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Old 12-06-2010, 09:41 PM   #1
zarbiya123
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Converting academic PDF journal articles for Kindle

Hi, newbie Kindle 3/Calibre user here. I am trying to use Calibre to put some academic journal articles on my Kindle, but it's not working. I've been able to use Calibre to convert my personal PDF's to MOBI and sent them to the Kindle just fine. When I try converting journal articles, however, what ends up on the Kindle is sometimes just the very first page of the journal article, sometimes something garbled, sometimes a blank screen. All I'm doing is clicking "convert books," and then later, "send to the device," and it works with my own PDF's but not with articles. I'm using a MacBook. What am I doing wrong?

I've tried sending the PDF's to Amazon with "convert" in the subject line but don't like having to switch the orientation to read them.

Have searched the forum and found one suggestion to export the PDF to HTML first, but my Adobe reader won't let me do this.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:44 AM   #2
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A lot of academic journal articles use complex formatting that Calibre doesn't support. Things like Multi-Column, inset text boxes, captions, vector images, etc None of that will convert well. Multi-Column support will come eventually in the next gen pdf engine, but no telling when that will be finished.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:59 AM   #3
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academic PDF's

Oh, that's depressing. I see what you're saying, though, many of my PDF's have two columns, although not a lot of graphics. Before buying a Kindle I read all these sites talking about how great it was to read one's academic articles on them.

I went back to the original access to the journal article and cut and pasted HTML, then saved it as a Word DOC, converted to PDF, then had Calibre convert it to MOBI to send to my Kindle. This isn't ideal, though, for being able to discuss the articles in my classes and access the original page number of the PDF.

anyone else got any ideas, or is this the best that can be done?

Thanks...
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zarbiya123 View Post
many of my PDF's have two columns,
Handling multicolumn is on the todo list.

Quote:
Before buying a Kindle I read all these sites talking about how great it was to read one's academic articles on them.
Most people read the PDF, rather than convert. PDF conversion is very difficult.

Quote:
I went back to the original access to the journal article and cut and pasted HTML, then saved it as a Word DOC, converted to PDF, then had Calibre convert it to MOBI to send to my Kindle.
Calibre likes HTML, and hates both Word DOC and PDF. Can you just add the HTML to Calibre, then go to MOBI?
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:16 AM   #5
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Why not read the original PDFs? If it is viewed in landscape, then it should be almost reasonable. If it is 2-column, you can zoom and read in a column at a time.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:05 PM   #6
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If you have access to a HTML text of the articles, try using that to convert. If you have access to some kind of TeX, try changing it to single column and recreate the PDF, then reconvert.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:11 PM   #7
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Good points, and you're right, Chaley, I can read the PDF's in landscape fairly easily. When Amazon converts them, they automatically show up in landscape mode, but I can just leave them as-is and am able to read the text fairly easily. I'm finding zooming in portrait mode much more difficult. I guess I will just stick with that for the moment. I do like the way converted HTML files look on the Kindle, but then I have no idea of the original PDF's page numbers anymore...

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions...
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:10 AM   #8
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I'm not sure you really want to read academic papers (PDF) on the Kindle. Opening a 9 MB scientific american took about 60 seconds. Page turn ~10-20 seconds. Close, reopen, again ~ 60 seconds. Other PDFs open faster but still took a long time. I wonder if this is due to the PDF structure of scientific american PDF.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:53 AM   #9
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Then again, Scientific American isn't exactly an academic paper, is it? From my experience, many journals use a pretty lean formatting in their papers, thus producing very manageable files.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:11 AM   #10
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Then again, Scientific American isn't exactly an academic paper, is it?
Right
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:13 AM   #11
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Just because I've never seen it described here, I'll mention one method I use to read image-based multi-column PDFs on my ancient IPAQ. It avoids having to do OCR and handles the multiple column format well.

I read it with uBook, in the comic reader mode. The comic reader mode is designed to automatically process an image by slicing it vertically or horizontally into strips, then slice those strips into smaller rectangular image chunks.

For a normal comic page, it autoslices the image horizontally first, then vertically cuts the horizontal comic strips into individual panes. Each individual pane is displayed sequentially and the small image chunks fill the screen, allowing text to be read easily.

For an image based multicolumn PDF, I let it autoslice vertically first to produce text columns. Then it slices each column horizontally between the paragraphs. The space between columns and the space between paragraphs is treated just like the space that frames the comic panes. The only difference is the slicing order.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #12
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PDFmasher

Try this instead of calibre (something special for PDF articles)

http://www.hardcoded.net/pdfmasher/
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:06 PM   #13
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I find that when viewing pdfs my kindle can crop lines so some bits can't be read. I have been having success with the copying of HTML articles and converting them, After a bit of editing in open office. This gives me workable results but is a little time consuming. I wonder how difficult it would be for journal publishers to make the academic papers available in a ebook format. Surely there are enough people now wanting this to make that a worthwhile exercise.
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