How would your ideal ebook look like?

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » January 29th, 2004, 8:57 pm

I am soliciting opinions and ideas on how you think the ideal ebook should look like. I am not talking about the hardware aspects (screen size and resolution, battery life, ...) but about the ebook itself and its reader software.

I would be interested in a prioritized list of features and characteristics which you would want to see in ebooks. For example:

- ebook must be instantaneously downloadable after purchase
- text-to-speech
- the ability to add margin notes
- the ability to highlight passages
- a great search engine
- an easy search engine
- links from one ebook to the other
- prefer ebooks with embedded videos
- prefer ebooks with audio clips
- good printing feature
- thorough index
- I prefer ebooks in HTML
- I prefer ebooks in PDF
... anything else you could think of

More and more ebooks are emerging, several authors explore self-publishing of various notes in electronic form, established publisher release CDs, ... However I see very little thought given to how these ebooks should actually look like to fully benefit from the electronic medium. I hope that this post will help in starting a dialogue between you the users of these ebooks and us the publishers.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Guest

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Guest » January 30th, 2004, 6:10 am

For me, some of the important features would be (in order):

1. ebook must be instantaneously downloadable after purchase

2. I prefer ebooks in PDF

3. prefer ebooks with embedded videos

4. thorough index

5. an easy search engine

6. good printing feature

7. the ability to add margin notes

Guest

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Guest » January 30th, 2004, 8:17 am

With today's software (e.g., Acrobat), it's not the e-book file itself that's the problem, it's the device that's the big issue. A few years ago, before good content and software, there were a few hardware companies that (unsuccessfully) launched e-book platforms. Now, when those might succeed due to content and improved electronics, we don't seem to be getting any. Has anyone heard of a change here?!

:cool:

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » January 30th, 2004, 9:09 am

Originally posted by WarlockDrummer:
With today's software (e.g., Acrobat), it's not the e-book file itself that's the problem, it's the device that's the big issue. A few years ago, before good content and software, there were a few hardware companies that (unsuccessfully) launched e-book platforms. Now, when those might succeed due to content and improved electronics, we don't seem to be getting any. Has anyone heard of a change here?!
I agree with you that the hardware to display ebooks is still lacking, particularly if we are talking about PDAs. Laptops and desktops are already very good reading devices. But I tried to explicitely exclude these issues from this thread simply because there is not much we can do to change or improve hardware. We have to take what we get.

But with the ebook itself and the reader software we have much more flexibility. We can use existing features in various reader-software to our advantage or not. And I have even developed my own reader-software for HTML ebooks. This allows me to explore avenues that with PDF and Acrobat for example are not possible.

Since you mentioned Acrobat and since you feel it is adequate, let me pose the following scenario where I think Acrobat really is inferior. Assume you have built your own magic eLibrary with hundreds of PDF files. And lets assume you want to research a certain topic which will require you to search through your eLibrary several times hunting for information. With Acrobat's search feature you have to sit at your computer and step through each match the search engine finds. You will literally sit many hours if not days to step through one after the other, load new PDF files and repeat the search. This clearly is not how it's supposed to be.

My reader software was specifically built with searching in mind. One can search through any number of ebooks with one swoop and one does not have to step through each match found, but rather receive a search summary which you can quickly browse and pick the most promising matches from. This search can run in the background or while you sip your coffee or practice your pass. And you can also print it out for later reference.

But this is just my opinion and my main reason to be so excited about ebooks. Searching is the killer application for me. But I might be in the minority and that's why I started this discussion to find out what others are thinking.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Oliver Corpuz
Posts: 105
Joined: May 9th, 2009, 8:33 am

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Oliver Corpuz » January 30th, 2004, 10:21 am

Although I prefer reading traditional printed books, I truly love the ability to search an ebook. I like it so much I've bought ebooks of books I already own in printed bound form. (E.g. I would use Digital Jinx to do a search, then after locating what I want, I grab my bound volume of Jinx and read that.)

