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Reading preference

 
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Wolfshead
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Location: St. louis, MO USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:19 am    Post subject: Reading preference Reply with quote

Question for the readers (and a secondary one for authors).

What format do you prefer to read online stories in?

My preference (in order) is:

1. As a full story download in a text format (.doc .txt . rtf or similar)

2. As a full story .pdf file

3. As a chapter at a time .pdf

4. As a chapter at a time online (.html) format

I like to be able to download the whole story and copy it to my Palm for portable reading. If a story is in chapter format, I will probably copy and paste into a full .doc file for my personal reading.

For the authors; what format do you prefer/find easier to post you stories in?
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Kellan Meig'h
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDF is the way to go for me. That way, the story looks the way I want it to look, not mangled by html or some text format. There was one tome, "Lost" that used multiple fonts. What a mess that was to do in html.

Kel

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mwalimu
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At one time I favored plain ASCII .txt, but eventually eschewed it in favor of other formats that give some ability to specify fonts, use bolding, italics, underlines, and so forth. Lately I've tended to favor .html and .rtf as the preferred formats.

The one major problem I have with PDF is that it fixes the page layout, including the line length. If I'm going to read a book on my computer or any sort of e-reader, I expect it to be able to change my viewing window size or font size, and have it automatically reflow the text to fit the window (notwithstanding a few things like extra long strings without spaces, and wide graphics, and it's okay if it only works down to a certain reasonable minimum characters per line). .rtf, .html, .doc, and often .txt can all handle that just fine, but .pdf doesn't do that; it fixes the line lengths and line breaks, and if you try to reduce the window or enlarge the font too much, it just gives you a left/right scroll bar, and going the other direction it doesn't use any of the extra width but just gives you whitespace.

On top of that, .pdf is the most difficult format to convert to any other format. If I have a file that's not in quite the right format for my preferred reading software or e-reader, I don't mind doing a little conversion. This is easy with most formats, often is no more difficult that loading the file and doing "Save As...", but it's a lot harder to do this with .pdf files.

(Another somewhat unrelated gripe with .pdf... I prefer to keep the startups/autoruns on my computer to a minimum, and let apps load when I use them. Adobe Acrobat, the program used for reading .pdf files, is one of the most aggressive about reinserting itself into my startups despite all efforts to prevent it from doing so, so there is that annoyance factor.)

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Cookie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In book form.

In all seriousness, I like the whole thing in one go.

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mwalimu
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Regan wrote:
To convert a PDF to something else I just choose to 'Save As', and choose one of the options. I can also use my OCR program to 'Read' it.

Apparently this feature is only available if you have a PDF Editor. The copy of Acrobat Reader I have on this computer only offers the option to save as text, and using it just now, the resulting text not only lost all formatting (as expected), it also has hard line breaks, which effectively defeats any ability to reflow text. I haven't tried OCR readers.

Mike Regan wrote:
As for the e-books, Evil or Very Mad All custom formats that I have found. If you want ANYTHING to be read on them, Sony, Kindle, etc. Send it to them and they will convert to their format. I have not found a single one of them that will work directly with a PDF, DOC, RTF or anything else yet. Amazon with Kindle has a propriety AZW format from everything I can find.

That is an issue for me too. I haven't bought an e-book reader yet, and when I do it will have to be one that supports the most commonly used formats for internet fiction. I read way too much fiction off the internet that's never been commercially published (such as from The Raccoon's Bookshelf) to consider a reader that doesn't support those formats (natively if possible, but via a conversion utility I can run myself would be acceptable).

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Wolfshead
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Regan wrote:
I can tell you why I myself prefer and use PDF in one word,
FONTS.

Take an author like Concolor who use many font styles to indicate different things. Also if you have the Wilderhom Trilogy you will note several different fonts for writing in the dirt, poems, songs, some special types of dream thoughts and so on. If all is just in Times you miss a lot of meaning and nuance.

With all text, be it DOC, RTF, TXT etc and HTML unless you already have the font the author used installed on your system YOU WILL NEVER SEE IT.

