Why E-Books Look So Ugly PDF Print E-mail


“E-books today are where the web was in its early years,” says Andrew Savikas, vice-president of digital initiatives at O’Reilly Media, a major publisher of technical books. “And some of those e-books are as difficult to read and browse as the early web pages.”


As books make the leap from cellulose and ink to electronic pages, some editors worry that too much is being lost in translation. Typography, layout, illustrations and carefully thought-out covers are all being reduced to a uniform, black-on-gray template that looks the same whether you’re reading Pride and Prejudice, Twilight or the Federalist Papers.

“There’s a dearth of typographic expression in e-books today,” says Pablo Defendini, digital producer for Tor.com, the online arm of science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor Books. “Right now it’s just about taking a digital file and pushing it on to a e-book reader without much consideration for layout and flow of text.”

With the popularity of the Kindle and other e-book readers, electronic book sales in the United States have doubled every quarter. Though still a very small percentage of the overall book industry, sales of e-books touched $15.5 million in the first quarter of the year, up from $3.2 million the same quarter a year ago. By contrast, the printed book market sales in North America alone was nearly $14 billion in 2008.


Read the entire article and comment at: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/05/e-book-design/

Published by: Wired.Com




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