First Frost of Autumn (firstfrost) wrote,
First Frost of Autumn
firstfrost

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Three books but not really

So, I've been reading a lot of ebooks recently. I vaguely think that I shouldn't have abandoned paper books so thoroughly (especially when I still have so many of them I haven't read), so it seems like karmic thwackback that the last three I have read have had irritating or eccentric formatting issues. I mean, I get that formatting for Kindle is not trivial, you can't just stuff your hardback into a machine and have it rendered down into pixels. But, especially for a professional publishing company, it seems really too lame to not bother to have something like an editing pass on the electronic side. It's been a long time since I fixated on typesetting glitches in a paper book.

The first one, I actually couldn't finish. I wasn't really getting into the book, but the formatting issues were the straw that finally drove me away. Not shown here, but there were a lot of places where there were missing spaces in italics. Not like LaTeX, which has that extra small space between the end of italics and the start of roman, because it measures space by the bottom of the letter - this was just outright no spaces at all, two italics words jammed up next to each other. I might see that if you were reading the text in HTML and it all looked like
<i>the</i><i>quick</i><i>brown</i><i>fox</i>
so you could see the words and not notice that there were no breaks. But if you're proofing the text looking like that, that's a problem of its own!

The next issue was, there were rarely any breaks between scenes. Often it was more or less clear, because you would switch people and locations, but sometimes it would take a paragraph before I realized we had just switched. I was surprised how much this infuriated me. Here's the most egregious example, which changes the scene in the middle of dialogue:


The next one, I liked the book, but inexplicably, a lot of the "i"s (and very few of the "j"s were dotless). No, I don't mean in ligatures, those are pretty much transparent at this point in my reading career. I mean in things like this:
A lot of them are after a lower case letter "l" - but not all of them. And not everything after an l is dotless. I spent a lot of energy trying to figure out the pattern (more often in the first line of a chapter, more often after an l...), or if the dotless-i-words spelled out some message (I don't think they did, alas).

The final one, I am willng to give a little bit of a break to, because it's not a big-name professional publisher, but it's actually a little mystifying, because I'm not even sure what glyph is missing here - it's some sort of space? A negative space? I'm don't even know.
I suppose I should comment on the contents of these books at some point, but the formatting! It burns!
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