Borrowed another ebook

This one’s even worse than the
first one
from a usability standpoint.

The problem is that this one’s a PDF file, but instead of
reading it with one of the many excellent PDF readers in the
world (including Adobe’s), I still have to read it with Adobe
Digital Editions.

Adobe Digital Editions, instead of having menus across the top
with helpful items like “rotate screen”, and “go to full screen for
the text”, has buttons scattered around the part of the screen
that isn’t text. With the epub format, two of the buttons
enlarged and reduced the font size, but the PDF’s don’t reflow,
so all you can do is change the size of the text window. The
largest size I managed to get on my 14 inch laptop is readable,
but if I had an “enlarge font” button, I would still push it.
Especially if I were trying to read in bed, which I haven’t
bothered to do with this one.

On reading the epub book last week, I found myself wishing I
had a netbook, but with this one, I doubt that I would be able
to get a readable size of text, so this book would probably be
even less readable with a netbook.

It isn’t clear what the rationale for having some books in epub
format and some in PDF, but they seem to be about half and half,
so if there are only 108 books and half of them are unreadable,
that gives me even less incentive to buy another gadget.

I should mention that my eyes are a lot better than those of
most people my age. When I was younger I was unusually good at
reading fine print. Until I turned 40, I could read the
condensed Oxford English Dictionary without the magnifying
glass. Now I still don’t carry reading glasses
around with me, although in my home, I usually do have a pair
within reach. So if I can’t get a good font, there are a
lot of people in the world who can’t read the book even by squinting.

I think this is our tax dollars at work. It’s sad that people
whose job is to serve the public have so little concept of
how to implement technology to do that.

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