Also the full story I post with a table of contents will have links in the PDF that when clicked on will take you directly to the start of that chapter. Not available in DOC, TXT or RTF. You can in HTML.

Now I post in chapter at a time since that is how I get most stories.

I also post a single block of the book to date. Book, to keep the file size reasonable. Some out there still only have dial up and something like Gone Wylde takes on insane transfer times if done complete each time.

I will also post a complete story sent to me in smaller bits. This is from experience. At first I would post the full thing in one go. No one read it. Too big. But when done in about 10-20 pages at a time they would always read.

I tried HTML for a while at the request of Nameless but he and maybe one or two others ever used it, 90% like the PDF.


Excellent points. The authors who go that extra step and format the layout into chapters also shine in PDF as it will preserve the spacing and "look" of a professional book. I have seen many stories (elsewhere) where the author is more interested in telling their story than taking the time to format it and sometimes even proofread it. It tends to subtract from my enjoyment and I have not finished several stories as it becomes too distracting.

I have long since stopped using that Adobe virus Smile and use Foxit for reading PDF's. It uses a lot fewer resources and doesn't try to download more stuff.
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Kellan Meig'h
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolfshead wrote:

I have long since stopped using that Adobe virus Smile and use Foxit for reading PDF's. It uses a lot fewer resources and doesn't try to download more stuff.


I will second using Foxit as a reader. Lightweight and reliable.

One more reason I use PDF format; it makes it harder for Internet thieves to cut/paste my work into their DA or SoFurry account gallery and claim it as their own work.

Kel

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tijn
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use an e-reader (BE book), probably not a very famous or fast one. It has no annotation functions.
It reads pdf, doc, rtf, txt, html, images, mp3 and ePub. It's linux based.

Since .pdf forces a layout and fontsize the e-reader must allow to reflow the page (and this one does.) It's not a book replacement, but I'm getting used to it also because it beats a laptop for reading (or an iPad) in terms of battery and weight.

So, pdf works fine for me, any of the mentioned formats do.
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Shadu
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i can go for any format. what i do enjoy is length. chapter or full book i like looong things something around or over 10 word pages long Razz

i read to much and short chapters end too quick for me and in my opinion, most short chapters leave too much stuff unsaid Smile

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Kellan Meig'h
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually prefer .PDF, but rotated 90* right. Then I turn my laptop up on its left side and read the pages full screen.

Either that or formatted for size 'E' (34" x 44") blueprint size.

(/joke)

I still prefer .PDF, done with 'Display Visible' as the viewing option.

Kel

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anthony
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One additional note...

some stories I also print out, and then I print 2 pages on each side of an A4 sheet, or scaled directly onto A5(There's a store selling that format locally. Expensive, but quicker than cutting the A4 myself... ) and spiral-bind the result.

When printed, the 8.5x11 format scales OK down to the smaller formats, though I really wish the Acrobat Reader would allow me to adjust the margins on the printouts.
eReaders, though, have a lower resolution, and if they can't reflow the document, it all ends up a mess.
(My old Sony PRS-500 can't reflow .PDF. It's possible a firmware update can fix that, but then it would need to be sent in for a HW mod, and since Sony doesn't support it here... A lot of other old models can't do it, either. The same with PDF-readers on PDAs and special OSes, too)

You may want to consider some sort of 'epub' format for at least some of the stories, in addition to .PDF to make them easier to read on the road.
But keep .PDF as it's a good format for printing...

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Kellan Meig'h
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of years back, I tried all the freeware eBook and ePub converters I could find and found none that made a true eBook/ePub output.

That may have changed by now, though.

Kel

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tijn
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the 5x8 format used for David's adventures very much.
Also, it turns out to be a good match for my little e-reader's screen size.
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Steven09
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer reading online stories in full, and in PDF format.
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[Crash]
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDF in full.
If that's not available, I typically take the story from online and print2pdf it.
And all too true: formatting makes a huge difference in many stories. Whenever I see Italicized text, I immediately think of dream sequence or a least some form of thoughts.

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