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O'Reilly epub files are very slow

O'Reilly epubs are very slow to open and move around in, not so with most other publisher epubs. O'Reilly epubs lock my Sony PRS after flipping 5 or so pages. Is there some incorrect formatting in O'Reilly epubs? They perform much better after converting to LRF via Calibre but lose a little in aesthetics. Any possibility releasing Digital editions or LRF versions.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m confident we can find a solution
    Hi Adam,

    Sorry to hear about your trouble. I'd like to find a solution. Can you please let me know what model of Sony PRS you are using. Is it the Sony PRS-505? Also, what specific books are you having problems with? I'd like to try and prepare an EPUB that will work better on that reader.

    Thanks,
    Adam Witwer
    Director of Publishing Operations
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  • I have experienced similar problems when using PRS-505 version 1.1.00.18040 with the book 'Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd Edition'.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Here I have Kobo ereader, same problem with O'reilly epub books. This is not in any particular books but all epub books from o'eilly are slow to turn to new page. This is most ovbious when the page turns to new chapter as if the reader is reading in the whole chapter.
    The O'reilly books I have so far : PHP in a Nutshell, JQuery cookbook, PHP the good parts, Javascript good parts.

    I dont see this happening in the epubs from other publishers for instance, SitePoint.
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  • I also have this problem with my Kobo Touch ereader. Not only does the O'Reilly book take a very long time to import, chapter turns, navigating from the table of contents etc. is excruciatingly slow.

    Is there a solution or workaround for this?
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  • I’m confident
    I have the Arduino Cookbook book, and the Kobo Touch was stalled at "Processing Content ... 9%" for a long time (in the order of 20 minutes).

    So far I have solved the problem by:
    - removing the OTF fonts (Liberation family)
    - removing all reference to the OTF fonts
    - stripping the core.css file to an empty shell
    - renaming all the ".png.jpg" files to ".jpg"
    - replacing all reference to ".png.jpg" files to use just ".jpg"

    I think the stripping of the CSS file was the single biggest performance boost. The ".png.jpg" file stuff is just my OCD setting in. I'm now in the process of resizing all the pictures to ensure that they fit on the screen without needing to be scaled, but for the moment the book is usable.

    I'll have a go at "binary chopping" the CSS file to see which components seem to cause the worst performance issues for the Kobo Touch.
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    • Thanks Alex, that would be great.

      Apologies for the "or you" comment above, I momentarily confused you with the second poster above who was an O'Reilly employee.

      Do you use Calibre to tweak the css in the epub, or some other method?

      I have to agree, the fact that I know I can get DRM free epubs from O'Reilly makes me much more likely to purchase them!
    • So far I've used BBEdit on my Mac to "tweak" the CSS. I tried processing through Calibre, but it doesn't do things "my way". So I just strip out the CSS, then process each picture by rotating it to portrait and reducing its size if necessary to fit into the Kobo screen.

      That copy of the book then goes into my "Kobo Books" collection. I don't want the original on my iPad to be stripped of CSS and have pictures mangled :)

      I'll be playing games tonight, but I have a long weekend coming up. Expect to see something from me in the next few days.
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  • Hi Alex and Riko,

    Thank you for all your experiments and comments. I've passed your comments on to the ebooks team. They are working to fix the overly long tables of contents in Cookbook ebooks.

    It sounds like the more general slowness problem you're experiencing is specific to the Kobo. Our ebooks manager says:

    We could completely strip down our EPUBs to barebones styling and fonts, but it would make for a worse, less understandable presentation. O'Reilly books are complex and require styling to make sense. You need to be able to differentiate a sidebar from the main body text, for example. There are tables, images, notes, and so on. Such complex content is really not suitable to a less capable device like the Kobo, which is geared toward trade titles (i.e., content with paragraphs only). Still, maybe we should consider publishing a completely barebones version of our EPUBs. I'll think about that.


    Thank you again for sharing your experience. We'll keep considering this.

