I was sitting on my couch hoarding a “Sharing Size” box of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and clicking and re-clicking “x new Tweets” this evening, when I was rescued by a friend who was having some technical difficulty with an e-book she was building. A few of our Twitter friends made suggestions on how to troubleshoot the issue, and I did, too, but to no avail. I asked to see the file, she e-mailed it, and not only did the file also crash on my machine, but it caused a seemingly permanent crash-on-launch issue with Adobe Digital Editions, the application we were trying to view it in. I use ADE every day, as I borrow a shocking quantity of e-books from the New York and Brooklyn public libraries, so this was not a crash I could just ignore.
Continue reading “What stupid is”
After two years as a full-time e-book developer, I’m back on the print wagon—or, at least, one foot is—working for CN Times Books as (executive?) managing editor of print and digital production. CN Times is a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing MediaTime Book Co., and about half of its staff members are Chinese, with several being located in Beijing.
Among the position’s more entertaining challenges is occasionally being called upon to explain industry jargon from printers’ estimates or freelancers’ invoices to colleagues whose primary language is not English. Last week, it was “jacket mechanical.” Today, it was “stock imagery.” And then I found myself writing an omnibus invoice-troubleshooting sort of e-mail explaining the varied uses of “manuscript,” “copy,” “proof,” “copyediting,” and “proofreading.”
Continue reading “It ain’t up goer science”
the single most valuable—productivity boosting—feature that an ereader platform could add would be a complete and open API for bookmarks, highlights, and notes. If I could have all of my highlights and notes automatically sync—marked up and tagged—to my Simplenote account, that would trump any design feature or widget ereader vendors can possibly think of. —Baldur Bjarnason
@pkay225 puts it another way: Me: should books be culturally privileged? Audience crickets Me: who has had their life changed by a book? Audience all hands go up
@crankykramer plays the dozens: Yo mama’s so old she thinks CMS stands for Chicago Manual of Style.
@Ted_Underwood, 2 tweets: Wrote on board: “read intro to p. xxvii, story to p. 43.” Students: “wait, do we read to page 27 or page 43?” Revealing that they still understand roman numerals … but not necessarily the conventions of the printed codex …
What a thing was this, too, which that mighty man wrought and endured in the carven horse, wherein all we chiefs of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans death and fate!
—Homer, Odyssey (translated by A.T. Murray, 1919)
A couple of weeks ago, Hugh McGuire tweeted this:
and then he blogged the replies he received at Including a PDF in an EPUB.
This is something I’d been wondering about for a while, too. I remembered Joshua Tallent of eBookArchitects mentioning at at least one workshop that it was possible to embed a PDF in an EPUB, but I’d never tried it. The company I work for publishes a lot of craft books whose print editions have patterns and templates in the back, and so far we’ve either had to suppress the e-book versions entirely or supply those patterns to our e-book readers through the Web. Hugh’s post reminded me that I’d been meaning to test Joshua’s tip to see if it would help solve our pattern problem, so I finally just did that.
TL;DR: Yes, you can embed a PDF in an EPUB so that all its pages are viewable in iBooks and Adobe RMSDK–based readers, but display is wonky and not necessarily readable, and you can’t print the PDF at full size, if at all, so it doesn’t solve my particular problem. It might solve your problems, though, so a more detailed breakdown of what I found follows. Continue reading “PDFs in EPUBs: Test results”
“[T]he people who [make e-books] work in Stygian gloom, eat living things and snarl when poked with a stick.” Not true! We don’t eat anything. I, for one, subsist entirely on the moisture that trickles down my cave’s walls.
One of the things I do at my job is clean up and beautify e-books that have been produced by a “meatgrinder”—the sort of automated conversion process that an outsourcer uses. My company has worked with a couple of conversion companies, and there are definite differences in the quality and markup philosophy of the files they produce, but one problem that appears to be chronic is that the EPUBs come back with CSS files containing tons of unused style declarations.
I’m talking thousands of lines, when two to three hundred will usually do.
This makes the files extremely tedious to troubleshoot and rework, so one of the first things I usually do if I know I’m going to be spending a considerable chunk of my day living in a particular EPUB is to cut down that stylesheet to what’s actually being used.
Continue reading “Degristling the sausage”