Gene McKenna mckenna at bluedot.com
Mon Jun 30 22:48:36 EDT 2003

Mark, thanks for the link to see the current HTML rendered version. 


It got me thinking. I hope this isn't one of those ideas that comes too
late, or one that has already been discussed and I missed it, but here goes.


When a book is done both as an online document and as a print document, you
hit the inevitable fact that you only want to deal with laying it out once.
PDF is a file format suitable for both printing and online viewing, so it is
the logical file format choice. But it can be very annoying for online
viewing if it isn't done right. And all too often it isn't done right.


So what is right? 


Given standard monitor sizes of 1024x768 pixels at 75 dpi, the page layout
should be about 6-8" inches wide but no more than 9" tall. I recommend 6x9
because if you do print it into a book, the ratio is more like what people
are used to. 8x9 would be almost square.


The tendency for groups writing documents that will be available in both
electronic and hard copy is to use an 8.5x11 page size because that is the
paper size found in most people's printers. Printing 6x9 text on 8.5x11
paper is wasteful. But, if someone really is going to print out the entire
book, why wouldn't they just order the text version? If the layout is
something they can read on their computer without scrolling, then those too
cheap to buy the book are less likely to resort to the home printer anyway. 


Therefore, if it isn't too late, I would strongly push for a PDF layout
available online or in print from No Starch Press on a 6x9 page size.


Is this reasonable?







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