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Old 04-03-2008, 11:27 AM   #16
JSWolf
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Originally Posted by BlackVoid View Post
I have decent pdfs and txts mainly. They are quite ok to read on a PC - no format problems at all.

pdflrf - this tool makes very big files, which turned me off. Only a few books would fit on the reader and I guess it is going to be slow too (did not try the file on the reader, but when I have seen a 1 MB pdf turned to a 17 MB monster, I gave up).
I've had cases where the resulting LRF was smaller then the original PDF. But it would make the PDF more readable even if larger.

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libprs500
This program has absolutely no respect for any formatting. Paragraphs are merged together, 3 line pages broken in mid-sentence, paragraph indentation lost and similar problems all over.
You only get problems like that if you start with a lousy source. That's what you get from darknet downloads. A lot of sources are just way poorly formatted.


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Thanks for the rtf tip, I might try that.
If you clean up the text in Word and save as RTF, you can load into Book Designer and output a nice LRF.

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I was also thinking that maybe with Adobe professional PDFs could be converted to better run on the reader - is this the case? I am skeptical because the official Sony guide for PDFs suggests to save the file in RTF and then convert back to PDF - I do not think this would work well. When I save rtf from PDF, a lot of problems appear. Can you actually reformat the page size in Adobe without losing paragraphs and indentation?
Even Acrobat Professional does not output a perfect conversion.

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Still, this is a lot of hassle for something as simple as text formatting. Sony should have included a decent tool for lrf conversion or the reader should support a wider variety of formats. Html support is a serious omission. Even decent txt / rtf documents look crappy on the reader with awkward line breaks and paragraph problems.
The tools we have now work very well if you don't start with such poorly formatted source. It's would be that way for any conversion.

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BookDesigner - I have tried this and could not find an option to save in LRF format. What am I missing?
Did you properly install Book Designer? See the thread http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11786 on where to get the installer and the update and how to install on Vista. Also you'll need the Book Cleaner files too available at http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11649

Once it's properly installed and working, you just go to the Make eBooks menu and select Sony Reader (LRF) and you get a dialog as to how to make them, set the options and go.

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I would be very interested how the other readers handle these kind of problems. Is it just the Sony reader, or do the other readers have these issues as well? I love the actual hardware and the e-ink display very much, but software support is abysmal for the Sony reader. I would even consider shelling out the money for the Iliad, provided it handles formatting much better.
Other readers would have the same trouble. It's not Sony vs. other readers. It's your source is poor and you are not doing a very good job fixing the mess.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by BlackVoid View Post
Is the Hanlin any better in this regard? At least I read that it has conversion software added to the package.
Yeah, it does ... if you can get it to run.

Most devices (read: all of the current ones) are going to have the sort of trouble you're describing. The main root of it is that PDF doesn't like to play well with others.

A note on libprs500: it seems that a lot of folks are getting much more satisfactory results out of that app than what you're clearly getting. That suggests to me that there's something different between what you're doing with it than what others are doing. Exploring that may help you address what you're running into. Assuming, of course, that the problem isn't just PDF related.

From what you're saying, it sounds like the files you're starting with may have some particularly funky formatting issues that aren't showing up in Word (or whatever) but that are throwing your actual conversions off.

Since you clearly have a need for better PDF support, the iLiad might be a better fit for you. It's not perfect for PDF, by any means, but it does a reasonably good job with displaying them natively, owing to its larger display. The iLiad forums have a good bit of discussion along those lines, to give you a better feel for what it can and can't do.


Oh, yeah, to address a question you had above about BookDesigner that I don't think anyone's answered: there's not a "save to LRF" type of operation, to make an LRF you use the "Generate LRF" button in the toolbar. It' looks like the funky "AE" symbol that's on the PRS500 (but not on the 505). If you hover your mouse over the toolbar buttons you'll see the help pop-up with text along those lines. There's a great tutorial posted here that might be of help to you, as well.
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:08 PM   #18
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I've had great results on all sorts of texts, and text with graphics, with the following:

First of all, start with something *other* than a pdf file. The exception would be if you own Acrobat, then you can convert the pdf to plain text in many cases (as long as the pdf isn't just a collection of images...).

Open your file in Microsoft Word and take a good look at it. Often you can spruce things up without too much trouble --- you might even try doing an "autoformat" on the text and see if that helps. You can always back out if you don't want to work with the results.

Once you've got things looking reasonably half-decent in Word, save your file as an html file.

Open the html file in BookDesigner and do some further editing with respect to titles, author, subtitles, table of contents, etc., until you've got it the way you want it.

Save the results as a "lit" file. This is important. Libprs500 works especially well with "lit" as the import type.

Open up the lit file in libprs500 (latest version!), make some minor adjustments (I like to have libprs500 insert a blank line between paragraphs), and convert the file over to an lrf file. Libprs500 also gives you the option to save both your lit file, the lrf file, an opf file, and a jpg or some other graphics file to a single directory for storage and/or later use.

I've done about fifty conversions in the last two weeks, including some truly *nasty* un/poorly formatted stuff, and everything has come out great. Kovid Goyal has done an absolutely fantastic job on libprs500, and BookDesigner is a must-have as well. The only thing I'm wishing and waiting for is for Kovid to implement a complete conversion/export option to .epub. He certainly has the brains and ability to do it!

As a postscript, a great tool for cleaning up and formatting text is something called Interparse4. If you google it you can still find it out there...

Tim
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:57 PM   #19
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Ok, example here. And this is not even the worst, just average bad.

I REPEAT. The PDF is totally well formatted. It is not the input material that is at fault. Please look at the PDF - NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. Lrf loses most formatting nonetheless.
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:59 PM   #20
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I now have a trial of Adobe professional installed, but I could not find how to resize the pages for the Sony Reader. Any ideas?
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:09 PM   #21
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The first time I tries BookDesigner I missed the patch and could not use it to create LRF. Now I applied the patch and it WORKS!!!!

And BD actually makes a decent format. Thanks!!! The only drawback is that each book has to be converted 1 by 1.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:57 PM   #22
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All Baen books are available in LRF from Webscriptions. This particular one is even available for free on Baen CD, though not in LRF. Hovewer, it can be easily converted to LRF, for example by using lit2lrf on the Microsoft Reader LIT file.
http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/1...%20I/index.htm
http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/1...20II/index.htm
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:14 PM   #23
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I now have a trial of Adobe professional installed, but I could not find how to resize the pages for the Sony Reader. Any ideas?
Looking at the Sony document mentioned in the "Conversions to PDF" section here on the wiki, the 'recommended' method is to do a "Save As RTF", set the page size, etc to suit the Reader then Print to PDF. (It doesn't, of course, mention Book Designer, etc, as alternatives.)
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:12 AM   #24
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BlackVoid, the problem is that the formatting in the .pdf is encoded as positional informatin (place this character in this font at these x,y coordinates), so one needs to analyse that so as to determine where paragraphs begin / end &c.

Marcel Weiher wrote a utility, TextLightning for Mac OS X (ob. discl. it's shareware and I was a beta tester) and there're other tools which do this, and there are a few others, e.g., SolidPDF for Windows.

--- unless it's a ``tagged'' .pdf where such is embedded in the file structure.

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