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Darren White
September 7th, 2018, 11:38 AM
Paperback to eBook: the easy way and the hard way

So, I have my book ready to convert to eBook format. Now what...

I can:

do it all myself
use a service like KDP (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/) which prepares my eBook directly for distribution through Amazon.



I have chosen to do it all myself, the hard way. Learn and fail or succeed. At this stage I have still not decided whether I will partly use KDP, and partly use distribution via our own Vaso Publishing* site, or only via Vaso Publishing. But that's an internal dialogue I think you're not very much interested in.

Here I will focus on DIY.
I have my beautifully formatted paperback, and the corresponding beautiful Word Document. What happened when I converted it directly to *.epub or *.mobi?

My page numbering was all messed up;
starting chapters on new pages didn't work;
my lines all had a paragraph break, which is a disaster when you write poetry;
the TOC (Table of Contents or Index) did not work as intended.


So I decided to try converting it to PDF, but there are downsides as well:
the page breaks were not there and the index looked awful. That is because PDF is not made for e-readers. It's a format that works well on any platform, but there are huge downsides when you wish to use it on an e-reader. Here is why:
PDF is not made for use with an e-reader. (https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2016/03/why-a-pdf-isnt-an-ebook/)

Some examples:

the page doesn't scale well
the font is not sizeable enough (that's a huge minus for me, I am visually impaired)



See you next time.


*Vaso Publishing is the small publishing company I have started with my friends. My book is the first we are publishing and it is a steep learning curve.

andrewclunn
September 7th, 2018, 01:43 PM
Commenting here so I can follow alon

Jack of all trades
September 7th, 2018, 02:29 PM
Paperback to eBook: the easy way and the hard way

So, I have my book ready to convert to eBook format. Now what...

I can:

do it all myself
use a service like KDP (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/) which prepares my eBook directly for distribution through Amazon.



I have chosen to do it all myself, the hard way. Learn and fail or succeed. At this stage I have still not decided whether I will partly use KDP, and partly use distribution via our own Vaso Publishing* site, or only via Vaso Publishing. But that's an internal dialogue I think you're not very much interested in.

Here I will focus on DIY.
I have my beautifully formatted paperback, and the corresponding beautiful Word Document. What happened when I converted it directly to *.epub or *.mobi?

My page numbering was all messed up;
starting chapters on new pages didn't work;
my lines all had a paragraph break, which is a disaster when you write poetry;
the TOC (Table of Contents or Index) did not work as intended.


So I decided to try converting it to PDF, but there are downsides as well:
the page breaks were not there and the index looked awful. That is because PDF is not made for e-readers. It's a format that works well on any platform, but there are huge downsides when you wish to use it on an e-reader. Here is why:
PDF is not made for use with an e-reader. (https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2016/03/why-a-pdf-isnt-an-ebook/)

Some examples:

the page doesn't scale well
the font is not sizeable enough (that's a huge minus for me, I am visually impaired)



See you next time.


*Vaso Publishing is the small publishing company I have started with my friends. My book is the first we are publishing and it is a steep learning curve.



When I did my ebook, I read that ebooks don't have numbered pages, so I didn't number them. You might want to try getting rid of the page numbers.

What's wrong with the TOC?

If you look at the document in NotePad, you can change /par to /line and get rid of blank lines. Some of the other problems might be similar issues that are easy to clean up in NotePad.

I could probably clean it up for you. Shoot me a PM if you want to discuss that option.

Jack

JustRob
September 7th, 2018, 04:13 PM
What are you using to do the conversion? I use Calibre, which is free and generally reliable. However, I do find word processors like Word quirky in how they edit their files and this can confuse conversion software. Conversion software needs clear clues on where the chapters start. Do you use automatic paragraph styles to define these? Equally do you use automatic page numbering? By using these automatic features in the word processor you give the conversion software what it needs to do the equivalent in the ebook. E-books can handle pages that are not the same as screens but it looks odd when the same page number appears on consecutive screens.

