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Posted by: Paintybeard Disappointing plate quality in new ebooks
Posted on: 26/11/2017 03:03:07

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Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 285
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

These days I buy nearly all my Ospreys in pdf format. No room for anything else! Over the past few years I have noticed that the file size for these has been steadily increasing. Not really a problem as I could see that things like auto-rotaion and page finding were being added, all making the books more user friendly.

   So I was rather disconcerted to buy a couple of new books today and see that a Men-at-Arms title had suddenly dropped from about 40 megabytes to only 2 mB. This was the new book on Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification. The text looked crisp enough, but when I got to the colour plates they seemed a little wooly. When I blew them up to 100% magnification the colours were distinctly muddy and the focus less than sharp. I compared it to the last Guiseppe Rava book I bought (MAA 504 - War in Pacific 1879-93). In that book at 100% magnification the colours are nice and clear and all details are perfectly crisp.

 After that I turned to the other book I had bought: NV 249 - Railway Guns of World War 1 (1.8 mB) Again, the text is clear enough, but frankly the colour plates are almost worthless: Muddy, indeterminate colours and so blurry that hardly any details can be made out. It almost hurts my eyes to look at them.

 Has anyone got these books in hard copy? If so how do you rate the colour plates? And perhaps Osprey could tell us if they are making hidden economies by this sudden reduction in the file size of their electronic books.

Posted on: 26/11/2017 03:03:08
Posted by: PAUL W
Total Posts: 170
Joined Date: Sunday, 4 January 2015

Hi painty. I have hard copies of both and had a look at the artwork. The Italian wars of unification artwork is fine and as good as the others. Railway guns of world war 1 looked OK at first glance but on closer inspection the artwork looks quite digital especially the soldiers by the trains. I'd say it wasn't up to the usual standard. 

Posted on: 26/11/2017 22:35:52
Posted by: James @ Osprey
Total Posts: 18
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hi Painty,

I'm sorry to hear that you're unhappy with those ebooks. I'll look into what is going on and let you know once I have more information.

Best wishes,

James @ Osprey

Posted on: 27/11/2017 09:52:51
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 285
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Thank you for your feedback, Paul W, I was beginning to wonder if it was just my eye-sight going wonky. And thank you for your response too, James @ Osprey, I think it would be a real pity if Osprey did not put every effort into keeping their colour plates up to the highest possible standard. This is the company's trade-mark feature and always an important factor when I consider which of your books to buy.

Posted on: 27/11/2017 17:21:08
Posted by: Griffon
Total Posts: 37
Joined Date: Friday, 21 May 2010

Thanks a lot gentlemen for pointing out what I have also noticed. 


I took advantage of the BF sale and got me the NVG pdf about the US eacort carriers. Well the text looks crisp on my Samsung GT 10.1 but the photos and the plates are another story...muddy and the details on the plates are barely discernable...the whole job looks like a digital book creation done by an apprentice without knowledge about how to properly create a good pdf...I cannot speak for the epub version but the pdf is so so..great text but subpar picture reproduction and the plates are just badly reproduced too...

Posted on: 28/11/2017 16:18:04
Posted by: fej
Total Posts: 7
Joined Date: Sunday, 3 March 2013

I read paintybeard's post with relief! I thought maybe that there was something wrong with either my eyes or my computers, or both. I too have been converting my library to pdf format to save room and until now, I have been very happy with the results. I agree that the conversion to smaller pdf files has not had any negative effects on the text, but the plates (which for me is the raison d'etere for buying Osprey books), are at best disappointing (forum etiquette forbids me from expressing how i truly feel). The descriptions of the plates being fuzzy and washed out are spot on. I do welcome smaller pdf files as they are easier to use and store, but if this is the price, then i guess i will have to rethink my entire approach to collecting. i have noticed the subpar plates in the following tities: Operation Torch, Railway Guns of WWI, D-Day Assault Troops, Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-1870 (1), European Counter-Terrorist Units 1972-2017, German Soldier vs Soviet Soldier (this list is not exhaustive). I suspect any of the newer titles in the smaller file format have been affected. Please, Osprey, look into this and fix it. I never thought i would make the switch from paper to digital books, but once i did, i never regretted ... until now.

Posted on: 28/11/2017 23:32:19
Posted by: Griffon
Total Posts: 37
Joined Date: Friday, 21 May 2010

Hello again!

 

just purchased the new Duel Title as well as the X-2 book and Case Red; The Duel title seems to suffer from the same problems as described already here!


to me it seems as if the pictures were compressed within the pdf to the maximum, making a small filesize but giving a really terrible quality in the pdf - this is totally inacceptable!!!


guys, we are living in times of 128GB microSD cards that easily fit into tables and mobiles, space for such pdfs is NO PROBLEM!


as I plan to switch to pdf only next year, this is a slap in the face of the people who go digital only, because the graphics and the pictures are a major part of the osprey titles and recent pdfs up till about September were very good...how could the downfall in quality happen?


would it be possible to have a look into this, maybe redo the pdfs and make them available for the guys who have bought them so far?


if the pdf quality continues to be like that, I will refrain from buying them and might reconsider buying some titles at all, as space for real books is a real problem for me and I will rather collect real books than paperbacks in the future...


sorry if this sounds like a rant, but spending over 35 Euros for one really bad quality pdf and a second one that also does not have high quality artwork in it thanks to bad reproduction is a rather bad deal for me....

