You Will Want To BUY eBooks

I had a few unexpected hours off the Internet today due to a connectivity issue.

I didn’t feel as isolated as most people do when that happens because my hard drive contains a ginormous backlog of To-Do Things.

One of these had to do with eBooks.

I played around with Sony’s eLibrary software and some free eBooks I’d downloaded of various formats. Note that most of these eBooks were legitimately free. A few weren’t, but were for Research Purposes Only (such as today’s research).

I discovered that Richard Herley’s free eBooks when put into Sony’s LRF file format — by ManyBooks, I think it is — look absolutely dreadful. I don’t understand why there are blank lines between paragraphs. I also don’t know why one of them has formatting conventions included at the beginning!

I discovered that many free PDFs are completely free. No security restrictions at all. I was able, for example, to run one of Charlie Huston’s free PDF eBooks through a PDF-to-HTML converter. However, the results were not very happy to see. This same PDF — and others — also allowed text to be extracted via Save As. In all cases that I tried, however, paragraphs of text are interrupted by any headers in the document as well as page numbers. And typeface formatting is lost.

I also discovered that some utilities I downloaded ages ago were absolutely useless for creating Sony Reader-format eBooks. I forget where I got them from, but I do recall thinking they’d be useful for that purpose. Instead, one of them was for actually taking an LRF file and converting it to other formats. Why would I want that?!

In all, with viewing a variety of free eBooks that are translated on-the-fly and several PDFs, I concluded that anyone who thinks they can build a library of eBooks via format piracy is an absolute moron.

It would be very, very hard work, for example, to take the Charlie Huston PDF and make a near-professional LRF version for the Sony Reader. The amount of time and effort would be greater than the price of buying a legitimate copy.

Also, I noticed that several free PDFs offered by one publisher was infected with fat borders containing notices to Buy Buy Buy a printed copy. This made the file just about worthless for even on-screen reading. And I think PDF reflow on a Sony Reader would have a heart attack trying to parse it.

So, all that free free free stuff you’ve been socking away on your hard drive in anticipation of building a ready-to-go eBook library for a Sony Reader or other device?

You better start taking a serious look at that stuff now.

I think you’ll find you’ll want to buy eBooks that are professionally formatted and free of spam!

Let’s just hope the dying dinosaurs of print progress to impulse-buy pricing so we can buy lots and lots and lots of eBooks!

Because most free just isn’t worth it!

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Reference - Tech, Tech - Other, Tech - Sony, Writers - Living

29 Comments on “You Will Want To BUY eBooks”

  1. MoJo Says:

    It would be very, very hard work, for example, to take the Charlie Huston PDF and make a near-professional LRF version for the Sony Reader.

    You have no idea. Try doing it for 10 different formats.

  2. mikecane Says:

    In one of my incarnations, I did DTP for coin, so I’m not totally clueless. But what I’ve read on discussion boards that make eBook format swapping seem so easy to do must result in absolute crap — and they can’t tell the difference, lacking a professional eye for design.

    You go, ePub — one file format for all.

  3. MoJo Says:

    To be fair, it took me a long time with my eBookWise to get used to reading without so much formatting. I still can’t (won’t) read badly formatted ebooks no matter what, but over the months of reading different formats, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out what’s good and bad.

    ’ve read on discussion boards that make eBook format swapping seem so easy to do

    I’ve seen those conversations and when I started formatting, I was wondering what I was doing wrong that I couldn’t seem to do it as fast as they did. Of course, I don’t know how theirs turned out.

    Each format has its different tag requirements (like, what XHTML tags it will and won’t honor), so you have to tweak a lot. Kindle (well, Amazon’s interface) was a bitch and I still don’t think I got that as right as I would’ve liked.

    ePub’s not without its problems, to be sure. I can’t get Stanza to work on my machine and I know I’m far from the only one with the same problem. It looks fine in Adobe Digital Editions (now that I’ve tweaked it even further). That said, I will be SOOOOOOOOOOOO happy when it turns into the mp3 of ebooks.

