Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Some E-books Just Don't Look Right

PW: "There are a couple of major issues that need to be dealt with if e-books are to approach print standards. Bud Parr, president of Sonnet Media, a Web design firm that has created Web sites for authors, presses, and organizations, who is beginning to expand his work from the Web to the e-book field, said, 'The technologies that are used to create e-books in EPub are wholly familiar [to me] as a Web developer and designer.' EPub uses the same style sheets, which 'give it its formatting and its visual life,' noted Parr. The main challenge in formatting e-books, according to Parr, is the way different Web-browsers—or, in this case, e-books, e-readers, and e-reading apps—interpret the code and style in an EPub file (Kindle, of course, has its own proprietary file format and style, and requires separate formatting). Because all the apps and devices work a little differently, the same file can look different in iBooks than it does in the Kobo app or on a Sony Reader. This is especially problematic with poetry or e-books with tables, visual elements, or a lot of tricky formatting: an indent, for example, might look right on one e-reader, but not indent enough on another, just because the two platforms are interpreting the same code differently."