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Old 02-01-2014, 05:37 PM   #1
mrp1978
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Square box before apostrophe

Hi, I'm sorry to bother people. I'm sure this is the kind of question that anyone who understood e-books and e-readers would immediately know the answer to. Unfortunately I am not one of those people, so would really appreciate some help.

I have an ebook in epub format that reads fine through sigil and calibre, but when put on my Kobo Aura, it displays a square before every apostrophe. For example instead of john's it would display john[]'s (if you imagine that the [] is actually a square).

I have converted the file to mobi in calibre and put it on my kindle and it reads fine that way too. I have checked that my Kobo's software is fully up to date.


Does anyone know what this problem might be?
Sorry to bother.

Thanks
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:08 PM   #2
Tex2002ans
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There is probably an "invisible" character sitting before the apostrophe... it could have been a leftover from a conversion from X format into Y format.

Can't know specifically what the mystery character is unless you attach an actual sample. I am going to take an educated guess and assume it is some sort of unicode "joining" character, or some sort of no width space.

Explanation:

On your computer, you most likely have font support for nearly every character under the sun... take an easy example, the Greek letters: alpha (α), beta (β), gamma (γ).

In Sigil + Calibre + your web browser, the Greek letters will appear/work fine.

BUT, your ereader can't support every symbol under the sun. They may have decided to only support a subset of characters used in English: A-Z + punctuation + some very commonly used accented characters (á, è, í, ç).

Let us say I tried to use a character OUTSIDE of that subset, (let us say, Ancient Greek or Chinese characters)... the device will not be able to display that character so it will replace it with "unknown character" square, or maybe this symbol (looks like a black diamond with a white '?'):



There are a ton of different "spaces" of different widths/usages, for example, this site lists 20 of them:

http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/chars/spaces.html

Side Note:

You typically only run into this situation when dealing with accented/rare characters. For example, here are some I ran into during my book conversions, which turn into a box when read on my Nook:

(This was used in a Turkish name) I with a dot over it: İ
s with a cedilla: ş
(This is common in Czech) c with a caron: č
(This was a part of ancient greek quotes) lowercase alpha with a psili and oxia:

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 02-01-2014 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:16 PM   #3
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Thank you so much. I really appreciate the time you took to give that reply. I shall read, digest and then have a look at the file again.

Thanks
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:44 PM   #4
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that might be a:
thin space or en space that is not supported in the current font ( try setting it to use a different, more complete font)

The new editor in Caliber will show the character number on the status line
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:23 PM   #5
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Thank you very much to both respondents. Very helpful. I think I've both a) sorted my problem, and amazingly b) kind of understood what the problem actually was.

Much appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrp1978 View Post
Thank you very much to both respondents. Very helpful. I think I've both a) sorted my problem, and amazingly b) kind of understood what the problem actually was.
Great to hear that you understood/solved the problem.

But let us know how you solved it, and/or how you think you initially got into this situation (did you run a .doc through Calibre?, did you run a .rtf through Calibre? Is this a book you got from Project Gutenberg? Did you pull HTML from a website and plop it into an EPUB? Is this a document you created in Microsoft Word? etc. etc.)!

It is extremely helpful for anyone else who stumbles upon this topic in the future, when they run into the same problem.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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It was a document I downloaded from a forum. Not sure how it had been made, but possibly it was a converted scan of a pdf. It was only a short little thing - about 12 pages on my reader, so fortunately my solution while inelegant (and impractical for a full length book) was fine here. I just opened the document in Sigil and highlighted and typed over all the apostrophes and the letters either side, hopefully replacing whatever unrecognised symbol was hidden in there. I did notice that when I typed an apostrophe it looked slightly different to the ones I was replacing.

I then saved the document, put it back on my reader and all the squares were gone. Probably not the best solution but it got the job done. Not really the answer for a proper book-length epub though. Would have taken ages.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrp1978 View Post
I did notice that when I typed an apostrophe it looked slightly different to the ones I was replacing.
You probably replaced the existing curly apostrophes with the easier-to-type straight ones.
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:14 AM   #9
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I find it useful to convert the problem file to html and setting the encoding to utf8 use the w3c verification page to find the problem characters. It takes me less time than going through to find each instance and every time the file is unable to verify because of a problem character I do a search and replace for that character.

http://www.ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm is a good reference for the most common problem characters.
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