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Old 10-08-2012, 09:39 PM   #1
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bilog began at the beginning.
Posts: 1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Device: Kobo Touch
PDF and CBR reading with 2.1.4 firmware

Hello all, first post here. I've tried looking for related threads with the search function, but wasn't able to find restrict it to a subforum enough to get relevant results, so here goes, hoping I'm not duplicating content.

We recently bought a Kobo Touch reader, firmware 2.1.4. We use it to read a number of sideband-loaded ebooks, in a variety of formats, and one of the main choices for the ereader was specifically the built-in support for the various formats we have, and the Kobo fitted very well (the only seemingly missing format support is djvu).

One thing I noticed is that the reading experience for different formats is largely different, which leads me to suspect that support for them is implemented as a number of separate plugins with different functionality. This is fine, but it leads to some issues that I'm going to enumerate here, in the hope that some of you might have suggestions on features that I may have been missing.

First issue: when reading PDFs, we can't seem to get rid of the "Page X of Y" band at the bottom of the page. This steals some precious display area, and causes PDFs fitted to height to display smaller than they could be. There is a checkbox setting about the display of the current page, but toggling it seems to have no effect. Noticeably, this only seems to affect the PDF reader, and not the CB* reader, for example.

Proposed (firmware) solution: obey the setting about displaying the page number when reading PDFs.

Second issue: when reading multi-column PDFs, I can zoom in (manually) to single-column width (which is sometimes necessary to get readable text because of the wasted area, see the first issue); however, navigation with a zoomed PDF is not particularly friendly: I can scroll around easily in all directions, which is nice but very ‘flashy’, needing lots of refresh. Particularly bothersome is that going to the next/previous page leaves you at the present zoomed position, instead of moving to the top of the next page/bottom of the previous page. This requires a lot of scrolling.

Proposed (firmware) solution: I have seen an unofficial Kindle firmware with PDF reading support that presented a nice idea: you could specify a ‘reading order’ for a zoomed page divided in quarters, and the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ buttons (which on the Kobo touch these would be the next/previous taps) would move you to the next/previous quarter of the page, before moving over to the next/previous page at the right place (top/bottom, left/right of the next/previous page depending on reading order). Examples of possible reading orders:
1) AB  2) AC  3) CA  4) BA
   CD     BD     DB     DC
Third issue: I love the ComicBook formats support in the Kobo, even though the 6" display is often too small to read the comics full-page (side-note: if Kobo is considering going for an 11" or 13" eInk reader, please do; I understand that it's probably going to cost more than twice the 6" one, but as long as it's at a sensible price (say, within €300) I would seriously consider getting on, as long as it comes with a similarly powerful and flexible firmware).
But back to the issue at hand: when reading a multi-directory CBR or CBZ archive, I was stumped seeing that it rendered pages in the wrong order.
Say that the archive structure is like this: dirA/, dirB/, dirC/; and each directory has file1, file2, file3; I would expect the reading order to be dirA/file1, dirA/file2, dirA/file3, dirB/file1, dirB/file2, dirB/file3, dirC/file1, dirC/file2, dirC/file3. Instead, the Kobo presents the page in this order: dirA/file1, dirB/file1, dirC/file1, dirA/file2, dirB/file2, dirC/file2, dirA/file3, dirB/file3, dirC/file3.

Proposed (firmware) solution: display comic book archive contents sorting by directory first and by file-in-directory second. Optionally, it would be nice to have each directory appear as a separate ‘chapter’ in the table of contents/index of the comic book.


I'm going to stop here, even though there are other minor issues I'd like to discuss. Allow me to say that despite these annoyances, my wife and I are pretty satisfied with our new acquisition. Of course, we'd be even happier if these issues could be resolved.
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