Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ask Mrs. Wizard - Poor Kindle Formatting?

Special thanks to Tim for these wonderful questions!

Hi Cindy,
I’m back again with new puzzle. Not urgent but if you could help, I would be very grateful.
I recently bought a book from Amazon: The Ingoldsby Legends.  
Now, on my hand-held Kindle, the text is disposed in such a way that it is very difficult to read, with one line going right over to the right, then line two, just one word, then line three, five or six words, say! (I’m talking about one whole sentence being cut up in this way!)  And so on.
I thought it was the fault of the conversion to digital.
But imagine my surprise in finding it quite normal in my Kindle PC version!  
Do you have any explanation for this and can you help?
Très amicalement, Tim.

I don't think it is your Kindle (hand held) at all... It is a formatting issue with the ebook itself. It sounds as though it is not wrapping properly (the text), and on the Kindle PC version you may have a larger window. Try making the window about the size of your kindle (hand held) and see if it is still ok...

I think if it hasn't been too long, you can get Amazon  customer service to return the book and give you a refund.

Never tolerate poor formatting on an ebook. There are too many to choose from that are formatted just fine.

Let me know OK?
Warmest Regards,
Hello Cindy,
Once again,  thanks for a prompt and comprehensive answer. Actually, as last time, I have meanwhile found a solution much in the same direction as your advice! I’ve discovered that if I read the book after turning the screen sideways (i.e. landscape as opposed to portrait), it pops into a readable form. As this is just as easy a way of reading, I can stick to that.
You are quite right! If I squash my Kindle for PC screen up to about Handheld Kindle size, it does indeed go haywire!

I shall try complaining, however, as you advise this attitude; I’m not the basically tolerant type of person but I’m sure it is better to make a stand against bad formatting. You use the term ‘wrapping’! Is this the accepted term for my problem???
OK, thanks again, Tim.

Thanks for letting me know Tim... Certainly let Amazon know if any books you get have a formatting issue that is unacceptable. I think you have 7 days in order to return a book and get a refund for just about any reason... Another thing you can do is mention the formatting issues in a review of the book, to save others the suffering, or at least warn them what they will be getting.

Wrapping is a term for text ... like some documents, it doesn't matter how big the window is, the text "wraps" or realigns itself to fit the page width just the way it should.  If you use the "enter" key to make text look good in a document, you could get the type of formatting you see on that book. The Enter key may drop the text down a line as far as your eyes are concerned, but to the Kindle, that enter key command means "start another paragraph or line." Not good at all if it is done throughout the book. If they had just kept typing and let the text "wrap" naturally, it would have been fine no matter what Kindle you use. It would just adjust naturally to the size of the "page."

I hope you don't mind if I use this in a future (very soon) blog entry. This information may be valuable to others.

Warmest Regards,

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