[OS X TeX] Why does this hang so = [OT] electronic books

André Bellaïche abellaic at math.jussieu.fr
Wed Oct 28 07:15:48 EDT 2009

Le 27 oct. 09 à 23:51, Alain Schremmer a écrit :
> On Oct 27, 2009, at 6:46 PM, Herbert Schulz wrote:
>> On Oct 27, 2009, at 5:16 PM, Victor Ivrii wrote:
>>> On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:46 PM, Jason Davies  
>>> <ophiochos at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> the vast majority of the cost of a book is the preparation.
>>> I am really surprised. My experience is that all typesetting is done
>>> by the author. It may be another story with textbooks but for  
>>> research
>>> monographs!
>>> The same story with journals. Reviewers AFAIK are free
>> Howdy,
>> I guess I interpret the statement as referring to the writing of  
>> the book rather than the typesetting.
>> When I was going to graduate school (quite a bit before TeX was  
>> around) I understood that books that contained maths were expensive  
>> because they required specially trained typesetting talent. Now  
>> that there is software that allows for the author typesetting the  
>> maths with no special typesetting talent necessary I no longer  
>> understand why books are so expensive.
> Because money has become an end in itself.
> Similarly, during the past thirty years, the profits of the  
> "elementary textbooks" publishing industry have gone steadily up  
> while the ranking of US students in TIMMS and later PISA have gone  
> steadily down.
> Regards
> --schremmer

« all typesetting is done by the author. » In your dreams! as we say  
in French.

Don't you know how much time is spent in a small publishing house

- teaching TeX or LaTeX to authors (some of them are good typesetters,  
but others don't bother to put a \ before log or sin, do knot know  
anything about ams multline or align macros and just put one $$...$$  
after another.

- transforming ugly Scientific Word output into real LaTeX (when you  
get say "a b c" in bold, the space between "a" and "b" may be normal,  
while the space between "b" and "c" is bold (wider). This is the  
tiniest problem we encounter when receiving a so-called LaTeX file  
made by an author which prefer to use Scientific Word, but knows  
nothing about it.

- correcting funny ideas about math typography. For a few recent  
        a) A very sophisticated use of vertical spacing (smallskip,  
medskip, bigskip) associated to indenting/nonindenting in order to  
indicate the more or less strong connection of an idea (paragraph)  
with the following one. The answer was: « vertical spacing has no  
meaning for the reader », but it took hours to persuade the author,  
and at the end I had to fix everything myself.
        b) use of \clubsuit for end of proof of a lemma, \diamondsuit  
for end of proof of proposition (why cannot I use all these pretty  
symbols ?).
        c) same or approaching for iremization
        d) use < and > for scalar product (instead of \ranle\langle),  
yielding awful spacing in the formulas, as in < a [space], b [space]  
 >= 0. This author was surprised, he had had ten papers published  
without any comment from the journal.
        e) more than ten ways of typesetting se tof x such that P(x)  
in the same book : {x | P(x)}  with instead of the \mid comma, colon,  
semicolon, vertical bar, oblique bar, tq, tq., t.q. t. q. (for "tel  
que" = "such that", typeset as st, s.t., st. s. t.), with and without  
spaces added.

- teaching typography : dont'use quotes for a title, use italics,  
don't use capitals there, type XXe (for XXth), not XXème . . .

- teaching mathematical writing: don't write $\prod_{i\in\{1, 2\}} X_i 
$, write $X_1 \times X_2$, or better $X \times Y$.

- making macros for the authors.

- solving font issues, accented character issues, PC-Mac issues.

- helping authors for figures, giving them Illustrator, making the go- 
between from the figure designer to the author and back (in some  
cases, direct communication leads to very bad work)

- making all the final work to get, say, uniform width for same  
meaning strokes, uniform sizes, uniform fonts. (It may happen that  
some author uses Times 10 pt for all letters in his figures, then  
decides to use \includegraphics[scale = 0.5], or  
\includegraphics[scale = 1.5], depending of the figure... You may ask:  
why not to ask him to make the corrections? Answer: Because he will  
say (in fact, he has said) : "I don't bother. I suppose the reader  
doesn't bother either". So persuading the author is some amount of  
work also. And you are afraid he may take advantage of the occasion to  
make new inventions of this kind . . .



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