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Adam Maas

The problem here isn't the eBook formats. They do what they're designed to do quite well and in the hands of a publisher who takes a little care it's not an issue.

eBook formats are not designed for display of more than trivial numbers of graphics or photos. For that PDF is what you want, as that's exactly what it's designed to do. They also handle differing display sizes quite well which PDF does not, I can read the same eBook file comfortably on my PC and on my Palm Pre.

Note that Dickens PDF you've done looks pretty similar to most of the eBooks I've seen just without the eBook formats advantages of being able to alter font and font-size to suit and it's less readable on anything other than the optimized screen size. What you've done here is reintroduce most of the limitations of a physical book without the tactile advantages. I'd have to score that a net loss and would take an ePub version over the PDF every day (for starters, the PDF is completely unreadable on my Palm Pre, where an ePub version would be readable).


Perhaps we'll settle on something equivalent to a CSS stylesheet, embedding fonts, that tweaks each e-pub for each device much more individually. That could follow the design preferences of the end user (user list of publishing styles stored in the device), or of the publisher (gamut of device-specific presentations supplied with a particular publication), and the end user should be able to opt in or out of a publisher's preferred setting for a given text, on each of possibly several devices. Perhaps the end-user will take a different decision about that for a smartphone, and for an iPad.

The text would need to be tagged in such a way that detailed typographical preferences (quote marks, hyphenation, ligatures etc) can be met in an open-ended way and some extra tagging would be specific to the publisher's design preference. Single closing quote and apostrophe distinguished, for example. Then we shouldn't need to re-set... but we'd need widow/orphan control, and so on built into the presentational rules - perhaps these aspects belong to a future generation of readers.

Peter Høvring

I downloaded your sample on my iPhone 4 - and with my old eyes it was quite readable


Your redesigned "book" does look great on my Kindle 3. I notice you have "Lenswork" formatted for the iPad and you've established that you can format things for the Kindle. Could you not offer "Lenswork" in a Kindle format? I know the pictures would not look nearly as good as they do on the page or on screen, but it would be nice to be able to do the reading on my Kindle.

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