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Old 01-24-2015, 12:46 PM   #61
dordale
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I prefer no line spacing between my paragraphs, but haven't found a way to easily remove it with Calibre while still leaving the spacing between section breaks. If I tell Calibre to remove the line spacing between paragraphs, it seems that usually the additional space between sections is also removed.

Does anybody have any hints for me? I'd prefer to have something automated because I'm not really very knowledgeable in ePub formatting. But if the steps are simple enough I'd be willing to delve into the code and make changes.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:57 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirtel View Post
Certainly it's not wrong. It's a matter of personal preference. Me, I'm all for paragraph spacing on the computer screen, and it's not so bad in nonfiction books, but I absolutely detest paragraph spacing in novels I read for pleasure on my kindle (I've recently been thinking of getting a Kobo reader as well, I've heard they're more customizable than Kindles, but haven't yet). Off they go from every novel I buy, if it has them. The same goes for embedded fonts (I prefer sans-serif), paragraph indents bigger than 1 em and huge line spacing. Generally it takes a couple of minutes to fix a book, unless formatting is a total mess (I read quite a lot of indies and self-pubs, and they're often not particularly well formatted).

I do not mind those things so much in a paper book, but for some reason they bother me terribly when I read on my kindle. Possibly it's because the screen is smaller than the page of an average printed book.

But it's my personal preference and everyone who wants paragraph spacing is welcome to it. Fortunately, it's as easy to add spaces between paragraphs as it is to remove them.
I agree, each to what they find comfortable. One poster insisted so often that reading landscape with a wider margin was faster and easier and more comfortable. I eventually tried it and surprisingly concluded they were right.

But.. the buttons were no longer conveniently located, plus I had to set up each book etc. so I was soon of that method.

I like my books a certain way, font size, spacing, indent etc, that many would abhor and that is what I use when practical, but I can read library books for example, that are formatted quite differently without getting all bent out of shape.

Occasionally I lend someone an ereader and sometimes they ask why my books are formatted this way, often followed a day or so later, by how can they format their books this way.

Helen
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:06 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dordale View Post
I prefer no line spacing between my paragraphs, but haven't found a way to easily remove it with Calibre while still leaving the spacing between section breaks. If I tell Calibre to remove the line spacing between paragraphs, it seems that usually the additional space between sections is also removed.

Does anybody have any hints for me? I'd prefer to have something automated because I'm not really very knowledgeable in ePub formatting. But if the steps are simple enough I'd be willing to delve into the code and make changes.
The problem there is there are many ways to generate the spacing between paragraphs and sections. Some ebooks add extra bottom/top margin for the paragraph tag before or after a section break while others add a blank line between the two paragraphs. Yet others use a mix or replace the blank line with something such as "* * *".

Samples would be
Code:
  <p class="para">Paragraph text goes here</p>

  <p class="sectionbreak">&nbsp;</p>

  <p class="para_nonindent">Next paragraph text goes here</p>



  <p class="para_before">Yet more paragraph text goes here</p>

  <p class="para_after">And more paragraph text here</p>


.para {
    display: block;
    margin-bottom: 0.2em;
    margin-left: 0;
    margin-right: 0;
    margin-top: 0em;
    text-indent: 5%;
    }
.para_nonindent {
    display: block;
    margin-bottom: 0.2em;
    margin-left: 0;
    margin-right: 0;
    margin-top: 0em;
    text-indent: 0;
    }

.para_before {
    display: block;
    margin-bottom: 1.5em;
    margin-left: 0;
    margin-right: 0;
    margin-top: 0em
    text-indent: 5%;
    }

.para_after {
    display: block;
    margin-bottom: 0.2em;
    margin-left: 0;
    margin-right: 0;
    margin-top: 1.5em
    text-indent: 0;
    }

.sectionbreak {
    display: block;
    margin-bottom: 1em;
    margin-left: 0;
    margin-right: 0;
    margin-top: 1em
    }
Using Calibre to remove the top/bottom margins in the first case would reduce the section break to the default line height by removing the top and bottom margins while also removing the 0.2em spacing between the paragraphs so you would still have a visible section break. In the second case, the top/bottom margin removal would also remove the entire section break leaving only the unindented paragraph to indicate a section break had existed.

