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Old 11-02-2009, 05:44 AM   #1
geneven
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Books Particularly Well-Formatted for Kindle

Is there a list for well-formatted Kindle books? Why should we focus on bad format jobs, if there isn't one?

I just bought a book which seems to be a MASTERPIECE of Kindle formatting!

I have not read thousands of Kindle books, so there may be others, feel free to add them to this thread.

The book I bought is

Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible,

by Richard Blum, published by Wiley Publishing in 2008.

The fonts are far clearer, bolds bolder, and italics italicker than in any Kindle book I've seen. The book is broken up with little photo-images that look fantastic. This goes nicely with the quality of the writing; this seems to me to be a superb book.

The catch is that this is more expensive than the $9.99 that I try to hold my ebooks to. But I guess I am willing to go beyond that point when a publisher has gone beyond the call of duty in formatting.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:27 AM   #2
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This seems to be a TOPAZ ebook. Most TOPAZ ebooks are badly formatted, but there are exceptions. TOPAZ ebooks can have embedded fonts and are perhaps closer to ePub in capability that MOBI (it is difficult to be sure, because only Amazon knows what is in a TOPAZ ebook).

O'Reilly was offered the option of producing TOPAZ versions for the Kindle, but decided to stick with AZW (MOBI) although the result can't be as good as their ePub version.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:36 PM   #3
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I agree with Wallcraft that TOPAZ appears to be a format with more possibilities.

So, we have to distinguish between (i) format capabilities (what theoretically is possible with any given format); and (ii) specific implementations within the given format's limitations.

The best topaz book (images, fonts, etc.) should look better than the best mobi/azw book. Yet, often specific mobi/azw books look better than topaz.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:23 PM   #4
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I just finished "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfield - a book whose numerous beautiful illustrations were completely legible, sharp, and detailed - on the DX screen - at the normal screen size and when zoomed - no pixelating.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
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What's its format?
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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I confess, I took another look at the Linux command line book that I'm reading, and it is not quite the masterpiece I thought it was, though they clearly tried. Many of the screenshots have extremely tiny print on them on my Kindle 2. Luckily, one should have a Linux system while reading this book, so the screenshots aren't critical.
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:52 AM   #7
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What's its format?
.azw - with very nice text formatting as well - use of different styles/sizes to break up chapters into sections, etc.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:52 PM   #8
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I just finished "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfield - a book whose numerous beautiful illustrations were completely legible, sharp, and detailed - on the DX screen - at the normal screen size and when zoomed - no pixelating.
I wonder if those of us not normally considered youth would appreciate this book? I'm tempted...
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:25 AM   #9
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I wonder if those of us not normally considered youth would appreciate this book? I'm tempted...
"Young Adult" novels are a guilty pleasure of mine. The greatest thing happened when the K2 came out: I got to give my K1 to my 12 year old nephew, and now I have an excuse to purchase said YA books and someone to discuss them with. Leviathan has just made my to-read list.

That said, I do know several people who cannot stand YA novels. It has little to do with the writing style or plots, however. It's the self-importance of adolescent protagonists that seems to bother them. They invariably end up shouting, "You're thirteen years old! What you do doesn't matter!" at the books and putting them down.

Anyway, back on topic, I purchased a Topaz book (Lee Smolin's The Trouble with Physics) and so far it's quite nicely formatted. I was nervous at first but it hasn't been bad at all. The only problem is with footnotes (of course).
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:39 AM   #10
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Unfortunately, I have found more serious problems with the Command Line book I started this thread with. It lists a LOT of commands like mkd i r. What is that? It means that they apparently didn't hire a proofreader to look at this book, or the proofreader didn't know what was up. (I speak as a former professional proofer.)

But I still like the good things about the book, and it still reminds me of a book I bought about DOS, many years ago, by Peter Norton! That is, it tells me a whole lot about Linux, some of which I don't know.

Thanks for mentioning The Trouble with Physics! Sounds like the kind of book that might interest me; I'll take a look!

At some point, perhaps I'll compile the recommendations in this thread (and other related ones, if I discover any) and make an official list. I think that such a thing is needed; I'd LOVE to see lots of well-formatted Kindle books. So far, they have been pretty dismal, not from the reading point of view, but from the attractiveness perspective.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:00 AM   #11
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By the way, for readers of guilty-pleasure teen books, take a look at Altsheler's Young Trailers Series, eight books about the struggles between the pioneers mainly of Kentucky against the Indians, British, and French, involving a group of young teens. This is available in Kindle format, eight books for 99 cents from the Kindle Store, or from Project Gutenberg also in Kindle format for no charge. I read the Gutenberg versions.

Altsheler died in 1919. His writing is similar to that of James Fenimore Cooper in many ways, but more modern in spirit. The books have some negative attitudes towards most Indians in them, but some strong admiration of a few fierce Indians as well, and an understanding of the lifestyle preferred by the Indians.

I first found these books when I was about thirteen; they have not all been available until recently, unless you were willing to pay a hefty price for an old copy, in the neighborhood of $50.

These books are not outstanding for their formatting and in fact include some very muddy and obscure drawings. I just mentioned them as an essential detour in this thread.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:48 PM   #12
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I wonder if those of us not normally considered youth would appreciate this book? I'm tempted...
I am FAR from youth - and I enjoyed this book - it's a ripping good alternate history steampunk adventure with an enjoyable teen protagonist. It had a "cliff-hanger" ending - and I eagerly await the next installment.
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