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Old 10-03-2010, 08:17 PM   #1
varmemester
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Do people think reflow will be available for pdf files?

As it says in the title... and can it be done with a firmware upgrade? Or does the hardware also need to be upgraded?
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:27 PM   #2
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well, its more of a software thing...

but will amazon do it?
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
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The PDF has to be tagged for reflow. If it is not tagged then it has to be ran through a converter to tag them. Most pdf's are not tagged. I think that they wont add reflow because of confusing the customers regarding the issue.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:23 PM   #4
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I had an ereader that had reflowing capabilities for PDFs. The result was unpleasant 75% of the time. It depends on the "insides" of the PDF. What you see is not what you get. It's hard to explain, but let me try. You can have a nice looking PDF, but when you try to copy text from it, all you get in your clipboard is garbage. That garbage is what would be reflowed. And even when it's not garbage, but text, the result looks terrible, i.e., the space between words is not uniform, one letter overlapping the next, etc. Well, at least that's my experience with the PB360.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicmonster View Post
The PDF has to be tagged for reflow. If it is not tagged then it has to be ran through a converter to tag them. Most pdf's are not tagged. I think that they wont add reflow because of confusing the customers regarding the issue.
Yes, it takes a human being to tag for reflow, or Acrobat (or some other tool) would just do it for you. Unfortunately the human beings often think their job is done when the PDF is cooked, or they don't have a tool to do the tagging.

Lack of reading-order tagging also is why many PDFs convert so poorly. Same issue.

Still, it should be on Amazon's list somewhere, if only so they can put a checkbox on the feature list (it would be no better and no worse than any other ereader, since everybody is using Adobe's Reader Mobile SDK, including Kindle). I'd prefer they add PDF link support, actual rather than faux PDF annotation, porting these features back to DX/K2, and maybe a Sony-like two column navigation mode, before tackling reflow.

Last edited by tomsem; 10-03-2010 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:26 AM   #6
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I use Calibre to convert my text PDF's to MOBI and then they reflow perfectly fine, I haven't had any problems at all
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:07 PM   #7
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DRM protected PDFs can be a problem depending on the author/publisher and whether they are tagged. However, as a general rule PDFs and ebook readers don't go together, especially multi-column PDFs. Adobe never designed PDFs for reading on small devices. Adobe designed PDF nearly 20 years ago when most people didn't own a computer. It was really designed as a secure way to pass an electronic file from one person to another--as in legal documents, business documents, etc. PDFs originally were not designed to be viewed on an electronic device as much as they were designed to be portable and printable. In the 19+ years since PDF was designed we have evolved from a world wherein most documents were printed and read to a world wherein documents are likely to be read on some kind of electronic device like a computer, smartphone, ebook reader, etc. IMO Adobe never adequately adopted the PDF for that purpose, so it is a terrible document format for electronic devices. Bottomline, don't expect a PDF to look decent unless it is printed out. some will look okay on an ebook reader and they will reflow, but many will look like garbage even if converted.

Last edited by jswinden; 10-04-2010 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:35 PM   #8
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the issue that I have had with converting pdf to mobi is that you loose tables and most of the times any images.
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:59 AM   #9
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Since pdf has to show exact outlook, I suppose it will never
be something manufacturers would jump to fulfill. Except all
potential buyers go after the one that reflows. Hardly to be-
lieve, though.
Aside, more depends on pdf file itself.
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:14 AM   #10
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What is painful about letting go of PDF is that of course you lose a lot of the hard-worked formatting that the original layout engine produced (eg, TeX with the wonderful block-level justifications/hyphenations). So in that compromise you're then subjected to the whims of the faster-to-process line-based justfications which invariably look bad to tollerable.

It's been mentioned before but it'd be nice if eReaders would incorporate a slightly more sophisticated justification engine. The TeX engine is available as an independent library but I suspect legalities and CPU time could be making it a bit of trouble... or just "it's acceptable enough for now" attitude.

Paul.
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:20 AM   #11
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What do you think about a continuous zoom for pdf files? If there would be an input box where we can put in any zoom level we want, it would be possible to show the largest possible area of a pdf. This is needed in particular for pdfs where for example the line numbering is written further on the left/right than the actual text, which leads the "fit to screen" option to waste some valuable display area for showing line numbers...

Do you have any suggestions which make pdf reading more comfortable?
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by floriano View Post
What do you think about a continuous zoom for pdf files? If there would be an input box where we can put in any zoom level we want, it would be possible to show the largest possible area of a pdf. This is needed in particular for pdfs where for example the line numbering is written further on the left/right than the actual text, which leads the "fit to screen" option to waste some valuable display area for showing line numbers...

Do you have any suggestions which make pdf reading more comfortable?
Crop the PDF to eliminate headers/footers/margins. You'll still have page numbers displayed, and fit to screen will be able to use all the space for the text you want to read. It also improves readability in landscape, particularly with PDFs formatted like the one you mention, where something in the header prevents margins from being automatically trimmed.

If you have a Mac, you can use Preview to crop.
There are a number of free cropping tools that work on any platform as well. For example, search these forums for 'BRISS'.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicmonster View Post
The PDF has to be tagged for reflow. If it is not tagged then it has to be ran through a converter to tag them. Most pdf's are not tagged. I think that they wont add reflow because of confusing the customers regarding the issue.
Being tagged for reflow will optimize reflowing, but pretty much all eBook readers except the Kindle will reflow a PDF document, and the result is generally readable, even if not perfect. It's a real shortcoming in the Kindle that it doesn't support reflow.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:26 PM   #14
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For illustrative purposes, I posted here a photograph of the BeBook Neo displaying a reflowed PDF textbook. The result is not perfect, but it's entirely readable. The same book is not readable on the Kindle 3 at all, other than by zooming in and panning across the pages, which is intolerable.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:20 PM   #15
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For all the stink people make about pdf not being a good e-book format, the problem is that still the majority of e-books I have collected up to now ARE pdf, so often it is very handy to be able to reflow, which I have been able to do on my BeBook for quite some time and which my iliad does a little more awkwardly with 3rd party software... in both cases I find most pdf files to reflow well enough to read, however on my K2 there is no reflow and hence I only really use it with Amazon DRMed books, which is a minority of what I read...

also, converting is all well and good, but the few times I tried it took so long and so much processing power that my MacBook was starting to overheat... and then I read about 5 books a week and often decide last minute what I want to read.. much better for me to be able to actually read in whatever format is handy
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