    I really think a lot of people just get used to reading crap formatting and don’t really care after a while.

  4. mikecane Says:

    There’s a small fortune waiting for a developer who creates an easy to use ePUB file creator for writers.

  5. Kat Meyer Says:

    OH, you meant you POSTED – i thought you meant you commented on Kirk Biglione’s post. Anyways, true all dat and more. Formatting makes all the difference and very few authors (and possibly just as few publishers) understand the work (which translates to money) involved in formatting/designing an at least, readable, ad best – experience-enrichable ebook.
    For Kindle – the aptly surnamed Joshua Tallent (www.kindleformatting.com) does a fantastic job. Anything epub, consult with epub Goddess, the lovely Liza Daly at threepress.org.
    the end?

  6. Christine Says:

    Buying ebooks doesn’t mean they are better formatted. I’ve bought badly formatted ebooks. I’ve found decent free ebooks. Almost nobody is putting much effort into the formatting, no matter where you get them.

  7. mikecane Says:

    @Christine: You must mean direct-published stuff. Pro-published eBooks are gorgeous at times, especially when in ePub.

  8. bowerbird Says:

    > You go, ePub — one file format for all.

    what is that cute expression you use for “idiot”?

    until there are some conversion programs for epub,
    it will be as hard to translate it into another format
    as it is to use any other format as a “base”.

    but of course, if you have conversion programs that
    work well, you can use _any_ format, not just epub.

    further, epub still doesn’t have good authoring-tools.
    and even when it _does_, the xhtml/css approach is
    one of the more difficult to be using as your “base”…

    which means you put the hard work in at the outset,
    instead of during the conversion stage. either way,
    the object _should_ be to make formatting _easier_.
    and again, the xhtml/css approach doesn’t do that…

    in a phrase, you drank the teleblawg kool-aid.

    -bowerbird

    p.s. stanza demonstrates this as well as anyone today,
    although the quality of their conversions isn’t very good.

  9. bowerbird Says:

    > There’s a small fortune waiting for a developer who
    > creates an easy to use ePUB file creator for writers.

    again, you’re drinking the wrong kool-aid.

    considering the heavy-markup of the xhtml/css approach,
    it’ll be very difficult to make an easy-to-use authoring-tool,
    because the markup “gets in the way” of the text itself…

    however, if you use a light-markup approach, then you can
    allow a writer to write without obfuscating text with markup,
    which lessens the complexity of coding an authoring-tool…

    my own z.m.l. — zen markup language — can already create
    kickass p.d.f. and .html versions from a plain-ascii source…
    their navigational links alone make them superior to others.

    -bowerbird

  10. Christine Says:

    I have a Cybook, it reads mobi files. My experience is with mobi files. I’m not sure what is “pro-published” but I’ve bought some big name fiction that was badly formatted. For what it’s worth.

  11. mikecane Says:

    @Christine: MobiPocket is basically what the Kindle does, with a bit of tweaking. Odd that your experience has been bad.

    @bowerbird: Have you ever used a blogging interface? I don’t understand why it can’t be done to look like that. With perhaps some interactivity or good UI with checkboxes. Interactive: Is this portion a Chapter Y/N? Or a checkbox to designate a chapter. I know the ePub code is really tech-heavy. Every time I try to read about only the surface of it, it makes my head spin. But that was the case for having any sort of real presence on the Net too — then Blogger came along and made it simple. Seems to my dim mind such an approach could be accomplished for ePub too. Must everyone wait for Apple to do it? Adobe damn well won’t — they want Indesign revenues!

  12. MoJo Says:

    MobiPocket is basically what the Kindle does, with a bit of tweaking. Odd that your experience has been bad.

    A lot of xhtml tweaking goes into making a Mobi file look good. I even had to tweak the Mobi xhtml so it’d look halfway decent on Kindle, *even though* it’s supposedly the same thing. Bowerbird is right that the css issues get in the way of *efficient* formatting. Good (i.e., pleasing to the eye) formatting takes a while.