In addition to searching, I think embedded multimedia such as video/audio clips can be a great advantage over traditional printed books. While I prefer to read printed text, printed text cannot provide multimedia and hyperlinks.

Having the ability in an ebook to automatically view a video performance of a trick by pressing a hyperlink would be wonderful. (It would save me time reading and working out a trick only to find out it isn't what I had hoped for). Also having video of certain moves or modified slights that are difficult to explain in text form or illustration would be nice too.

Possibly having an audio "afterthoughts" section having the trick inventor discuss the trick and any additional finesses would be cool too. This would give the reader/user insight on the inventor's personality and experiences performing the trick.

Finally, ebooks that have extensive hyperlinks would be great. Click on a magician name, get a bio. Click on a move, get a video explanation. Hyperlinks make navigating to and accessing information very convenient.

For me, printed books are easier and more satisfying to read than plain ebook text. I would use Ebooks that provide more than electronic equivalents to the traditional printed book. Multimedia (video and audio), easy searching, and lots of hyperlinks are powerful features that can make ebook versions more appealing than the traditional printed version.

- Oliver

Guest

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Guest » January 30th, 2004, 1:38 pm

Chris--

I absolutely agree with the tedious nature of Acrobat searching (and speed for that matter, even on a fast processor). Does your html software provide the context needed in the search summary (e.g., both the name of the location--chapter or article--and a few sentences surrounding the reference)? Also, you imply that one search can be set up for multiple books, n'est-ce pas?

One key to real search usability, however, remains the coverage of potential content that is addressable by your system. Obviously, the best situation is one where are new (and old as well) titles are available to the proper format (think DVDs when video tape was still the dominant format). How do you think this will progress, and what are you doing?

On the "viewability" question, I would think that issue of color choice would also be important, especially by type of monitor used. DO you know of research / best practices in this area, and have you made any attempt to address this?

:cool:

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » January 30th, 2004, 1:53 pm

Originally posted by Oliver Corpuz:
I would use Ebooks that provide more than electronic equivalents to the traditional printed book. Multimedia (video and audio), easy searching, and lots of hyperlinks are powerful features that can make ebook versions more appealing than the traditional printed version.
Oliver, are you familiar with my version of "Card College 1"? It has most of what you are describing here. It has 89 embedded video clips describing all the moves. It is hyperlinked and can be searched.

Your idea of an audio afterthought is an intriguing idea. This would give more character to the ebook, a personal touch, a voice to remember. I will think about that. This is a neat idea. Thank you for sharing.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » January 30th, 2004, 2:21 pm

Originally posted by WarlockDrummer:
I absolutely agree with the tedious nature of Acrobat searching (and speed for that matter, even on a fast processor). Does your html software provide the context needed in the search summary (e.g., both the name of the location--chapter or article--and a few sentences surrounding the reference)?
Yes, my search summary has this context. It first lists the title of the ebook followed by the page number and the keyword surrounded by several words before and after. You typically get a line or so of text. (This could be made an adjustable parameter.) Also there is a hyperlink that will bring you directly to the match location and a hyperlink to the beginning of the page.

Also, you imply that one search can be set up for multiple books, n'est-ce pas?
Yes, my search engine searches through one, all, or any subgroup of ebooks you select. I do searches through my +160 ebooks all the time. It is one search I start, one summary to go through. Clicking on a hyperlink in the search summary automatically loads the respective ebook and opens to the desired location.

One key to real search usability, however, remains the coverage of potential content that is addressable by your system. Obviously, the best situation is one where are new (and old as well) titles are available to the proper format (think DVDs when video tape was still the dominant format). How do you think this will progress, and what are you doing?
There are many aspects to your question. What I or Lybrary.com are doing and have been doing for almost 4 years now, is to convert the classics of magic literature into electronic form as well as buy and acquire new contents. I have now 160 titles in my catalog and I add about every week one new ebook. In terms of classics pre ~1930 I think I cover a good portion (Tarbell Course, Hoffmann, Houdini, Goldston, ...). In terms of new material it is a mixed bag. I have some great ones, like the Card College series, lots from Peter Duffie, and an asortment of several other authors like Bob Cassidy, Jamy Ian Swiss, Euan McBingham, Steven Youell, Aldo Colombini, ... but there is a lot of great material which I am not able to offer. I would like to, but negotiating rights and even getting to the point where a negotiation is possible is often difficult. But I slowly convince one after the other and work on the old stuff as well to be able to offer a wide selection of material. I also make a point of covering diverse subjects like chapeaugraphy, shadowgraphy, juggling, gambling, math, puzzles, catalogs, magazines, ...

