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Viewing Topic "Update on the pdf resolution issue"
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Posted by: Vidi Follow-up on Osprey's promise to revert to full-resolution pdf books as of Jan 2018.
Posted on: 28/01/2018 12:26:41

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Posted by: Vidi
Total Posts: 6
Joined Date: Saturday, 9 December 2017

A real issue, first raised by Paintybeard in his forum post ‘cutting corners’ from 26 Nov last year, is that Osprey as of Aug 2017 dramatically reduced the size of its downloadable pdf eBooks, thereby providing customers with smudgy, low-resolution photos and graphics that significantly undermine the niche that Osprey has so assiduously cultivated over the years : the generously illustrated military history book with not just photos, but diagrams, 2D & 3d maps and colour artwork, often 2-page spreads. The reaction was predictably strong, and James @ Osprey promised that “this is something that has now been rectified for all ebooks publishing from January 2018 onwards”.


The January releases are now available, so time for stocktaking. I have covered some of the titles released in January, and would encourage others to contribute ‘reviews’ of the rest as a service to Osprey’s prospective customers.


 ACM Battle of Britain (17 677 KB) and ACM Rabaul (75 052 KB). The launch products of a new series. Happy to report that the photos and graphics in both these titles are of good resolution (sometimes, period photos will not be as sharp as contemporary photos, the test is if they become pixellated when you try to zoom in). Maps (predominantly 2D) are fine, as is the 2-page colour artwork. An innovation is that all 2-page spreads are presented in landscape format, so you see the whole as one picture instead of as two halves on separate pages. I’m at a loss to explain the considerable file size difference. The two titles are both 92 pages long and there is no discernable difference in graphics content or quality.


CAM 317 Market Garden (3) (9 654 KB). Made available in the same small file size that characterizes the Aug-Dec 2017 offerings (average file size of CAM titles pre-June 2017 was around 80 000 KB). Photos and artwork (incl cover) are all lo-res. Fuzzy at normal magnification and pixellate even when marginally zoomed. 2D maps are fine, but 3D maps are lo-res. 2-page artwork is at the same low resolution, and is presented in the traditional separate halves. A waste of money.


DUE 084 Sagger vs M60 (17 217 KB). An interesting in-between product. Pre-June books had an average size of just above 40 000 KB, June-Dec average size was around 6 000 KB. Photos (colour and b/w) are lo-res, and the same goes for the artwork and most graphics (2-page spreads are presented the traditional way). Some graphics, like the exploded view of a Sagger, are hi-res. Interestingly, the Sagger gets most of the hi-res graphics, while the M60 graphics are predominantly fuzzy. 2D maps are all hi-res (no 3D maps in this title). Cannot recommend for purchase from a purely visual point of view. Editorial text is certainly worthwhile, as with most Osprey titles - but that is not what distinguishes Osprey from the competition.


GEN Mapping Naval Warfare (147 302 KB). A heavy file size for a graphics-heavy book. Acceptable resolution throughout. Acceptable, but not great, as most of the contents consists of photos of old maps and thus could be a bit sharper. Overall an interesting and worthwhile presentation if you are into maps.


WPN 060 Anti-Tank Rifle (6 201 KB). Like CAM 317 a continuation of the bad old ways (average size of WPNs titles pre June 2017: abt 70 000 KB, post-June 2017 abt 7 000 KB). Same evaluation as for CAM 317. An exploded view of the Boys rifle is the only exception to the lo-res rule. No 2D or 3D maps. Traditional presentation of 2-page spreads. Cannot recommend for purchase from a graphics point of view.


To sum up - a mixed bag. The issue is not fully resolved yet, as was promised. So it would be nice to see an update from James @ Osprey. Especially with regard to the question of whether titles released in lo-res mode will be upgraded so that Osprey’s customers receive value for money on items already purchased during the second half of 2017. If not, I will probably be requesting a refund on my purchases. Or quite simply voting with my feet.


