Mobileread
Formatting an eBook - Left justify or Justified
#1  simonroyle 08-29-2010, 11:18 PM
Hi MR's,

I've been doing a lot (too much) reading about formatting eBooks. One comment I hear from "professionals" is that;
"nothing screams amateur like ragged right text"
What do you guys think? You're the readers - does it make a huge difference, and, more importantly, what do you prefer?

Thanks,
Simon
Author of Tag - A thriller set in the near future
www.simon-royle.com
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#2  speakingtohe 08-29-2010, 11:24 PM
Justified is generally not pleasant to read. I would rather have a gap at the end of the line then one in the middle. Looks neat at a glance, but especially ugly on ereader. Still all centered is worse
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#3  hgwlackey 08-29-2010, 11:35 PM
Until e-readers can properly handle full justification, I'll prefer ragged right. (Though a more accurate answer is probably that I prefer whichever I notice least.)
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#4  ardeegee 08-29-2010, 11:44 PM
Quote simonroyle
"nothing screams amateur like ragged right text"
Sounds about right. In the modern days of word processors, that is more or less unjustifiable.
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#5  Donnageddon 08-30-2010, 12:04 AM
Poll needs a "too many variables" option so JeremyZ can call them outliers.
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#6  Marcy 08-30-2010, 12:12 AM
Proper justification, which includes the ability to hyphenate on the fly, is always best. I agree that I'd rather have left-justify over a reader that full justifies simply by stretching the gap between words.

-Marcy
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#7  Luke King 08-30-2010, 02:13 AM
Justified -- definitely. I think an ebook should look like a printed book. Em dashes, smart quotes, chapters and section beginnings not indented (a pet hate).

Readers want ebooks to look like printed books, or I would imagine so.
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#8  FizzyWater 08-30-2010, 02:17 AM
Quote Luke King
Readers want ebooks to look like printed books, or I would imagine so.
While I'd agree I'd like there to be obvious chapter breaks, section breaks and paragraphs (either indented or with extra space, I'm not picky), I don't necessarily want my eBook to look like the book.

I like having the ability to change the font size or face, for example. And given the current rendering of full justification on most eBook readers, I prefer left-justified text. I find the gaping spaces between words more distracting than "ragged right".

Ultimately, I want to get lost in the book, not distracted by the formatting!
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#9  Sweetpea 08-30-2010, 02:26 AM
I find left justified horrible. It gives too many distractions. I can't, in one blink of an eye, see how long the paragraph is, unless there is an empty line between paragraphs (and I loathe those).

I'm a person that doesn't read word for word, but reads sentences and paragraphs (looking for structure). Maybe that's the reason why I can't stand left-justified texts..
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#10  AlexBell 08-30-2010, 04:17 AM
Quote simonroyle
what do you prefer?

Thanks,
Simon
Author of Tag - A thriller set in the near future
www.simon-royle.com
I prefer justified text, but most of all I prefer to be able to choose for myself on the rare occasions fully justified text doesn't work - that is, I like to be able to toggle between fully justified and ragged right.

Regards, Alex
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