Yesterday, I got a little mouthy (see this post), which will surprise no one.
I was sent an EPUB file that had embedded fonts that rendered perfectly in ADE. I cracked the file open and what did I see? Perfection. The file wasn’t bloated, it was neatly organized, the CSS sheet was reasonably tidy for its detail, and the detail was compact. It worked and it worked beautifully. I can see how it’s done.
In Sony Reader, it MOSTLY rendered the way it was coded (still no full justification).
In FBReader, it did NOT render the way it was coded AT ALL.
Both The Proviso and Stay look “nice” in ADE, Sony, and FBReader (insofar as anything looks nice in FBReader). That’s right. They look nice. Not spectacular. They do not have Teh Pretteh.
And you know what? That’s okay. I can see that Teh Pretteh EPUB file would take a whole lot more work than I’m willing to invest in either time to hand code or money in software that will do it automatically. I simply see no return on the investment of the extra time for Teh Pretteh with the tools that are available now. I have no doubt that those tools will become available in time.
I’m selling a $40 736-print-page book in 8 ebook formats for $6. The print version is Verra Pretteh, as is the PDF file that comes in the e-book file your $6 buys you. But let’s be real. People who seek out and read e-books—especially on an iPhone, SmartPhone, Kindle, or dedicated reader—are doing it for the content.
After basics: full justification, paragraph indents, line spacing, chapter breaks, a hyperlinked table of contents (and other hyperlinks, if necessary), and those conventions of book reading that move the reader seamlessly through the text, anything else is a waste of time.
Why? Because at the price point that is acceptable to an e-book reader who believes that e-books are cheap to produce and should, then, cost a whole lot less than print books, either A) hand-coding Teh Pretteh or B) purchasing the software that will run Teh Pretteh yields little to no return on investment.
So mea culpa for saying it can’t be done.
No mea culpa for saying it’s a waste of time to do it.