    Have you ever used a blogging interface? I don’t understand why it can’t be done to look like that. With perhaps some interactivity or good UI with checkboxes. Interactive: Is this portion a Chapter Y/N? Or a checkbox to designate a chapter.

    You mean, like WordPress’s back end? That’d be spiffy.

  13. Liza Daly Says:

    @mikecane: The Feedbooks “Upload” functionality is a little like what you describe: it’s a web-based interface for creating what are, ultimately, ePub-format books. I only know one author who has used it and he found it clunky, but I think an elegant UI is only a small step away.

  14. bowerbird Says:

    mike said:
    > Have you ever used a blogging interface?

    many of the blogging tools these days do indeed
    use the “light markup” that i’m talking about, yes.

    > I don’t understand why it
    > can’t be done to look like that.

    well, it could. the problem with any authoring-tool,
    however, is the quality of the markup it produces…

    the typical tradeoff is that an easy-to-use program
    creates awful underlying markup, whereas the ones
    producing decent markup have steep learning curves.

    and when you talk about _books_, people need to be
    able to deal with a rather significant chunk of text,
    ranging from 200k up, so it’s not a trivial challenge.

    and while it’s simple to point out _bad_ formatting,
    it’s harder to define what _good_ formatting will be.

    a lot of the options boil down to _personal_choice_,
    which means you’ve gotta give _end-users_ the tool
    that does the conversion/formatting to their desires.

    so there are a lot of complicating factors in this mix.

    > With perhaps some interactivity
    > or good UI with checkboxes.
    > Interactive: Is this portion a Chapter Y/N?
    > Or a checkbox to designate a chapter.

    that kind of approach has a surface appeal, certainly.

    but it soon bogs down if you throw much bulk at it…
    in my opinion, anyway. you can try it out if you like,
    at feedbooks, to see if you agree with my assessment.

    i think i have a much smarter approach, with tools to
    implement it. and i’m about ready to start showing it
    to people, if you have a book that you’d like to format.

    the thing is, the first step is to articulate what kind of
    formatting you want for the output. i’m of the opinion
    the workflow needs to output .html output for the web,
    and .pdf for all the people who like using that format…

    i’m also of the opinion that you should try to “marry”
    the two formats together, too. that is, the .pdf should
    be able to “point to” the .html version of itself, because
    the .html version is the _public_ and “canonical” version.
    (so, for instance, public comments are displayed there.)

    anyway, i’ve done a lot of thinking on this, for a while…
    what i need now is some fresh takes. so if anyone here
    would like to think about it, and write up your thoughts,
    i will be happy to take a look at them, and collaborate on
    a consensus version to be used to evaluate my tools and
    any other workflow someone would want us to consider.

    > I know the ePub code is really tech-heavy.
    > Every time I try to read about only the surface of it,
    > it makes my head spin. But that was the case for
    > having any sort of real presence on the Net too —
    > then Blogger came along and made it simple.

    well, blogger made it simple to put stuff up on the web.

    but have you ever tried to re-engineer blogger content?
    or wordpress content? you need to be a c.s.s. genius to
    understand the code underneath, let alone manipulate it.

    it should be easy as eating pie to print a blog as a book,
    and to make that book look however you want it to look,
    but i think if you try to do that, you’ll see it’s not simple.

    that, to me, signifies that that’s the wrong path to take…

    > Seems to my dim mind such an approach could be
    > accomplished for ePub too. Must everyone wait
    > for Apple to do it? Adobe damn well won’t —
    > they want Indesign revenues!

    adobe lost any ability they ever had to make stuff simple.

    -bowerbird

  15. mikecane Says:

    @MoJo: Ugh. Having to fine-tune raw code sucks.

    @Liza: I think I’ve seen at least three allegedly “free” Make an ePub File services on the Net. All of them want people to set up an acct. Bah. Plus, I don’t feel safe trusting work with people I don’t know.