    Kind Regards,

    Rachel James
    O'Reilly Media
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    • Here is a barebones drop-in replacement for core.css which renders the Ardunio Cookbook useable on the Kobo. I haven't read through the whole book, but this at least gets us over the major hurdle of usability and readability :)

      a.ulink, a.xref, a.email {
      text-decoration: none;
      color: #8e0012;
      }

      h1 {
      font: bold 1.5em sans-serif;
      }

      h2 {
      font: bold 1.3em sans-serif;
      }

      h3 {
      font: bold 1.1em sans-serif;
      }

      h4 {
      font: bold 1em sans-serif;
      }

      .programlisting {
      white-space: pre-wrap;
      }

      img {
      max-width: 95%;
      }

      div.figure {
      page-break-inside: avoid;
      }

      I also stripped out a whole heap of headings from the toc.ncx file using this regex in BBEdit:

      ^\s+\r\s+(Problem|Solution|Discussion|See Also)\r\s+\r\s+<content.*\r\s+\r

      No doubt that will be mangled by the support board software. My blog entry on this subject is here: http://manicdee.livejournal.com/10169...
    • For the record, the Sony Reader PRS-T1 (touch/wifi model available in black/white/red) loads the Arduino Cookbook with no issues. Page turns are quick (though the PRS-T1 blanks the screen on every page turn).

      So the issue here is definitely the Kobo struggling with some of the formatting due to the CSS.
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  • I have had this issue too, and found Alex's work-around helpful. I only have the problem with O'Reilly e-books, and have found the formatting perfectly acceptable on a wide range of O'Reilly epubs after removing fonts and stripping the CSS file completely.

    I feel this is a problem with the Kobo, as it should at least warn users that an epub is too complex, instead of locking up. The progress indicator should also advance as it is struggling with the file.

    I have written to Kobo about this, and will post back if there is an interesting reply.
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  • I'm experiencing the same issue with a Kobo Touch running the latest firmware (v1.9.17). In my case it takes the Kobo 1h20 to process this book's contents (stuck at 9% during this time).

    As Alex Satrapa above reports that O'Reilly EPUBs are displayed fine on a Sony PSR-T1 (which is probably comparable to the Kobo in terms of hardware) I think the problem lies in the Kobo's firmware. Apart from that, I agree that O'Reilly books might be more complex than a standard novel, but come on! We're talking about some XHMTL, CSS and a handful of pictures that's to be processed by a 800 MHz-CPU; it's not about rendering complex 3D-models.

    I opened a ticket at Kobo, hope it helps.
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  • The problem remains with me as well, but I have found that loading one book at a time usually works. For larger O'Reilly e-books (more than 300 pages), I have written a Python script that removes all embedded fonts, and completely strips out the CSS file. This takes less than a second to run for even the largest e-books, and works like a treat; the resulting e-books load quickly and page turns are much quicker, too.

    I can make this script available, if people are interested.

    I agree it's primarily a problem with Kobo, but could be solved if O'Reilly had simpler formatting in their e-books. I'm grateful to them for having a DRM-free format that allows us to make changes, however.

    Aside from this issue, I love my Kobo Touch, and the many O'Reilly e-books I have purchased and loaded onto it.
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  • I’m happy
    Update: I tried using Alex' stripped down CSS, removing the fonts and adjusting the content.opf. Initial processing was ok afterwards (around half a minute) but non-linear-skipping still took ages or even made the device hang (either using the slider or the TOC). Therefore it seems to me that the issue is related to the processing of the content itself, attached styles or fonts just multiply it.

    Nevertheless I think I found a workaround that might also be interesting for you O'Reilly guys: Processing the book using Calibre just with its default settings (EPUB to EPUB conversion) almost perfectly solved the problem for me, although there are still all the embedded fonts and even more CSS present in the (new) EPUB. Initial processing of 1,100+ pages books on the Kobo now takes well under half a minute and skipping 500 pages back and forth completes within 20 seconds which I think is acceptable. I don't know what Calibre's doing (yet), but it seems to work.

    So in case this is working for others too, IMHO it's not necessary to strip all the nice formatting from O'Reilly EPUBs, all it needs (regarding the Kobo Touch) would be a little Calibre-style tweaking.
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