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Epub book designers, don't do this. - Elf M. Sternberg
Epub book designers, don't do this.
I was doing some research for a new Journal Entry, and in doing so I stumbled across a cute set of kid's books based on the Pandora mythos by Carolyn Hennesy. I pulled out my Nook, navigated to the series, and clicked "Get Sample."

The downloader told me the sample was sixteen megabytes in size. What the hell? I wondered if maybe I'd misread and it was a graphic novel. No, it was text. What was taking up that much space?

I hooked my Nook up to my laptop and backed it up. I found the file. Now, it's true that Nook files are DRM'd, but with the right tools you can still dump the structure of the Nook epub without having to break the encryption. Here's what the structure says, minus the metadata:

23275812 ops/fonts/ARIALUNI.ttf
1443652 ops/fonts/CharisSILB.ttf
1415988 ops/fonts/CharisSILBI.ttf
1439504 ops/fonts/CharisSILI.ttf
1471768 ops/fonts/CharisSILR.ttf
24125 ops/xhtml/ch01.html
3923 ops/xhtml/contents.html

Good grief! 29 megabytes for the font alone. In the compressed EPUB format, the font represents well over 90% of the 16MB volume of the book, and it presents a heck of a strain on the compression/decompression engine of any small ebook reader! I didn't see anything in the sample that would justify that.kind of font abuse.

Really, you'd better have a damn good reason to justify imposing that kind of overhead on your reader's experience.

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Current Mood: surprised surprised

3 comments or Leave a comment
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: October 23rd, 2013 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
And dragging in the whole Unicode for Ariel, rather than just the subset actually used...

I am still horrified at the size of some emails/web pages because of their desire to specify way too much in terms of layout.
kengr From: kengr Date: October 23rd, 2013 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
For some web stuff it's due to people thinking "save as HTML" (especially from Word, though Open Office is far from good too) produces reasonable HTML files.
sirfox From: sirfox Date: October 23rd, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sure seems like adding deliberate heft to the file size...

my best guesses as to why:

1: data fees. somebody's going to rake in a lot more money from all the people downloading this stuff through a mobile-connected data plan device if they pad it to 10x the size. I'm sure there are NO kickbacks offered to the publishers on this. none at all. nope.

2: psychological marketing transferred over from the material world... "this stereo is heavy, it must be high quality."

3: maybe they're just pants-on-head derptarded.
3 comments or Leave a comment