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Old 08-14-2009, 11:09 AM   #316
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I have some incredibly beautiful books in my collection - I take them out and admire them periodically. I don't see ebooks replacing beautifully crafted books anymore than computer graphics can replace oil painting.
Yeah, i made myself that reflexion once. While e-book might replace paper back, they won't replace the nicely printed show off on the book shelfs hardbacks.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:13 AM   #317
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Originally Posted by khalleron View Post
Good Lord! How big would those files be? I'd like to have more than 2 or 3 books on my reader, thank you very much!
They wouldn't be very big at all since the font only needs to be embedded (or better yet, subsetted) a single time. The rest is just the text portion, which is relatively small. And the text can also be compressed (an option that isn't utilized in PDFs a lot of the time).

PDFs can be a very wide range of things, but most people seem to focus on the most inefficient versions of those. For instance, storing scans of book pages is horribly inefficient (each page is an image). Whereas having the pages laid out as text descriptors takes up almost no more space than just the text itself (the difference really is including the subsetted font, which will generally be maybe 50-100KB). So while a scanned book of 300 pages could be 10MB, a properly distilled version of the same book could be 400KB, and actually be of higher quality since the type glyphs are still in their vector form. Meanwhile, a plaintext version of that same book (minus italics, bolds, headings, and other formatting) would weigh in at 225KB. At the same time, an ePub version with embedded fonts could come in at 500 or 600KB because it can't subset the fonts.

Last edited by Abecedary; 08-14-2009 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:30 AM   #318
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LaTeX is a reflowable format, if that can get most of the layout correct, then so can an epub renderer, or just put LaTeX on the reader.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:39 AM   #319
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Originally Posted by ahi View Post
It is frightening that you think you are making cogent points.

...

As for ePub (i.e.: reflow formats) not being the problem. As I pointed out to JSWolf, unless you are both a computer programmer and a typographer, you really lack the basis for forming sound opinions on the subject.
Don't you think your overall tone is becoming a bit harsh lately? Just because you wrap everything up in well placed (or partly funny) words, makes it not any better. In fact, you're telling everybody to shut-up if they're no "real" experts on the subject!

How about letting this expert light of yours shine a little on us mere readers???

Please, this is a "readers" forum not an "just experts allowed" one.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:42 AM   #320
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Originally Posted by Who are you? View Post
LaTeX is a reflowable format, if that can get most of the layout correct, then so can an epub renderer, or just put LaTeX on the reader.
Oh, I agree that putting a TeX renderer on an ebook reader could be very interesting.

And as for my previous comment, it wasn't meant to be in defense of PDF as an ebook format. It was intended more to dispel the myth that PDF files are always bloated and inefficient.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:47 AM   #321
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Small screens and long words are not a happy combination when it comes to having no hyphenation. You can end up with only two or three words on a line with huge spaces between them.
Agreed, but if you're mostly reading english books and use a condensed font (like I do) that's not really a problem.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:52 AM   #322
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Speaking as an expert programmer with modest (but not expert) knowledge of typography and layout, I see no reason why reflowable layout can't improve to the level of "pretty good" hand-optimized typography and layout. I definitely expect that doing better than LaTeX should be well within reach. (Assuming more R&D, of course.)

That said, I don't expect automated typography and layout to surpass the best hand-optimized typography, layout, page design, etc. Rather, I expect automation to take care of all the ordinary cases -- probably achieving the level of "non-offensive" even for Ahi. Eventually. Not right away -- LaTeX isn't there yet, and the various web browser and ePub renderers are worse.

In the short term, I'd just like to see an ePub renderer that hyphenates as well as LaTex (they could just use the LaTeX algorithms -- it is open source, after all!) and gives the user some choice on things like in-line display of line numbers (as in "let me make those &^%$&^%$ things go AWAY!) and left/right/full justification. That still wouldn't satisfy someone like Ahi, but would reach "non-offensive" for my needs (specifically, reading fiction on devices with different screen sizes).

I also wish that the "PDF is the only thing that's good enough" zealots and the "reflowable formats are the greatest thing since sliced bread" zealots would recognize that they disagree exactly because they value different things. Please, oh please, folks: Let the other guys say "I want X because it matters to me for reasons Y and Z." And then respond with, "OK, I can see that. But I want A because B and C matter more to me than Y and Z do." That would let us provide lots more light with a whole bunch less heat.

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Last edited by Xenophon; 08-14-2009 at 11:53 AM. Reason: fixud speeelung. Can't we all just get along?
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:30 PM   #323
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::applause:: Quite agree Xenophon.