Posted on: 30/11/2017 16:42:18
Posted by: Kazuaki Shimazaki
Total Posts: 22
Joined Date: Saturday, 29 November 2014

My new "Soviet Paratrooper vs Mujhahideen Fighter" is among the sacrifices. At ~7.5MB total, the JPEG quality is set so low that I am seeing large pixelated blocks.

Posted on: 30/11/2017 17:05:07
Posted by: fej
Total Posts: 7
Joined Date: Sunday, 3 March 2013

Since i can't resist any books on Afghanistan, i purchased Soviet Paratroopers vs Mujahideen and i also bought The Greek-Italian War MAA title. Same story with these - text and photograph quality is OK, plates look like they were photographed by a camera with vasoline smeared on the lens.  Soooooo disapointing! Normally, i would buy several titles per month, but i limited myself to these two as test cases. Looks like Osprey scored a D. I have to believe that Osprey is looking into these issues, but i would find it comforting to hear a situation report from them. I would also add the Escort Carriers and Philippine Sea titles to the list i started in my last post. Anybody else have more titles to add to the list?

Posted on: 01/12/2017 01:23:30
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 285
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Another down-turn in the pdf books seems to be that we have lost the function whereby pages used to automatically align themselves in "portrait" or "landscape" orientation to suit the layout of the book. Titles for the last couple of months seem to have lost that ability. I know it's not the end of the world, but having to laboriously click: "rotate, rotate, rotate" when changing between a colour plate and the text on the next page is very tedious and feels... primitive.

Posted on: 01/12/2017 02:42:08
Posted by: James @ Osprey
Total Posts: 18
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hi everyone,


I, first of all, would like to thank all of you for bringing this issue to our attention. We are working hard on this, and I hope to have news for you early next week. 


Regards,
James @ Osprey

Posted on: 01/12/2017 16:12:39
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 285
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

I'm disappointed that there is no useful reply yet on the serious issue of picture quality in all recent Ospreys books.

I was also very suprised when James @ Osprey said in his post on 1st. December: "I... would like to thank all of you for briniging this issue to our attention..." What? Are we being told that there has been a major change in Ospreys products and none of the employees had even been made aware of it? That seems scarcely credible. Surely SOMEONE must review the pdf. files before they are put on the site for the public to buy? Is there literally no quality control?

 Inevitably I have to say: "Caveat emptor."

Posted on: 05/12/2017 19:11:04
Posted by: fej
Total Posts: 7
Joined Date: Sunday, 3 March 2013

I don't usually purchase the ePub books (I haven't bought one for years) so I was wondering if they had any issues or if this is a pdf problem. Paintybeard, you make an excellent point about quality control and it is difficult to believe that nobody noticed the change in plate resolution. I too, look forward to a response. Based on my last experience, i am holding off on any further purchases. Hopefully my boycott of pdf ebooks will be brief, but i am not going to continue to spend money only to be disappointed by a subpar product.

Posted on: 05/12/2017 23:37:22
Posted by: James @ Osprey
Total Posts: 18
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hi everyone and thanks for your patience,

After consulting with our Production department, it appears that the issue of low resolution on our ePDFs is something that has affected all titles published between August and December 2017. We are still investigating why this happened, but I can say that this is something that has now been rectified for all ebooks publishing from January 2018 onwards. They will be published to the same high standard of resolution as they were before. They will also automatically align themselves to portrait or landscape as they did before.

We are currently investigating a timeline for updating the books in the affected August-December timespan, and will, of course, let you know as soon as we get any more information.

I'd like to once again apologise for the inconvenience caused by this issue.

Best wishes,

James @ Osprey

Posted on: 06/12/2017 10:18:12
Posted by: Vidi
Total Posts: 1
Joined Date: Saturday, 9 December 2017

Thanks James, for your encouraging news.

I belong to those who have gone digital - and opted for pdf since it, unlike ePub, retains the formatting of the paper version. I started early and have amassed a significant pdf collection (at latest count about 1 100 titles). But I did not buy Osprey's December offerings, waiting instead for your reply to Paintybeard's post. Encouraged by that reply I will now buy the December titles, in the expectation that they can be exchanged in due course for higher resolution versions.

Really appreciate Osprey's products, they fill an important niche between coffee table offerings and serious military history literature. So, while on the subject of electronic versions - when will you resume the effort to systematically digitize older Osprey titles ? I think Osprey is missing out on a significant potential revenue stream. Not just in terms of the already committed. The broader your digital output is, the more likely it is that you will hook new customers among the rapidly increasing numbers of readers going digital. Long term, their share of the market is only going to increase... 

Best,

Paul B

Posted on: 09/12/2017 11:30:22
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 285
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Sorry for my earlier impatience, James@ Osprey. I now breathe a hearty sigh of relief that the problem with the blurry artwork has been identified and that we can look forward to a "fix" in the not-too-distant future.

 And I certainly echo the call for more of your back catalogue to be transfered into pdf format. There are plenty that I am still hoping to add to my collection.

Posted on: 11/12/2017 19:09:43

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