The thing to bear in mind is that word processors confusingly do two things, editing the text and also laying it out in a visually presentable form, i.e. they are WYSIWYG. In comparison ebooks are just the text on the whole and laying it out sensibly is left up to each e-reader device in the same way that laying out the text on a simple web page is left up to each person's browser. This idea of handling the basic content and visual presentation of that separately is fundamental to the way that information is processed in digital systems nowadays.

Incidentally, to create line breaks in poetry without causing paragraph breaks you should, so I read, type shift-return instead of return, but I don't use Word myself. An alternative to apply retrospectively is to change the paragraph style of all your lines in each poem at once to a custom one that doesn't cause spacing of the lines. E-readers have default styles for their paragraphs which any document can override for particular sections of text if you specify that.

Ebook files are actually HTML and equivalent to web pages, but they have style sheets which correspond to the paragraph styles in word processors, so if you use the styles feature in your Word document those styles should transfer to the ebook. On the other hand, if you type everything as default text then the converter can only guess what you intend the final pages to look like in the e-reader.

Writing with the intention of publishing as an ebook takes some thought up front, which in practice means learning how to use the more structured features of your word processor. For example, each of my chapters is a separate document and the book is a master document which pulls in the chapters as sub-documents. In the corresponding ebook each chapter then becomes a separate sub-file, which can make processing of the book in the e-reader easier. The alternative is that the conversion software has to work out how to chop the single document file up into subfiles for the chapters and may get it wrong if it doesn't know which are chapter headings. In my word processor I have a custom style for chapter headings which formats them and also automatically numbers them, so the ebook converter just does the same in its own way.

Yes, PDF format is useless for ebooks because it is intended to present fully formatted pages as they were originally drawn up, i.e. purely as WYSIWYG, so e-readers can't reflow the text onto their smaller screens. I think there may actually be a way of defining reflowable text in some PDF files, but it's really a compromise as they're not the sort of thing that an e-reader should be handling. I have a pocket e-reader that will easily fit into my jacket pocket, but I prefer the text to be quite large, so I don't get many words to a page on it and reflowable text files are essential.

No doubt there are the tools to convert almost any document to an ebook with enough patience, but the basic problem is wanting to control how your work will look on the page when you have no idea how big that page will be on the reader's device. That is an insurmountable problem that also challenges website designers. Their solution is to have separate layouts for full size screens and small tablets. The equivalent for the writer is to have separate layouts for printed books and e-readers,depending on how much the page sizes vary, or only to fix parts of the layout where it is essential for the effect that one wants to create. I suppose if one writes very long lines of poetry that could be another problem, but e-readers can be turned around to landscape format if necessary.

The bottom line is to think about what it is about your book that must be conveyed to the reader and what it would just be desirable to if possible because e-readers simply don't like WYSIWYG pages. Paperback to ebook conversion shouldn't be a big issue though. They don't even make e-readers as small as mine any more so far as I know.

P.S.
I assumed that WYSIWYG is a commonly known term but just in case it isn't, here it means What You See (in your word processor) Is What You Get (in your e-reader) but it most likely can't be.

Darren White
September 7th, 2018, 04:39 PM
Lol Rob, thank you for finishing my complete story :D
HAHAHA.
I already said I never get to finish my own stories, I am hopeless at prose writing, everything always turns into poetry.

Just kidding.

Sorry, I'll clarify this a bit. It is a continuation of this thread (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/179809-eBook-editing), and I thought I'd better start a new one. I want to slowly walk through the process, and when I am at the point I am now, I might have a few questions. But I'm not there yet.

I'll continue the series tomorrow in smaller steps.
Thank you, both you and Jack., for the offered help. I may need it at a later stage.

