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No need to justify your choice: pre-compiling line breaks to improve eBook readability

Pinkney, Alexander J.; Bagley, Steven R.; Brailsford, David F.

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Alexander J. Pinkney

Steven R. Bagley

David F. Brailsford


Implementations of eBooks have existed in one form or another for at least the past 20 years, but it is only in the past 5 years that dedicated eBook hardware has become a mass-market item.

New screen technologies, such as e-paper, provide a reading experience similar to those of physical books, and even backlit LCD and OLED displays are beginning to have high enough pixel densities to render text crisply at small point sizes. Despite this, the major element of the physical book that has not yet made the transition to the eBook is high-quality typesetting.

The great advantage of eBooks is that the presentation of the page can adapt, at rendering time, to the physical screen size and to the reading preferences of the user. Until now, simple first-fit linebreaking algorithms have had to be used in order to give acceptable rendering speed whilst conserving battery life.

This paper describes a system for producing well-typeset, scalable document layouts for eBook readers, without the computational overhead normally associated with better-quality typesetting.

We precompute many of the complex parts of the typesetting process, and perform the majority of the ‘heavy lifting’ at document compile-time, rather than at rendering time. Support is provided for floats (such as figures in an academic paper, or illustrations in a novel), for arbitrary screen sizes, and also for arbitrary point-size changes within the text.

Conference Name ACM Symposium on Document Engineering (DocEng '13)
End Date Sep 13, 2013
Publication Date Sep 1, 2013
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords eBooks, Document layout, Typesetting
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Published in: DocEng '13: proceedings of the 13th ACM Symposium on Document Engineering. New York : ACM, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-4503-1789-4. pp. 237-240, doi: 10.1145/2494266.2494310


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