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    I thought a very interesting discussion ensued on HN. Gives us a solid insight into what draws away readers from e-books currently.

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      On our latest build we are setting the hyphenation property to none; on CSS to make sure automatic insertion of new characters doesn’t happen within the staging area of text. This helps in locking down total amount of glyphs presented on a page and then scale it correctly with viewport units.

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        Books are expensive, I resonate with your sentiment on this post!

        They are almost 10X more expensive than apps are. And it only makes sense for major players to keep it that way, digital worse than the dead-tree… influence policy and copyright filtering. Things that don’t help the writers but distributers themselves.

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          Interesting that most publishers responded with “I’m not sure I have much to say.”

          This is such a great example of how processes hide a complexity and even the purpose of printing something bang on the face of the product is lost behind tradition. Even those making the product do not recall why they are doing it one way and not the other.

          Kind of how purpose and necessity of vaccines has been lost across generations of people living through a time of peace and material growth(?). For example, hundred years from now, not knowing what a ‘nuclear holocaust’ means could mean more danger to society than reasonable policy & understood deterrence. Opportunity over innocents will easily produce conspiracy theorists that will propel a new crop of politicians who will deny the wrath of anything until they can either win or follow through a disaster.

          IMO, this is why it is important for products and processes to open up so that people can learn, test, trust, accept and pass along the established norms and knowledge freely.

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            In the end it’s all a “trend”, that is, the way in which market simply devours everything and empty it of meaning mostly because it “sells”. Publishers don’t even need to know why they use “a novel”. It’s just what (they think) people expect. And then even when it has a purpose, it gets lost in the way, I guess.

            But yeah, as you said, you could see something somewhat similar to this happening all over. I’d say it’s a matter of critical thinking, learning to read between the lines, that kind of thing.

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            It’s true that most businesses die because they don’t keep up with newer realities of the world but the role of an influential ambitious corp in shaping that future through lobbying and tipping laws in their favor cannot be denied. I mean Amazon did take away the .book TLD for example!

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              True that it is not entirely Amazon that’s responsible for waning interest in local bookstores. A bunch have closed or moved away since the day of greater web but quite a few still carry on out there as torchbearers in their local communities. If we can get behind these smaller groups and provide them with open source tools to compete with the ecosystem could be powered back up on its feet. It all depends on how the different vectors align to move forward, and that includes legislation.

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              I love Craig Mod’s writing!

              Formatting on physical books is really a craft. To that end, it appears that the term ‘fluid layout’ is a marketing spin on lack of a layout. 🙂

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                I have seen cases where writers went under with their forceful marketing campaigns/ad spends. This is from a real one on Twitter:

                I’d drink battery acid to get you to check out the free sample of my book. Don’t make me do it! Click it: [a link here]…

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                  Can anybody briefly summarize the article for those of us w/o WSJ subscriptions? :)

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                    The key take away from the WSJ article is this:

                    “It is an inherently conflicted structure, in which the most powerful retailer has a competing incentive to favor books it publishes and those from authors using its self-publishing technology.”

                    Though I’d argue that a more radical step towards accomplishing total control was when they acquired the .book TLD from ICANN [1] a few years ago.

                    [1] https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/64762-amazon-book-and-the-new-top-level-domain-names.html

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                    Interesting article on how scrolling animation undoes our attention span and ability to commit to reading essays in full.

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                      IMO, there is a significant difference between how information is presented on web and how it is put on the dead-tree—a one-to-one reconciliation of style and presentation isn’t possible. Although I could be wrong about this!

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                        CSS paged media extensions create the print-based context of pages, kinds of pages for you to work with and PDF specific stuff like bookmarks. Using tools like PrinceXML or Antenna House you then generate the corresponding PDF.

                        I wouldn’t want a one-to-one reconciliation because, to me, PDF is more for reading offline in paper than it is reading online in a screen. That said there are a lot of things that you can do on the web that you can also do in a PDF document.

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                          Is there a study on how many people choose to read content offline by printing to PDF or on physical paper vs. on url itself? I mean we know that the number of people who read a blog online far exceeds the number of people who end up downloading/printing it before reading.

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                            People can’t easily print content so why would they try? Not even the browsers default stylesheets account for printing. Also, note that books and long-form text are a completely different monster

                            I used to print sections from Safari (when I was subscribed) to have next to me when working in code so I wouldn’t have to switch tabs or browsers when looking for a specific thing.

                            As to your specific question, no… I don’t know if there are studies about people printing blogs for offline reading. As far as books are concerned, the only element I found was about O’Reilly going for PDF rather than epub or MOBI

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                        Compare this to open MS Word / Google Docs → Create PDF. Simple. :-)

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                          I know! No matter how hard I try, my sensibilities of a book aren’t able to reconcile with the idea of PDF as book. I know a lot of people rely on PDF for distribution, but to me PDF is and will always remain a dork.

                          I’d rather buy dead-tree despite the cost and the fact that I prefer digital for almost everything else.

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                          @marvindanig, how about getting these archives on Bubblin? Do you think it will be useful?

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                            A lot of these “digitized” books are image rasters which aren’t searchable/indexable as text. Other than investing in expensive OCR tech along with sufficient intelligence to reprocess these rasters I do not see an easy way to salvage these older texts. Kudos to the team behind Internet Archive, it’s a splendid first step!

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                            Kitchen Confidential sounds like an interesting read. :-)

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                              The article from New Yorker suggests that SEO is still king and real readers find articles of their interest via search. Nothing has changed!

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                              This is a more authoritative list on books that are going to be in public domain in the United States in 2019.