On the "viewability" question, I would think that issue of color choice would also be important, especially by type of monitor used. DO you know of research / best practices in this area, and have you made any attempt to address this?
Good point you are raising here. I myself have not done a lot of experimenting with colors. I try to be conservative with colors and stick to a black/red scheme whenever possible. I have added color for some sections in Card College. I also don't know of any color research for ebooks.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

User avatar
Marco Pusterla
Posts: 446
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Suffolk - UK
Contact:

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Marco Pusterla » January 31st, 2004, 8:03 am

Chris,
back to your original list, this is what I feel is more important in eBooks:

1) a great search engine
2) links from one ebook to the other
3) thorough index
4) the ability to add margin notes
4b)the ability to highlight passages

I personally prefer ebooks in PDF, as the layout is generally better (view-vise) than HTML ones. About searches in multiple PDFs, I have to say that I'm quite pleased with the last version of Acrobat Reader (6.0.1) which allow you to search text in a group of PDFs in one folder. True, the search is not terribly quick, nor as powerful as it could be, but it is a major improvement, I think, on the previous versions.

All the best, ciao!
Marco Pusterla - http://www.mpmagic.com

Ye Olde Magic Mag: magic history and collecting magazine.

Guest

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Guest » February 1st, 2004, 8:27 am

I really prefer text in pdf format. It better preserves the "look and feel" of printed text. I do not care for html-formatted text; I find it tedious to read large amounts of text that are html.

The search facility is very important. As others have mentioned the search engine in Acrobat 6.0.1 is very nice. I really like the display of multiple occurrences of the target word in context. That's a feature that is very useful. I have not used Acrobat 6.0.1 to search multiple pdf documents. I'm not sure how much I'd use a multiple document search, although this may be a case of "If you don't have it don't even think about it." Multi-doc search is very useful in programming, but those editors require that you pre-define the files that make up the project, or place them in the same directory. In other words, they require some additional planning and foresight on the part of the user. That makes them difficult for non-IT users to use.

I've not ever used the highlight or marginal note facility where it is available in other software, so I doubt that I would use it here.

My normal pattern of use is to find the stuff I'm interested in, using a search engine, and then to print out the page (or more) so that I can study it at my leisure (and more comfortably).

Thanks for asking us about our preferences.

P.S. I'm really impressed with the cleverness of your magic square effect!

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » February 1st, 2004, 1:25 pm

Originally posted by Marco Pusterla:
I personally prefer ebooks in PDF, as the layout is generally better (view-vise) than HTML ones. About searches in multiple PDFs, I have to say that I'm quite pleased with the last version of Acrobat Reader (6.0.1) which allow you to search text in a group of PDFs in one folder. True, the search is not terribly quick, nor as powerful as it could be, but it is a major improvement, I think, on the previous versions.
Marco, I have not tested the 6.0.1 search engine. Could you explain in more detail the new features? You are saying one can now search several documents which reside in the same folder. That's definitely an improvement. Is there still the Find-Find Next stepping through individual found matches?

