View Full Version : Kindle Email Supports PDF Conversion


sfernald
11-20-2007, 10:13 PM
Ok, don't know if this is general knowledge, but I just decided to try sending my kindle email a PDF to see what it did.

It was a chapter of the software development book "Beautiful Code", which i downloaded from my Oreilly safari account.

Well, sure enough after a minute, the file appeared on my kindle. And it converted over just fine. The text is formatted nicely and flows well and is perfectly readable. Also, so far the tables I've seen are included and seem to be readable and formatted in a way that is understandable.

So good news. I just wanted to make everyone aware of that. I know alot of people were worried about PDF. Overall, i would say this pdf converted file is probably cleaner than any I've managed to create for the sony reader from a pdf.

sfernald
11-20-2007, 10:20 PM
Oh, I see there's a sticky about PDF conversion, so this is no big deal. Didn't notice that till just now.

sfernald
11-20-2007, 10:22 PM
Wait, I take it back. I don't see anywhere on that thread where it talks about the PDF conversion via email.

Alisa
11-20-2007, 11:41 PM
Thanks! It's good to know. Hopefully that means other O'Reilly PDFs will reflow well. That would make me a happy woman.

HarryT
11-21-2007, 05:07 AM
Is the original file marked for reflow? ie does it reflow in the desktop Acrobat Reader if you change the page size?

AlexC
11-21-2007, 06:53 AM
Interesting. A couple of questions: is the converted .azw file available for download from "Manage Your Kindle" at Amazon, and is the converted file locked to the Kindle or is it DRM-free?

Basically, I'm trying to get a feel for the usability of the Kindle outside of the US. If the pdf conversions are done well and can be downloaded without accessing Whispernet, then the value of the Kindle goes up quite a bit. Especially if the resulting .azw files can be read on other Mobipocket devices.

I'd be very interested to see how a complex pdf, for example a journal article with equations, tables, and graphs, is converted.

Alisa
11-21-2007, 12:18 PM
The PDF itself determines a lot of how good the conversion will be. This is why Amazon won't make any promises about it and calls it "experimental". If the original PDF was not made to reflow the text or if the charts and such aren't as readable if they're smaller or in black and white then you won't get a good conversion.

Nate the great
11-21-2007, 12:35 PM
Interesting. A couple of questions: is the converted .azw file available for download from "Manage Your Kindle" at Amazon, and is the converted file locked to the Kindle or is it DRM-free?

Basically, I'm trying to get a feel for the usability of the Kindle outside of the US. If the pdf conversions are done well and can be downloaded without accessing Whispernet, then the value of the Kindle goes up quite a bit. Especially if the resulting .azw files can be read on other Mobipocket devices.

I'd be very interested to see how a complex pdf, for example a journal article with equations, tables, and graphs, is converted.

If you send the PDF to @free.kindle, the result will not be sent to the Kindle but to your Amazon username (email address). A link is provided in the email you receive. click on it to download to your computer.

There is no charge for conversion of you use @free.kindle.

sfernald
11-21-2007, 12:38 PM
Interesting. A couple of questions: is the converted .azw file available for download from "Manage Your Kindle" at Amazon, and is the converted file locked to the Kindle or is it DRM-free?

Can't find it anywhere for download in the "Manage Your Kindle" area, so I would say no, it is probably not available for download. I could probably use the "free" email and get it then though.

Also, I have no idea if the file has DRM, but I would be shocked if it did. Amazon doesn't really have any right to add DRM to my private files. I'm sure they would state this somewhere if this was their policy. I don't really think they are in love with DRM, that's just what is getting them in the sack right now with the content providers.

sfernald
11-21-2007, 12:40 PM
So Alisa, you are a gadget junkie, a book lover and a software developer??

A girl after my own heart - someone I could actually have a conversation with for more than five minutes - good to know such women exist.

Alisa
11-21-2007, 12:44 PM
*blushes* Thanks! That's sweet.

DaleDe
11-21-2007, 05:03 PM
Also, I have no idea if the file has DRM, but I would be shocked if it did. Amazon doesn't really have any right to add DRM to my private files. I'm sure they would state this somewhere if this was their policy. I don't really think they are in love with DRM, that's just what is getting them in the sack right now with the content providers.