Darren White
September 7th, 2018, 05:03 PM
Just a quick remark about the TOC. Yes, most eBooks use locations instead of page numbers, because when you scale the pages the pagenumbers are useless. When I create a new TOC, I use links to the chapter/poem titles instead. I do that working in Sigil, or Calibre xhtml. But it's not easy because you have to swap between TOC and every single page to establish the link.
So I try to create my ebook in for example Scrivener after which I only have to adapt the TOC. Scrivener does a good job, but the Index is really horrible.

Anyways, wanted to say that, in case any of you have a better idea of reworking it.
What I do is this: I copy the TOC -xhtml to Notepad++
But it's really my eyes that are kiling me after a while...

Darren White
September 7th, 2018, 05:23 PM
Picture 1 is Sigil (Open Source software), after I imported it from Scrivener. As you can see to the right is the Scrivener TOC, in the middle the one I am reworking, to the left the separate files. BTW an 'naked' version of Sigil is used in Calibre.

The middle part is the Index as I want it, I only wish to remove the paragraph marks in between the poems, to goup them together. The code is very clumsy now, picture 2 is an example of it.

I am not a coder, I am slowly learning my way through this

22670

22671

JustRob
September 7th, 2018, 06:08 PM
Lol Rob, thank you for finishing my complete story :D
HAHAHA.
I already said I never get to finish my own stories, I am hopeless at prose writing, everything always turns into poetry.

Just kidding.

Sorry, I'll clarify this a bit. It is a continuation of this thread (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/179809-eBook-editing), and I thought I'd better start a new one. I want to slowly walk through the process, and when I am at the point I am now, I might have a few questions. But I'm not there yet.

I'll continue the series tomorrow in smaller steps.
Thank you, both you and Jack., for the offered help. I may need it at a later stage.



Actually I thought that it probably was, but as it didn't contain any link to the previous thread I was obliged to treat it as a free-standing one and respond accordingly. Surely you don't imagine that I give any thought to what I write on WF. It's just an alternative to falling asleep in front of the TV and better because it keeps me awake and I don't nod off and start dribbling. Ah, the trials of getting old.

Reading your initial post reminded me of the old joke about a driver asking a local for directions somewhere and being told "If I were you I wouldn't start from here." That is the first rule of e-book conversion to my mind, to learn how to use a word processor properly before starting to write anything at all. In fact it's good advice to anyone thinking of taking up writing because it makes life so much easier. The best advice to anyone in the position of the character that you portrayed would be to either shoot themselves or rewrite the whole thing from scratch properly, but as a mentor that wouldn't be a kind suggestion to make, would it?

I am one of those computer people who despair that so much information within computers takes the form of unstructured text that only a human could ever comprehend, if even that, instead of properly structured useful information. With computers one has to tell the computer what one means, not show it, because the computer needs to understand to process it correctly, so when I see something like this thread I have to react in the same way that others might react to other inflammatory subjects. I am a computer systems person and I care as much about that as others here care about writing. If someone wants to be a productive writer then they had better learn how to use a word processor as well as how to use the English language. After that ebook conversion is as easy as falling off your chair while asleep in front of the TV. or the computer for that matter if it is particularly slow at ebook conversion.

So, who is meant to read this thread and is there any hope of saving them now?

Darren White
September 7th, 2018, 06:28 PM
To start with your question at the end: it is for everyone, and I am grateful for any help. But I intend to write it for everyone who is considering traveling the same road I am doing at the moment. We might help each other tackle the obstacles. Or perhaps for the silent reader who is curious.

I am not a coder, I am not a native speaker of English either. I pick up languages easily, so I hope I pick up streamlining my own pages soon as well.

As much as I like word processors as Word, I dislike the garbage they produce code-wise. They mess up format and layout, and clutter the html editor with page upon page of superfluous text.

I DO work in Word, because it has the best noiseless view for my eyes. But I save it all in plain *.txt format and then move it to Scrivener. I can move it to Sigil right away, but Scrivener has a beautiful WYSIWYG editor as well as beautiful fonts. So I love to make that extra step.