I will note that LaTeX needs quite a bit of work w/ most documents to get a perfectly formatted documents --- intractable things include:

- stacks (instances of the same word beginning or ending adjacent lines)
- orphans and widows --- arguably one can just let the ebook page fall short and force a requirement of at least 2 lines to begin or end a paragraph
- float placement (figures, tables &c.) --- I've had exactly one chapter in well over a decade of doing books / journals come out perfectly as regards float placement and orphans / widows --- every other one has required quite a bit of wrestling w/.

That said, I could see a LaTeX macro package w/ a matching reader where certain macros would only be invoked at certain page sizes so that one could paginate the document by hand, inserting formatting commands which would only be invoked at need at the appropriate size, while sizes which hadn't had hand-tweaking would just have to make do w/ the defaults.

That said, there have been a number of papers published recently on using units larger than a page to calculate optimal breaks, so the R&D is in the works.

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Old 08-14-2009, 01:06 PM   #324
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I did - but then came iTunes+.
But even iTunes+ is not full CD Quality....

At least the ebook is usually the same content. Although one could certainly argue that getting pdf's which don't paginate properly are not the same quality "reading" experience as a pbook.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:23 PM   #325
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This is tough for those remaining PRS-500 owners, but strategically I think it's clearly the right thing to do. Kudos to Sony.
I can see where it might turn the tables on Amazon, assuming that the name of the game is selling ebooks.

Before this move, Amazon + Kindle + iPhone was probably the largest self-contained ebook market. But now, Sony + Everything Not Amazon is potentially the largest ebook market.

It's almost like the Greek city-states against the Persian empire, where Athens was the dominant city-state.

The next move from Sony might be to open their reader to other DRM schemes. I think that would force Amazon to open up the Kindle, and also to let Amazon books be read on any device.

This won't solve the DRM mess, but it will ease things a bit.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:57 PM   #326
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I keep wondering about Sony's long-term plan. Is this a play to make their bookstore competitive with Amazon's? Or it could be a last-ditch short-term plan, and if it doesn't work, Sony will sell the soft side (Epub books) to Barnes & Noble/Fictionwise or Borders, while they keep making hardware (not sure because of Ereader and Plastic Logic).

OTOH, they could really be looking to compete with Amazon. And competition is good for the consumer. Amazon's soft side (availability of books) is attractive to me, but I'm just not attracted to their hardware.

All in all, I'm confident that Sony's hardware will remain competitive.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:12 AM   #327
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The next move from Sony might be to open their reader to other DRM schemes. I think that would force Amazon to open up the Kindle, and also to let Amazon books be read on any device.
Yes, but NO... There's just Mobi and this is owned by Amazon (+ they don't allow other DRMed formats if one has DRMed Mobi)...

But the other way round might be a nice move - Amazon making the Kindle read DRMed ePub!
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:34 AM   #328
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Edit.

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Old 08-15-2009, 08:34 AM   #329
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But haven't they already done this by putting DRM on top?!
Not really. ePub is the base document format. the DRM is an add on to the format. Essentially a password protected zip file. Can you find me a device that reads DRM infected ePub but not DRM free ePub? Is there a rational reason why it would be an advantage to Adobe to insist someone makes one?

The reason I don't have a problem with Adobe making their DRM for what might become the e-book standard, is that Adobe don't make e-book readers or publish, or sell books. No conflict of interest. They don't earn more if I read DRM or DRM free.

Common format good.
Universal compatibility with media good.
DRM temporary.
Two out of three we can work with. Three out of three against us, no chance, three out of three for us.. Not yet.

Like you , I use a Cybook. And if I was buying DRM infected files, I'd be pretty annoyed with my choice. Most UK content seems to be ePub right now, not mobi.
Not a problem for you and I, as no DRM = No lock in to any specific format. So long as Kovid can make a converter or add one into Calibre, I'm good to go with any format. So the next Cybook firmware being ePub.. No problem. And if it changed back to mobi the following version, again , no problem. I'm already living the DRM free digital lifestyle.
A few potholes in the road, but I can be patient. Worked with music. And I doubt e-book readers will be any different.

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Exactly my POV. I'll never buy DRMed media!
At least we agree on something
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:21 AM   #330
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Is there a website where I can search for a book, and it will send out a search through a vast majority of the ebook sellers online, and come back with the websites that sell this ebook?

This would make hunting for a specific ebook much less taxing, and ensure that you don't miss a possible site.
You know, I wish there were a place like that. Sometimes when I'm looking for electronics two or three sites pop up that have price comaparisons for whatever it is that I'm looking for. That would be a great thing to have for e-books.
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