“...the academic habit of relegating notes to the foot of the page or the end of the book is a mirror of Victorian social and domestic practice, in which the kitchen was kept out of sight and the servants were kept below stairs. If the notes are permitted to move around in the margins – as they were in Renaissance books – they can be present where needed and at the same time enrich the life of the page.”
In The Elements of Typographic Style, the notes are held in the side margins – thus putting the information near and even alongside the reference in the text. Robert Bringhurst doesn't need to bother with those little superscript numbers because the supplementary information is very much nearby for the reader.
Still, tradition dictates that in some books, there are footnotes and some there are endnotes (either at the end of the chapter or the end of the book). Putting notes in the side margins is nice if you can afford the space. Let's face it, book design and usability does not often win-out over commercial considerations. Robert Bringhurst's book is exceptional and – it is a beautiful thing. Lots of space for the text to breath.
How I dislike some books that give me less than a centimetre of margin.
What fun to get the correct spacing for this particularly French punctuation in a reflowable eBook!
« Viva la France »
The Guillemet is used in more than just the French language, but a problem arises when needing to use in an eBook, becasue it is traditional to have a space between it and the word that is being quoted. This is not the case with the curly quotes used in the English language; they, in comparison, simply surround the word with no space.
Why can't we simply have an empty space, after the word and before the word?
3 reasons actually:
First of all typographic purists will know that this is no ordinary space; it is a thin space. Usually 1/8 of the normal word space.
The next problem is that we do not want to allow the Guillemet and the word to be broken over a line. An ordinary space allows the line to break there if needed—don't forget this is a reflowable eBook.
Finally, in a justified block of text, the spaces are fluid; the algorithm for text-align:justify will adjust the space between words, making our space inconsistent.
Is there a solution? And will it work in the ePub format for any or most devices?
The page-break-after:avoid rule just doesn't do its job! Can we fix it? Yes we can.
You all know it to be true. The one really annoying thing about the re-flowable ePub, is that you are often seeing those sub-titles all on their own at the bottom of the page. Just like a lonely orphan.
You can see an example in the first image here.
CSS has some rules for paged-media that try to prevent a page breaking before or after elements. Try as I might, I simply cannot get this do as expected.
So is there a way to sort this out while we wait for the ereader software to be updated to solve this? Or do we really have to use the fixed-layout option. No!No! Please not that.
InDesign has a feature for paragraph styles; Balance Ragged Lines.
This is a very useful style attribute, because text in headings can look very uncomfortable if left to break naturally.
Unfortunatately there is nothing currently in CSS that gives us the power to balance our lines of text. I was always dissapointed to find that my eBooks did not mirror the settings in InDesign, and I was always resigned to the fact that text would break in a heading and then leave, possibly just one word on the following line.
Edit: This article has been updated to take account of Indesign CC.
Note: The information provided here applies to eBooks created with the ePub3 standard. The font embedding techniques herein will only work properly if the ePub validates to the ePub3 standard.
Different devices offer different fonts, which may not be under the control of the book designer.
The iPad is the most sophisticated tablet that has a lot of built-in fonts, and these are available to the ebook designer.
When exporting to ePub from InDesign you can specify that the fonts are embedded.
InDesign CS6 CreativeCloud will encrypt the fonts using a method acceptable for the ePUB3 standard recognised by the International Digital Publishers Forum(IDPF). Unfortunately, the font files are also obvuscated and this is not acceptable to some eReaders.
Naturally enough, fonts embedded from the InDesign export to ePub3, will display correctly in Adobe Digital Editions. But what about getting these fonts to display on the Apple iOS devices, such as the iPad?
In the iBooks app on the iPad the user has control over the justification. Well, that is, by default justification is turned on. Users can turn that off - but they probably don't! ‘cos they don‘t know where to find it.
How can eBook designers get the kind of alignment they prefer, and make the eBook stay like that?