In Scrivener I make my Chapters, and in Sigil all headers.
In Sigil I also take a closer look at the CSS sheet. There I define all separate Scrivener parts, and add or remove parts.

In other words, I tell the program exactly what I want and how I want it. But, as I said, I am a beginner, I can always use help :)

Ralph Rotten
September 8th, 2018, 06:37 PM
I DO work in Word, because it has the best noiseless view for my eyes. But I save it all in plain *.txt format and then move it to Scrivener.

I never tried exporting to a txt file. Does it wipe out paragraph formatting and italics?


PS: I just tweeted out this thread, so the entire world will be seeing it...or at least 4054 people will see it...
:)

Darren White
September 8th, 2018, 06:58 PM
Yes, it wipes out all formatting. There will still be line breaks and such, Paragraph breaks, but the rest is gone.

I will write the next part about editing tomorrow, and it will be about this txt file and what to do with it next.

Thanks for the Tweet :)

Jack of all trades
September 9th, 2018, 04:27 AM
To start with your question at the end: it is for everyone, and I am grateful for any help. But I intend to write it for everyone who is considering traveling the same road I am doing at the moment. We might help each other tackle the obstacles. Or perhaps for the silent reader who is curious.

I am not a coder, I am not a native speaker of English either. I pick up languages easily, so I hope I pick up streamlining my own pages soon as well.

As much as I like word processors as Word, I dislike the garbage they produce code-wise. They mess up format and layout, and clutter the html editor with page upon page of superfluous text.

I DO work in Word, because it has the best noiseless view for my eyes. But I save it all in plain *.txt format and then move it to Scrivener. I can move it to Sigil right away, but Scrivener has a beautiful WYSIWYG editor as well as beautiful fonts. So I love to make that extra step.

In Scrivener I make my Chapters, and in Sigil all headers.
In Sigil I also take a closer look at the CSS sheet. There I define all separate Scrivener parts, and add or remove parts.

In other words, I tell the program exactly what I want and how I want it. But, as I said, I am a beginner, I can always use help :)

I find that saving the document as an RTF from WordPad gives the least extra behind the scenes code. Then you can open it in NotePad and make modifications, like change /par to /line, making it a new line instead of a new paragraph. Then the conversion should go more smoothly.

Darren White
September 9th, 2018, 09:52 AM
I find that saving the document as an RTF from WordPad gives the least extra behind the scenes code. Then you can open it in NotePad and make modifications, like change /par to /line, making it a new line instead of a new paragraph. Then the conversion should go more smoothly.
Do you mean it keeps the necessary codes in WordPad, like headers, headings and so on, but generates less rubbish?
I have now familiarised myself with a complete code free text file I can manipulate in Sigil or Scrivener, but I'd like to try the road you sketch above.

Darren White
September 9th, 2018, 11:04 AM
Here a small example of what happens when you directly paste from Word to Sigil, and why you should avoid it:




color:#2E74B5;mso-themecolor:accent5;mso-themeshade:191'>Lost Childhood -Part



2-</span></a><span lang=EN-AU style='font-family:"Book Antiqua",serif;



color:#2E74B5;mso-themecolor:accent5;mso-themeshade:191'><o:p></o:p></span></h3>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>I am going to leaf you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>9 times leaf you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>I smirk<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>I beam<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>I reach for you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>you dance around<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>intangible<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>that is one!<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>8 times leaf you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>Little One<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>I lead<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>come with me<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>you smile<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>you laugh<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>alluring as dawn<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>that is two!<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>7 times leaf you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>you, lively <o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>so joyous <o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>banter in speech <o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>I taught you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>that is three!<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span><o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>6 times leaf you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>don't leave me!<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>anyplace I go<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>you follow<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>that is four!<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'> <o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>5 times leaf you<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>Little One<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>don't realize <o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>our hardship<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'>that crooked shy



smile<span style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span><o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>protection and comfort<o:p></o:p></span></p>







