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Old 04-28-2010, 06:02 AM   #31
astra
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Unfortunately, formatting is important for me. I wish it was otherwise.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:24 AM   #32
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Does it bother you to read a book if it is less than perfect-looking?
i don't usually bother on a perfect- looking books to read .. what important to me is the author of that book and the thought inside it..
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:38 AM   #33
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If the book is bad, I care about the typography, if the book is good, I don't notice
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:53 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
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.
Add vertical justification, and I'm with you.
I use Scribus to create my pdf ebooks molstly for that...

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Old 04-28-2010, 09:55 AM   #35
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Not really NO, because I want to read the book not worry about the format etc, in the end if the words are legible enough and make reasonable sense I just Don't care, I just want to read the Story,

To me That really is ALL that Matters ....

Last edited by Kevin2960; 04-28-2010 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:27 AM   #36
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I can live with widows, orphans and even rivers on my small iPhone screen because they don't stand out as much, but as I have a graphic design background, so they drive me crazy when I read on a desktop.

So I can put up with some level of formatting issues. But these have totally turned me off a book:

o Lack of quotation marks - I had a big name author book in eBook format that was missing all quotation marks in eReader format. As it was fiction, it made it impossible to tell who the dialogue belong to.

o Section breaks within chapters. For fiction, you need to know when a scene or POV is changing. For non-fiction, when the topic has changed.

o Paragraph breaks - if these aren't clear, I stop reading. Large blocks of text are visually exhausting, even on a small screen.

Bree
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:29 AM   #37
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It depends on the type of mistakes that the book can show. Paragraph breaks made, dialog not separated, etc. etc. make me stop reading. I would try if the book is good, but in a 90% I get tired and leave it.
Typography or alignment is more readable for me. But I prefer a book well formatted, in all cases, and if not, I'll try to get another.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:37 PM   #38
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Unlike some of you, I rarely do conversions, but I have most definitely not bought books because the samples for my Kindle showed crummy formatting. I don't care about the cover (although it can attract or not on the Amazon site, it makes no difference in the ebook), but anabelee is right about paragraph break problems, dialog that runs together, which is part of the same problem, and weird characters instead of em dashes, etc. In my experience generally crummy formatting, editing, and proofreading go with crummy writing.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:37 PM   #39
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The more I pay for a product, the higher my expectations for that product will be. If I am going to pay book prices for an ebook, I expect a corresponding level of quality. That is not completely impossible for book makers to accomplish, at least in theory. I'm sure there are some ePubs out there that, if properly displayed, would be almost as good as a cheap paperback.

I am disappointed though in having paid through the nose for a reader that cannot competently display ePubs or any other files save for PDFs, in which many books I'm interested in are not available. I don't have any software on my PC or netbook that does an adequate job either, again save for PDFs.
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:59 PM   #40
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I do not care too much once I am into the book, but until I am into it it bugs me a bit, I also like being able to see the cover before i start the book, I did not think it would matter but after having the Sony and not seeing any covers till I selected the book I discovered I actually missed seeing the cover
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:58 AM   #41
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I like to give it a good try. I'm learning Calibre, but before that I had everything formated in msword and converted to .lit. If you know any web coding they are faily easy to fix (i think) when i convert them to epub format
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:32 AM   #42
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"In the context of the book as an object, the key difference between Formless and Definite Content is the interaction between the content and the page. Formless Content doesn’t see the page or its boundaries. Whereas Definite Content is not only aware of the page, but embraces it. It edits, shifts and resizes itself to fit the page. In a sense, Definite Content approaches the page as a canvas— something with dimensions and limitations — and leverages these attributes to both elevate the object and the content to a more complete whole.

Put very simply, Formless Content is unaware of the container. Definite Content embraces the container as a canvas. Formless content is usually only text. Definite content usually has some visual elements along with text."

source: http://craigmod.com/journal/ipad_and_books/
I interpret the authors use of 'visual elements' as any and all formatting, including hyphenation; even that lowly hyphen (the elephant in the eReading room) transforms the 'formless' into the 'definite'.

I'm a 'definate' reader with a 'formless' device; worse still, I've wasted hours force-feeding the 'formless' device with 'definite' content in a multitude of containing formats.

So, it's back to the 'definite' canvas for me where "dimensions and limitations...elevate...a more complete whole"

Last edited by asperger; 04-30-2010 at 07:41 AM. Reason: mixing metaphors :)
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:52 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
So, what do you think? If a book has iffy formatting, will you read ahead anyway? Or does it bother you enough that you'll go to lengths to fix it? Am I better just throwing in the towel on the iffy ones and reading them as plain old words?
I convert over 99% of my books to ePub. All my books have at a minimum, proper sentences, spacing, paragraphs, paragraph indents, space between paragraphs, italics, OK margins and no junk headers or footers floating in the book.

I don't mind OCR errors, but I did have one book that the decryption left the occasional garbled few words. I read half way into it then went and bought a copy from Amazon. Removed the encryption with a newer script, reformatted the book the way I like (usually one pass through Calibre with my preferences does it) and picked up where I left off.

If the source is crap, I won't hesitate to toss it out and buy it from Amazon. I buy more books now then I ever did before I had a ereader.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:07 AM   #44
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The reading app I use doesn't see font formatting such as italics
Some recent series (within the last 15 years) heavily rely on italics, without this feature I would be hard pressed to follow the conversation. You don't find this emphasis as often with older books.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:58 PM   #45
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Not really.

As long as it's not full of major errors like words ran together, missing paragraph breaks etc. that really make it harder to read.

Otherwise, to me text is text.
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