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Old 05-30-2010, 09:20 AM   #1
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Can you left justify text with the 360?

I'm curious about this reader and all the images I've seen have fully justified text.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:38 AM   #2
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I honestly don't recall ever having come across a left-justified book (other than poetry). Why would you want such a thing?
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:37 AM   #3
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Yes you can and its easy, for DRM-free ebooks, anyway.
With the optional GrayNM FBreader...
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65865
...you just go to the settings page and choose "modify styles". There you locate body text and set it to left align. You can tweak pretty much every supported tag and define a global style for them that overrides the ebook's madanted formatting.
Its *your* reader and *your* book, right?

As a point of fact, I am currently reading a book in left-aligned, "ragged right" mode so I know it works.
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:37 AM   #4
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I guess on these smaller screens, I find left-justified text easier to read.

So fjtorres, can you change this setting from the reader itself, or do you have to edit the css in the file?
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I honestly don't recall ever having come across a left-justified book (other than poetry). Why would you want such a thing?
Well, I read all the books [that can be edited/reformated] left justified.
I use fbreader180, so I can easily set the main text to be left justified.
Before the third party fbreader180 was available I have manually edited the \system\config\styles.xml file to get left justified text and bigger first line indent.

I prefer left justified e-books.
The right edge of fully justified text looks good, but you have to have line of reasonable length (not in distance, but in number of words) in order for text, and especially spaces between words, to look good as well.
If the line contains too few characters (words), the inter-word spaces width can vary wildly. This leads to typographical rivers - where spaces between words are visually joined and create "rivers" or even "lakes". Such pages also tend to have very uneven "typographical grey". Typographical grey is perceived evenness of distribution of ink on page. You look at the page from distance, with half closed eyes, so you do not see individual characters, but only grey color.

Printed books do use full justification, because a typical line in a printed book has more characters (words) than a typical line in an ebook, so statistics works in your favor. Also, printed books are [supposed to be] edited by a human being - a trained typographer that can make adjustments, so the text looks nice and evenly distributed. If you do not have trained typographer checking the complete layout, you should at least use advanced algorithms for balancing spaces, such as those used by TeX packages, or inDesign. Software in e-book readers does not have this level of sophistication yet. And frankly, many, many people simply do not care.

Newspapers use full justification, because the text is often in narrow columns, and it would be impossible for you to follow the text without clearly defined right edge.

I do not have a formal typographical education, but I have worked in field and I had to learn many things "on the job". Also, once you are trained to see typographical flaws, you find them distracting ;-)
I am also curious, so I looked up lots of typographical information.
I was wondering why are people so keen on fully justified text. Several influential typographers said (and have proven) that left justified text is easier to comprehend. I made a little research and I was quite startled to discover that THE very first book ever printed with the use of movable type - yes, I mean the Gutenberg Bible - had fully justified text. THE Bible was printed in two columns and we assume that the full justification was indicating the right edge of the text so it is easy to follow. The Gutenberg typographers went so far, that they have put the hyphens outside the right margin, because when you put the hyphen inside the right edge you get something that looks like a notch in a straight edge. They employed this technique in reprints they made later, or perhaps in the second half of the book. I do not remember. I was very surprised to learn that the most of typographical rules were discovered, very, very early. The early typographers and type cutters/designers have very strong influence. Just look up typography history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History...ern_typography


And besides, it is *my* reader and I set it up to display the books the way that *I* like. Period. I have been experimenting a lot. Fully justified books in PocketBook look definitely better than they did on Sony Reader, because the [third party] fbreader has relatively fine control over hyphenation. I keep returning to the left justified setup.
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Old 05-30-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
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Thank you for this grat explanation, I never thought about it before, but you made me investigate about typography.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxbookworm View Post
I guess on these smaller screens, I find left-justified text easier to read.

So fjtorres, can you change this setting from the reader itself, or do you have to edit the css in the file?
From the reader itself.

Not much fun to have to rebuild an ebook just so you can read it *your* way, right?

For DRM-free ebooks you just set the global overrides in the FBReader 180 settings page for those tags you want overidden, presumably body text. For DRM'ed ebooks, you edit the *external* userstyle1.css file, *once*, and that should do the trick for all ebooks you open.

Edit: see attached screenshots for how the FBReader styles are edited.

The Edit Current style screen offers up 4 pages worth of adjustable styles.
The very first of which is Regular Paragraph, which has two pages of tweakable settings.
On the second page, you set alignment between default (whatever the ebooks asks for), left align (as shown in the third screenshot), right align, centered, or justified.
No ebook editing required.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by fjtorres; 05-30-2010 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Screenshot attachment
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:59 PM   #8
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Well, I read all the books [that can be edited/reformated] left justified.
Thank you, I was beginning to think I was the only one who prefers left-justified! For all the reasons you so clearly elucidated, I left-justify all my books.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:57 AM   #9
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Thanks fjtorres! I think I'm really going to have to check this reader out!
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:11 AM   #10
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Thanks fjtorres! I think I'm really going to have to check this reader out!
If so, check this out-of-box review:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61908

It's what got me to buy it.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:43 AM   #11
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Thanks, I think I've read that one, but I will re-read it.

My only remaining concern is the button clicking, both how audible it is and how much force it takes to do it. I like the way my Sony PRS-300 is pretty quiet for clicking and doesn't take much force. Has the button clicking been an issue at all for you?
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxbookworm View Post
Thanks, I think I've read that one, but I will re-read it.

My only remaining concern is the button clicking, both how audible it is and how much force it takes to do it. I like the way my Sony PRS-300 is pretty quiet for clicking and doesn't take much force. Has the button clicking been an issue at all for you?
If you've seen videos, you'll notice the clicking is very audible. However, that comes because the mic of the camera is quite close to the reader, and to the buttons. It's like you tried to push those buttons next to your ear.

In daily usage, the noise is a non-issue.
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