    @bowerbird: I don’t think many professional writers have any interest in having their books on the web as HTML nor in offering PDF versions since ePub is what professional publishing has standardized on. You’re probably offering unneeded options there.

    >>>but have you ever tried to re-engineer blogger content?
    or wordpress content? you need to be a c.s.s. genius to
    understand the code underneath, let alone manipulate it.

    Yes, I once had to ask how to make a simple blockquote formatting change. It was a horror. And paying the CSS charge for one simple thing wasn’t worth it.

    I still maintain it can be blog-easy. And the secret is *templates*. Just as WordPress offers a variety of template styles with everything customized to look good, so too should ePub templates be available.

  16. MoJo Says:

    @Liza: I think I’ve seen at least three allegedly “free” Make an ePub File services on the Net. All of them want people to set up an acct. Bah. Plus, I don’t feel safe trusting work with people I don’t know.

    Bookglutton’s API is what I used. I still don’t know what it looks like on Stanza, but it looks damned good on Adobe DE. HOWEVER, the TOC that I hard-coded didn’t work, so for the EPUB (as regards Digital Editions), I had to take it out because it creates its own from your headers. Holla at me if you want; I’ll send you a copy.

  17. bowerbird Says:

    > @bowerbird: I don’t think many professional writers
    > have any interest in having their books on the web
    > as HTML nor in offering PDF versions since ePub
    > is what professional publishing has standardized on.
    > You’re probably offering unneeded options there.

    well, that’s what i was talking about when i said that
    you’re drinking the wrong kind of kool-aid, mr. cane…

    the race hasn’t even started, and you think it’s over…

    what “professional publishing” has “standardized on”
    doesn’t mean shit. that’s just the corporations trying
    to jack up the cost of entry to discourage competitors.

    > Just as WordPress offers a variety of template styles
    > with everything customized to look good,
    > so too should ePub templates be available.

    i understand that you want it to be easy and cheap…

    now, do you understand “the publishing professionals”
    desperately want it _not_ to be easy or cheap for you?
    or for the scads of other writers out there in the world?

    so you can buy into what they are selling.

    or you can let hackers like me show you how to do it
    in a way that is easy and cheap. doesn’t matter to me
    which one you pick. i’m a writer myself, so i know that
    there are plenty of writers out there who’ll do it my way.

    as it is, i see you’re complaining because penguin “2.0”
    wants to sell you public-domain e-books for $8-$10 each.

    well, the reason they have to charge so much is because
    computer jockeys who can work epub are very well-paid.
    those well-paid workers are how corporate accountants
    can shuffle their books to relieve writers of any royalties.

    on the other hand, i can give people a program that will
    format those public-domain e-books in a very nice way,
    to their desired window-size, using their desired font,
    in their desired text-size, with their desired background,
    with their desired leading, with their desired margins,
    and with the superior navigation i mentioned previously.

    and you can get it in .pdf form — for your sony reader —
    or in .html form (if you want to read it using stanza),
    _or_ you can read the darn file using _my_ viewer-app
    (mac, windows, or linux, with an iphone version soon),
    which will save you the trouble of doing any conversions,
    while still giving you all the capabilities promised above.

    as a writer, you can distribute your work to people who
    can use that viewer-program to display _your_ content
    in the powerful high-functionality ways i’ve described…

    but, you know, mike, drink whatever kool-aid you like…

    -bowerbird

  18. bowerbird Says:

    mike, i’ll go format “the jungle” for you as a sample… :+)

    -bowerbird

  19. mikecane Says:

    >>>now, do you understand “the publishing professionals”
    desperately want it _not_ to be easy or cheap for you?
    or for the scads of other writers out there in the world?

    Jesus Christ, man, Uncle! Yeah, I get the point I forgot at the beginning, in my jubilation over a ‘standard” *finally* being adopted.

