Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

eBooks that hard code flush-right margins

by Rob - February 16th, 2008.
Filed under: ebooks.

A note I sent to the fine folks at

Might you have a word with your vendors about the fact that it’s wrong to force full justification of text in ebooks? The last two secure Mobipocket ebooks I’ve bought from you have flush-right margins regardless of what setting is chosen in Mobipocket reader. On narrow screens, to me, right-justified text looks awful, and is very hard to read (because of the often huge gaps between words).

The books in question:


The Next Fifty Years

I forgave the former book (Nonzero by Robert Wright), because it was released six years ago, but the latter — The Next Fifty Years, edited by John Brockman — just came out as an ebook. Both were published by Random House.

Yes, I know some people like full justification; that’s not the point. If they like it, they can turn it on in Mobipocket; if they don’t, they should be able to turn it off, but these books force it on regardless, and that’s contrary to the spirit of what the ebook reading experience should be: text formatted the way the individual reader likes it.

(Oh, and I would have bought these titles in eReader format, but they weren’t offered in it.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Leave a Reply