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article imageOp-Ed: E-book formatting — Just fix it, you damn wannabe electricians!

By Paul Wallis     Dec 17, 2011 in Technology
Sydney - Who the hell do e-book format dictators think they are? Listen, scumbags, whatever you say about your bloody platforms, you’re using binary. 010101- A dead, castrated chimp would know that, so why don’t you? It’s a basic read function, morons.
I have just done about 10 formats of my book, Customer service for managers. It’s not Smashwords’ idea. It’s not my idea. It’s not God’s idea. It’s some genetically deficient insect in a suit that’s making a bit off hardware that’s responsible for this load of facetious faecal fatuousness.
The ebook market is poised to grow in the coming years, and this study found ebook reader sales reaching 27.1 million units in 2011, up an astounding 108 percent from 13.0 million in 2010. This is definitely an industry entrenched in our digital lifestyle for years to come.
The idea was to do a few page links, in a small, 9250 word book. OK, some things need doing. Others don’t. I had no problem understanding a requirement to tidy up consecutive returns on the pages. The new doc format had created them automatically. Doing page links on the basis of what a reader can or can’t be bothered to do, when they’re perfectly normal reader functions for even 1980s computers, however, is another matter.
If I charged by the hour for the real time I put into my books, it’d cost about $500 per unit. Not exactly commercially thrilling for me or any readers. This book is written from experience, and the idea is to help readers, not send them broke. That said, sending myself broke using up time on procedures isn’t my idea of cost-effective work, either.
Who do you bloody animals think you are, again? Do you have the right to waste people’s time on this crap, would you say? I lost interest in hardcopy publishers the minute I was told I had to do double spacing and margins. You want double spacing and margins, you do them, you vermin, and earn some of your money, for once.) This is no better.
Formatting  schmormatting. This is business  you jerks.
Formatting, schmormatting. This is business, you jerks.
Writers are not clerks. We’re not office boys and girls. We’re not aspiring database operators. We make the products that make you your money, you trash, and don’t damn well forget it. Without products to sell, who are you? Just the nobodies you’ve always been.
You soon learn if you’re a writer that there are two other, not-even-vaguely-human species involved in getting anything published:
a) Those who can’t write and create bureaucratic wonderlands, also pretending to earn their money by doing so. This bureaucracy eats money on a scale sales might never be able to match.
b) Those who can’t think run e-reader formatting conventions and claim to be contributing to the industry. Gutenberg would never have got off the ground, if you guys had been designing the printing press.
There are good basic reader formats even you illiterate geriatric interns must have heard of-
Word and WordPerfect are standard word processing platforms around the world. Writers can do precision professional layouts with both packages which would be great for e-reader quality content, if your damn windup garbage could get off its backside and learn to read them. Why aren’t they recognized by your formatting?
You want page links and squeaky little bells and whistles? Do them yourselves, you slum-worshipping filth. How do you think books get written- By wasting time on mindless routines, or by spending years on writing? Get the message?
Here’s a little environmental study to brighten your days-
Every bureaucratic, bull-addicted bastard in global publishing is a contributor to the lousy state of publishing literature. You want successful content? Learn to read and do basic marketing- You’ll discover that your lifetimes of copycat market shopping lists have been as worthless as you are. Of course you’re just filling the bargain bins with everything you put out, you sylphitic failures, (failing syphilis isn’t easy) because everybody’s already read exactly the same on the bestseller lists. Why the hell would anyone want to read regurgitations?
From this logic follows: Why would they want a neurotic reader that can’t read? Selling books has nothing to do with formatting. People don’t buy anything for formatting; they buy for good content. Are people trained to recognize this simple fact? No. Why would they be? When was relevance to the bottom line a subject for discussion? Anyway, it’d be a hint that thousands of useless meetings with idiots might be a waste of time.
The most important single thing about e-books and e-writing is the fact that people don’t have to write to your boring, born-to-fail formulas.
You hangers-on and your dinky pseudo-technological constipation are just middlemen. You can get thrown out with the garbage and nobody will even notice. For personal hygiene reasons alone, you should come with your own disinfectant and preferably some bin liners.
Three suggestions for the lucky consumers of all this brilliance-
1. If you’re a writer, find a sympathetic e-book publisher. Smashwords know the problems all too well, and Lulu stick to basic formats, no hair tearing required, for example.
2. If you’re a publisher or a distributor, lose these parasites ASAP. They’re about as useful as a third armpit; smelly, expensive and obstacles to interactions.
3. If you’re Apple, Kobo or SONY, think about it- What’s more important, getting good product on the market smoothly or paying these bastards to exist?
Even if there were any unavoidable technical problems (how, exactly, does something as ancient and basic as a page link become a problem in the first place?) they should be removed, not turned into ways of life for writers and obstacles for readers.
The real problems with e-book readers are essentially getting high quality product out. There are real issues, but these formatting farces aren’t real issues. There is absolutely no justification for tiny little minds with tiny little formatting tricks to get in the way of the big picture. Eliminate the problem, don’t tolerate it, and things will get simpler.
I’ve self-published 14 books. There’s a good reason for self-publishing apart from being able to publish what I want. I don’t trust myself not to smash someone’s face in for expecting me to do office work as well and being expected to be grateful for the extra work, delays and time off creating new materials. I don’t have the patience, even if there was any way of convincing myself I had the time.
I have thousands of articles online, about 6000+ last time I tried to count them. I do commercial copy, journalism, SEO writing, etc. These things don’t just happen- I also do an average of 4000 words a day. If I’d had to do a song and dance routine every time I got some product done, I’d have about 1000 articles and 4 books done by now.
So, for those who need to know and whose vocabularies may not have been able to follow the preceding 1,103 words-
Go to hell, and take your damn formatting issues with you. Allergic as you may be on principle to getting anything done quickly and efficiently, try to do that right.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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