After a bit of practice using Sigil or Calibre's built-in editor, looking at the stylesheets from ebooks you find attractive or unattractive (as much to learn from a bad example as a good example) and generally reading with a critical eye for the typography, it all becomes much easier to modify your ebooks for legibility and readibility.

Last edited by DNSB; 01-24-2015 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Fat fingers cause typos...
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:11 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franklekens View Post
Well... easy... I'd prefer not to have to do any editing to books I buy. I just want to read them.

And I don't know how to edit the CSS.

Anyway, for getting rid of the unwanted paragraph spacing I guess I can sideload again. Only that makes me lose the fancy advanced stats kepubs have.

Plus it takes an extra 5 to 10 minutes and I have to be at the PC to be able to do it.
But I guess Kobo's not there to make life easy for me.
This isn't anything specific to Kobo, it's specific to most eBooks. Most eBooks would require some editing to get them to look as you want.
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:13 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
You are easily distracted it seems. I like .5em but am fine with up to 1 em.
I read 2-5 line paragraphs at a single scan, same with paper, was taught to read that way as a child with SRA reading course. I have tried other ways and can read books just fine without the spacing, good indenting is almost as good. But it takes longer and I retain less I think.

Curious to know how many ways it is wrong and what they are.

Helen
Problem with a 1em paragraph space is that when you have offset text that normally has a 1em offset space, you end up with 2em which is what I use as a section break that has just blank space. So that would be rather annoying to see what looks like a section break not be a section break.

I'm not easily distracted. But when the eBook just looks wrong (to me), it isn;t as easy a read as the formatting is noticeable. I like it when the formatting is not getting noticed or in the way.
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:17 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
I find that quite a few of the bigger publishers now use styling that I personally don't find attractive but at least they use a consistent stylesheet for all their publications. One indie series my wife recently purchased used widely differing styles on and within the four books so I ended up by editing all four to a consistent style. Took about 30 minutes to do all 4 ( grep is my best buddy! ) and she's a happy camper now.

Personally, I'm still wondering about the person who created ebooks that mixed indented, unindented and hanging indented paragraphs within the body text. Took me back a few years to when you could tell a person who used a Macintosh by the ransom note appearance of their documents. Just because you can do it does not make it a good idea to do it.
Even worse, when you get an eBook that's a box set or a collection of eBooks in one and they are all different using different style sheets and the XML formatting is different per eBook and the files are not named so it's easy to tell where one eBooks ends and another begins.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:30 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
After a bit of practice using Sigil or Calibre's built-in editor, looking at the stylesheets from ebooks you find attractive or unattractive (as much to learn from a bad example as a good example) and generally reading with a critical eye for the typography, it all becomes much easier to modify your ebooks for legibility and readibility.
David--

Thanks for the pointers! I'll study your post and start trying to learn. Your suggestion to study the stylesheets is a good one--I just need to take the time to do it. I know it would be knowledge that would come in handy for me. Just need to devote the time to learning!
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:05 PM   #68
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DNSB wrote the following as part of a post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
The problem there is there are many ways to generate the spacing between paragraphs and sections. Some ebooks add extra bottom/top margin for the paragraph tag before or after a section break while others add a blank line between the two paragraphs. Yet others use a mix or replace the blank line with something such as "* * *".
To me, when using a blank line between the paragraphs it is essential to put a visual marker like the above (I normally center it with a blank line before and after it) to clearly indicate a section break or scene change. That eliminates possible ambiguity by clearly indicating where the scene breaks/section breaks fall, even at the top/bottom of a page. For this reason I think it would also be an advantage when formatting using indenting and no spaces between the paragraphs for the same reason.
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:20 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Problem with a 1em paragraph space is that when you have offset text that normally has a 1em offset space, you end up with 2em which is what I use as a section break that has just blank space. So that would be rather annoying to see what looks like a section break not be a section break.
Can't say I have had this problem but maybe I didn't notice.
Quote:


