Saturday, June 27, 2015

New Fonts for E-books...Can Page Numbering Be Far Behind?

For the last four or five years, I have consistently read more e-books than in the year before.  Too, I have migrated all the way from one of the original Sony Readers, to an upgraded Sony Reader, to a Kindle Paperwhite, and even to a Kindle Fire in the last few years.  So it's not like I'm even remotely close to being anti e-book.

But that doesn't mean that I love everything about reading e-books. For instance, I have never liked the generic font used in e-books, and I absolutely hate it when an e-book does not have real page numbers.  Who wants to be bothered with "position" numbers, percentages of completion, and estimated reading time remaining?  Well, for one, not me.

So it's good to see that positive changes are on the horizon.  According to this Wall Street Journal article, for instance, the font issue is well in hand:
The upgrades aren’t just aesthetic. Typography can affect how fast you read. Some fonts propel the eye forward; others cause fatigue. Using eye-tracking tests, Amazon determined that its new font, Bookerly, allows readers to progress 2% faster than its previous default, the clunky but well-performing workhorse font Caecilia.
Bookerly has received positive reviews but the typography world is even more excited about something else Amazon is releasing at the same time: new software that dictates how text appears on the page. This is the company’s first crack at introducing hyphenation—splitting a word in two to fit more characters on a line and eliminate the wide spaces that occur when there are too few words on a full-justified line. 

These may seem like little things, but if e-books are ever to approach the readability comfort level of books on paper, this is a really big deal.  

Now let's outlaw the publication of e-books that do not include real page numbering...come on, I know you guys can do it.

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