I think there is every reason to continue reviewing Osprey’s new titles as I have done above, at least until we get a full month’s worth of acceptable releases. All welcome to join in !

Posted on: 28/01/2018 12:26:42
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 343
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Vidi: Thank you very, very much for doing us all a service and posting this detailed summary of the problems with this month's new books.

As buyers only find out the size/quality of these files after parting with their money we are truely a captive market.

 I had assumed that as James @ Osprey had told us that the "Early US armour" book was delayed that this would be the only book to suffer from low quality pictures. Very disappointed to learn that it seems to be as bad as ever in most books.

 I shall not be buying anything else from Osprey until this is properly sorted out. And I would expect the courtesey of a full explanation of the reasons for the poor quality of this months books. A clear date for the final resolution of this matter should also be forthcoming. "We have a team working on this" is not sufficient.

 My current membership runs out in a month. If this matter is not resolved by then I expect to be reimbursed for the shoddy goods I have been mis-sold.

Posted on: 28/01/2018 14:21:34
Posted by: Vidi
Total Posts: 6
Joined Date: Saturday, 9 December 2017

Paintybeard, you're welcome. I feel it is worth emphasizing that three of the six titles I 'reviewed' were ok, and I see no problems buying them. With ongoing reviews  (hopefully by a number of customers) only the reviewers  (presumably people with a genuine Osprey interest) risk buying 'lemons'. 

If Osprey corrects the problem retroactively, so that we can re-download titles that we're not happy with at present, I see no major problems arising from the current situation. That is, of course, the key 'if'. 


I remain hopeful. 

Posted on: 28/01/2018 14:42:39
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 343
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Vidi: I remain frustrated!

The "good" pictures you refer to in the Weapon and Duel titles. These are presumably the weapon cross-sections. Yes, these have been OK throughout all titles over the last 6 months. I'd be horrified if they had deteriorated too. Presumably they are integrated into the books by a different method to the artwork.

 Another thing I've noticed. (Too much time on my hands!) In Campaign 313 (The Philippine Sea) the third colour plate "Attack on the Hiyo" is as poor as we have discussed. But the same plate is on the cover. And that can be expanded to almost any size without loss of detail. So why wasn't that standard kept up through the whole book? Do Osprey want us to judge a book by its cover?

 I am very pleased to hear that the art in the 2 Air Campaign books is now a sinlge piece instead of 2 halves, at least that is one step in the right direction.

Posted on: 28/01/2018 15:16:09
Posted by: James @ Osprey
Total Posts: 26
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hi everyone,

We would like to apologise for the delay in getting news back to you on this. We have been in discussion with the company that converts our books into eBooks, and have come across the source of the problem.

In the latter half of last year we changed the way some of our series books were created, but as you have all seen, we have encountered some technical difficulties with the resolution on our ePDFs. Initially we understood that only titles between August-December 2017 were below standard, but it seems that some titles from January 2018 were also affected.

Going forwards our ePDFs will be at the correct, higher resolution. In the coming weeks, our ebook partners will be resupplying higher resolution files and we will be uploading them to the website. Once that has been done, we shall notify you via the blog. We have been assured by our eBook partners that this process will take no longer than three weeks.

Unfortunately, we cannot automatically update your books, so when your book has been re-uploaded to the website, you will need to go to your Osprey eLibrary and re-download the book to your device.

I can assure you that we are working hard to get these files to you as soon as we can, and we hope to have the situation completely rectified soon.

Thanks for your patience,

James @ Osprey

Posted on: 30/01/2018 09:29:45
Posted by: Vidi
Total Posts: 6
Joined Date: Saturday, 9 December 2017

Many thanks, James, for this encouraging news! 

Looking forward to re-downloading updated titles. Would appreciate a heads-up also in this forum post, as I don't really check the blog regularly. 

Now all Osprey has to do to make hard-core customers really happy is to resume digitizing your back titles!

