People have said a loot of good stuff about why DRM on e-books is a bad idea. I've not seen anyone mention my main reason for stripping the damn thing off though. So I can edit them.
(Caveat: at least some of what follows is based on experience with free e-books, such as those available on Project Gutenberg and Baen's now sadly much-depleted free library. Obviously the old saw about gift-horses, mouths, inspection of, applies. Still, though, I've run across most of these in far too many books for which hard-earned money has been exchanged; and that's just bloody appalling.)
Dear e-book publishers,
Look, I know proof-reading is more expensive than ticking the auto-replace box in a spellchequer and hoping for the best, what with it needing real human eyeballs, and with the owners of those eyeballs wanting paying for their time an' all that, but Jebus H Christ on a Merriam-Webster-powered thesaur-o-bike!
There is absolutely no excuse for having
paragraphs break into two
or sometimes three or more parts.
"There is, similarly, no excuse," she moaned, "for there to be no paragraph-break between one character's speech…" "And a second character's speech," he said, anticipating her complaint.
If an italicised word's possessive or is the first part of a contraction, then the 'apostrophe-[whatever]' should also be italicised. Word's, not word's.
If an italicised word is followed by an exclamation- or question-mark, ditto!
Chapter headings; please place them at the top of the page. That 3em margin you place above them, combined with the 1.5em one below, followed by a nice little graphic which has a further 2em bottom margin… that's half a bloody page for a three-word heading.
I'm reading your book on a screen 3.5 inches wide. It has a bezel around it, to hold it by, and no need for a gutter. My thumb will not get in the way at one edge, and the text can't disappear into the gloomy depths of a non-existent spine at the other. I don't need horizontal margins using up the best end of an inch of that 3.5 inches.
Likewise, a 1em top and bottom margin is just a tad excessive for paragraphs. Combined with the horizontal margins, it's like reading a series of block-quotes, not to mention that it makes for a 'page' so short that my page-tapping digit is almost worn to a stub. It's cold. I'm huddled up in bed. Every time I have to poke my hand out from under the cover to tap for the next page, I curse you and yours unto the seventh generation!
Seriously, zero-margin with a decent text-indent of, say, 1.5em so that new paragraphs are well-marked, is the way to go here. Maximum wordage per page with no waste space.
The only time you need to add a vertical margin to a paragraph is when you require a large space to indicate a scene-change. And what do nine out of ten e-book compilers do to create that space? The one time they really, truly should be adding a top margin, they stick an empty bleedin' paragraph in there instead!
Either emdashes with no spaces, or endashes with spaces. This—or this – but not — that. And never hyphens. Talking of which…
Hyphens join words together. If you want to show a range, as in 1939–45, use an endash.
• A bulleted list is produced thusly…
<ul> <li>List entry</li> <li>List entry</li> <li>etc.</li> </ul>
• … not by manually putting a pullet-boint symbol at the beginning of each paragraph. That way the entire paragraph, not just the first line, is positioned to the right of the pullet-boint. In short, it actually looks like a list.
A paragraph is not a div. A div is not a paragraph. For paragraphs use <p class="", not <div class="". A person might think you clicked 'Save as web page' in a WYSIWYG editor. If a person happened to be cynical enough to think such things, which of course I'm not.
It's perfectly possible for superscript and subscript entities to not screw up the line-spacing. It just requires someone who cares enough about this product they're going to ask people to pay good money to look at, to take the time to add a few lines to the style-sheet.
Sans-serif fonts are evil, and should be killed by very fiery fire, the ashes separated into seven parts and each part scattered into a different sea. Then we can boil the seas, just to be on the safe side.
This . . . is three full-stops with spaces between, which might be broken for the purpose of justification. This … is an ellipsis. Spot the difference?
And, finally, that hasty run-through with a spellchequer. It might well catch spelling mistakes tat don't happen to from another word purely buy coincidence, but it wont catch the many instance where the 's' got missed off a plural, or the times that a tense got screw up, will it?
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