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Old 10-11-2010, 01:13 AM   #1
kidblue
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Text-based PDF to Mobi, etc./Kindle 3

I know that the screenplay issue has been discussed before, but not in a few versions of Calibre nor regarding the Kindle 3.

The industry standard for screenplays is this PDF format (link to sample PDF). Obviously, transposing that to Mobi or TXT results in full-on left-justification. PDFs in general look small, because the Kindle doesn't "upscale" the text or reduce the margins.

Anyone have any ideas on how to maintain the PDF format (indents, etc.) but get it into a format that Calibre and an e-reader can "see" as text instead of an image?

Thanks,

Noah
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:59 PM   #2
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Have you tried any of the PDF cropping utilities from the MobileRead PDF forum? Both BRISS and SoPDF have a GUI. BRISS is still being actively developed, in fact there was a new release yesterday.

Calibre also has pdfmanipulate if you prefer to use the commandline interface.
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:26 PM   #3
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For some reason I thought BRISS wasn't easily compatible with OS X. I was wrong. I'd been trying to crop with Preview.app but found that simply getting rid of the margins didn't make the PDF seem bigger on the Kindle. Would actually chopping it in BRISS be a better option or is there anything beyond cropping that I can do?
Thanks,
N.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:36 PM   #4
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I don't have a Kindle I'm afraid but I have attached a screenshot of what a BRISS-cropped version of your samplescript.pdf looks like on my 6" Sony PRS-505 (in landscape mode).

The biggest problem I had with it was not the font-size but that the Courier font in the PDF looks very wishy-washy on my reader. The attached screenshot looks better than it does in real life. It would probably look better if the pdf contained bold Courier but having read a bit of your pdf, apparently that's not allowed. As you have a Kindle 3 with the new-improved screen it might be better for you.

The benefits of BRISS etc are that the page layouts will be preserved exactly as long as you don't try to reflow it.

I'm not really sure what options you have other than cropping unless you buy a reader with a much bigger screen such as a Kindle DX or an iPad, but I've never used either of them myself.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:57 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for your help. I can confirm that the contrast on the new Kindle is top-notch. The iPad or DX are the eventual progression, but I want to see how far I can get with my Kindle 3. My dream would be to expand or enlarge the text in portrait-mode to enable viewing of half-a-page at a time large enough and with no margins or borders. Is that seemingly possible with BRISS or similar? In addition, does it have capabilities to do "batch" adjusting in that way over a whole file/multiple pages?
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:25 PM   #6
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I have attached the Briss-cropped pdf I created from your file. The crop area I used may or may not suit you. The text was too small for me to read in portrait mode (old eyes) and if I zoom in then the layout is lost, but my PRS-505 is quite old now and up-to-date readers like yours probably have better pdf facilities.

If you haven't tried BRISS yet I suggest you give it a go ASAP. Hardly any learning curve. Also the author is usually very responsive if you have questions.
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File Type: pdf scriptsample_cropped.pdf (53.8 KB, 266 views)
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:39 PM   #7
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I'll try it tonight and report back just to inform the thread and subsequent readers. I am consistently impressed by the help and fellowship I've found on this site. Thanks very much.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:37 PM   #8
ile
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Try xpdf's -layout option? Worked pretty well for me on some pdfs.

pdftotext -layout pdf-file text-file
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for that tip. Is "xpdf" difficult to use on OS X? It seems a little complicated.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
ile
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Haven't used it on Mac, but I thought it was very easy on Windows. It runs on terminal/command prompt, so I guess it depends what you like...

Seemed like there aren't "official" Mac binaries but there was a link...
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:01 AM   #11
kidblue
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Boy, was I excited about trying out BRISS on my iMac. Unfortunately, for some reason it just won't open. It actually opens one of the PDf viewers, but the actual BRISS Java application gives me a vague error. Total bummer and leaves me, a pretty advanced computer user, scratching my head...
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:26 PM   #12
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I'm really interested in this too.