<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt'><span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span>that is five!<span



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> </span><o:p></o:p></span></p>




MSOffice produces pages of code that make sure Word looks good the way it is, and there's nothing wrong with it. But when you take eBook editing into your own hands, you really do not wish to have to clean up everything manually.
And that is why I use a plain text file and export it to either Scrivener (which is not free) or Sigil, which is Open Source and free to use. In Sigil you constantly flip from code view to text view, or you can opt for having both, which is easier:

Now, after pasting the file in plain text in Sigil, here is a picture of the same text as above. As you will see, there now is far less code, and it is easier to get rid of what you don't want. Here I wish to get rid of the paragraph
</p>marks, because poets don't start a new paragraph after each line, they simply want a line break
<br />

22673

That's it for now, tomorrow on to how to reformat your book

Jack of all trades
September 9th, 2018, 03:06 PM
Do you mean it keeps the necessary codes in WordPad, like headers, headings and so on, but generates less rubbish?
I have now familiarised myself with a complete code free text file I can manipulate in Sigil or Scrivener, but I'd like to try the road you sketch above.

The version of Windows determines how much rubbish is behind the scenes in a WordPad RTF file.

Windows XP Home Edition has the least rubbish.
Windows XP Pro has only a bit more.

Windows 8 has too much for me to want to use it.


By using old laptops, with those unsupported versions of Windows, I can have a pretty clean RTF file, which makes conversion to HTML so much easier.

The rtf /line converts to <br>, while the /par and /pard convert to <p>, for example.

Darren White
September 10th, 2018, 06:24 AM
Thanks Jack, I didn't know that. I've always assumed it was Office itself that produced the code overflow.

Jack of all trades
September 10th, 2018, 01:41 PM
Thanks Jack, I didn't know that. I've always assumed it was Office itself that produced the code overflow.

Keep in mind that I'm talking about WordPad, which is a simpler word processing program than Word. It is, however, fully compatible with Word, unlike Works or WordPerfect.

I'm also talking about RTF files, because it's possible to see the code supporting it when opened in NotePad. DOC and DOCX files are "compacted", and cannot be read by human eyes in NotePad. They need a word processing software to translate the whole thing.

When the base document has a lot of rubbish, that rubbish gets converted along with the good stuff.

When I uploaded my book to Amazon, I uploaded an RTF file and let Amazon do the ebook conversion. Because it was created in a Windows XP Home Edition WordPad, it converted flawlessly. I had no understanding of why folks were talking about the trials and tribulations of ebook creation until that laptop's monitor died and I got a new computer with Windows 8. I complained enough that a friend gave me her old laptop that had XP Pro, which was only slightly worse than XP Home.

Of course, a human being can do it better than any conversion program.

Jack of all trades
September 10th, 2018, 01:47 PM
An RTF file has the document and the supporting code visible in NotePad. I tried to clarify that in my previous post, but I couldn't get it to edit and I have an appointment in just 15 minutes, so I have to get going!

Darren White
September 10th, 2018, 01:50 PM
I must admit Jack, that I quite like fiddling with it. I am a perfectionist, I didn't like my first attempts and am still working on it. It's especially fonts, fontsize, headings, page numbering and indentation of lines and such that give me the most headache. I don't have so much problems with too much code, I can filter that away pretty quickly, but yeah it's much easier to start with a file that is as clean as possible.

For this small series here I like to go the extra length and do it all over again with different formats. I might decide on trying to do an attempt blank from start, with only html, and my own style-sheets.