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Guest

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Guest » February 1st, 2004, 2:13 pm

I guess there is no stopping progress but my ideal e-book is still a hard cover bound, page by page, printed on paper book. In other words, i hate e-books except when I am on the road because it is easier to have them for the notebook to read than say 50lbs of books to lug around, but otherwise, the hard copies are my favourite and I know there are others that agree. I just figured that by providing you with many views might help you better in your endeavor, such as offering BOTH types, e-book and hard copy.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Supplying professional mentalists world-wide

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » February 1st, 2004, 3:25 pm

Originally posted by Paul Alberstat:
I guess there is no stopping progress but my ideal e-book is still a hard cover bound, page by page, printed on paper book
Paul, I appreciate your feedback, but I was hoping that this does not deteriorate into an ebook vs. book thread. I know that there are many who prefer books over ebooks and there is a minority, a growing minority I should add, which likes ebooks or at least purchases ebooks besides books. The differences and pros and cons are fairly obvious. That is not to say that I am not interested in hearing your and others opinion about it, but maybe we can save these comments for a different thread.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Craig Matsuoka
Posts: 195
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 5:13 pm
Location: Kailua, Hawaii

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Craig Matsuoka » February 1st, 2004, 9:49 pm

Chris,

The new search engine in Adobe Reader 6.0 is a huge step forward for the format. They did away with the kludgy "Find-Find Next" utility, and replaced it with a true contextual search engine. They also integrated their ebook reader with the interface as well. Theres a button you can click to access my bookshelf where you maintain a convenient repository of all your pdf ebooks (with thumbnail previews).

As for the search engine, when you want to find something, you click the find button, and a vertical search engine pane opens up in the right side of the window. You type in your search string and it returns a list of hits along with any surrounding text, just like Google and, yes, even your own excellent Lybrary reader. Although you cant adjust the scope of the surrounding text like you can with the Lybrary reader (it only returns one word before and five words after), its still quite functional and serves the purpose well.

You can even search multiple pdf files at the same time - like Lybrary reader. Just use the advanced search option to select any folder containing the target files. This is a GREAT feature to use when youve got dozens of files, but you dont want to waste time opening each one.

Hyperlinks in the search results take you to the EXACT point in the pdf file. Im not sure if youve upgraded your Lybrary reader to do this, but in the version that comes with the Jamy Ian Swiss reviews, clicking on a search result only takes you to the general page that its on. If the page is long, you have to manually scroll down to the yellow highlighted hit (or use the browsers find on this page feature). To me, it can get a little annoying after the first ten or twenty pages.

Another interesting feature of the new Adobe Reader is that the search engine integrates seamlessly with Google, so you can find any pdfs on the web that contain your search string.

Heres what I DONT like about using pdfs:

1) I dont enjoy constantly panning and scanning when Im viewing the file on a puny 17 monitor, resized window, or pda screen. In those situations, I like the wrapping text of HTML better.
2) Slow searches. Full text searches are still painfully slow on large files like Michael Closes Reviews (868 pages). I dont know if the Lybrary search engine does indexed searches or not. No offense, but I dont like the speed of the searches on the Lybrary engine either. I wonder how long it will take to do a full text search on the future HTML version of the Sphinx? If Lybrary reader can achieve search speeds equaling products like DjVu (www.djvuzone.org), that would make me happy.

DjVu is a very cool format for electronic publishing. Its great for producing electronic multilayered facsimiles. Invisible layers of text can also be embedded in the facsimile pages to enable searches of handwritten manuscripts. DjVu only requires a browser plug-in and file sizes are usually much smaller than pdf, sometimes by nearly 50%. However, it lacks a true search engine, and the most worthwhile features are optional (commercial and closed source). You can try out an online encoder here: http://any2djvu.djvuzone.org


Heres what I dont like about HTML ebook conversions:

It doesnt preserve original pagination. Unless you have access to a facsimile of the original book, it becomes difficult or impossible to quickly cite the correct pages in the paper books while youre writing up a routine or recording historical research.

Unlike Adobe Reader, you cant easily zoom in and out of ANY picture you want, to ANY scale you desire.

So, what do I like better - HTML or PDF? I dont know. To me, thats like asking if I prefer using pencils or pens. I believe its silly to look down our noses at one format or the other, as they both serve invaluable (and very different) purposes. Use the right tool for the right job.

What Id like to see in an ebook:

More hyperlinking within the text. At some point, I would want the option of customizing the way hypertext appears in the reader. It might get irritating to read a page that has 200 blue links.