The Kindle 3 does have darker blacks and a contrast mode that allows even darker text for PDFS, however, reading a full page on a kindle yields very small text...If there was only a way to automate this simply, it'd be amazing. I'm actually shocked there hasn't been a setting or something in calibre to address this yet-
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:21 PM   #13
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@kidblue,

I have given your 'read-a-PDF-screenplay-on-my-Kindle' problem a bit more thought - I like a little challenge now and again.

I used the following simple process to create an HTML file which converts to an EPUB which reads quite nicely in portrait mode on my 6" PRS-505. I'm hoping the same HTML will convert to a MOBI which reads nicely on your Kindle, but as I don't have a Kindle I can't guarantee it... I hope nothing here is Op System dependent.
  1. Open the attached screenplay template file in a plain text editor (I use Notepad++). It's just a simple HTML file containing
    Code:
    <html>
    <head>
    <title>Screenplay</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
    </head>
    <body>
    <pre>
    
    </pre>
    </body>
    </html>
  2. Open the original PDF, select the whole text and copy to clipboard using the standard features of your PDF viewer.
  3. Paste the text into the template between the <pre> and </pre> tags.
  4. Use the text editor's find-and-replaceall to remove a fixed number of leading spaces on each line which represents the wasteful left margin. (This can be done in one hit on Notepad++.) You could also remove any other "waste" if you wanted.
  5. Save the template file and rename to screenplay.html (or any other name with a .html extension).
  6. Import the HTML file into Calibre in the normal way.
  7. Convert to MOBI in the normal way. (I converted to EPUB)
  8. (Optional) If you want a darker font just type
    Code:
    pre {font-weight: bold}
    in the Calibre Convert - Look&Feel - ExtraCSS box.

    I also had to experiment with the Look&Feel - 'Base font size' and 'Font size key' to get the reader display just right. However, this is mainly because of the PRS-505's limited zoom options, I believe the Kindle is much better in this respect.

In an EPUB on a Sony reader, by default, the <pre> tags will cause the text to display in the reader's EPUB default monospace font. I'm not sure whether the Kindle has a monospace font, but if not, I'm hoping that it's default serif font will still display the screenplay MOBI OK.

The first attached screenshot shows a page of the EPUB in my Sony monospace font.

The second shows an EPUB page in the Caecilia serif font which I believe is similar to (the same as?) the Kindle.

...and finally...I'm not sure the purist's would approve of using the <pre> tags because if you zoom too high on your reader the text will disappear off the right-hand edge of the screen. However, if your sample screenplay is typical, the lines seem short enough to get away with it.
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File Type: txt screenplay_tmplt.html.txt (162 Bytes, 162 views)
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:44 PM   #14
kidblue
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Thanks so much for this. I think something is lost in the translation, because when I followed this very clear, thorough set of instructions, the resulting MOBI came out as left-justified and somewhat garbled, as if I'd just cut-and-pasted the PDF text with no formatting retained whatsoever.
I used TextEdit, then tried in Pages and finally Dreamweaver, always saving as .html and always with the same result. Any idea what I could be doing wrong?
Thanks,
Noah
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:11 PM   #15
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I'm attaching the exact .html file I dragged into Calibre. I'm also attaching the MOBI conversion and a screenshot of how this MOBI looks in MobiPocket Reader on my PC.

1. Send the MOBI to your Kindle without any conversion.

2. If this looks OK, rename KB_screenplay.html.txt to KB_screenplay.html and import the HTML into calibre which will zip it up. Then convert ZIP to MOBI. Send this MOBI to your Kindle.

If MOBI 1 looks OK and MOBI 2 doesn't then we need to look at the Convert settings more closely. If MOBI 1 doesn't look something like the Mobipocket screenshot then I'm stumped!
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File Type: txt KB_screenplay.html.txt (21.2 KB, 121 views)
File Type: mobi Screenplay.mobi (15.7 KB, 109 views)
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