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View Poll Results: What is your preferred justification
Left Justify 70 40.46%
Justified 83 47.98%
Don't care 20 11.56%
Voters: 173. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-31-2010, 06:14 AM   #46
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It is the opposite, Cyberman tM, sort of.

Both settings break lines dynamically, at no fixed places, so that the text flows and fills the space as much as possible. "Ragged right" means the space between words does not change, so that some lines are longer than others, and then right margin is not straight but ragged; but still, the linebreaks are not fixed, if you change the font size the lines break at different points. "Justified" means the word spaces are stretched to make all lines the same length, and the right margin looks straight; if the lines are long enough this is usually not very noticeable, because each space is only stretched by a small amount, but with short lines (narrow page or large font) it can lead to very wide spaces between words sometimes, and this can annoying too.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:14 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberman tM View Post
Question: does "justify" mean forced line-breaks at certain points, no matter what? (i.e. Layout, instead of flowing Text - if that is the right term?)
No. Justified doesn't mean forced line breaks instead of flowing text. If done correctly it simply means that the right edge is straight. I *think* that's what you mean, right? The issue is one of sizing and, spaces between words.

Looking at my admittedly amateurish experiments on mobi reader; spaces between words are not too badly affected.

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Old 08-31-2010, 09:34 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by simonroyle View Post
...Thinking about it... I've started having nightmares about it :-) Joking aside I want to put out the best "product" possible. Frankly it is *almost* useless talking to publishers about this because they just don't know. And as I am sure you are aware there are hundreds of people willing to take my money but when I look at their product - I think I can do better.
Don't specify the alignment; let the device decide.

iBooks will *force* justification by default. But you can ignore iBooks anyway - users can use a different app if they need to. (And heavy readers _should_ be using a different app, because books bought from iBooks are iPad/iPod-only)

Stanza will also forcibly apply a user setting (not sure what the default is), so it will ignore what the ebook formatting says

Specifying justification will enable justification on the Sony 900, but it doesn't do hyphenation, so you it's not a great idea. Older Sony models don't support justification at all, so they won't care either way :-). Conversely, specifying left-justify (ragged) _will_ have an effect on the Kindle, where justification is enabled by default (again, without hyphenation). But justification has always been the default on the Kindle, and many books specify justification anyway, so Kindle users should be used to it by now. Also, the MobiPocket documentation for "content developers" says that you should not specify an alignment for body text. (MobiPocket is the format used on the Kindle).

If you let the device decide, you will make users of FBReader happy (as well as the various less well known devices that use FBReader). FBReader lets users choose their alignment - but _only_ if the book doesn't specify it. (This the same reason the MobiPocket guidelines say that you shouldn't specify an alignment).
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:56 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke King View Post
Justified -- definitely. I think an ebook should look like a printed book. Em dashes, smart quotes, chapters and section beginnings not indented (a pet hate).

Readers want ebooks to look like printed books, or I would imagine so.
But you left out one thing. Printed books have hyphens. Your reader does not. So printed books have less chance of wide spaces between words where your reader will have wide spaces between words on some lines. That's what the issue is. There is no way to get that printed book look without hyphens. And ADE does not have hyphens and neither does AZW. So really, no reader can look like a book.

You have two choices to how you want your eBook to look. You can have it be fully justified with wide spaces between words or you can have it be left justified with no extra spaces between words. Now which is the least annoying to look at when reading? That is what you have to ask and answer.

Code:
Test  test   test  test.
Test test test test.
Which of the two lines looks better to you?
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:20 AM   #50
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I cannot actually vote in the poll. Because one option is missing that I would have voted for. To me, it depends on the eBook in question. If I have an eBook that is right justified but there are too many overly wide spaces, I'd prefer left-justified. But if not, right-justified is fine. So really, it depends on the content on screen and how it looks. For me, there is no one way or the other. Until ADE get's it's act together and uses hyphens, I'm thinking most cases left is better overall.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:31 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post

Code:
Test  test   test  test.
Test test test test.
Sorry to say, totally irrelevant. You would need real sentence on more than one line

Unless you want / need a larger font, spaces are rarely that big. And having lines finishing anywhere distracts me more than the very few lines where spaces gets big.

Whatever the formating, it's of when you have a small font. When you want something bigger, space or ragged borders makes the text un-readable.

Last edited by EowynCarter; 08-31-2010 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:12 AM   #52
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Magazines and newspapers justify text on the right because large blocks of ragged right are visually messy and will make the reader move on to something "cleaner." On e-readers, with small amounts of text visible at a time, right justification isn't necessary, and can be a distraction. Now I'm rethinking e-book formatting.
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:46 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
But you left out one thing. Printed books have hyphens. Your reader does not. So printed books have less chance of wide spaces between words where your reader will have wide spaces between words on some lines. That's what the issue is. There is no way to get that printed book look without hyphens. And ADE does not have hyphens and neither does AZW. So really, no reader can look like a book.
Stanza uses hyphens...and doesn't the BeBook with FB2 hyphenate?
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:49 AM   #54
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It seems we need to define just what the various justification terms actually mean.