Some type of page mapping system. This isnt an issue with pdf, but when Im reading an HTML ebook, there should be some way of knowing what page of the paper book Im on. There are some standalone ebook readers that do this. For example, I have an ebook reader that displays a status bar at the bottom of the screen which shows the equivalent page number of the paper book, even though the on-screen text is continuously flowing, wrapped text.

Searchable images. This will probably require greater use of the ALT attribute in HTML pages. These ALT attributes should contain good descriptions of what the images are. That way, photographs will also turn up in a search. For example, if you want to find any photos showing Houdini, a search will turn up all images that have Houdini in them - even group photos. I understand that Adobe is working on getting similar capability added to the pdf specification.

Annotation features. Ability to add your own hyperlinks to other sections of text in other ebooks.

Pronunciation features. Speech synthesis will not be reliable enough for something like this. This might require actual samples of a real human voice for things like names and other words with tricky pronunciations. Something like what www.m-w.com and www.bartleby.com do with their online dictionaries.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » February 1st, 2004, 11:26 pm

Craig,

thank you for your great feedback. Very detailed and very useful.

Originally posted by Craig Matsuoka:
Hyperlinks in the search results take you to the EXACT point in the pdf file. I'm not sure if you've upgraded your Lybrary reader to do this, but in the version that comes with the Jamy Ian Swiss reviews, clicking on a search result only takes you to the general page that it's on.
Yes my Lybrary reader does that. In the search results page you need to click on the '>>' hyperlink. The reader automatically inserts a hyperlink target in the text and then goes right to the location. If you click on the page number link then you are transported to the beginning of the page.

2) Slow searches. Full text searches are still painfully slow on large files like Michael Close's Reviews (868 pages). I don't know if the Lybrary search engine does indexed searches or not. No offense, but I don't like the speed of the searches on the Lybrary engine either. I wonder how long it will take to do a full text search on the future HTML version of the Sphinx? If Lybrary reader can achieve search speeds equaling products like DjVu (www.djvuzone.org), that would make me happy.
Lybrary reader does not do indexed searches, but I have thought about it. Speed can always be better, but I think it is not bad. I search on an old 600MHz computer my full 160+ set of ebooks in under 30 minutes. The main reason I am reluctant to go to an indexed search is the proximity search feature Lybrary reader offers. You can search for two keywords say 5 words appart and not further appart. Or you want their order to be a certain way. For the professional searcher I also offer regular expressions where almost anything is possible. I assume Adobe does not allow anything like that. Indexed searches could still speed up searching but would make an implementation a lot more involved.

DjVu only requires a browser plug-in and file sizes are usually much smaller than pdf, sometimes by nearly 50%. However, it lacks a true search engine, and the most worthwhile features are optional (commercial and closed source). You can try out an online encoder here: http://any2djvu.djvuzone.org
I have looked a while back into that format. I considered it for the digital Sphinx to further reduce file sizes. However, the main problem is that compression for scans which are mainly text pages is poor, or not better than what other formats offer. And the plug-in also causes troubles with compatibility a.s.o. Last time I checked they didn't support Macs.

HTML doesn't preserve original pagination. Unless you have access to a facsimile of the original book, it becomes difficult or impossible to quickly cite the correct pages in the paper books while you're writing up a routine or recording historical research.
My HTML ebooks do preserve the original pagination since each page of the original is one page in the ebook. This was something I realized very early. Otherwise references from other books are useless. Say you read somewhere look up Expert Card Technique page 274. With my ebook version you can do that very quickly. The only ebook which does not have the original pagination is Card College. Since Card College is based on the German version you wouldn't be very happy with the pagination anyway :-)

More hyperlinking within the text.
Lybrary reader supports links from one ebook to the other. I have started inserting such links and Card College has lots of them, but one would need to go back to my earlier ebooks and insert more links to other ebooks. I have plans for an even more sophisticated and automated cross link feature. Imagine you are clicking on a word in your ebook (say a name or move). This would bring up a list of links which lead you to other ebooks where more is written about the keyword you clicked. The number of hyperlinks you get will depend on the ebooks you have. So this will be an index into your personal ebook library.