    >>>on the other hand, i can give people a program that will
    format those public-domain e-books in a very nice way,
    to their desired window-size, using their desired font,
    in their desired text-size, with their desired background,
    with their desired leading, with their desired margins,
    and with the superior navigation i mentioned previously.

    Well now you’ve got my interest.

    >>>and you can get it in .pdf form — for your sony reader –
    or in .html form (if you want to read it using stanza),
    _or_ you can read the darn file using _my_ viewer-app
    (mac, windows, or linux, with an iphone version soon),
    which will save you the trouble of doing any conversions,
    while still giving you all the capabilities promised above.

    But see, I’ve heard shit like that from others, and such talk usually led to … zip.

    >>>mike, i’ll go format “the jungle” for you as a sample… :+)

    My inclination is to ask you *not* to go through such an effort. You’d have to not just “format” it, but do it *properly* — which means correct indented text, italics where the author specified them, et al. That is too much work for a “sample” to show *me*. Grab a short story, maybe. In fact, let me go off right now and find one. A simple one that I love.

    Ah, he we go. It has just *one* italicized word. In the first sentence: *the*.

    Pull out “A Scandal in Bohemia” from this:
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1661

    PDF for Sony Reader then.

  20. bowerbird Says:

    too late, mike. i’ve already started “the jungle”.

    i’m working from the project gutenberg e-text,
    so you’ll have to go without the italics for now,
    but you’ll get the picture… i _did_, however,
    go through the entire book to fix scene-breaks.

    i’ll do that other one for you as well, though…

    if you can give me specifics on all of those
    customization variables i mentioned above
    — particularly the window-size for a sony —
    that will help me build output to your specs.

    -bowerbird

    p.s. i don’t mind formatting e-texts. i do for fun,
    like other people do crossword puzzles or sudoku…

  21. Christine Says:

    Maybe my idea of good formatting is different from yours. I can format books that are pretty decent, given the restraints of the mobipocket software. It can be done, but most people aren’t doing it, and it’s particularly disappointing when you spend money for a book. And you have no ability to access the html and tweak it.

    Contrary to your idea that we will want to buy ebooks, I am going to almost completely stop buying them. I can get a lot of ebooks free and am tired of paying for an inferior product. They want as much as you pay for a paper book and you get so much less for your money. Not worth it.

  22. mikecane Says:

    @bowerbird: Now that I’ve slept on it and cleared the brain damage from using Chrome yesterday, your test is useless. eBooks aren’t just presentation. There’s the whole issue of text reflow, text enlargement, absolute vs relative positioning for bookmarks and notes and illustrations. These are all things people with Big Brains hashed over to devise the ePub standard. HTML and PDF are both worthless for those issues.

    @Christine: Stop using Mobi. It’s an old, legacy format. Get an iPod Touch with Stanza or a Sony Reader. I want to see legacy formats like Mobi and eReader wiped out. ePub is the future. Spending money on other formats will have the revenge effect of wasted money.

  23. Christine Says:

    ok. Soon as I poop out a couple thousand I don’t need I’m going to get one of each reader on the market.

    Until then I think mobi was the best choice for me. I am not buying a reader that requires me to buy the same companies books. Um, thanks for insulting my decision and good luck with buying overpriced books when there are free ones readily available. Because people are willing to spend too much money on bad products is why the quality isn’t going up and the prices aren’t going down.

  24. mikecane Says:

    @Christine: What are you reading the Mobi on? I expected an old PDA or phone (Treo?).

    How long do you expect old file formats to stay around?

    I’m not buying overpriced eBooks. That’s the point of many posts here. But don’t go cheating writers because of the stupidity of the publishers they are contracted to.

  25. bowerbird Says:

    > There’s the whole issue of text reflow,
    > text enlargement, absolute vs relative
    > positioning for bookmarks and
    > notes and illustrations.

    mike, i have been programming e-book stuff
    for two decades now, so i’ve thought of that.

    but by all means, do continue thinking about it,
    and perhaps after 3 or 4 days of such thinking,
    you’ll be able to tell me more stuff i don’t know.

