Clarkesworld on the Kindle

I’m experimenting with Kindle editions of Clarkesworld Magazine and would like some feedback before I go further with this project. If any of you buy the Kindle edition of Issue 43, would you mind sharing your thoughts with me? Either here or via email (neil@clarkesworldmagazine.com) would be fine.  Thanks!

14 thoughts on “Clarkesworld on the Kindle

  1. Anonymous says:

    I bought and took the opportunity to view this issue on the Kindle 2, my iPhone via the Kindle app, and the Kindle app for mac.

    Positives:

    – Including cover art is quite awesome. Thank you for that. Nice resolution, so I can zoom in on my iPhone and drool over the gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous art.

    – Multiple author information appears preserved, at least when I view the book’s information on the Kindle.

    – The little divider image works well, and I like it.

    – You have a demarked cover and table of contents so it shows up in the Kindle menu when reading the book. Excellent. People sometimes forget this.

    – You put the table of contents at the end of the book, but appear to still have put in a decent “text” guide to indicate the beginning of the text. Either that, or the Kindle 2 got smarter than the Kindle 1 with respect to this.

    – Items in the table of contents are out-dented, which is great with the longer lines. Not enough people look into this little detail.

    – Your em-dashes are real em-dashes, great typographically. You also add a space before and after each em-dash—while this isn’t typographical convention, it’s handy to use in ebooks which may or may not have intelligent line-breaking mechanisms to deal with em-dashed sentences.

    – The ending biographical material in smaller font is very nice. People don’t always take advantage of this capability.

    – The slightly increased spacing between an interview question and the last paragraph of the previous answer is very nice. Bravo.

    Negatives:

    – Paragraphs are separated by full-height blank lines and have no indentation. I prefer (and I think this is the majority opinion as well among ebook consumers) to have paragraphs indented instead.

    – Quotes are not smart “curly” quotes. Bad typographically.

    – Similar comment for apostrophes that aren’t curly.

    – You include N.K. Jemisin’s picture twice in a row. I don’t mind, personally, I love her hair, but still. 🙂 Was one supposed to be the book cover of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms?

    – This is a detail unnoticed by most, but I think you didn’t include “We Come in Pieces” as part of the playlist in the toc.ncx file of the original ePub. (At least, all evidence points to this being a conversion from ePub to Mobipocket, which is actually one of the best approaches.) The Kindle 2 allows people to fast-forward through play points with the joystick.

    • wyrmadmin says:

      Thanks for the in-depth report!

      I’m working on the first three negatives now. The last two seem to be conversion issues that I’ll have to look at closely. (You are correct, ePub to mobi to Kindle.)

    • wyrmadmin says:

      Looks like the tool I use for conversion has a known-issue (an unrepentant one) about placing the TOC at the end of the book. I’ll look for work-arounds.

      Of the negatives, I’ve fixed the first four. I can’t duplicate the fifth and when I checked the toc.ncx file, “We Come in Pieces” was correctly listed. Could have been a conversion glitch. I’ll have to keep an eye on that one.

      I’ve submitted a revised file to Amazon. Not sure how long it will take them to post it. Hopefully this doesn’t introduce any new errors. 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t mind the ToC at the back so much—is this Feedbooks, Calibre, or something else you’re using, out of curiosity? I know that the ePub fans usually prefer the ToC to be implicitly generated by the reader via toc.ncx, and like to shove Table of Contents HTML to the back (or not have it all, even though it’s impractical for every other formats that are converted from an ePub).

        (It’s like: hey, why don’t ePub readers support the text guide instead? But I digress.)

        I’ll keep an eye out for the revised file. 🙂

        • wyrmadmin says:

          I’m using Calibre to do the ePub to Mobi conversions. I’ve seen comments from them indicating that placing the TOC anywhere but the end wasn’t likely to happen.

          The original files are created as ePub with some home-grown tools and a couple of other apps (Sigil and something else I never remember the name of).

    • temporus says:

      I’m going to second everything arachnejericho has said. She got everything I was going to comment on, and then some.

      I’ll add that I viewed it on both my K1, and on my wife’s K2 just to see if there was anything strange going on, and to all appearances it was identical.

      Also brought it down on my Kindle for PC, and noticed that part of what was nagging at me (the non-indented paragraphs with the whole blank line between) didn’t bother me as much on the PC. I’m wondering if that’s a general difference between online reading to “book” reading that seems to work OK for me on the PC, but not so much on an ereader.

      • wyrmadmin says:

        Thanks. I’m looking at everything on the Kindle for the PC application, so the feedback is particularly handy.

        The revised version of the issue should be available now. Does it look better to you now?

        • temporus says:

          I’m not seeing a difference on my K1. But I might be having a problem with re-downloading the file. I’ll see if I can play around with the PC version and K2 tonight.

          • wyrmadmin says:

            Huh. The preview copy was displaying the new one. I’ve just uploaded the third revision to the file and it should be available in 24-48 hours. I found a way to do a custom table of contents and tinkered with the cover a bit.

            If this one doesn’t break any of the features that were noted as positives, I’ll start uploading back issues.

  2. karen_w_newton says:

    I got the issue on my Kindle 2 also. Ditto everything arachnejericho said, except that I didn’t mind the spaces between paragraphs, actually. Paragraphs are often a sore point in ebooks, as in they don’t always come through clearly delineated. I am OK with the double spacing between paragraphs if it makes them clear. That was on reason I liked your little scene break thingees. They were clear, which just extra spaces are not.

    I get Asimov’s on subscription on the Kindle and its issues have a “section index” that shows the parts of the magazine— short stories, novella, novelettes, editorial, etc.— with the number of items shown for each. The bottom of the screen always has prompts to go back to the section index or to move to the next section. I guess your issue has too few items in it to merit that treatment, but if your issues ever get bigger you might want to check it out.

    Nice issue, by the way.

    • wyrmadmin says:

      Thanks! I’ll have to look into how they are doing that section index. Interesting navigation trick they have going. Didn’t know that was possible.

      • Anonymous says:

        I believe this is specific to the Mobipocket format and Mobipocket readers that can interpret this format (I only know of the Mobipocket reader itself and the Kindle readers). It’s a Mobipocket “newspaper” feature. Newspapers and magazines offered by Amazon usually feature this.

        I don’t know much else about it. Curious, I searched the Mobipocket forums, and turned up this short thread between Dell Magazines and Mobipocket customer service.

        Looks like this is something to ask the Mobipocket guys about over email.

        • wyrmadmin says:

          Thanks. I’ve found cryptic references to this but searches haven’t turned up any specific details. I’ll drop Mobi and Asimov’s an email to see if they can point me in the right direction. If it is a magazine-only option, it could be a problem. Last time I spoke to them, Amazon wasn’t open to talking about adding us as a magazine.

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