What you said about image searches is a very good suggestion. In principle it would be fairly easy to add such a feature. The real work is in writing all these ALT descriptions.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Michael Edwards
Posts: 516
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Michael Edwards » February 2nd, 2004, 6:42 am

Today's Washington Post (February 2, 2004) features an interesting story about the progress in the development of flexible display screens. The article -- Flexible Display Screens Readied for Production: Roll 'Em, Fold 'Em, Stick 'Em in Your Pocket; Long-Envisioned Plastic Sheets Will Make E-Newspapers, E-Books a Reality -- can be found at www.washingtonpost.com.

User avatar
BlueEyed Videot
Posts: 207
Joined: May 17th, 2008, 8:19 pm
Favorite Magician: Max Maven, Ray Anderson
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby BlueEyed Videot » February 2nd, 2004, 8:56 am

I prefer hardbound books. Always have, always will. There's something about the heft, feel, smell, and sight of a nicely produced book that an eBook just can't touch.

One thing that worries me about the eBooks. 10 years from now, will we still be able to pull out a CD of our eBooks and plop it into our computers and read it? I doubt it.

I just came across some old 5 1/4" floppies I had stored some magic notes on. Can I access them now? Nope.

But I do know that 10 years from now, I'll still be able to pick up my original copy of Greater Magic, and still be able to read it.

Craig Matsuoka
Posts: 195
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 5:13 pm
Location: Kailua, Hawaii

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Craig Matsuoka » February 2nd, 2004, 10:05 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
I was hoping that this does not deteriorate into an ebook vs. book thread...The differences and pros and cons are fairly obvious...maybe we can save these comments for a different thread.
I agree.

Even though the following comments might be off-topic, I'd like to briefly address the concern of format obsolescence.

As recently as 15 years ago, obsolescence was a massive problem. But the industry has come a long way in terms of foresight since then. Now, thankfully, there's a new mindset toward future-proofing and portability.

These days, it's easier to convert modern file formats from one reader version to another, and even between different formats. Back in the "good old days" of computing, there was little effort in engineering content for backward compatibility. If you didn't keep a plain ASCII text version along with your Apple or TRS-80 word processing and spreadsheet files, you were screwed when it came time to move those files to a different machine. Nearly everything was proprietary and closed back then. To make things worse, even the recording media was a horrendously broad confusion of incompatible closed standards.

But that was then. The success of modern open standards like HTML, and communication standards like USB, Firewire, TCP/IP, and Ethernet make future-proofing much simpler. Not only is backward compatibility easier, it's also less of a hassle to move older files to newer media or revisions of the file format. As long as you're disciplined enough to do the necessary conversions, your ebooks stand a much better chance of weathering the storms of change.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » February 2nd, 2004, 10:27 am

I may add for the paranoid that one could always print out ebooks. With todays affordable desktop binding solutions one could achieve quite presentable books (see Powis Parker for example and others).

However, I think today this is not necessary anymore. As Craig outlined I don't see a big problem moving HTML files to newer versions or convert them to simple text, PDF, or any other new format. Also media like CDs, DVDs, flash cards, USB drives are much more compatible than in the past. Nevertheless I suggest to stay on top of new developments on a 5 year cycle. It is very easy to see which formats and storage media become obsolete and which ones are becoming the new standard. Just move your precious ebooks to the new medium and store them also on your hard disc.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

thumbslinger
Posts: 29
Joined: October 25th, 2008, 7:05 pm
Location: Austin, Tx
Contact:

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby thumbslinger » February 3rd, 2004, 4:04 pm

You guys, Acrobat 5 has this capability via the Catalog and Index features and Im willing to bet possibly 4 had this.

The key is that the pdf documents have to be created correctly...from text, not from graphic files.

Saving a screenshot or photo as a PDF from say, Photoshop will not allow indexing as there is no OCR implementation that I know of within Acrobat at this time.