    > These are all things people with Big Brains
    > hashed over to devise the ePub standard.

    “big brains”? did you say “people with big brains”?

    do you mean people like jon noring? yeah, right.

    or good ol’ boys in corporate publishing houses?
    oh yeah, those people know a lot about e-books.
    they could write the book on e-books, they could.

    you know, mr. cane, you make sense some times.
    which is why i bother to come and read your blog.
    but other times, you have your head up your ass…

    > HTML and PDF are both worthless for those issues.

    neither .html nor .pdf are a be-all/end-all solution, no.

    which is why went and coded my own viewer-program.

    (and my own authoring-tool, and a whole suite of apps
    for the _entire_ workflow, from creation or digitization
    on to publication and presentation, through to remixing.
    meanwhile, those “people with big brains” haven’t even
    bothered to program a simple authoring-tool for .epub,
    despite their obvious access to adobe’s army of coders.)

    still, both .html and .pdf can be useful along the way…

    perhaps if you think about things for a few more days,
    heck even a full week, you’ll be able to figure out why.

    but here’s a hint for you… how are you going to make
    your work _public_ without using the web (i.e., .html)?

    and here’s another hint for you… on closed platforms
    — like your sony reader, or the kindle — that might not
    support that many formats _except_ .html and/or .pdf,
    how will your fans on that platform read your content?

    and here’s my final hint for you, for today… the same
    advice that you gave christine — forget bad formats —
    is advice you _should_ give to yourself about .epub…

    stop drinking the teleblawg kool-aid, and you’ll see that.

    ***

    anyway…

    here’s the first pass at “the jungle” — in .html format:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/tjbus/tjbus.html

    since you didn’t specify any customization — e.g., font,
    font-colors, typesize, window-width, smart-em-dashes,
    smart-quotes, leading, etc. — you got the ugly defaults.

    here’s the “zen markup” _base_ that created the .html:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/tjbus/tjbus-html.zml

    you can’t “see” the “markup” in it, because it’s “zen”.
    (for the most part, it is embedded in the white-space.)

    because there’s not any obtrusive heavy markup in it,
    it’s easy to read this text and, more important, edit it.
    and because you don’t have to learn or insert markup,
    there’s only a very slight learning-curve on my system.

    though you might not notice at first, if you play with it,
    you will discover that my .html has navigational chops.

    the table of contents at the top links to chapter headers,
    of course. but each chapter header links back, as well…

    further, you’ll see a “” above each chapter header.
    “” to the next one,
    and the “c” inside them links to the table of contents…

    so it is quite convenient to “step through” the chapters.
    (i use a parallel feature to step through the illustrations,
    when a book has them, so you can look at the pictures.)

    there were just two footnotes in this book, one of them
    very short, so i just incorporated ’em right into the text,
    but my program can also handle footnotes quite nicely…

    as i said, this text came from project gutenberg, so it is
    lacking its italics… sorry about that. furthermore, like
    all project gutenberg e-texts, the lines were rewrapped.

    one of the things that will come to be very important is
    an ability to authenticate an e-text against a paper-book,
    and to perform this task _easily_. in order to attain this,
    one must retain pagebreaks and linebreaks of the p-book.

    (of course, we also need to be able to ditch them later,
    if/when we decide to repaginate and reflow our e-book.
    but at the outset, we need to retain ’em for verification.)

    to accomplish this, i will usually use o.c.r. of the scan-set.

    on this book, the archive.org o.c.a. of the google scan-set
    was _awful_ — that’s typically the case in such situations —
    but you can see my method for doing authentication here:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/tjbus/tjbusp123.html

    this page-by-page formatting puts the text of each page
    alongside the appropriate page-image, for easy checking.
    a proofer can “step through” the entire book quite easily;
    there is a form at the page-bottom to report any errors…

    here’s the “base file” used to create all these web-pages:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/tjbus/tjbus.zml

    as you can see, it’s just another version of the .zml file,
    one that contains information concerning the pagebreaks.
    (as this is the o.c.r., linebreaks correspond to the p-book.)

