF's it not text size its actually converting while keeping the formating that is the problem that you will run into
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahi View Post
In other words, though correct me if I am wrong, the choice seems to be between professionally typeset eBooks and eBooks with resizable fonts. I get the impression that many people prefer the convenience of the latter at the expense of the former (assuming the results are not too atrocious).
Yes, that's certainly my preference. For ordinary novels, Mobi format is "good enough". Of course, I appreciate that there are documents with more complex formatting for which it isn't, and for those, PDF is an excellent solution.

Quote:
Short of that though, you really don't think, Harry, that PDF files provided in multiple font sizes could address the same problem almost as well?
It's certainly a solution, yes. My concern is, I guess, that PDF removes one of the main benefits of an eBook over a paper book - the ability to allow the text size to be changed to suit the reader. For me personally (and I appreciate that other people may have different views) that's worth sacrificing the "finer points" of typography for.
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:41 AM   #15
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Do you mean, "*not* worth", Harry? Either way, I think we are pretty much on the same page, even if our tastes differ on certain points.

Bannson, that looks less than delightful, but nowhere as horrible as I expected after a PDF conversion. What format does Kindle natively support, other than its own? Or can non-Kindle owners easily (i.e.: without payment or excessive registration) convert from Mobipocket into the Kindle's own format?

- Ahi
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