Morning Coffee – 25 July 2016

28431465881_c337c9e6ec_hHere are seven stories to read this morning.

  1. Big data matters but textual analysis really does not (The Shatzkin Files)
  2. Blockchain: Panacea or Pandemic? (The Trichordist)
  3. I've Read the Past, And It Hurts (The Digital Reader)
  4. Publisher restrictions on ebooks & impact in India (MediaNama)
  5. Secret Teacher: My pupils' creativity is being crushed by the punctuation police (The Guardian)
  6. Which Font Should I Use On My Kindle? (Co.Design)
  7. You Don't Need To Finish That Book (No, Really) (BookRiot)

image by @markheybo

About Nate Hoffelder (11468 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

7 Comments on Morning Coffee – 25 July 2016

  1. That “secret teacher” must be absolutely terrible. That teacher makes an assumption that creativity and sentence structure are at odds with each other. A good teacher would expect their students to appreciate and master both as complimentary aspects of the same course.

    • No, the problem here is that teachers have to grade by a checklist, one which does not adequately convey whether a student is a competent writer. We have a similar problem here in the US on standardized tests.

      • Which is while I have confidence in the ability of standardized tests to evaluate students’ proficiency in math or reading, I have little confidence in the ability of standardized tests to evaluate students’ writing proficiency.

        While there is a right answer for a math problem, there is no one right answer on “What is good writing?” There is somewhat the same problem in teaching math when students are downgraded because they arrived at the answer using a different method than the teacher-approved method. And I am not using “guesses” as a method.

  2. I find it bizarre that the font article didn’t discuss the elephant in the room: Bookerly. Also there are indications that the experts interviewed are unfamiliar with ebooks which makes their opinions irrelevant. A font that looks good in print will not on a fixed pixel display.

    • I found the PRH commentary worth reading. It was interesting.

      • I guess my problem is that there is no differentiation between good fonts for print vs good fonts for eink and lcd. It also gives the illusion that these typesetters use a diversity of fonts… but if you just step into a bookstore you’ll find that nearly all mmpb fiction is printed in Baskerville.

        And there is quite a bit more to typesetting than pretty serifs. It’s not just kerning either, there is something in the engine that is yielding much better typography when using the Bookerly font. I’ve taken an ebook and had it set to Baskerville or Palatino and seen rivers. I’ve then switched to Bookerly and observed the rivers to completely vanish.

        It’s been over a year since Amazon announced “enhanced typesetting” yet the article doesn’t discuss it at all nor the decisions that are made when updating an ebook metadata to include this feature. It’s not all the same. Some use hyphenation, some use ragged right, some switch over at a certain size (which also varies from publisher to publisher).

        I also would like to see a discussion of Kindle vs. Kobo vs. Apple vs. Nook typesetting since they all have very different requirements.

        Who should have been interviewed are not print typesetters but ebook typesetters. In fact I’ve not seen a single article yet representing the insights and opinions of those people actually doing that job!

        Just discussing that career would be interesting since it didn’t really exist until just a few years ago.

        And one last thing I didn’t like was that the article conflates reading on an eink kindle with reading on the kindle app. Georgia is not a font on a kindle. I hate it when the two are treated interchangeably since there are significant differences between the two. At least this is not in the form of criticizing Kindles as causing eye strain as some of the recent articles on *this* website have done.

  3. The Secret Teacher’s piece struck a chord with me. I read recently that in the UK those children going to public (fee-paying) schools are taught to be independent while those attending state schools are taught to be obedient. (It’s a continuation of the class system which still pervades British society.) I do understand the need for a standard framework. It ensures teachers mark two different pieces of work by the same criteria without personal preferences creeping in. But, it stifles creativity and the voicing of any independent ideas.

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