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Old 04-27-2010, 03:57 AM   #16
lene1949
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I can read a badly formatted book, if it's very, very good... What I can't read is text without paragraph breaks - even if it's a brilliant book... and I, of course, don't know how to reformat.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:00 AM   #17
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It does bothers me when i can't convert source file into epub with decent formatting. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but still the experience while reading become less enjoyable.

So, i usually prioritize my reading material based on the story, author and then good formatting.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:07 AM   #18
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I have a new found respect for the art and technique that is typography, i'd like to see more examples of it.

Last edited by asperger; 04-27-2010 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:31 AM   #19
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Yes. I've even found some printed books unreadable (case in point, early stuff from White Wolf Publishing --- I still haven't finished my 1st edition copy of _Tales of the White Wolf_ 'cause the typesetting was so bad)
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:04 AM   #20
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I can live with limited errors but it really drives me up a wall when every instance of a word is misspelled. That kind of sloppiness tells me that the author doesn't care enough about his work to provide something decent.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:28 AM   #21
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I have learned to appreciate the advantages of ebooks on a small screen.
Now that I use a 6", what matters for me is just readability. I would not read a book for which I had to change the settings more the once.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:33 AM   #22
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Formatting matters quite a bit because formatting can make a book easy to read or difficult to read. I don't know about you, but I have picked up pbooks that by title seemed interesting and as soon as I opened the book and saw the font choice, the formatting, and the layout, put it right back -- no purchasing and no reading of it.

I admit that with what I read on my Sony 505 (read-once, throwaway fiction) it is less problematic, but even so, some books have been so badly formatted (I'm not talking about spelling and grammar errors -- strictly formatting) that I didn't get past the first page before I deleted the book.

This formatting issue also extends to cover design. A well-designed cover can entice me to purchase and read (at least start reading) a book (p and e), whereas a poorly designed cover keeps me searching for a book.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:44 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
This formatting issue also extends to cover design. A well-designed cover can entice me to purchase and read (at least start reading) a book (p and e), whereas a poorly designed cover keeps me searching for a book.
A nice cover in the shop is a pre, yes. But I don't care how the cover looks on my reader. I only look at it once and often not really then.



But I'm so fussy about how a book should look, I make my own PDF files, specifically made up for my Mini, exactly like I want it to.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:26 PM   #24
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I'm not happy unless I have paragraph breaks in the right places, a minimum of OCR errors, and no mojibake or improper line breaks. The reading app I use doesn't see font formatting such as italics or bolding, so I can get away with .txt if all all else fails, but normally I read books I've scanned as .rtf - it looks the same, but retains font formatting in the file in case my next device can use it. I also keep a Word copy in case I want to do more work on it later.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:02 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
... But I'm so fussy about how a book should look, I make my own PDF files, specifically made up for my Mini, exactly like I want it to.
I agree. I don't have the patience, but I would read only PDFs if there was a reader (other than the large Irex), which can show standard ones in full size. Hopefully soon.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:24 PM   #26
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Yes and no. I prefer quality typography (maybe even "strongly prefer"), but less-than-wonderful typography can be sufficient. My minimum requirements are these (roughly speaking):
  • The correct characters must show everywhere in the document. This means no "square boxes" or stray "?" -- these typically indicate character encoding issues or missing glyphs in fonts or other similar issues.
  • Paragraph formatting must survive well enough for paragraph breaks to be clear.
  • Plain text, bold, and italic must survive in the document presentation.
  • I almost forgot fixed-width "typewriter-style" formatting. This usually doesn't matter in fiction, but when it does matter, it's a big deal indeed.
  • Scene breaks must display correctly. In many books, a scene-change is indicated by a larger-than-normal space between paragraphs. That space may also contain some characters (e.g. "* * *") or perhaps a fancy symbol; it might also be empty, but larger than a standard paragraph space. When scene breaks are lost, you get really odd jumps from one paragraph to the next. This drives me nuts.
  • Either left-justified (w/ ragged-right) or full-justitified text... But full-justified must be well-hyphenated (at a minimum), otherwise the spacing between words varies too much for my taste. Most current readers and their firmware fail at full-justification (IMHO).
  • A choice of font-family that is either (a) easily readable on the device I'm using, or (b) easily replaceable with a font-family of my choice.
Widow and orphan lines don't bother me as much, but I certainly wish for good widow-and-orphan control. Similarly, I'd love to see the end of stacks and rivers in justified text. And better (or even any) kerning support. And ligatures. And much much more. The bulleted items are the minimum required for me to put up with a book (for fiction, that is).

Xenophon

P.S. In this post I've ignored content issues, scanos and OCR issues, typos, etc., and have attempted to stick to pure typographical issues.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:56 PM   #27
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I read hundreds of books on a 160x160 pixel PDA screen before I bought my Sony Reader. As you can imagine, it didn't handle much in the way of fancy formatting. For me, the content is more important that the appearance unless the book is so badly OCRed/formatted as to make it totally unreadable. But the bar for "unreadable" is pretty high.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:18 PM   #28
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I think the problem is that ugly formatting just makes a really bad first impression. If I'm reading something and I'm starting to like it, I'll forget my first impressions and keep on reading; but if it's poorly formatted and I don't like the first couple pages, I'll give up on it much sooner than I would have otherwise.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:29 PM   #29
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I can't read a poorly formatted book. I've gone to the darknet for books I already have in pbook that aren't available as ebooks, and it takes me an average of 3 days per book to format them back to the original, comparing every sentence to the pbook. I can understand OCR errors, but I have no clue why the paragraphing on many of these books is so atrocious.

For converting ereader books, you are much better off using the erdr2pml program as opposed to the erdr2html program. Calibre can then convert the resulting pml document to a perfect epub. I too found that converting ereader to html gave horrid output.

-Marcy
Marcy,

You're not alone! Ridiculous and majorly OCD as it sounds, I do exactly the same thing. I always use PDF, though, because I'm so ridiculous about this sort of thing that I can't stand epub as it currently stands.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:37 PM   #30
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I prefer personality, intelligence and wit over looks any day.

But, sadly, there is a point at which too much ugly can start to be off-putting.

With books too.
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