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Old 06-03-2008, 03:08 PM   #1
manchuia
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PDF Situation with the current Ereaders

I just wanted to ask this question (I know it's been covered in varying ways) to everyone about PDFs on the CURRENT (not counting (fingers crossed) future firmware or future devices) generation of readers.

The only reader that can currently handle PDFs "well" is the Illiad. This is despite the number of PDF coverter / hacks for the Sony, the pay for conversion feature on the Kindle or the PDF -> mobi conversion for the other devices that read Mobi (assuming cybook).

So, in essence, there is not an sub $500 7" e-ink reader solution that will consistently allow you to read PDFs?
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:17 PM   #2
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Depends on what you are looking for. I can unlock the pdf and convert it to rtf very easily to read on my device. It requires downloading A-PDF software, but that's only $9.99 and worth every penny.

I end up with a clearly readable book. However, this does not work if there are graphics or anything. It allows the EB-1150 to wrap the text to fit my screen, so the document does not retain the formatting of the original. If it is important to see the document in its original condition, then this quick conversion will not be what you want to do.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:27 PM   #3
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I think the Cybook is pretty good with PDFs. The Hanlin V3 (and its OEM models) is supposed to acceptable. Other than that, there area couple older devices with LCD screens I could suggest.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manchuia View Post
So, in essence, there is not an sub $500 7" e-ink reader solution that will consistently allow you to read PDFs?
Take an A4 page. Reduce it on a photocopier so that it fits into a 120 x 90 mm rectangle . Now imagine that printed on a very low-resolution dot matrix printer.

That is what an A4 PDF looks like on a 6" reader.

The "problem" is with the PDF format. It's not an eBook format. It was not designed or intended to be an eBook format. It makes the worst imaginable eBook format.

All "real" eBook formats know about the "structure" of text. They know what a paragraph is, what a line is, what a word is. Hence, they can "reflow" to be displayed properly on a small or large screen.

All that's in a PDF file are instruction like "draw the letter 'A' at coordinates (x,y) on the sheet of paper". There are no paragraphs, no lines, no words, even. Just individual "draw a letter" type instruction. Hence it can't be "reflowed".

Some modern PDF's DO contain "reflow" tags, but they are rarer than hen's teeth.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:24 PM   #5
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Look here:
http://lectoreselectronicos.com/inde...viewtopic&t=69

It's in Spanish, but there are nice photos of a Hanlin V3 showing pdf and djvu files. There are photos of a two-column pdf (original and processed by jap - Just Another Printer) and one-column and two-column dvjus.

Regards,

L.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:27 PM   #6
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I would say, that the 6" inch readers with the current software are not useable for reading PDF files that have been formatted to A4.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:28 PM   #7
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Actually even old PDFs contain enough information to reflow text, its more advanced constructs like tables and vector images and titles and page breaks and columns that cause problems.

Look at it this way, if you as a human being, wanted to reflow the text in a pbook, you could, even though the pbook contains no semantic information. Now one can write computer programs to emulate a human being, unfortunately, without the aid of semantic information, making these programs perform well for anything beyond simple text is too hard.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:50 PM   #8
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thanks for all the responses. I am not trying to sound like I am blaming e-ink or any of the readers out there. I full understand the technical details of the problem, but wanted to make sure that I am not missing something in my brief research on the topic.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:40 PM   #9
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ok, this is going to seem like a stupid question. But how can I tell what size the PDFs are? I really want to get an e-ink reader (I stare at an LCD for WAY too many hours in a week, and would like the break), but almost all my study material (computer books) are in PDF.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #10
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In Acrobat Reader (Linux) look under File -> Properties. Another way is to select print and look at the native and printed page size.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:16 PM   #11
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A small clarification about the Kindle: Conversion is FREE. If you want them to send the file via wireless directly to the device, it's 10 cents. You can have them send it back to you and load it via USB yourself for free. They're charging for the bandwidth, not the conversion.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
In Acrobat Reader (Linux) look under File -> Properties. Another way is to select print and look at the native and printed page size.
Acrobat Reader has properties on the Windows version also. It will tell you the page size.

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Old 06-03-2008, 09:20 PM   #13
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yeah, I found it. It looks like I am out of luck to use an e-ink device for my computer manuals
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:33 PM   #14
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iLiad will rotate them and show them 1/2 page at a time zoomed in to remove the margin. Can you live with that? It works well for some documents.

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Old 06-06-2008, 05:08 AM   #15
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Well having a new Cybook I would say it is pretty bad at displaying pdf files for the following reasons.

1. Large pdf files cause it to crash.

2. 20% of other pdf files cause it to crash.

3. Can only fit to width/page or height. with no zoom ability

4. Doesn't use a bit of sense and remove whitespace at edges

5. In landscape mode doesn't scroll by a display page, so you need to scroll 3-5 times to get the new text at the top of the display.

Use a laptop is my recommendation.

Cheers

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