Left justified (aligned) means the text is aligned to the left margin and is jagged on the right.

Right justified (aligned) means the text is aligned to the right margin and is jagged on the left (this is normally used only for listing numbers so the places align with each other).

Fully justified (or just justified) means the text is aligned to both margins (used in most p-books except for poetry).
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:00 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by kjk View Post
Stanza uses hyphens...and doesn't the BeBook with FB2 hyphenate?
PocketBook devices do hyphenate. With the third-party unofficial port of FBReader you can even fine-tune hyphenation - set how long the word has to be to be hyphenated, to avoid hyphenating too short words.
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:09 PM   #56
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Not that important to me . . .

I don't care. I can adapt to both.
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:40 PM   #57
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If I have only one option I prefer ragged right with my documents, regardless of the type. If I have a choice between fully justification and ragged right, what I choose will depend on a few factors:

- If the text width is narrow, such as with many ebook readers, and the font is large (say 14 point), I'd prefer ragged right to avoid large gaps between the individual words.

- If the text width is large, such as with hardback books, and the font is small (say 10 or 12 point), then full justification is fine since the gaps between the words will not be large enough to be distracting.

I agree with other posters that the best option of all is to leave it up to the ereader on how the text will be displayed (not only the way it is justified, but also the font, and the paragraph spacing). As far as hyphenation goes, I think it is best handled within the document itself by encoding hard and soft hyphens (these only appear when a word is split) within the text, rather than having the ereader try and figure out where to split words and insert hyphens.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:10 PM   #58
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The feedback has been great with lots of good tips. Thank you everyone.

What I take from this, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that for Kindle via DTP I should format my text as justified.

For Smashwords I should leave the text essentially unjustified (no setting), although that invariably means left justified, and let the readers ereader sort it out. Is that correct?

Once again thanks to you all for your valuable input.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:33 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonroyle View Post
The feedback has been great with lots of good tips. Thank you everyone.

What I take from this, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that for Kindle via DTP I should format my text as justified.

For Smashwords I should leave the text essentially unjustified (no setting), although that invariably means left justified, and let the readers ereader sort it out. Is that correct?

Once again thanks to you all for your valuable input.
I forget which titles, but I have been able to format some MOBI books to left-justified in Calibre so as long as it's DRM free, then it's user's choice. Oh, I remember the first was one of the Hal Spacejock series.

I just like LJ'd but I like the idea of letting users decide. One of the reasons I still keep my Nokia N800 is because of FBReader and the fact I can control everything. Love the parchment like color I eventually tuned the background to as well. Then for night reading it's black background with yellow lettering, but all still LJ'd.

I wonder why Amazon insists on one way of doing this...for novels anyway. Reference and tech books are better suited to full justification if it's done correctly that is. I just find the added white spaces very distracting when reading a reference book because I notice them. I bet people who don't care for LJ are distracted if the LJ is too extreme and sloppy leaving those coastline like margins on the right.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:44 AM   #60
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What I take from this, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that for Kindle via DTP I should format my text as justified.

For Smashwords I should leave the text essentially unjustified (no setting), although that invariably means left justified, and let the readers ereader sort it out. Is that correct?
Hah. Wrong question :-). Now we come to the real world.

"no setting" is possible if you generate your ebooks by hand. Or if you generate them from HTML, in a process which does not impose formatting (e.g. Calibre's conversion appears to impose formatting, because it's designed to be used by individual readers rather than by publishers). Or if you otherwise have access to the source code - it's not too complicated to just unset the relevant formatting.

So it should be possible to do that for the Kindle store. But since the Kindle 2 doesn't give users any control over justification, I can't make a very strong case that you should make the effort :-(.

OTOH, it doesn't look like smashwords "Meatgrinder" gives you any such option. I haven't seen a way to test it without submitting a book for publication (which is an obvious bad sign itself). But it doesn't accept HTML, only Word. I don't see a way to say "no alignment specified" in Word, or to tell the Meatgrinder that there is no specified alignment. When you use the Meatgrinder, I think you do have to make a choice between left- or full- justified. (If it helps - remember that Stanza and iBooks will ignore your decision by default, so you only have to consider the effect on FBReader and Sony/Adobe readers).

I'm afraid I can't help you there because finding this out has put me off buying anything from either of these stores until I've worked out a conversion process that lets me ignore their deficiencies.
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