I have my eBook more or less ready for distribution, only still considering if I will add the artwork or not (probably not)

JustRob
September 11th, 2018, 12:19 AM
E-books are a different medium from paper-based books, so conversion between them can never be perfect. When we create any story we design it to work within our chosen medium, be that audio-visual, audio, visual, textual,chromatic, monochromatic, English, Spanish, multilingual ... the list is endless. For example, I read The Neverending Story by Michael Ende a long time ago and the copy that I read had the essential components in that the book described itself as having the text printed in alternating blocks of red and green and the cover had the snake image on it. An e-reader using e-ink produces monochrome text, so that particular book could hardly be converted to an e-book without losing its fundamental quality, that it described itself. If something claimed to be The Neverending Story but didn't describe itself then it would be false. In fact a film was made of the story about The Neverending Story but that couldn't be said to be it, unlike the book that I read. On the other hand the film The Matrix did use the same idea correctly in that scenes within the Matrix had predominant green tinges to them whereas those outside it didn't.

If I am anything then I am a communications technologist and I have used literature to convey information, but what precisely is literature and what isn't? For example, does a change of font convey anything meaningful to a reader and why? What purpose do chapter, section and paragraph breaks really serve? In effect by adopting all these embellishments writers and the publishing industry are saying that words alone are not enough without them. That's the basic problem that a writer faces when converting his work to an e-book, that words are not enough and he may well have gone too far with using devices other than words to convey his meaning.

The classic example is when a picture is added to illustrate something in the text, but to do that effectively it needs to be on the same page. Er, but text doesn't have pages, books do, and e-books have different pages from paper books. The only way that a picture can illustrate text directly is by being inserted inline, i.e. the text stops until after the picture has appeared, because text doesn't really have two dimensions like pictures and there has to be a temporary change from a one-dimensional medium to a two-dimensional one. Thinking that text is two-dimensional is hardly thinking in literary terms at all. Literature can be quoted, either as speech or as plain text without retaining the original page format, which proves that it is one-dimensional.

Hence before glibly assuming that one's work can be converted to an e-book one has to decide what characteristics of the work are essential to it and must be preserved during that conversion. Maybe the work isn't simple literature but something more complex.

Darren White
September 11th, 2018, 10:51 AM
Rob, yes, I agree with you. About the pictures, it is the reason I will probably not include the paintings that are in the paperback.

As for the eBook and formatting. In a thread elsewhere which is also very interesting the subject of fonts has been discussed. Fonts are very important to me. I get a second chance here with the eBook. You hear and learn that serif fonts are better for printed books and sans-serif for on screen readers. For me personally that is not true, the fonts I like best on screen are always serif. You'll even see it in the way I format all my forum messages. I have a hard time distinguishing letters otherwise, plus I simply LOVE serif fonts. Period.

:)

That said, I like to give this book an attractive layout. I think it's important to all books, but especially for poetry. Yes, it is a niche market, poetry, so I try to attract readers.
I have my headings in Small Capital, and have even considered giving the first word of every poem a fancy font, but I will probably skip that one. Don't overdo it, Darren.

I am a book-sniffer, yes they exist. I have a couple of antique books where you can still find that scent of ink. I love it. I do however not have enough space here to store books, so I use an e-reader instead. And by editing my book as beautiful as I can without going over the top, I hope to come close to that feeling of love for books that I have.

Jack of all trades
September 11th, 2018, 02:55 PM
Rob, yes, I agree with you. About the pictures, it is the reason I will probably not include the paintings that are in the paperback.

As for the eBook and formatting. In a thread elsewhere which is also very interesting the subject of fonts has been discussed. Fonts are very important to me. I get a second chance here with the eBook. You hear and learn that serif fonts are better for printed books and sans-serif for on screen readers. For me personally that is not true, the fonts I like best on screen are always serif. You'll even see it in the way I format all my forum messages. I have a hard time distinguishing letters otherwise, plus I simply LOVE serif fonts. Period.

:)

That said, I like to give this book an attractive layout. I think it's important to all books, but especially for poetry. Yes, it is a niche market, poetry, so I try to attract readers.
I have my headings in Small Capital, and have even considered giving the first word of every poem a fancy font, but I will probably skip that one. Don't overdo it, Darren.

