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Old 06-07-2007, 08:58 PM   #10
NatCh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sborsody View Post
A lot of people who are not ebook geeks are bound to have a large collection of PDF files and device vendors should be working to capture this larger market.
So ... all the kids are doing it, eh?

Seriously, though, I do see your point, but the complicating factor is that the actual nature of PDF files makes handling them difficult in any sort of re-flowed environment. The facts that lots of people buy and sell books that way doesn't change the first fact that they aren't suited to the task.

Sure, laptops/PC's can handle them just fine, but they have larger screens and much more powerful processors to work with, not to mention displays that refresh at a rate of several thousand times faster than what e-ink is presently capable of, so it's not really an equivalent comparison.

One thing to note here is that PDF handling isn't a hardware issue, it's a software one, and the PDF software on the Reader, specifically, is provided by ... yup: Adobe. You can rightfully claim that Sony is responsible for accepting its performance, but that performance, or lack thereof lies on the doorstep of the company that created the PDF format in the first place.

I see Adobe's work in developing Digital Editions as a tacit admission that PDF isn't the right format for such things. They've made something that does it's job well, but it doesn't do the needed job well.

A hammer is a great tool, for instance, but it doesn't cut lumber very well, you need a saw for that. And the fact that hammers are commonly bought and sold doesn't make it the hammer-manufacturer's fault that his hammers don't cut lumber well, it's just not the right tool for the job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sborsody View Post
Incidently, I find your comment about PDF intending to be an electronic version of a paper product humerous. Isn't that a definition of an ebook?
Well ... you could loosely apply that definition that way, I s'pose, but it doesn't really fit all that well.

What rluazon is getting at is that a PDF is an electronic 'snapshot' of a paper document, in that its layout and its content are both preserved in the electronic format. While an e-book, on the other hand is just the contents of the book in electronic form, the layout is less important that the actual content (if that weren't so, I suppose we wouldn't be discussing the matter ). The e-book format inherently demands that it be re-flowable to match the physical display characteristics of the viewing device....

Which actually goes right back to the point of the PDF not being well suited for e-books because it isn't re-flowable.

I'd like it if PDF files supported this kind of flexibility too, but they just don't, because Adobe deliberately made them that way. And put a fair amount of effort in the job in the process, and then delivered viewing software that doesn't do anything about it either.

We do need a 'standard' format, but PDF simply isn't it, and isn't likely to become it due to its designed-in limitations. Limitations which, incidentally, prevent the e-reading device makers from doing much of anything about it. The fact that a lot of folks have put a lot of investment in the format just doesn't change any of that.
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