Surely this is not a huge step, as you've already digitized them for PoD. I suspect that rights management is the stumbling block. Expensive both to accomplish and because it may require further revenue-sharing. 

Can only say what I've said before - broadening your digital offerings the easy way - by utilizing existing titles - is a good way of broadening your customer base in an age where digital reading is rapidly increasing. 

I would have imagined that this would be considered more important for the long run than achieving break-even on each individual title in the shorter run...?

All the Best!


Posted on: 30/01/2018 12:21:38
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 343
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Very good news indeed, James. It's especially reassuring to know some sort of time-scale.


I echo the call for more of the old titles to be transfered to pdf's. There are dozens i would quickly buy.


 Also peased to hear that the 2-page artwork in "Air Campaign" is in a single view in the electronic versions. Any chance of extending this to other series? And the 3-D maps as well?

Posted on: 30/01/2018 15:20:49
Posted by: Griffon
Total Posts: 50
Joined Date: Friday, 21 May 2010

Hello all!

first of all thanks to James for the update! I hope the updates can be done in good time, as someone who was involved in producing a rather high quality magazine for a biz jet company in my last job, I know some things about creating pdfs for web presentation, printers, digital use etc...

I do not completely understand how this problem could have developed in the first I have posted in another thread already this conversion thingie has not been done in the most bright way me thinks....

also, in the light of possible future reprints as POD titles, it should be of utmost importance to Osprey to have high quality base files with which to work later on... if you have a high quality base file, it is sooo easy to create smaller files to fit each desired quality for whatever purpose...the other way round though is nigh impossible!

personally, I like the idea of having different filesizes to choose from when downloading the bought ebooks...this might use more server space but thats about it; you can cater for different tastes (better quality or smaller filesizes) and have files with which you can work for later POD work...

oh and I support the idea of digitizing earlier volumes! there are some Duels that are still missing as well as some Aces books that I would immediately buy if they become available in pdf...




Posted on: 02/02/2018 08:28:51
Posted by: James @ Osprey
Total Posts: 26
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hi everyone,

I'm pleased to say that the first batch of ePDFs that have been reuploaded at a higher resolution at now ready. If you own one of the following books in ePDF, go to the eLibrary on the website and redownload the book. I will of course update you when the next batch is ready.

ACE 134 Jagdgeschwader 1 ‘Oesau’ Aces 1939-45
ACE 136 Allied Jet Killers of World War 2
ACE 135 MiG 21 Aces of the Vietnam War
CAM 309 Shanghai and Nanjing 1937
CAM 311 Savannah 1779
CAM 312 Operation Torch 1942
CAM 313 The Philippine Sea 1944
CAM 314 Nashville 1864
CAM 315 The Hindenburg Line 1918
CAM 316 Shrewsbury 1403
CAM 317 Operation Market Garden 1944
CAM 318 The Kuban 1943
DUE 82 B29 Superfortress
ELI 219 D Day Beach Assault Troops
ELI 221 Roman Standards and Standard Bearers
FOR 112 Defences of Bermuda
MAA 513 Dutch Armies 80 Years War
MAA 516 World War II Vichy French Security Troops
MAA 515 Armies of the First Carlist War
NVG 249 Railway Guns of World War I
NVG 250 Maginot Line Gun Turrets
NVG 251 US Navy Escort Carriers
NVG 252 M113 APC
NVG 253 British Destroyers
NVG 254 Early US Armor
NVG 255 T90 Standard Tank
OWG 20 Gaslands
OWG 21 Kobolds and Cobblestones
MAA 514 Armies of the Greek-Italian War 1940–41
WAR 182 Roman Legionary 109-58 BC
WAR 183 British Tank Crewman 1939-45
WPN 57 US Grenade Launchers
WPN 58 The Broomhandle Mauser
WPN 59 The Cavalry Lance
WPN 60 The Anti Tank Rifle
Posted on: 13/02/2018 14:05:50

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