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Old 12-16-2010, 01:49 PM   #1
DuoCore
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Question Time to make a choice...

Hi MobileRead,

Well, you guys are the world's best resource for finding out everything there is to know about e-book readers. I'm sure that you've all heard my questions before but I can't find them >< so after a bit of searching I decided to just go ahead and make a post.

I'm looking for the device that would work best for me. You guys are choosing my Christmas present so please!

What I need in a device:

I am a Help Desk technician. I'm in the process of studying various certification materials and other items that I'd really prefer to have in e-book form so that I can carry an e-book reader around with me instead of about 60 lbs of study books (if you've ever held 2+ certification books at a time, you know what I mean.)

Most of these are plain text, have no pictures, and all came with pdf format versions of the books.

What my real question is - what ebook reader handles converted ebooks the best? I know that most devices support PDF natively now, but from what I have been able to understand is that once they are on the device they are slow, pages require sideways scrolling and the such. I'd be converting e-books via Calibre and I'm not sure what that does but from my understanding it does make the process a 'little' better?

And if pdfs are converted to whatever the native format of the ebook reader is, does it keep all of the native features such as searching, text to speech and the such, or do I lose all of that?

I have no intentions on buying any e-books from any of the stores specifically and the device will mainly be used to store pdfs and documents that I already currently own.

To sum up;

TL;DR -
Which ebook reader handles converted via Calibre pdfs the best while keeping all their features and under $200.

Thanks!!
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:05 PM   #2
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You might want to think about going with an LCD tablet instead of an eink screen. The NOOK color would be a good device for manipulating .pdfs via touchscreen. Pocketbook is reputed to have excellent .pdf reflow provided that you are working with .pdfs that reflowable. Experiment with converting your .pdfs to ebooks and reading them on computer...you will get some idea of what you can expect.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:27 PM   #3
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PDF is a page layout format, better suited for press than ebook readers. Some information, like table of contents, might be included, but other things like what parts are page headers and footers will not be. The features you mention aren't in fact part of PDF in the first place; searching works if the text is text, text to speech might work if the text is ordered sensibly or the software guesses correctly from position. There are some restriction flags that can be set to break printing, copying and text to speech in PDF; IMHO those should not exist.

Figures, tables and mathematic formulae very rarely convert well, as PDF will have their graphical shape rather than their structure. I've seen demonstrations that Pocketbook could reflow PDF with formulae, and should soon handle images.

Using Calibre to convert to some other format means you're shifting the burden of making those guesses to Calibre, and evens the playing field for the readers quite a lot. Calibre won't restrict the output document. The upside of doing it this way is that you can tune or fix the conversion more easily than in a reader. There's at least one more thread on this.

If you choose not to preconvert, however, it becomes more interesting how well the reader deals with PDF. Then you'll want to look for features like margin trimming, text reflow, and perhaps multi-column paging.

I guess the primary lesson is that PDF is a horrible source format.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:31 PM   #4
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I have a PocketBook IQ and it does PDFs very well. And it's way cheaper than a Nook Color. I have no complaints. In fact, speaking of certs, I used it to study for the Security+ and Network+ certifications. Both cert study guides were in PDF format. LoneTech is right, PDF as the source format is just horrible.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuoCore View Post
Hi MobileRead,

Well, you guys are the world's best resource for finding out everything there is to know about e-book readers. I'm sure that you've all heard my questions before but I can't find them >< so after a bit of searching I decided to just go ahead and make a post.

I'm looking for the device that would work best for me. You guys are choosing my Christmas present so please!

What I need in a device:

I am a Help Desk technician. I'm in the process of studying various certification materials and other items that I'd really prefer to have in e-book form so that I can carry an e-book reader around with me instead of about 60 lbs of study books (if you've ever held 2+ certification books at a time, you know what I mean.)

Most of these are plain text, have no pictures, and all came with pdf format versions of the books.

