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Old 12-21-2012, 03:39 AM   #1
Crexis
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Kobo Glo: impossible to read PDFs?

Just got my new Kobo Glo and was happy to start using it, but I am experiencing difficulties reading PDF files.

The Glo doesn't seem to reflow the text, or at least I couldn't find any option for it. I mean it just displays the entire PDF content, sticking to its static layout, either fitting everything on screen (thus content becoming too small to read), or you have to zoom and scroll around all the time (extremely inconvenient, and on top of that, turning pages didn't seem to work while zoomed in).

Am I missing something or is it practically impossible to read PDFs?
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:44 AM   #2
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Yes, there's no reflow but this information was available on the net. I think only some Sony readers offer that. I really wonder why Kobo didn't implement it...
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:48 AM   #3
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Uhm, seriously? Isn't there a new firmware or anything that fixes this, or at least some workaround? Surely this would cause a sh!tstorm of complaints, can't imagine Kobo would just let that happen...?

Essentially this would mean it's pretty much impossible to properly read PDFs on a Kobo Glo. If that's true, I will return it, as 99% of what I read is PDFs so this would make the entire thing obsolete to me
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:39 AM   #4
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I have the same beef. And no it's not just Sony that does reflow. Many other ebook readers can do it. Astak, Hanlin, Bebook etc etc - all do it excellently.

Kobo are USELESS for PDF.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crexis View Post
...(extremely inconvenient, and on top of that, turning pages didn't seem to work while zoomed in)....
Turning page while zoomed in is possible.

When zoomed in, drag the pdf to the left (so you get nearer the right margin of the text). If you drag it slightly further than the edge of the page, you'll get a vertical black bar in the right margin. Tap that. That turns the page.

(The opposite dragging gives you a bar to page back.)
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mrs_Often View Post
Turning page while zoomed in is possible.

When zoomed in, drag the pdf to the left (so you get nearer the right margin of the text). If you drag it slightly further than the edge of the page, you'll get a vertical black bar in the right margin. Tap that. That turns the page.

(The opposite dragging gives you a bar to page back.)
Just try enjoying a book doing that each time
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:13 AM   #7
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Just try enjoying a book doing that each time
Oh I know, it's annoying. But at least turning a page while zoomed is better than having to zoom out, page turn, and then zoom back in

My solution is to reflow the pdf on my computer, into a new pdf that's the size of the kobo screen, before putting the pdf on my kobo.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:37 AM   #8
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Well research would have picked this up. Kobo Glo from what I understand, was never meant to be a quality PDF reader. Its able if it has to, but ePub is it's general format. That's where it's aimed at. It will even read Mobi, but again it's a bit hit-and-miss because as it will read Mobi, it is not specifically meant do so.
All this has been out there in the ereader community; no secret.
Portable Document Files are fixed to a size on their first build; and that's usually to the size and format convenient to the original author. Unless the PDF file was set-out for Kobe size and format then the magnify and pan is the best you can hope for. You could always redo the layout yourself if you wish. Plenty of programmes out there to do this.
Hope this helps
Al
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allypink View Post
Well research would have picked this up. Kobo Glo from what I understand, was never meant to be a quality PDF reader. Its able if it has to, but ePub is it's general format. That's where it's aimed at. It will even read Mobi, but again it's a bit hit-and-miss because as it will read Mobi, it is not specifically meant do so.
All this has been out there in the ereader community; no secret.
Portable Document Files are fixed to a size on their first build; and that's usually to the size and format convenient to the original author. Unless the PDF file was set-out for Kobe size and format then the magnify and pan is the best you can hope for. You could always redo the layout yourself if you wish. Plenty of programmes out there to do this.
Hope this helps
Al
The sales blurb claims it as a format supported by Kobo (not just the glo - the touch as well). The trouble is, it's so bad it is almost misleading to have it on the list. No excuses, it can be done much better, plenty of other ereaders do it. Kobo have dropped the ball on pdf reading.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:43 AM   #10
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Well I explicitly emailed the Kobo helpdesk in advance, asking if I could read custom PDFs on the Glo (rather than being limited to ePub or DRM formats or whatnot). And their answer was yes, they were fully supported.

Was I supposed not to trust their answer and do an extensive technical research myself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by allypink View Post
Portable Document Files are fixed to a size on their first build; and that's usually to the size and format convenient to the original author. Unless the PDF file was set-out for Kobe size and format then the magnify and pan is the best you can hope for.
Well, no, properly supporting PDF by just reflowing the text (or at least the option to do so) was actually what I hoped for.

