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Old 10-26-2019, 09:10 AM   #1
jhowell
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Widows and Orphans

I saw a new question on Reddit asking why many pages were shorter than expected when there was clearly enough room left on the screen for another line of text. Widows and orphans seemed the obvious cause to me, except that it was also claimed that this is new behavior, not seen previously. I did some checking and it appears that there is a change in progress regarding widow/orphan handling in KFX format (Enhanced Typesetting).

The Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines (version 2019.1) lists "widows" and "orphans" in section 16.3.2 "Ignored Attributes" within Appendix B: "Attributes and Tags Supported by Enhanced Typesetting". The latest versions of the Kindle Previewer and Kindle Create strip these out when converting to KPF format. And until recently they have not appeared in KFX format in any published books I have examined.

This has now changed. In the last couple of weeks I have come across several published books that include the KFX equivalent of widow and orphan properties. In my testing they only work in the latest versions of the Kindle for iOS and Android apps. They are currently ignored in Kindle devices and the PC/Mac apps.

The default widow/orphan behavior has also changed recently. Enhanced typesetting in older software renders books with the equivalent of widows:1 and orphans:1. This includes Kindle for PC 1.26 and Kindle firmware 5.9.6. Newer software renders with a default of widows:2 and orphans:2. This includes Kindle firmware 5.12.2 and the latest iOS and Android apps.

Hopefully the Publishing Guidelines and the publisher software (Create and Previewer) will be updated to reflect this change in the near future.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:37 AM   #2
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One other thing I noticed in my testing is that even with widows:2 and orphans:2 the KFX renderer in the iOS and Android apps will produce widows and orphans in a paragraph split between the left and right sides of a two page spread while in landscape orientation. I assume that this is intentional behavior.

Last edited by jhowell; 10-26-2019 at 02:55 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:56 AM   #3
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One other thing I noticed in my testing is that even with widows:2 and orphans:2 the KFX renderer in the iOS and Android apps will produce widows and orphans in a paragraph split between the left and right sides of a two page spread in while landscape orientation. I assume that this is intentional behavior.
What about if you set widows and orphans to 1? What happens in the latest KFX?
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Old 10-26-2019, 03:16 PM   #4
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What about if you set widows and orphans to 1? What happens in the latest KFX?
It works in published books created from an EPUB or DOCX file when displayed in the latest Kindle for iOS or Android apps.

It does not work in books derived from KPF files produced by Kindle Previewer or Kindle Create because those programs strip out widows/orphans.

It does not work when displayed on Kindles running the latest 5.12.2 firmware because that KFX renderer it defaults to 2 and does not yet support the equivalent KFX property to modify it.
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Old 10-26-2019, 03:33 PM   #5
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It works in published books created from an EPUB or DOCX file when displayed in the latest Kindle for iOS or Android apps.

It does not work in books derived from KPF files produced by Kindle Previewer or Kindle Create because those programs strip out widows/orphans.

It does not work when displayed on Kindles running the latest 5.12.2 firmware because that KFX renderer it defaults to 2 and does not yet support the equivalent KFX property to modify it.
IMHO, one giant step backwards for KFX.
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:11 PM   #6
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The default widow/orphan behavior has also changed recently. Enhanced typesetting in older software renders books with the equivalent of widows:1 and orphans:1. This includes Kindle for PC 1.26 and Kindle firmware 5.9.6. Newer software renders with a default of widows:2 and orphans:2. This includes Kindle firmware 5.12.2 and the latest iOS and Android apps.
Strange that they would adjust this... Thanks for the updates.

I could see why 2 would be default Print-focused formats (DOCX), but not ebooks. Better if the screen gets filled with as much text as possible.

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The Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines (version 2019.1) lists "widows" and "orphans" in section 16.3.2 "Ignored Attributes" within Appendix B: "Attributes and Tags Supported by Enhanced Typesetting".
Looks like it's been in there ever since that entire section got introduced in 2018.2.
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Old 10-27-2019, 02:05 AM   #7
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oh well - another reason to dedrm, convert , tweak and sideload- I HATE widows & orphans effects on e-screens. always makes me thing a chapter end is coming up when it probably isn't..
( I am already doing that with recent amazon buys because Amazon decided I HAVE to see hyphenation, whether I want to or not...)

whatever happened to user choice
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:24 AM   #8
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oh well - another reason to dedrm, convert , tweak and sideload- I HATE widows & orphans effects on e-screens. always makes me thing a chapter end is coming up when it probably isn't..
( I am already doing that with recent amazon buys because Amazon decided I HAVE to see hyphenation, whether I want to or not...)

whatever happened to user choice
User choice exists. That's why some of us got a Kobo Reader and not a Kindle.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:40 AM   #9
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Hopefully the Publishing Guidelines and the publisher software (Create and Previewer) will be updated to reflect this change in the near future.
The latest version of the Kindle Previewer, 3.35, now supports widows and orphans. KPF files produced by that software include the KFX equivalents of these properties.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:09 AM   #10
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The latest version of the Kindle Previewer, 3.35, now supports widows and orphans. KPF files produced by that software include the KFX equivalents of these properties.
Okay, this is me kvetching as a reader.

I HATE the W&O feature in KFX. HATE IT. I am constantly thinking that I'm at the end of a chapter or section and then I find out I'm not. I'm continually seeing surprisingly short pages--not merely missing a single line of text. it's as though W&O is being used to move entire paragraphs across, not merely a single line.

Hate it, hate it, hate it. Seeing this a lot with what I believe are whats-its books, oh, right, Vellum, that Mac app that has the CSS longer than the Oregon Trail. Really annoying to me, as a reader.

As a bookmaker, of course, the customer is always right (sigh), but I will tell people not to lose their minds over it. Somehow, for the last decade-plus, we've all survived W&O and not been slayed by them.

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Old 11-12-2019, 12:24 PM   #11
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I also am negatively startled by false ends to sections or chapters (but sometimes it is because of an image on the next screen, and all is forgiven, but only then).
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:16 PM   #12
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And .KFX not only now supports widows and orphans but ALSO supports "page-break-after: avoid" and "page-break-before: avoid". This is valuable feature for all those who dislike lone <h*> tags at the end of a page.
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:36 PM   #13
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And .KFX not only now supports widows and orphans but ALSO supports "page-break-after: avoid" and "page-break-before: avoid". This is valuable feature for all those who dislike lone <h*> tags at the end of a page.
Ruben:

Well, that's all well and good, but KFX, to be honest, for a variety of reasons, is the bloody road to hell. See Slowsmile's analysis of this whole mess. Yes, he was mostly talking around images, but the process, what's produced, etc. isn't all that great for those of us MAKING the ebooks. I'd trade an awful lot of "page-break-before," for a little more conformity of available REGULAR features across KF7-8-MOBI(?)-KFX-etc.

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Old 11-12-2019, 04:17 PM   #14
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And .KFX not only now supports widows and orphans but ALSO supports "page-break-after: avoid" and "page-break-before: avoid". This is valuable feature for all those who dislike lone <h*> tags at the end of a page.
I have not seen this and am curious to know more about it.
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:52 PM   #15
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Ruben:
I'd trade an awful lot of "page-break-before," for a little more conformity of available REGULAR features across KF7-8-MOBI(?)-KFX-etc.
I totally agreed! To write code for .KFX, .kf8 and .kf7 and all that for a very and same book, is terrible
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