the hanging indent saga (cont’d)

Variety truly is the spice of life. After vigorously shaking my virtual fist at and foaming at the mouth over Harriet and Publishers Weekly yesterday, I approach them today wearing sack-cloth and casting ashes on my head. Why? Because they were lamenting the fact that long lines of e-poetry in e-reader flowing text wrap to the next line hard up against the left margin and look wrong and untidy. I insisted that the simple solution was to use hanging indents, as suggested by an intrepid WOMPO reader, who noted that print publishers use hanging indents for over-long lines, so why not e-publishers?

I thought I had worked out a way to incorporate hanging indents in e-poetry files via Smashwords technology. And indeed, the end product, as MOBI and EPUB files, looked heartbreakingly beautiful and worked exactly as intended on the various e-readers provided as part of the Calibre e-book manager software I use to test e-files.

Not so much on the actual Kindle reader. It turns out. After getting emails from two alert Kindle-owners (thank-you, guys! so cool – the whole internet is a laboratory) I tested the MOBI files today on two Kindles – the 2nd and 3rd (latest) generation.

Sadly, my alert readers are right and the hanging indents do *not* work on the actual Kindles, of either generation. As Harriet and Publishers Weekly rightfully asserted, the lines do indeed wrap hard up to the left margin if the lines are too long for the screen.

So here I am, formally wearing sack-cloth and casting ashes on my head. Sorry, Harriet! Sorry, Publishers Weekly! for cursing you out unneedfully.

(PS – However! There is a solution out there – I know there is. Onward!)

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4 thoughts on “the hanging indent saga (cont’d)

  1. Well, maybe it is possible if you muck around in MOBI and EPUB more directly rather than going through Smashwords. You don’t happen to have access to Adobe InDesign, do you? I don’t suppose the freeware eCub could do what you’re asking…

  2. Yes, there are other more direct options I’ve dabbled in while hoping not to have to get steeped in them. Because I do want anything I recommend to be easily accessible to any nanopressers out there who may not want to get steeped in complicated technology. Not giving up here by any means – I *know* it’s workable, just need to figure out exactly how!

  3. Ti get a hanging indent on a kindle, I use: for epub, I use a little CSS for a class I call .hanging. It uses these attributes:

    text-indent: -1em;
    padding-left: 1em;

    When I call it in a p tag, it looks like this:

    Hope this helps. :)

  4. Awww… the blog tried to render the angle brackets I used, above. Let’s try this again…

    To get a hanging indent on a kindle, I use: (p width=”-30″) but in angle brackets. for epub, I use a little CSS for a class I call .hanging. It uses these attributes:

    text-indent: -1em;
    padding-left: 1em;

    When I call it in a p tag, it looks like this: (p class=hanging) again, use angle brackets.

    Hope this helps.

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