MMMSP e-book publication formats and devices
Go to ● MMMSP publications ● Philip Tagg's home page ● Why PDF format? ● Format and device comparison
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Page size, printability, viewability
- Most publications are in A5 format (148 × 210 mm = 5.8 × 8.3") with c. 20 mm (=0.8") margins (printed area 128 × 190 mm = 5 × 7½").
- A few books have the following page dimensions (width × height) 7 × 10" = 177 × 254 mm with the printed area on each page measuring 110×180 mm = 4.33×7.1" (margins 67/74 mm = 2.64/2.91"). These dimensions fit easily on to a sheet of international standard A4 paper (210×295 mm = 8.3×11.7") or the US-American 'letter' format (8.5×11" = 215.9 × 279.4 mm).
- The main font size for all books is 10 point. This means they can all be easily printed on to standard paper sizes and be clearly viewed in portrait mode on a tablet.
- Almost all books are published in PDF format (see next).
- PDFs are easier to produce than other formats.
- PDFs let the reader see the book as the author/publisher intended because they do not have to adapt display size to tiny smartphone dimensions. Reading the news or normal novels, crime stories etc. may be OK on a mobile phone but many sections in MMMSP books just cannot be adapted to smartphone-size displays (or even smaller)!
- Footnotes, tables, graphics, illustrations, music examples, etc. appear in the correct
place on the page/screen and do not have to be negotiated using links.
- Since MMMSP books are in PDF format, there is no need to involve a third-party retailer (e.g. Amazon in order to distribute a Kindle version). Cutting out the middle person cuts the cost of distribution. Lower costs mean that more people can afford to donate to the upkeep of this website.
- PDFs have page numbers. E-book formatted files that adapt to varying display sizes do not.
Page numbers are an essential if:
[a] the book is also being published in hard copy;
[b] scholars, students, researchers, etc. need to correctly identify passages from the book
for reference or quotation purposes;
- PDF files do NOT require readers to own any special book-reading device or book-reading software exclusive to a particular corporation (e.g. Amazon Kindle, Google Reader, Reader for Sony tablets).
Anyone with a computer, laptop or tablet and freely available book-reading software can easily and comfortably read a PDF file anywhere in the world at any time.
- PDFs can be read on desktops, laptops and tablets using, for example:
[a] Adobe Reader for computers, laptops and tablets;
[b] Amazon Kindle software for computers, laptops and tablets;
[c] other book-reading apps supplied with particular makes of tablet.
- PDFs can contain hyperlinks, both internal (inside the same book) and external (to any URL on the internet).
- You can go to any page number in the PDF file.
- You can search for text anywhere in the PDF file.
- You can zoom display in or out (within reason).
- The PDF returns to the last page you visited in the book each time you open it.
- You can highlight text and insert comments.
- You can display the contents panel and click there to go to any chapter or section displayed in it.
- You can set Adobe Reader to turn PDF pages horizontally on a tablet instead of having to scroll vertically.
Not all book-reading apps have the same features. Read on....
This section is no longer here. It has been incorporated into what’s above...
Amazon Kindle software is great if you just want to read the book and nothing else because it lets you adjust display brightness to make the reading experience more pleasurable. However, for everything else a standard PDF reader (e.g. Adobe Acrobat) is recommended. And there’s absolutely no point trying to read most MMMSP books on a smartphone.