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mlooney

Question for readers of ebooks and dead tree books.

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Do you prefer single column per page or two columns per page?  And does it make a difference if you are reading it on pixels vs dead trees as to which one you like?

Or, because it is only literally 3 characters in my source text that tells one from the other, should I make "Edge of Imperial Space"  both ways?  I'm already making a print friendly version with plainer background.

 

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I honestly never put a lot of that into it before. But thinking on it now...it depends on a few factors. For text-books, technical guides, and tabletop RPG books like a Player's Handbook, I prefer two-columns. For novels, or for electronic reading that I can scroll from top to bottom, I prefer single column per page. Though, other than the vertical scrolling, I wouldn't be able to tell you way I prefer them that way outside of general familiarity. My guess would be that it has something to do with the ratio of font size and page size. Technical books often have a lot of information and typically have a limit on the page count (more an issue for dead-tree format than electronic, but old standards tend to get carried over if there is not a strong enough reason to abandon the standard, and some books do get produced in both formats), so they shrink the font size and use multiple columns to fit more information per page. Novels, on the other hand, tend to be less information dense and so are less likely to strain under a page limit, and can more easily have content cut or altered to better fit if it is straining to meet the page limit.

Personally, if you can do both without serious problem, I say you should do both.

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Page size is an important factor here.  A paperback novel sized book is better one column per page.  An 8.5x11 or larger handbook or text is usually better either two columns, or with lots of boxes and charts and graphics that break up the monotony.  If a column of text gets too wide, then it's more difficult to track back from the end of one line and find where the beginning of the next is, instead of accidentally re-reading or skipping a line.  It can be done, but it slows the reader down unnecessarily.

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My ebook reader has a configuration setting where I can tell it to use two columns when in landscape mode.

I want to put in a plug for ebooks being released in an ebook format (preferably epub), rather than an electronic-copy-of-paper format (pdf). The latter has no idea what a sentence is, or a paragraph, or even a word. On the other hand it knows EXACTLY how big a page is what size font is to be used, which text goes on any given line of any given page. The point of ebooks is that the page size is determined by the reading device, NOT the creator, and the font size is determined by the reader, NOT the creator, and what text goes on any given line/page is determined by interaction of the page size and font size.

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7 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

I want to put in a plug for ebooks being released in an ebook format (preferably epub), rather than an electronic-copy-of-paper format (pdf).

I'll look into that.  Not sure if LaTeX has a epub option.

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There are PDF-to-epub converters, but they typically take a good bit of work to get a passably-good result. Because PDF format contains a lot of information that these converters have no use for, but is missing critical information that has to be surmised from the content - and the ability to do that is affected by the layout. Is this page break required, or is it only happening because the page is full? Is the first line of the new page, which begins with a capital letter, in a new paragraph, or not? Here's this graphic next to the text; precisely which text is it SUPPOSED to be next to?

Fortunately, there are WYSIWYG epub editors.

By the way, almost any ebook reading software (except Kindle) can read epubs. Amazon chose a proprietary format for their ebooks... and not many ebook readers other than Kindle can handle it; I've found exactly two, neither of which can handle DRM (spit). The funny thing is, it's nearly identical to epub; a couple of header files need to be rewritten, and I think they used a different compression algorithm.

Calibre is a wonderful tool for editing and conversion of ebooks. Except it can't handle DRM. And I don't think it can directly handle LaTeX.

I found a help-forum thread on LaTeX-to-epub conversion here.

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9 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

I found a help-forum thread on LaTeX-to-epub conversion here.

Pandoc rules, which is one of my primary tools in my workflow, so an ebook version might happen.

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1 hour ago, Don Edwards said:

Calibre is a wonderful tool for editing and conversion of ebooks. Except it can't handle DRM. And I don't think it can directly handle LaTeX.

I' m looking at it.  Not really an automatic conversion.  I'm also looking at pandoc, but it has issues with my /input set.

 

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