I am a book-sniffer, yes they exist. I have a couple of antique books where you can still find that scent of ink. I love it. I do however not have enough space here to store books, so I use an e-reader instead. And by editing my book as beautiful as I can without going over the top, I hope to come close to that feeling of love for books that I have.


Why not include pictures? What's the problem?

I also don't understand why you wouldn't simply use the same fonts as the print version. I HATE when there's a difference. At least if it's not absolutely necessary.

Don't waste a lot of time with font selection for the ebook! In my experience, most folks who read ebooks a lot have a favorite font, and they set their reader to use only that font.

Darren White
September 11th, 2018, 03:12 PM
Why not include pictures? What's the problem?

I also don't understand why you wouldn't simply use the same fonts as the print version. I HATE when there's a difference. At least if it's not absolutely necessary.

Don't waste a lot of time with font selection for the ebook! In my experience, most folks who read ebooks a lot have a favorite font, and they set their reader to use only that font.

The font thing, that is true, I think I do that just for my own sake.
There is not much difference, at least not when I am finished, I'll have to work on properly indenting certain poems.
I'm not sure yet about the pictures. I'll have to see what happens when I scale the pages. How they will behave relative to the text.

Jack of all trades
September 11th, 2018, 11:53 PM
The font thing, that is true, I think I do that just for my own sake.There is not much difference, at least not when I am finished, I'll have to work on properly indenting certain poems. I'm not sure yet about the pictures. I'll have to see what happens when I scale the pages. How they will behave relative to the text.What do you mean "how they behave relative to the text"?Did you indent the poems in the print version?I don't really understand why there's a need to reformat for the ebook, except of course the code that's supporting the text. I tend to think the two should be the same in appearance, until the reader starts changing fonts and doing whatever other alterations he/she can make.

Darren White
September 13th, 2018, 10:29 AM
What do you mean "how they behave relative to the text"?Did you indent the poems in the print version?I don't really understand why there's a need to reformat for the ebook, except of course the code that's supporting the text. I tend to think the two should be the same in appearance, until the reader starts changing fonts and doing whatever other alterations he/she can make.

Jack,

what I mean is that the text on e-reader pages has no absolute place, it is relative, depends on how the reader chooses font and size. And I am wondering what happens to the pictures, if they have no absolute place in the text, then nothing is wrong and I can place them without problems. If they do however have a fixed place, then I have a problem.

I shape a lot of my poems, in a paperback that is no problem because it is fixed. On an e-reader that might be a problem because my lines and words jump right and left. When people increase font size, the shape of the poem goes lost and the poem becomes unreadable. For that reason I have lined everything out to the left, and have only used small indents instead.

Jack of all trades
September 13th, 2018, 11:11 AM
Jack,

what I mean is that the text on e-reader pages has no absolute place, it is relative, depends on how the reader chooses font and size. And I am wondering what happens to the pictures, if they have no absolute place in the text, then nothing is wrong and I can place them without problems. If they do however have a fixed place, then I have a problem.

I shape a lot of my poems, in a paperback that is no problem because it is fixed. On an e-reader that might be a problem because my lines and words jump right and left. When people increase font size, the shape of the poem goes lost and the poem becomes unreadable. For that reason I have lined everything out to the left, and have only used small indents instead.


You can fix the pictures vertically, but not horizontally. In other words, you can text above and/or below a picture (vertically). Trying to put text to the left or right of a picture is more difficult. Though not, I think, impossible.

The shape of the text seems really cool! It's true that changing the font or size would ruin it.

One possibility is to make the ebook static, by having each page be a picture. It takes away reader control, and you might lose readers because of it, but you would get to keep the visual impact. Something to consider.

Ralph Rotten
September 14th, 2018, 03:22 AM
I don't understand why you wouldn't want to add the artwork to your book.
With eBooks you can doubletap on a pic to get a close-up, pinch-zoom, and really examine the art.
Artwork actually works better in eBooks than print books. Just be sure you zap it with a good photo-compression tool.