Revealed here is a pre-release version of a Sony document obtained by MobileRead. It is called "User’s Guide to Creating PDFs for the Sony® Reader", and as expected, the information contained covers how to prepare PDF documents that are optimized for the Sony Reader. We expect a similar version to be officially released from Sony in the near future.
While the instructions themselves are in a PDF, the file is not (yet) optimized for the Reader. Here, from the contents, is a list of the topics included:
Portable Document Format / PDF Creation Software / Sony® Reader screen dimensions and specifications / Font recommendations for the Sony® Reader
II. Creating PDFs from Word Processing Documents
Create word processing documents with optimized dimensions and layout in Microsoft® Word and OpenOffice.org Writer / Generate PDFs with appropriate settings using Adobe PDF or PDF Creator printer
III. Creating PDFs from Presentations
Create presentations with optimized dimensions and layout in Microsoft® PowerPoint and OpenOffice.org Impress / Generate PDFs with appropriate settings using Adobe PDF or PDF Creator printer
IV. Creating PDFs from Professional Layout Applications
Create presentations with optimized dimensions and layout in QuarkXPress® software and Adobe® InDesign / Ensure proper font and image embedding / Generate PDFs with appropriate settings using Adobe PDF or PDF Creator printer
V. Doing more with Adobe® Acrobat
Reformat an existing PDF for use on the Sony® Reader Enhance navigation of your PDF with internal linking / Create a Sony® Reader-optimized PDF preset for streamlined PDF generation / Import an existing Sony® Reader-optimized PDF preset into your system
As we look at the font recommendations, for example, we immediately see that the document can at best hope to be some general guidelines. No matter what is recommended, there will be differences of opinion because individual tastes will vary. For example, I prefer a size 16 serif font like Times Roman. But Sony states general guidelines as follows: "A range of fonts and font sizes will display clearly in PDFs on the Sony Reader. As a general starting point, we recommend using Arial and Times Roman as base fonts at sizes of 7 points. Text is legible at 6 points, though at this size it can lose some clarity. Large fonts will tend to use up screen space rather rapidly given the maximum document dimensions." The idea appears to be that one should use a smaller size in order to maximize the words on a screen as much as possible, while allowing the Sony Reader to scale the text to larger sizes when desired by the user.
It will be very interesting to see how the recommendations are received when analyzed more carefully by the MobileRead community, but this is definitely a welcome addition from Sony. It is not just some casual document thrown together by novices, but is something that appears to be both informative and useful. Kudos to Sony for providing it as part of their commitment to the product.