Following up my previous post, here are some free PDFs. Enjoy (or not). I’ve tried to optimize these for the iPad. I would be interested to hear about any problems/unsatisfactorinesses, perhaps due to the fact that you are using a Kindle or whatever.
First, two Dickens Christmas books:
“The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain” (PDF, 11 megs)
I included the original illustrations but made them larger in two ways. First, the illustrations are mostly full-bleed. That is, they go to the edge of the page. This is not how they appeared originally and it looks a bit strange if you view the PDF on the computer screen. But it looks fine on the iPad because the device itself is a bit like a picture frame. Pictures want to go right up to the edge. On the other hand, text still needs a white border. I omitted header and footer stuff, since the device shows you page numbers and title if you tap it.
Second, you can zoom the illustrations to take in the detail. I encoded them at 600 dpi for “The Chimes”, 300 for “The Haunted Man” (that’s why the former is three times as big. Does anyone care whether eBook files are large? 34 megs is still pretty small, right?) I think the 600 dpi option is quite noticeably better. But I care about 19th Century illustrated books, so maybe it’s just me.
Also, the files have nice tables of contents, and pages listing illustrations and illustrators, with links.
Next up, an experiment that was sort of a waste of my time, honestly, but now it’s done, and I learned a thing or two. The Internet Archive has complete scans of all six volumes of a nice, Walter Crane illustrated edition of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. (Sort of an expensive set of books if you want to lay hands on paper.) Anyway, the scans are pretty good, as random scanned stuff you find on the internet tends to go. So I made a cleaned up edition of the first volume, in three parts. Part I, Part II, Part III (all PDF).
Now, the first problem here is that, frankly, it’s Edmund Spenser. For a lot of people, that’s a deal breaker. But I like the Walter Crane illustrations and I’m not going to argue with you about poetry just right now. The second problem is that the scans just weren’t quite good enough. (At least 600 dpi, people. 1200 dpi, if there’s fine detail.) It takes too much time, if you can’t do it right in the end. But I have a bunch of nice, 19th Century illustrated books sitting here beside me. I’m thinking it might be nice to make some clean, facsimile editions, optimized for iPad. Do the scanning right. Give ‘em away. Still, it’s time consuming to do this stuff (although I can listen to audiobooks while I’m doing it.)
Scanning issues aside, I think it’s still a pretty ok and basically readable iPad edition of Spenser I’ve made. Again, note how the layout is weird, if you view these pdf’s on your computer screen. I basically punched iPad screen-sized chunks out of original pages – which were, I think, 8.5” x 11” or so. Per my previous post, maybe people ought to resize material for the iPad more often, if they intend the PDF’s they make to be viewed on these devices, not printed (probably). People think PDF’s are bad for tablet readers because PDF’s aren’t formatted for them, but they easily can be.
Last but not least, just as I was building myself this whole ‘PDF’s are great for iPad!’ bandwagon, for my lonely self, I stumbled on a nice little site that lets comics creators, illustrators and such folk, sell their stuff as PDF’s: The Illustrated Section. So I re-formatted some past stuff – last year’s “Mama In Her Kerchief and I In My Madness”, and good ol’ “Squid and Owl” – for iPad and submitted it. So you can get my stuff for a couple bucks. Here are some free samples:
“Squid and Owl” (PDF)
I’m reading comics on my iPad these days and generally liking the experience. The slightly greater screen resolution of the iPad makes a huge difference, I find. I’m quite happy with the way my stuff looks now. I don’t expect to make much money this way, needless to say. But I hope the Illustrated Section succeeds. Or something like it.
One reason I’m worrying my head about all this stuff is I’m winding up to make a fresh edition of my Plato book, which I have reserved the e-rights to, and which I would like to do up in a suitably bang-up e-way. That’s a subject for another day.
Hope some of you like Dickens and/or Spenser and own iPads and/or similar devices.