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A Few Words on Typesetting

Just in case you are someone who (like me) is always interested in technical background information, here is some, regarding the PDF e-books I've created for this library!


For typesetting of books (whether print or digital) I use OpenOffice Writer, not because it’s free (though this is a welcome bonus), but because despite a few flaws I think it is the best tool available for the purpose. PDF files are exported directly from OpenOffice.


The typeface I use for the books of this library is Bulmer, by Monotype. For the regular font style I have increased the width of the space character, and added kerning with increased tracking for the f and space character pair. For ten years I’ve been using slightly smaller font sizes for italics than for non-italic type, but I’ve recently (that is, July 2020) – come to see this as a mistake, and, with new updates of the PDF files, will change it.


Hyphenation (done strictly manually!) follows the American Heritage Dictionary. While it often cannot be avoided, I prefer to keep hyphenation to a minimum by using forced line breaks instead to achieve an even and agreeable print layout. Forced line breaks are also used, wherever possible, to keep sentences from beginning with one-letter words at line ends, and to keep paragraphs from ending with lines of single short words.

Orphans and widows

Orphans (paragraphs starting with single lines at page bottoms) are tolerated.

Widows (paragraphs ending with single lines at new pages) are avoided by shortening the previous page by one line, as this is the only method that neither interferes with text layout (leading, tracking, word spacing) nor with the text itself.

Breaking a few rules

Some deviations from the prevalent rules of typesetting are intentional, though they are justified by nothing more than my personal preferences.

Dashes (em-dashes) are set open, that is, surrounded by spaces.

For ellipses the triple-dot ellipsis character is used.

Brackets surrounding italic text are set non-italic. (Quotation marks are italic.)

Commas and semicolons following italic text, unless they are part of that text, are set non-italic. (Colons, question marks and exclamation marks are italic.)

Footnote references within italic text are set non-italic.

And if you spot any errors, please tell me!


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