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Old 07-17-2006, 11:13 PM   #1
fireproof
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Best size for iLiad PDFs?

I've seen a couple of comments about converting files to PDF for the iLiad -- not having one myself (yet) it's probably too soon to really worry about it, but I'd like to make Project Gutenberg's titles available pre-formatted for those that aren't as handy with the various tools as most MobileReader users are...

Which leaves me trying to guess what size might work best;

13x17cm
Margins: left and right 0.2cm
top and bottom: 0.5cm

A5 (148x210mm)
Margins: left and right 0mm
top: 15mm
bottom: 0mm

And I've created a few that look OK on my computer screen at

A5
Margins: left, right, bottom 5mm
top: 10mm
Greyscale cover images

I'd welcome suggestions and feedback on the current set up -- manybooks will have "iRex iLiad" as a download option for a few days.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireproof
13x17cm
Margins: left and right 0.2cm
top and bottom: 0.5cm
You're probably doing this the wrong way round, I think. It's not (or should not be) a question of cramming as much onto the page as it can hold -- it's a question of balancing a typeface, and a line length against surrounding space. Margin space will almost certainly help improving readability -- but I won't be able to say until I actually have an iLiad in front of my eyes.

A quick check of one of the texts you have (The Abandoned Room, in iLiad format), I would say that you could easily make the margins wider without problems (or, alternatively, add a little extra space between the lines). But you have other problems that really should be taken care of first: the text is (to my eyes) illegible. Here's why:

Empty lines are used instead of paragraph indentation: this gives the page a very patchy look, which detracts from reading. Longer paragraphs do fairly well, but dialogue looks awful. I'm almost sure that closing up the empty lines, doing proper indentation *and* increasing margins would actually save pages in the end. (On a low-resolution device, such as the average PC screen, the empty lines may help a bit, but the iLiad is at least medium res, if not hi res.)

You really should use proper quotes, and dashes. They help a lot in understanding what's in the quote and what's not: inch signs " don't give any help at all. (yes, I know: Gutenberg texts are not exactly know for caring about such niceties: they need preprocessing.)

And if you can do something about widows, try to do so: page 81 gives me shudders with the single word at the top. (It's not an easy thing, I admit, particularly not if you generate files on the fly. )

Less problematical, but still ugly is the page heading: avoid boldface -- it attracts attention, and there's no reason for that in a page heading. Personally, I would leave the header out, and have chapter structure as bookmarks, and also leave pagination to the PDF reader. (But again, that may be dificult to do on the fly.)

As you probably figured out by now, I care very much about typography: I think most PDF eBooks available today are unacceptably ugly, but that they could, with a little work and care, be made much better-looking. That may make me go in the entirely opoosite way than most others.

It's probably a bit unfair to criticize without giving an opportunity to return the favour: I'm trying to create what I think of as good PDF eBooks, and these may be useful as a contrast. See some of my own attempts here. (Ignore the chess books, please -- they're intended to be printed on a high-res printer, not for on-line reading.) On the other hand ... I'm lucky if I can do one of these texts in about 12-15 hours.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:04 AM   #3
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Acually 12x15cm is probably what works best, because thats the screen size of the iLiad which is not occupied by icons. I like to have a bout 0.5cm of margin to all sides.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:11 AM   #4
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Ath, I like the look of your books, I also really care about readability and good setting out, and I generally re-format most of the books I download. I personally would have a little less margin (I was looking at Sir Leslie Stephen: Social Rights and Duties), and there's something weird in your page numbers, c (1 of N), what is the c for?, but other than that, they look really good.

(Oh, I totally agree about abandoned lines on an empty page, hehe, I HAVE to do something about them)
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaHuguet
...there's something weird in your page numbers, c (1 of N), what is the c for?
That's me trying to follow Adobe recommendations for eBooks.

Adobe recommends that the cover page is numbered 'C', and the 'inside cover' (which is where I have the ToC) is numbered 'c'. From then on, traditional numbering applies, i.e. I can do what I like.

I have no idea what it means, or why it is useful, but I thought might as well try it out -- just possibly it makes it easier for the Adobe Reader to find the cover to show in 'My Digital Editions', or for some indexing software to work, or whatnot.

I agree -- it's a bit confusing to the reader.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:59 AM   #6
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Oh... well, let's hope they know what to do with it!
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:51 PM   #7
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Anyone know how to resize using Adobe Acrobat 7.0. Or if you can suggest an alternative package please let me know.