But, that being said, you simply have a folder where all PDF are located and choose CATALOG from under Tools.

Then, you create a new INDEX, navigate to the folder and save the INDEX as whatever youd like and click BUILD.

Open Acrobat, then SEARCH, QUERY and click INDEXES to select which INDEX to search. Enter your phrase/word and the list comes up with all documents containing the word or phrase.

It literally took me 45 seconds to create an index of 7 pdf files, then search that index for the word Trost and have my results. Not bad from scratch zero..and that includes finding and moving files into a newly created folder and such.

oh...I forgot...this is the Macintosh version Im working in...;-)
Hey....hey.. it's just for fun, next lifetime you won't even remember who you were.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby mrgoat » February 6th, 2004, 7:51 am

That is not to say that I am not interested in hearing your and others opinion about it, but maybe we can save these comments for a different thread.
[/QB]
Or indeed a forum about ebooks?

Last time I looked, this was about magic, not publishing techniques

Or is this just ANOTHER thinly veiled attempt to promote your own business and sell ebooks?

Best

MrG

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby CHRIS » February 6th, 2004, 9:25 am

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Last time I looked, this was about magic, not publishing techniques

Or is this just ANOTHER thinly veiled attempt to promote your own business and sell ebooks?
Check again, this is an attempt to make something better suited for the magic fraternity. There are very unique opportunities to make ebooks a great resource for magicians.

To give you one example of such unique opportunity, think about left-handed trick descriptions. We had a discussion a few months back on this issue. Ebooks offer the possibility to change from a right-handed description to a left-handed by a mere click of a button. That is a real and measurable benefit for magicians, at least the 15% or so which are left dominant. I have been working on such a feature together with others from this board. Stay tuned.

Since I am right handed this opportunity didn't even cross my mind until it was discussed here on the Genii forum, which is a testament of the value of the Genii forum and its participants.

So, no you are wrong, this is not an attempt to promote my hundreds of great ebooks, this is to make them better, get feedback from readers, and maybe get other ebook publishers adopt similar formats and join the effort.

One more information that might make you upset since you seem to be a real Lybrary.com antagonist, the demand for ebooks triplet over the last year. More and more are finding out what they have been missing all along. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to work with ebooks and extract great value from them.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Guest

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Guest » February 6th, 2004, 7:11 pm

Hey Goat, why don't you back off a little and give Wasshuber some slack?

As he offers a number of out of print books of interest to the magical fraternity, his post is directly about magic. He has respectfully posed a valid question to improve his product by directly questioning his (potential) clients. He doesn't deserve ANOTHER obvious snipe by an anonymous poster.

--Randy Campbell

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8042
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 6th, 2004, 9:00 pm

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
I am soliciting opinions and ideas on how you think the ideal ebook should look like. ...
I'd like a bookplate. This would identify my copy of a book.

I'd like the ability to add my notes. post-its on the pages and even text revision would be nice.

I'd like the ability to link to other books. And to create links.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

thumbslinger
Posts: 29
Joined: October 25th, 2008, 7:05 pm
Location: Austin, Tx
Contact:

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby thumbslinger » February 24th, 2004, 2:20 pm

The bookplate notion is a little tricky for cross-platform files, but not if they are distributed on a cd. However, that really kills the idea of the portability of an e-book.

That being said, everything else you mentioned, adding notes/changing text (although you might lose info) and adding links again is available in Acrobat.
Hey....hey.. it's just for fun, next lifetime you won't even remember who you were.

Jim Morton
Posts: 178
Joined: February 7th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: How would your ideal ebook look like?

Postby Jim Morton » February 24th, 2004, 3:08 pm

I definitely prefer PDF versions by light years. This is partly because I still prefer hard copy for reading, and since I can quickly make hard cover and paperback books any time I want, I usually go this route. In fact, I also do this with posts on Genii that I find worth reading carefully (like the Erdnase thread, for instance). I just find it easier to right a piece of paper than a computer screen.


Return to “General”