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image Tastes vary. But I myself hate spaces between paragraphs when I’m reading e-books on a Kindle, Sony Reader or other gizmo with a small screen. Wastes space.

And it’s especially frustrating when I’m reading dialogue. If you’re like me, wouldn’t you rather that the books look the way they do in the Kindle screen shot to the left?

Mercifully a fix exists for nonDRMed e-books—the Calibre e-book management and conversion program that John Schember has written up in The ABCs of e-book convresion: Easy Calibre Tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook, as well as in A beginner’s guide to Calibre.

You can download Calibre for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. Calibre’s current 0.6.33 version, just released, even lets you install a dictionary feature within its e-book-reader.

Now here are the easy steps to rid your books of those evil spaces:

image1. Fire up the Calibre program, which you can install and get going with guidance from John’s simple tips.

2. Double-click on the Preferences icon in the upper right of the Calibre screen, the one with the hammer.

image3. Choose Conversion, which appears on the left of the program’s screen.

4. Put a checkmark ahead of “Remove space between paragraphs. You can also do the reverse and, rather than do this, tell the program to add spaces between the paragraphs in book files where they don’t exist.

imageIf you choose to remove space between paragraphs, you’ll be indenting the first lines of each. And if you look a bit to the right on the Calibre screen, you’ll notice you can vary the indents’ size.

5. Click the OK button in the lower right of the Calibre screen.

6. Next time you get a book into Calibre, use a conversion option even if the book is already in the proper format for your Kinde, Sony Reader or whatever. That way, the change you made will have an effect.

To answer one question, yes, this will work on books you download from Google Books for your Kindle or other machine. Even if you have a Sony or Nook, you may want to skip the default bookstore’s Google Books option and instead download them to your desktop machine so Calibre can fix the spacing.

A related tip: For some e-readers, not all, you may be able to turnall text into boldspacing for better visibility on an E Ink screen, which lacks the best contrast between text and background. While you’re in the screen for conversion options—the one mentioned in Step #4—you can insert some special code within the big “Extra CSS” rectangle:

body { font-weight: bold }

OK, give the above suggestions a try, and let me know in the comments area if you have any problems.

 
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