Many thanks

.stu
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onceways
Anyone know how to resize using Adobe Acrobat 7.0. Or if you can suggest an alternative package please let me know.

Many thanks

.stu
Menu "Document" -> Crop Pages (don't know the exact english names; have the german version) or simply SHIFT+CTRL+T

But it doesn't really does what i want it to do. Try your luck.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:02 PM   #9
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Thanks I new I was almost in the right spot.
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:16 PM   #10
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Just played around a little bit. Crop seems to change the paper size, but doesn't resize the content.

I tried another way: Printing to PDF-Writer from Acrobat. I created an new paper size (120x150) and it looks good.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Spiegel 28-2006.pdf (275.4 KB, 373 views)
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Old 07-19-2006, 08:52 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the responses!

Thanks for the suggestions and the feedback, everyone -- particularly ath. Since you've brought up so many salient points I figured it would be worth replying in detail, even if it's academic since neither of us seems to actually own an iLiad yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by ath
You're probably doing this the wrong way round, I think. It's not (or should not be) a question of cramming as much onto the page as it can hold -- it's a question of balancing a typeface, and a line length against surrounding space. Margin space will almost certainly help improving readability -- but I won't be able to say until I actually have an iLiad in front of my eyes.
My thought about margins is the same as yours -- for the printed page. However, in my experience, large margins are un-necessary and problematic on the smaller screens of digital devices. Whether this holds true for the iLiad or not is something I'm interested to learn. My intent, with the small margins of the test PDFs, was to display as much text as possible, using some display area and the physical sides of the device to perform the same role as wider margins on a paper edition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ath
Empty lines are used instead of paragraph indentation: this gives the page a very patchy look, which detracts from reading. Longer paragraphs do fairly well, but dialogue looks awful. I'm almost sure that closing up the empty lines, doing proper indentation *and* increasing margins would actually save pages in the end. (On a low-resolution device, such as the average PC screen, the empty lines may help a bit, but the iLiad is at least medium res, if not hi res.)
I agree, but at this point at least, the software I'm using for HTML->PDF conversion has limited functionality in that area. I hope the iLiad will be high resolution enough to handle paragraphs like a printed page -- anyone with an actual device care to comment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ath
You really should use proper quotes, and dashes. They help a lot in understanding what's in the quote and what's not: inch signs " don't give any help at all.
Yeah, hit the nail on the head, there. I have no way to pre-process 14,000+ texts in any respectable way. My concern here is to get "close enough" so that the texts are readable. However, I'd say that " marks do provide a pretty good idea of what is or isn't in a quotation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ath
Less problematical, but still ugly is the page heading: avoid boldface -- it attracts attention, and there's no reason for that in a page heading. Personally, I would leave the header out, and have chapter structure as bookmarks, and also leave pagination to the PDF reader.
Good point - bold wasn't working. However, I'm not sure what capacity the iLiad has for saving your place in a document (or even displaying the current document title while you're reading). Page headings and pagination: how are they handled within the reader, folks? Does it help at all to have the page numbers/Chapters headings/Document titles in the page header?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ath
As you probably figured out by now, I care very much about typography: I think most PDF eBooks available today are unacceptably ugly, but that they could, with a little work and care, be made much better-looking. That may make me go in the entirely opoosite way than most others.

On the other hand ... I'm lucky if I can do one of these texts in about 12-15 hours.
Well, 12-15 hours per text is more than "a little work and care" in my book. The examples you've got on your site look like very professional print products, and I'm sure they'd be readable on an iLiad as well -- but why not refine the rules to suit the iLiad, rather than simply mirroring print design rules?
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Old 07-19-2006, 08:53 AM   #12
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"paper" size

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscherno
Just played around a little bit. Crop seems to change the paper size, but doesn't resize the content.

I tried another way: Printing to PDF-Writer from Acrobat. I created an new paper size (120x150) and it looks good.
How does it look on your iLiad? Does 120x150 fit well?
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Old 07-19-2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireproof
Yeah, hit the nail on the head, there. I have no way to pre-process 14,000+ texts in any respectable way. My concern here is to get "close enough" so that the texts are readable. However, I'd say that " marks do provide a pretty good idea of what is or isn't in a quotation.
I use MS Word for this, just do a Replace of all " for ", it will make them open and close quotes automatically. Same for ' (single quotation or apostrophe marks). It's very easy to do. Other stuff (I also take some time on my texts) is a lot more time-consuming.
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Old 07-19-2006, 09:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireproof
How does it look on your iLiad? Does 120x150 fit well?
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:47 PM   #15
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