Really wish Epubs were the favored format for scholarly papers and books over PDFs

@ljwrites Doing my degree would've been a billion times easier if that were the case.

@bright_helpings seriously like who thought a fixed format with set fonts and layout was good for any application other than giving exact specifications for printing??

(Probably the same people whose only use for an electronic document file is to print it out...)

@ljwrites Yeah it shows the same kind of print supremacy that means we have to keep telling people that you're still reading when you're reading an audiobook.

@bright_helpings oof too true, and there's an age/class/status element here too. Regularly printing electronic documents, especially at the volumes typically needed for work and study, takes working hardware setups, storage space, consumable goods, and labor to both create and dispose of the hard copies--typically the labor of young people in precarious job positions, like interns and grad students who often do not have the money, time, and space to make and maintain all these hard copies for their own use. (The amount of time I spent troubleshooting the program's printer and even my boss's office printer... grrr.) Of course there's an access needs angle as well with people who prefer or need print copies. It's a complicated subject I guess.

@ljwrites seriously wtf

and so many are just scanned images of paper pages

hate it

@ljwrites Me, too! And just in general, that epubs were better known and respected.
Just today, I sent an Epub version of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa to one of my professors. She put up a PDF in the e-classroom, but that one is only scanned pages, so I can't read it. I fortunately already had it and wanted to make sure future generations had less trouble.
Well, turns out she can't upload Epubs to the e-classroom. There's a chanse that's a problem on her end, but with how shitty our system is, I wouldn't be surprised if she's right.
So I had to convert it to PDF. I've no clue how much that messed up the formatting. And it's 4 times larger.


As much as I like epubs (especially for fiction), the format is somewhat horrible, or, at least, can be. Especially for more complicated things.

KOReader sometimes can make things like footnotes work better (no, I don't really want to potentially lose my place and have to jump to a new part of the document to read a footnote) but it's a bit hit-or-miss, largely because most epubs are so poorly produced and only sometimes can KOReader produce reasonable on-page footnotes without the user having to manually alter the epub (which involves opening up the zip and fixing a bunch of individual files).

(calibre can sometimes tidy some things up, like (lack of) smartquotes, but not footnotes.)

For PDFs at least one knows more or less what the layout will be.

But, yes, of course this means I can't really read most scholarly books/papers on a small eink reader.


@ljwrites you have no idea how much I want this, real “society if” territory

@ljwrites In principle I agree! But on the other hand I think something entirely new would be cool. Something that also includes data of the plots, for example.

@phel I've seen an argument that academic papers should be replaced altogether by something like Jupyter notes, and while I'm not as sure about the specific format (haven't used it, but lots of people have issues), I do think something more dynamic would be better for scientific and data-driven research in particular.

@ljwrites @phel simple, dynamic, displays well on every device -- honestly, I think wikipedia is a bit of a lesson, not perfect but a lesson lmao

@donkeyblam @ljwrites Whoa good point! I never thought of wikipedia in this context but you're right.

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