I'm not easily distracted. But when the eBook just looks wrong (to me), it isn;t as easy a read as the formatting is noticeable. I like it when the formatting is not getting noticed or in the way.
Completely agree with that, but some books it is not worth the bother (to me) to even think about fixing. I am no longer willing to devote several hours of time to fixing a book that will take me less time to read, although I admit to doing this more than once.

In these cases, I either read through the errors, or if they bother me too much to do this, I go onto something else and may or may not buy or borrow another copy in the future.

Luckily I rarely find a book that is ugly these days. When I started reading ebooks 2 out of three from reputable sources were still a bit on the unpleasant side.

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Old 01-26-2015, 12:22 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
Completely agree with that, but some books it is not worth the bother (to me) to even think about fixing. I am no longer willing to devote several hours of time to fixing a book that will take me less time to read, although I admit to doing this more than once.

In these cases, I either read through the errors, or if they bother me too much to do this, I go onto something else and may or may not buy or borrow another copy in the future.

Luckily I rarely find a book that is ugly these days. When I started reading ebooks 2 out of three from reputable sources were still a bit on the unpleasant side.

Helen
It actually is fairly easy to fix the majority of a book by simple CSS editing. Calibre's eBook editor would do just fine to do that editing. Sometimes I look at an eBook in more detail if I think it has some other than simple formatting. I don't like when they do stupid things like making offset text in a smaller font size. Or they use settings that make the offset text to much offset.

Last edited by JSWolf; 01-26-2015 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:45 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
It actually is fairly easy to fix the majority of a book by simple CSS editing. Calibre's eBook editor would do just fine to do that editing. Sometimes I look at an eBook in more detail if I think it has some other than simple formatting. I don't like when they do stupid things like making offset text in a smaller font size. Or they use settings that make the offset text to much offset.
The keyword here is usually. I used to tweak, now I edit. I actually found tweak easier and I think you can still do it IIRC.

And yes, I think I know what you mean about the offset text, especially if what you suddenly get big blobs of stuff that is offset half off the screen. or little weeny/gigantic inserts that you have to keep upping/downing your font size, most disconcerting. And the weird line spacing that can't be fixed by editing the stylesheet. I have seen books with embedded in the html spacing of maybe 50 different sizes, most of them silly. And 50 different font sizes in one book. You have to wonder what they were thinking. I used to try and fix them, now I read something else I am afraid.

Too many books, too little time.

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Old 01-26-2015, 12:52 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
The keyword here is usually. I used to tweak, now I edit. I actually found tweak easier and I think you can still do it IIRC.

And yes, I think I know what you mean about the offset text, especially if what you suddenly get big blobs of stuff that is offset half off the screen. or little weeny/gigantic inserts that you have to keep upping/downing your font size, most disconcerting. And the weird line spacing that can't be fixed by editing the stylesheet. I have seen books with embedded in the html spacing of maybe 50 different sizes, most of them silly. And 50 different font sizes in one book. You have to wonder what they were thinking. I used to try and fix them, now I read something else I am afraid.

Too many books, too little time.

Helen
What I do first is remove any unused CSS styles. Calibre can do that. So can Sigil. Then I fix the margins for most of the main text. I also look for font-size in the CSS and delete them as needed. I also fix the indents to what I like. That's most things fixed. I'll also look for % because that usually means poorly defined chapter headers or offset text. If there are not too many chapters, I'll have a quick look at the various chapters to see what thinks look like and if I see anything that looks off, I'll fix it. It takes less time then it sounds like it would. Calibre and Sigil make it very easy to do all of this.
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