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Old 08-17-2009, 04:01 AM   #1
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Apostrophe marks are seeing double?????

Oh help, I've been having this problem for days, and have been searching these boards for an answer. Problem is - I am a newbie: to eReaders, eBooks, Calibre and this site.

I was doing fine, and then in the past week, every time I tried to bring in a .pdf document, or even convert (to either LRF or ePUB) an .rtf after it was brought into Calibre, the apostrophe marks have been changed from ' to " (see cut and paste below):
“Brazil. I don‟t expect to be away for very long, but I can‟t take my little Sophy, and I can‟t leave her with Tilly because Tilly‟s dead. Died in Vienna, couple of years ago. A devilish inconvenient thing to do, but I daresay she didn‟t mean it.”

I've tried changing fonts, and downloaded the newest version of Calibre, today, but it's still doing it. What am I doing wrong? I really don't want to leave .rtf documents on my reader. The files are too large.

Help?
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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This is most likely a problem with the encoding of the original file and it's interpretation by the processing in calibre. Most either play with the "encoding" prefs in calibre or simply search and replace in a word processor.
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
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Newbie, remember? Dumb it down.

Thanks for your confidence in me, slantybard, however misplaced it may be.

I figured it would have something to do with 'coding' or 'encoding'; however, I haven't a clue as to what that is. I went into Preferences, and then ran screaming to Help, and then played Solitaire for an hour to calm myself, while chanting "I really am not a stupid person" over and over.

I found a reference to using BookDesign to successfuly fix this problem; however, the only download I could find was from 2007, and there were mentions of problems with it not working with Vista (and I have Vista 64-bit.) http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30645

Before posting my original question, I actually did go through the document and do a 'find and replace' to fix the document (tedious thing, that, as I found myself reading and forgetting to correct.) As soon as I imported the .pdf to Calibre, it was all wrong again. So I imported it as an .rtf, which worked fine, but the document was 5MB in size; and when I converted it to .lrf and later, .epub, the same problem occurred again.

This has also happened with two subsequent books, so I'm pretty sure I have inadvertently changed something, in Preferences, that I should not have (though I didn't touch the boxes that had strings of 'swearing' symbols in them.) At this point, I am about to uninstall Calibre, and start over, unless someone has a better idea in the next 24 hours.

Keep in mind, while completely sold on the idea of ebooks, and cleaning out my shelves; I had never heard of DRM (different issue, I know) before, still don't know what it is (except that it is apparently bad), and how to 'strip' it. So coding is pretty much Greek to me. I was in my 30's before I touched a PC, so didn't cut my baby teeth on programming in school.

Last edited by momtodogs; 08-19-2009 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:24 AM   #4
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OK. I wasn't trying to make you more frustrated. I am not sure where the problem is since I don't have physical access to your machine/setup/etc. But my main guess is still on something wrong with the way the encoding is being processed.

Basically, when an electronic file of letters is made, there is usually a tag that goes with the file so that other programs can open up the file and display the characters correctly. For some reason, there are different ways of mapping the characters in those files. For most characters, this mapping doesn't matter, ie, an "a" or a "t" can me mapped in many encodings, but still will show up properly if opened by a program using a different decoding method.

The problem usually comes in punctuation. You know those "smart" quotes that curl nicely before and after a quotation? Originally, computers where never designed to show those properly, so all quotes ended up straight like this: ". Then, later, word processors mapped out a smart quote to display nicely, Unfortunately, when some other programs open up a file with smart quotes, they don't or can't understand the mapping/encoding for the smart quote and guess as to how to display that punctuation. The result is often garbled and looks horrible.

Calibre has an algorithm that tries to guess and fit the best encoding for each file converted, but the problem is that many files are mislabeled by the program that made the file, or actually use a mix of different font character encodings within the same file due to very poor publishing practises. Still, in the end, this simply leads to reader frustration.

So what to do to fix this. Well, you can try different encoding guesses, but if you don't know the file or it is mixed this can be frustrating. However, I don't mind looking at your file and trying to convert it using my calibre setup. This could rule out a calibre specific issue or a file issue. To do this though, you need to get me a copy. You could send me a copy of the original file to mcdiarmid at gmail.com (replace at and the spaces with @) and I can take a look at the file and see if I can help that way.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:55 PM   #5
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Arrow email on the way, Slantybard

Thanks for taking a look at my files, Slantybard. I hope they shed some light on the problem.

I'm not completely stalled, as I stated in my email. I did find an online conversion site (free) that I have been able to successfully convert my books, without having the apostrophe problem. Not as convenient as doing everything in Calibre, because I like being able to customize my metadata info prior to conversion.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:58 PM   #6
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online site

I don't know the rules about posting the link about the free online conversion to .lrf and .epub site. If it's ok to put in here, let me know.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:59 AM   #7
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The laborious solution

I use Vista and have had the problem of single apostrophes turning into doubles when converting pdf documents (saved from Word) to epubs in Calibre. If the document is not enormously long, one way of preventing the problem is to put all of the apostrophes in bold face. I discovered this by accident, but bold face apostrophes convert correctly, for some reason.

Good luck working through a whole novel doing this, though.... :/
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