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View Poll Results: Should ebooks specify exact paragraph and page formatting?
Yes, I trust publishers to specify exact formatting that will look good on all my devices 7 7.45%
Yes, I may not trust publishers, but I like using Calibre to specify exact formatting 12 12.77%
No, I want my e-reader to decide how to layout paragraphs and pages 54 57.45%
I don't really see the distinction you're making here 4 4.26%
I see what you're saying, but it's never really bothered me 8 8.51%
Other 9 9.57%
Voters: 94. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-27-2010, 10:56 AM   #16
fjtorres
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1- Publishers should be free to format content as they see appropriate.
2- I, the paying customer, should be free to override their choices at my discretion.
3- I should not, under any circumstance, *have* to go in and deconstruct and rebuild a commercial ebook to be able to read it properly.

Everything in moderation.
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:22 AM   #17
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What he said.

Everything in moderation.... except chocolate... and circumvention.

Hmm, that looks like a sig!
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:00 PM   #18
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referential purposes of formating

what IMHO actually SHOULD exist in the specs is a common definition of "virtual-page-count" i.e. "n characters incl. spaces = 1 virtual page" it would allow better quoting from ebook-editions for scientific purposes.

keeping in mind that pre-typeset typoscripts (and thus a fair amount of not richly edited publications keep this layout in print) use the "standard page" reference i.e. 30 lines á 60 chars each defining a "virtual page" for purely referential purposes as being an "array of 1800 characters with space counted as a character" comes in mind.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:30 PM   #19
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Yah, now that we have the ability to change font size; and in some cases "word per line" which alters margins or font family; I'm hungry for more.

Is it really so hard to add the control: full justify vs ragged right vs "as shipped"?
Or for spacing between paragraphs: remove a line vs add a line vs "as shipped"?
Or for line spacing: more vs less vs "as shipped"?

Having access to these minor tweaks would go a LONG way to solving almost all the inept, thoughtful or plain bloody-minded formatting that passes for "commercial grade".

And, yes: strictly "on device" tweaks -- I have NO desire to ever even consider touching the actual file under the hood.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:44 PM   #20
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I went with Other.
My reader is NOT 9:16 format(the format of a normal paperback print area), it is 3:4.
My reader is NOT your reader which is ????
One size does not fit all.

What I would like is a more standardised STYLE NAMES used for the typical book parts (body, Chapter-head,chapter-first-para,para...) so I don't have to examine the code every time to change basic attributes.
(Obviously, there are non-standard parts, but those are few and far between or they inherit /relative from a basic part)

I have not figured Calibre's assignment names. One time the standard Paragraph is calibre4, the next time it is Calibre17, rarely is it the same so I can't just append my override stylesheet to supersede the publishers original.
Sometimes I make the e-version look like the Paper version (dingbats and all). Sometimes plain. I tend to use all the screen. The plastic supplies the basic margins
The user should be able to read a book "stock" or trick it out. If the stylesheet was open (not part of the DRM) and standardised (and commented in special areas), the user could tune a DRM infested book without violating any laws (DRM is intact)
My 2cents
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
Yah, now that we have the ability to change font size; and in some cases "word per line" which alters margins or font family; I'm hungry for more.

Is it really so hard to add the control: full justify vs ragged right vs "as shipped"?
Or for spacing between paragraphs: remove a line vs add a line vs "as shipped"?
Or for line spacing: more vs less vs "as shipped"?

Having access to these minor tweaks would go a LONG way to solving almost all the inept, thoughtful or plain bloody-minded formatting that passes for "commercial grade".

And, yes: strictly "on device" tweaks -- I have NO desire to ever even consider touching the actual file under the hood.
I agree that users having the ability to set the formatting for their ebooks is the best way to deal with many of issues concerning ebooks (justification, fonts, spacing, and so on). With books on paper we had to simply take whatever was offered since it had to be one-size-fits-all (about the only available variation were some large print books).

But this is not the case with ebooks, which should be able to be adjusted by each user to suit his/her preferences. As an example, I prefer my main paragraphs to be ragged right (due to relatively large font I use along with the width of my ereader screen), with approximately one line of space after each paragraph. Due to the small number of words on each line, full justification wouldn't look very good on my reader and would affect its readability for me.

