Absolute position for book viewer

Bug #1846700 reported by leastcommonancestor on 2019-10-04
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

The book viewer in Calibre 4.0 only shows the size-relative position as percentage. Previously, there was the option to show an absolute position together with the book size. This sort of metric is still present, since the "Count pages" add-on shows the corresponding book size when the algorithm is set to "E-book viewer (calibre)".

Some sort of absolute position display is very desirable, since especially in big books the percentage gives no indication of how much text was read or how long a section is etc. Furthermore, an absolute position indicator which changes on each page can be used to find a certain position without having to set a bookmark each time.

The absolute position number in the old viewer was completely arbitrary
and cannot be relied on for anything. For example an ebook full of
images would turn out to be smaller than one full of text even though
the former might require more page turns.

The new viewer can show you estimated time to complete book and current
chapter in the header/footer. And you can use Goto->Location to go to
specific locations, another use for which the old absolute position was
unsuited, since where a positiona ctually ends up depends on windows
size/font size.

 status wontfix

Changed in calibre:
status: New → Won't Fix

It does not need do be precise. It should only change with every screen / page and give a rough impression of the total size of the book. Therefore it could be word count, page count, screen count, the old metric or (what was called "reference mode" if I'm not mistaken) a metric based on section + paragraph count. Whatever. And since it would be optionally displayed as part of header/footer, what harm would be done?

Kovid Goyal (kovid) wrote :

There was nothing in the old viewer that changed with every screen/page.
That has not changed. And why do you care how large a book is? To judge
how long reading it will take, yes? There is a time left per
book/chapter metric in the new viewer.

I have seen this "time left" metric and I think that it replaces a somewhat arbitrary metric with a completely arbitrary metric. At present (after showing "Calculating..." for a while) it tells me that I will read a medium-sized novel in 15 mins. This might be useful for someone who always reads from first to last page, but that's not everybody.

Kovid Goyal (kovid) wrote :

Well, as I said, there was no such metric in the old viewer, so you have
lost nothing. And if you are not planning to read from start to end,
what earthly difference does how large the book is make?

Finally, if you like count pages, feel free to use it, in
addition use the embed metadata tool after using count pages, and you
will be able to see how many pages there are while in the viewer by
going to Goto->Metadata to see the number of pages calculated by count

The thing is: Before I start reading something, I want to know how long it is. Whether it is about 10 or about 100 print pages makes a difference. So some metric of absolute length should be a feature of Calibre itself and not an add-on. Now, in an anthology, story collection or a collection of scientific articles/essays I do not care whether a text is 5% of some total length. This is irrelevant. 5% can be 10 or 100 print pages. And collections and such are not normally read from cover to cover.

And I do not think that I am the only one, who wants to know whether some piece is short-story- or big-novel-length – before one starts reading.

I always thought it sick, that Kindle and other readers only show a percentage and considered it one of the many good features of Calibre, that it allows an absolute length indication.

Kovid Goyal (kovid) wrote :

There was no absolute length indication, I dont know how many ways to
say this, the position number from calibre 3.x is meaningless except as
an *approx* way to refer to positions in the book.

Apparently we are hung with the semantics of "absolute". For me, "absolute" is the opposite of "relative". So any metric which is not relative to total size (or page viewing time so far) is "absolute". And as I said above, it needs not be the Calibre 3.x position number (although it would be consistent with length from the "Page Count" add-on). Anything will do, as long it's not size-relative: word index, byte/character index, standard page count (=characters/2000 or such), page/screen index, whatever.

However, I get the impression that you are simply loth to implement (or rather re-implement) this option. So ok, if you hate that poor old "position number" and love that shiny new "remaining reading time" … …

Thank you again for this in every (other) respect wonderful software. Greetings, LCA

Kovid Goyal (kovid) wrote :

No worries, ping me about it after the 4 release craziness dies down, IIRC that number is still available internally, so it should be possible to expose it in the header/footer templates optionally.

Fixed in branch master. The fix will be in the next release. calibre is usually released every alternate Friday.

 status fixreleased

Changed in calibre:
status: Won't Fix → Fix Released
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