    now, just to complete the exercise, what we want to do
    for this book is to use the far-more-accurate p.g. e-text
    to make corrections to the o.c.r. version. (or, to put it
    the opposite way, we want to transfer the pagebreaks
    and linebreaks from the o.c.r. version to the p.g. text.)

    that way, we’ll have accurate text to do the verification.
    (and yes, i’ve coded tools that help merge those two…)

    anyway, mike, i don’t know if you can see the appeal of
    what i’m doing, with those kool-aid goggles you have on,
    but i can assure you that many writers — sans goggles —
    will recognize the power and freedom given to them by
    cost-free tools that transform an ascii “zen markup” file
    into an e-book that’s highly-functional and very powerful.

    -bowerbird

  26. mikecane Says:

    >>>but other times, you have your head up your ass…

    This may be so.

    But your arguments are constantly degraded because with Comment after Comment now, you have not been able to produce one that is *properly formatted.*

  27. bowerbird Says:

    i think my comments are formatted fine, thanks.
    it’s your blog _template_ that needs some work… :+)

    (i’m constantly amused that, in this current-day age
    of cinema-screens, most blogs put their main content
    into one single column a mere 2 or 3 inches in width.)

    anyway, i gave you some links to look at stuff,
    so if you have any feedback, feel free to give it.

    -bowerbird

  28. bowerbird Says:

    no feedback, eh? ok...

    i've uploaded the samples i promised...

    here's the "master" file, in "zen markup language":
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/mcane/mcane.zml

    here's the "pdf", auto-created from the z.m.l. master:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/mcane/mcane.pdf

    download that .pdf and open it, and you see that
    every page has a link (at the bottom, in the middle)
    to its "canonical" version, located up on my website.

    for instance, the link on .pdf page #123 goes here:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/mcane/mcanep123.html

    on that web-page for page 123, you find the text and
    the "page-scan" (just a screenshot of the .pdf page),
    as well as a form at the bottom to report any errors.

    that form could also be used for public annotations...

    a person could also view the book page-by-page on
    the website, if they prefer that to reading the .pdf...

    i could use the .zml version to create an .html version
    where the full book is presented on a single web-page,
    similar to one of the examples that i created earlier:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/tjbus.html

    of course, the original z.m.l. file can also be viewed with
    my z.m.l. viewer-program, where pages will look just like
    they appear in the .pdf (depending on your preferences)...

    the z.m.l. viewer-app can also jump up to the "canonical"
    version on the web, for you to make and view annotations.

    speaking of preferences, since you didn't tell me yours,
    i used some rather ugly defaults for the .pdf i created...

    you'll also notice that the .pdf and the web versions have
    similar navigational capabilities, including the ability to
    jump to previous/next chapters, a linked table of contents,
    and the most fundamental ability to go page-by-page...
    and of course, the z.m.l. viewer-program has all that too.

    ***

    eventually i will rework the z.m.l. so that it has the same
    linebreaks as the original p-book, so i can use its scans,
    since that's what people really want, to do authentication:
    > http://z-m-l.com/go/tjbusp123.html

    ***

    the takeaway on all this is that -- once a writer has a book
    in z.m.l. format (so simple you can format it as you write)
    -- they can _automatically_ create .pdf and .html versions
    which are fundamentally entertwined as being "canonical".

    plus, when you provide the z.m.l. "master" to your readers,
    they can create .html and .pdf too, to _their_ preferences...
    (i haven't found a reader yet that wouldn't rather use their
    _own_ preferences, rather than what a publisher decided.)

    however, those readers will come to prefer the z.m.l. format,
    because it lets them set their preferences once, and requires
    no conversions at all. the only reason they'll do a conversion
    is if their desired platform has no z.m.l. viewer-program...

    -bowerbird


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: