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Old 02-02-2011, 11:17 AM   #1
mtro
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Post Best way to convert ebooks for Kindle?

Hello,

I have a Kindle 3 and a lot of books in pdf format. They aren't the easiest to read that way, and I want to convert them. I've tried using Calibre, but it comes out harder to use than the origonal PDF, with bad formatting, page numbers & titles mixed in the text, etc.

What is a good way to convert a pdf that is formatted for print? I have Adobe software, if I need something high-end.

What is a good format to convert it into? From what I've research, epub sounds the most open.

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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ePub won't work on a Kindle. You can however, save as ePub, then convert to Mobipocket format, which usually works fine, once you get the ePub version fixed up.

I don't have Adobe software other than the reader, so I don't know what options you have. The page numbers, titles, etc. are just text converted from the file. If there is some way to extract the information from the original PDF file without all that, I'd do that, then convert from the extracted text.

You might want to try Mobipocket Creator, Publisher edition (also free, like Calibre). Sometimes its conversion of PDF is better than Calibre's. Also try the Amazon conversion service (email the PDF as an attachment to one of your Kindle addresses, with "convert" in the subject line).
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:22 PM   #3
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I'd say that there's no real way to go from formats automatically with aceptable results unless you add a bit of handiwork.

I had the same issue not to long ago, a lot of .pdf, .lit and other different formatted e-books that I had downloaded to have a digital copy of the books I own on paper, most of them formatted crappily, and some nice member pointed me to the right direction through PMs, so I can't link you the specific posts.

Anyways, all you need is Book Designer, MobiPocket Creator, and any text editor that can handle .html files, Windows' own Notepad does it just fine. I think MobiPocket Creator has a HTML editor, too, so no big deal.

So, first you need to open the file in Book Designer, and there is where you will "fix" the book format so it doesn't look awful. There's a guide in the wiki, this one: Book Designer Graphical Guide which shows the basic tricks you need, to handle titles, paragraphs, page breaks and other elements that you'll be tweaking there.

You only need to follow the guide till the 11th step (saving backup) because you're not saving the book for any SONY e-reader. After you save the backup, all left to do in that program is to go to "File", then "save as", and you have to save the book as a HTML (the field "Type" gotta say "HTML files (*.htm)").

From this point, you can follow HarryT's MobiPocket Tutorial. This will actually cover all the steps from the beginning, but it doesn't really go into the Book Designer step too much. All you need from this guide given that you followed the Book Designer one and saved the HTML file is from the step called "Editing the HTML File" and so on.

Oh, two advices on the cover matter: After you've read the MP Creator guide you'll see that it goes on copying some HTML and pictures for the covers and other stuff. In the first guide, for Book Designer, you'll notice 9th step is "Adding a Cover", but you don't really need to add it in the file, because MB Creator will do this automatically if you link the cover picture, and you won't want your book to have the cover repeated, lol.

Second is, try to find big covers. If your Kindle is a 6' screen one, the ideal would be 600x800. Most of my covers were downloaded by Calibre (you just need to add the PDF files first and download the metadata with the cover included, then delete the book from Calibre so it doesn't mess with your new one), but those ones usually are 400x500 or less, and MP Creator will give you a warning telling that the cover is too small (this doesn't really matter but if you wanna have your book really nice and pimp'd, lol).

Last edited by Darkitow; 02-02-2011 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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The best solution is to convert the PDF into ePub, edit the ePub so it is how you want it t o be and then convert to Mobipocket for your Kindle. the reason for doing it this way is that ePub can be edited where the Mobipocket cannot so easily. Plus, ePub to Mobipocket usually works well.

Now the conversion from PDF is going to be a problem as it cannot be done without errors and the only way to fix the errors is to A/B compare the PDF to the output.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help.

Darkitow, esspecially, thanks for writing it out for me. I'm trying to follow your instructions, but BD is tough- it's built for Win 95-XP and is documented in Russian. I'm having trouble getting it running in Win7. Any advice for doing that, or for a similar program?
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:56 PM   #6
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There's quite a bit of manual tweaking involved, but if you want to create an xhtml file from a PDF, and be able to trim out things like headers and footers, and have some control over how it guesses when and when not to re-join lines of text, check out "pdfreflow" here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83094

It isn't automatic, and it WILL take some learning, but when it works, it works well in my experience.

Also, don't know if it was made clear above, but MobiPocket Creator can use PDF directly as an input file. The results may not be any better than calibre (which IMHO does a reasonable job with the right parameter tweaks, especially the current versions).
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st_albert View Post
Also, don't know if it was made clear above, but MobiPocket Creator can use PDF directly as an input file. The results may not be any better than calibre (which IMHO does a reasonable job with the right parameter tweaks, especially the current versions).
In my experience, Mobipocket Creator will do a better job of PDF conversion than Calibre will, but any PDF conversion is probably going to require some manual editing to clean it up.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In my experience, Mobipocket Creator will do a better job of PDF conversion than Calibre will, but any PDF conversion is probably going to require some manual editing to clean it up.

How do you manually clean it up?
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #9
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Easiest way is probably to use Calibre to convert it to ePub, edit it in the excellent free ePub editor "Sigil", then convert back to Mobi.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:24 PM   #10
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thanks
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:58 PM   #11
mtro
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http://tv.adobe.com/watch/csinsider-...l-books-part-2
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/csinsider-...-books-part-3/
http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/epub/howto/

I came across these today. Might wanna check them out. I still need to learn how to set up a book in ID, though. That's where the TOC & everything comes in.
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In my experience, Mobipocket Creator will do a better job of PDF conversion than Calibre will, but any PDF conversion is probably going to require some manual editing to clean it up.
Another vote for mobipocket creator - great product and so far only one document needed some manual cleaning from the two dozen or so I have converted. Also converts straight from PDF to mobi.

Cheers

Barney
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