As I mentioned before, the book formatter should have the responsibility to designate what the different parts of an ebook are (main body, headings, section breaks, interruption marks, and so on). A standard for naming the parts of an ebook would be a great help in this matter, and I think that basic HTML would be a good starting point.

However, the actual ebook formatting should be left up to the end user within the limitations of the ereader device itself, since no one ebook formatting guide will suit all readers. My own preference is that the ebook format itself contains no formatting at all, much like CSS is supposed to contain all of the formatting for an HTML page with no formatting code in the HTML itself.

I think the best way to handle formatting on the device itself is to have a collection of initial settings, but any/all of those settings can be overridden by a collection of user-created style sheets (with the ability to set any of them as a default), with each style sheet containing all the settings needed to format your ebooks the way that you want.

Just my opinions, thanks for reading.
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:57 AM   #22
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hmm, I chose the first option, but after some extra thinking, I think it should be "other". Simply because I think the publishers should be able to provide a good format that works on all devices, but I know they don't care. I mean, they do manage to create awesome formats on pbooks, they should be able to do the same with ebooks.

So, I re-create all my books, and put them in a format I like. And I expect my reader to show it exactly like I made it up...
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:29 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
Yah, now that we have the ability to change font size; and in some cases "word per line" which alters margins or font family; I'm hungry for more.

Is it really so hard to add the control: full justify vs ragged right vs "as shipped"?
Or for spacing between paragraphs: remove a line vs add a line vs "as shipped"?
Or for line spacing: more vs less vs "as shipped"?

Having access to these minor tweaks would go a LONG way to solving almost all the inept, thoughtful or plain bloody-minded formatting that passes for "commercial grade".

And, yes: strictly "on device" tweaks -- I have NO desire to ever even consider touching the actual file under the hood.
And where does it stop? What if users want a 1.5em indent on new paragraphs instead of 1em? What if they want chapter headings to be 140% the body font size and flush left instead of 120% and centered? Etc.

Most commercial ebooks are prepared by outside digital production units that have little or no background in applying the basic typographic standards that have become standard in print. Publishers need to bring this in-house and ensure that their works are produced by people whose knowledge extends beyond designing a few web-pages. The finished product should be as suitable for reading as a printed book, without the user having to wade through a morass of options to customise the typography to his liking.

The only real justification for user-control is to handle the needs of large print, and that would be best handled with support for a separate css media-type to switch to formatting suitable for type which is large relative to the screen.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
The only real justification for user-control is to handle the needs of large print
The justification for user-control is that users want control and why shouldn't they have it? Applying a paper mentality to a digital book makes no sense.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:04 AM   #25
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Other - unless you add an option "+1 for troymc"
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:49 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
1- Publishers should be free to format content as they see appropriate.
2- I, the paying customer, should be free to override their choices at my discretion.
3- I should not, under any circumstance, *have* to go in and deconstruct and rebuild a commercial ebook to be able to read it properly.

Everything in moderation.
This about sums it up for me as well.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:06 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeshadow View Post
what IMHO actually SHOULD exist in the specs is a common definition of "virtual-page-count" i.e. "n characters incl. spaces = 1 virtual page" it would allow better quoting from ebook-editions for scientific purposes.

keeping in mind that pre-typeset typoscripts (and thus a fair amount of not richly edited publications keep this layout in print) use the "standard page" reference i.e. 30 lines á 60 chars each defining a "virtual page" for purely referential purposes as being an "array of 1800 characters with space counted as a character" comes in mind.
I'm not sure about this. What do we gain by keeping a fixed "page" concept?

I think we'd do better with something like paragraph[:word] references. ie. you can cite a specific paragraph "6", and optionally a specific word in the paragraph "6:10". Or possibly a triplet with mandatory separators - [chapter]:Paragraph:[word].

The paragraph references could be hard-coded into newly created epubs (for performance reasons.) And our ereaders can calculate the references during first open of older epubs which do not have them - the same way they try to paginate new docs now.

"Pages" were always a poor reference unit - which is why they're never used by academics. Page references are never consistent across different formats & printings, but, as long as the text hasn't changed significantly (eg. different editions), paragraph #s are consistent - even between paper & electronic formats.


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Old 07-01-2010, 06:08 PM   #28
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this way vPages d' be an additionaöl consistent unit.
as pbooks are concerned
the fact that they (pages)can change between ed. is irrelevant, cause content can change too
this is why you add edition info to metadata of quotes - at least I learned it this way
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