I take it they are using the AZW extension on the file. Try this. Get a copy of MobiPocket for your PC and then rename the extension to .mobi (may not be necessary) and see if it can be read. If so then there is no DRM. Please report back.

Dale

rflashman
11-21-2007, 07:41 PM
Anyone make the free address work? I tried it "xxx@free.kindle.com" but nothing has come back yet.

Nate the great
11-21-2007, 08:07 PM
Anyone make the free address work? I tried it "xxx@free.kindle.com" but nothing has come back yet.

Yes, it works.

nekokami
11-21-2007, 09:11 PM
Could someone with a Kindle try sending a "scanned" PDF to see if Amazon will attempt to convert to text with OCR? I can probably supply a journal article if you don't have something handy. I'm guessing Amazon will just turn the images into JPGs or some other graphic format, but one can dream. ;)

DaleDe
11-21-2007, 09:13 PM
Could someone with a Kindle try sending a "scanned" PDF to see if Amazon will attempt to convert to text with OCR? I can probably supply a journal article if you don't have something handy. I'm guessing Amazon will just turn the images into JPGs or some other graphic format, but one can dream. ;)

You are definitely dreaming. :)

Dale

tsgreer
11-21-2007, 10:11 PM
Could someone with a Kindle try sending a "scanned" PDF to see if Amazon will attempt to convert to text with OCR? I can probably supply a journal article if you don't have something handy. I'm guessing Amazon will just turn the images into JPGs or some other graphic format, but one can dream. ;)

I have just tried that. I found an old book on google books and sent the .pdf to free.kindle.com to see if they will convert. No word yet.

I do know that if they can't convert, they send you a message telling you that it was a no-go. So when I hear back, I'll let you know. :)

nekokami
11-22-2007, 01:00 AM
You are definitely dreaming. :)

Dale
I know, but I'm also curious to see what will happen. :)

markbot
11-22-2007, 01:04 AM
You are definitely dreaming. :)

Dale

I think it would be able to read a scanned PDF because the kindle can display pictures.

gteague
11-22-2007, 02:09 AM
so far i've been unsuccessful at getting a pdf file into my kindle although i've tried the @free conversion to do it. i'm having about a 40% success rate using their conversions, btw. but the day i tried it they were returning zip files with up to a dozen items in just a couple of minutes.

anyway, can you change the display size of pdfs? the embedded images i've got in my files can't be zoomed, nor can a jpeg i sent over. for example, i've got the sample of george r martins 'game of thrones' which has a map in the table of contents that you can access. very fine and a great feature except you can't read a damm word on the map it reproduces so small. so, if this is the case, are pdfs even going to be useful?

i searched for zoom and enlarge and some other words in the manual and found nothing other than increasing text size.

thanks,

/guy

rflashman
11-22-2007, 11:24 AM
Anyone make the free address work? I tried it "xxx@free.kindle.com" but nothing has come back yet.

Finally worked for me, turn-around for a lenghtly PDF (300 pages) was 3 hours. It came right back, added it to my Kindle, and it reads great. It seems a pretty good PDF converter, even a lot of the custom formatting is messed up. Though I'd prefer an option to "convert to images" to preserve formatting.

tsgreer
11-22-2007, 11:39 AM
Well, my .pdf experiment went nowhere. I didn't get any reply at all. The .pdf was an old google public domain book and was 6 megs so maybe it was too big. I'll try smaller ones...

CJinSF
11-22-2007, 11:44 AM
I sent a PDF ebook to the Amazon free conversion email and got back an AZW in about 5 minutes. I downloaded to my Kindle and everything works fine with the one exception of a couple of pages that have full-page illustrations (too big to display on the Kindle screen). Only the titles of the illustrations were visible.

A nice bonus was that the table of contents was automatically converted so that each entry links to the corresponding chapter.

DaleDe
11-22-2007, 12:27 PM
I think it would be able to read a scanned PDF because the kindle can display pictures.

Certainly true but their not going to OCR it and turn it into text IMHO. If they convert it will come back as images. And may require turning the unit sideways to read them or they may bee too small.

We haven't heard anything about the quality and view techniques for images on a Kindle so this would be a good experiment just for that purpose alone.

Dale