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Re: ebook format

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: ebook format
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2021 01:56:35 -0500

On 6/10/21, Deri <> wrote:
> Just out of interest, why do you dismiss pdf format for reading on the 
> kindle? I find you have
> greater control over the way you want it to look using groff and pdf.

As a creator, that may have some appeal.  But most readers won't be
happy with this, because it means they can no longer resize the type
and have the page adjust appropriately.  (They could if the device
understood raw groff, but I'd be surprised if that were an option on
any commercial tablet.)  And whatever dimensions you carefully
selected to look good on your tablet will probably look terrible on
someone's phone.  So this is a fine solution if you're making a
document only for your own use, but probably not for anything intended
for others.

On 6/10/21, Oliver Corff <> wrote:
> I found out that line-breaking seems
> to expect at least letter or A4 pages to deliver pleasing results,

This is likely a consequence of groff's line-at-a-time breaking
algorithm, which doesn't look ahead to see if a different way of
breaking the current line might improve results further down.  This is
usually OK on wider columns but works less and less well the narrower
your columns get.  In contrast, Heirloom troff and neatroff consider
the entire paragraph at once and try to find the best breakpoints,
which often gives better breaking for narrow columns.

> it may well be necessary to say .kern 0 in order to turn off kerning.
> Some ebook readers (I speak of physical devices, not viewers for
> ordinary computers) struggle pathetically with the display of
> well-kerned text (seems to be an issue whether the built-in font matches
> the metrics of the font information delivered by the PDF).

As an alternative to disabling kerning, instructing groff to embed all
the fonts in the PDF ("-e" option of gropdf, thus "-P -e" to groff)
may help with this.  With this, the page should display identically
across all viewers and devices.

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