What my real question is - what ebook reader handles converted ebooks the best? I know that most devices support PDF natively now, but from what I have been able to understand is that once they are on the device they are slow, pages require sideways scrolling and the such. I'd be converting e-books via Calibre and I'm not sure what that does but from my understanding it does make the process a 'little' better?

And if pdfs are converted to whatever the native format of the ebook reader is, does it keep all of the native features such as searching, text to speech and the such, or do I lose all of that?

I have no intentions on buying any e-books from any of the stores specifically and the device will mainly be used to store pdfs and documents that I already currently own.

To sum up;

TL;DR -
Which ebook reader handles converted via Calibre pdfs the best while keeping all their features and under $200.

Thanks!!
Hi and welcome,

If you need to read PDFs, forget about converting :-) ... because the type of format results are not going to be as expected, for not using the word "horrible".

In my opinion, you have 2 choices: Kindle DX or Nook Color.

Nook Color is way much faster than Kindle DX but uses LCD and the battery is not so good. It should give you about 5 to 10 hrs of continue usage depending of brightness and wifi (on or off). Kindle DX gives you between 7 and 10 days with just 1 charge. But Kindle DX is a bit slower when turning pages, besides is not color (not a big problem on technical books though)

I do have both right now with me and I do prefer the Kindle DXG. Without expanding or rotating, you can read the page as displayed, thanks to the 9 inches screen. Even with its heavier weight, for me is easier to handle, I think because the weight distribution.

v1k1ng1001 is also right. A table is another PDF alternative as well: Galaxy, iPad? it depends of your budget.

Take a look, feel both in a store close to you, that's my best advice!

Last edited by jocampo; 12-16-2010 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:28 PM   #6
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Ahh well that sucks... thank you all for all of the suggestions. I can't quite afford the DX or the color right now, let alone an ipad heh. From the sounds of it I'll just have to stick with my laptop for now pretty much...

Why is PDF such a hard format to convert!? Nothing ever goes the way you want it to.

Thanks guys! I appreciate it! And I'll check out the pocketbook (...that is one bad name for a device. "Hey, hold up. I think I left my pocketbook back at the store... sheesh)

Last edited by DuoCore; 12-16-2010 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
You might want to think about going with an LCD tablet instead of an eink screen.
I think this is good advice especially if your certification books include color diagrams or illustrations, like wire colors and so forth. You said it was mostly text and I'm not sure of the exact nature of the certifications, but running into a color diagram, even if rare, could be a serious rain cloud.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:15 PM   #8
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@DueCore,

OtterBooks is right. If you save a bit, you can get something you will really use at full capacity! I've taken several certifications, but usually they have lot of tables and graphics, so not so sure the reason for your comment.

Converting PDFs to other formats is not so easy because PDFs use vector images and has not been designed as a regular text document. Any attempt to extract or convert that result in different layout or alignment, it is horrible, trust me on that.

If you really have budget restrictions and can't wait, Kindle 3 wifi has built in PDF support. You can use it landscape and even zoom in, but screen is not so big like a regular tablet or Kindle DX. I like it though; I read some Oracle PDF books on my Kindle 3 and looks ok., just kind of small. However, I use my Kindle DX for such kind of documents and the Kindle 3 for novels, fiction and cybercrime books

Last edited by jocampo; 12-16-2010 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuoCore View Post
Why is PDF such a hard format to convert!? Nothing ever goes the way you want it to.
Because PDF is not a "book" format, but a digital representation of a printed page. It doesn't contain paragraphs, sentences, or even words, but simply instructions of the form "draw such-and-such a shape at these coordinates".

The best way to "convert" a PDF document into a proper eBook format is to use a good OCR program.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:14 PM   #10
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I know that you wanted to stay under $200, but an Android pad would have the benefits of being able to do so much more as well.

You could try the Pocketbook IQ or the Color Nook. The Pocketbook IQ is within the budget you set.

Pocketbook IQ: $150
Color Nook: $249
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