To be honest I feel rather disappointed with the Kobo Glo because of this blatant shortcoming. The device itself seems fine, the screen is great and I like the light function. It's just the stupid software implementation that makes it suck, which is a shame
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:05 AM   #11
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Well, no, properly supporting PDF by just reflowing the text (or at least the option to do so) was actually what I hoped for.
Re-flowing a PDF document is a heresy, and because some manufacturers do it is not a reason to spread this. The whole point of PDF is to provide a portable fixed layout for documents. HTML format, or ePub for the ebooks domain, is the way to go when flexible layout is desired.

Ok, actually there are some re-flowing capabilities in the standard, but they were introduced for accessibility issues for impaired people, not to distort the document gratuitously. So it is an exception, and if a PDF document is difficult to read on a 6" device, then it is probably not designed to such devices, that's all. It is the responsibility of the document's author to think about it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:44 AM   #12
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Re-flowing a PDF document is a heresy, and because some manufacturers do it is not a reason to spread this. The whole point of PDF is to provide a portable fixed layout for documents. HTML format, or ePub for the ebooks domain, is the way to go when flexible layout is desired.

Ok, actually there are some re-flowing capabilities in the standard, but they were introduced for accessibility issues for impaired people, not to distort the document gratuitously. So it is an exception, and if a PDF document is difficult to read on a 6" device, then it is probably not designed to such devices, that's all. It is the responsibility of the document's author to think about it.
Yeah well, no offense but that's all techno babble, and no real argument for me as a user (I'm a software developer and I know how this sorta thing works).

In theory this may be true, in practice we know how this plays out. NO author (as in less than 0.01%) will even know what this is, let alone deal with it properly. So even though it may be true technically, Kobo should have approached this practically and just include a workaround.

Simply taking the text contents from a PDF and displaying it (in whatever order it appears in the PDF) as plain text would work absolutely fine for the vast majority of all PDFs.

If Kobo chooses not to implement this rather easy solution (it's getting the remaining tiny fraction of PDFs working that is the real heresy), other manufacturers will happily do so instead.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Crexis View Post
Yeah well, no offense but that's all techno babble, and no real argument for me as a user (I'm a software developer and I know how this sorta thing works).

In theory this may be true, in practice we know how this plays out. NO author (as in less than 0.01%) will even know what this is, let alone deal with it properly. So even though it may be true technically, Kobo should have approached this practically and just include a workaround.

Simply taking the text contents from a PDF and displaying it (in whatever order it appears in the PDF) as plain text would work absolutely fine for the vast majority of all PDFs.

If Kobo chooses not to implement this rather easy solution (it's getting the remaining tiny fraction of PDFs working that is the real heresy), other manufacturers will happily do so instead.
I'm not disagreeing with your point, but the point above is equally valid. PDF exists to give a fixed layout across devices, regardless of screen size. Re-formatting the text in a PDF is, 9 times out of 10, a hack that "breaks" the PDF standard. The reality is that, while popular, PDF is a really lousy format to distribute text-heavy documents, especially if there's little specialized formatting/layout.

It would be nice if the KG could relive the text, but the same could be said for my iPhone as well. In no way is Kobo being misleading about PDFs: the KG can display them and displays them exactly as the author intended.

With the rise of ePubs, it's time quality desktop ePub readers (even OS-level) support and for publishers to move away from PDFs: a format that was really never meant for mainly-text documents.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:45 AM   #14
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Yeah well, no offense but that's all techno babble, and no real argument for me as a user (I'm a software developer and I know how this sorta thing works).
No offense. You're not the first to argue about this, and this time I felt the urge to give my opinion. Which is that it is a shame that authors or readers are not better informed, and that standards are abused like this.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:22 AM   #15
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Religious issues aside about text-flow being heresy, it's not something I've ever seen promised in Kobo literature, but it is a feature I've seen mentioned by makers of various PDF-reading apps made for LCD tablets.

I think the general agreement is that an e-ink device from ANYBODY is probably not a great choice if a big chunk of your reading workload is going to be PDFs on portable devices: the screen refreshing, the lag in zooming, the possibility that an essential graphic might not render well in greyscale... People generally agree that if these things are going to be a problem, you should probably be looking at LCD-based devices. And even, then, some people fervently believe that even the best 7" or 9" color screen in the world presents a nuisance on PDFs.

Kobo has its faults, but I don't see where this is one of them.
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