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Old 07-26-2008, 01:46 PM   #1
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ePub and Pdf that can reflow - I want it all and I want it now!

Last 3 days, most of the emotions of these forums where concentrated in our neighbours with Sony readers as Sony did come out with the firmware upgrade that makes the Sony a ePub reader, and a Pdf’s reader permitting the text to reflow, as letting acess to DRMed ePub and Pdf files!

I’m amazing happy for them, as they get what I think is an early Christmas present.
The reports posted show the upgrade does works really well, and I bet all those happy people are now enjoying the new features.

So THE question is: what is going to happen with the Cybook?

From “inside information” shared in the Meeting in Paris last 18th of July (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...0&postcount=81) we can infer we will have ePub.
But…how about Pdf’s with reflow text?

I have call for reflow text in Pdf’s that since the beginning and I think that would have made the Cybook a leader in the eBook readers market.
Even people who just want it for leisure, sometimes need to read one or another Pdf, and even if the presentation of the text it’s not perfect, as Sony users have reported, now it’s readable… for me, it would increase the reader’s usefulness by ten times!
Hey, now when people asks for advice when buying a reader but have lots of Pdf’s, no more I need to say, “today you have the Iliad, but…”(it has a small screen, is too expensive, etc…). Today I could just say: get yourself a Sony 505!

Is Sony passing us?
Or is real reflow reading being worked out? (Booken… hint… hint?!!)
Can someone (with info) clear this out?

And one more thing: the Sony upgrade is just for the 505, the 500 can not have it, apparently because of memory restrictions…
This can make us wonder…

So ladies and gentleman what do you think?
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:48 PM   #2
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So ladies and gentleman what do you think?
Speaking purely from a personal perspective, PDF support is completely irrelevent to me. I use my Gen3 as a fiction reader and never read PDFs. I suspect, however, that the Gen3 ownership at present is rather "self-selecting" - it's so useless at the moment for PDF display, that nobody who needs to read PDF on it would have bought one. You might get a more "balanced" response asking outside this forum.
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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Hi HarryT

Thanks for sharing your view.
I stand by mine and the idea is, as I own a Cybook and I like it a lot, to ear that other Cybook users feel about this.
Example: Sony 505 users are thrilled by the possibility of using the new possibilities available, specially the Pdf part.

Best regards,
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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Speaking purely from a personal perspective, PDF support is completely irrelevent to me. I use my Gen3 as a fiction reader and never read PDFs. I suspect, however, that the Gen3 ownership at present is rather "self-selecting" - it's so useless at the moment for PDF display, that nobody who needs to read PDF on it would have bought one. You might get a more "balanced" response asking outside this forum.
Actually, I bought the Cybook partly for reading PDFs. The intention was to have some math/physics reference books on it (multifile HTML for the most part, when buying I knew it wasn't supported, but I have the impression that Bookeen is working on it?) and use it for reading research papers and lecture scripts, mostly PDFs. I have to say that it isn't all bad. While being relatively slow, PDFs are pretty readable when using flipped landscape orientation and "fit to widh"; that way, the navigation key is conveniently under my right thumb. (By the way, I just timed the largest PDF on the device, 21 MB- it takes about 17 seconds to load.) Yes, the characters are quite small, but so far I have yet to find a PDF document I couldn't at least relatively comfortably read.

So, PDF reflow would be great, but I think I could manage with just user-selectable zoom levels. Oh yeah, there seems to be an image embedding method which results in one page being defined as a single image- those don't seem to work, would be great if they did.

ePub is even less of a deal for me, what fiction I read on the Cybook I've so far been able to convert to Mobipocket with absolutely no problems.

Sorry if this is a little incoherent, I've been studying the whole day, and it's been far too warm...

Edit: Oh yeah, just remembered: Converting PDFs to Mobipocket is out, seems to screw up formulas, which are pretty much essential in physics texts
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:14 PM   #5
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Sure - mine is purely a personal opinion; I'm sure that many people feel differently.

Support for "Digital Editions" on the Sony doesn't sound to be that great - eg see this thread.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:18 PM   #6
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I'd like the Cybook to do all that the Sony can do. That would increase the Cybook user base and that must be good for all of us. More means more...
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Manichean View Post
Actually, I bought the Cybook partly for reading PDFs. The intention was to have some math/physics reference books on it (multifile HTML for the most part, when buying I knew it wasn't supported, but I have the impression that Bookeen is working on it?) and use it for reading research papers and lecture scripts, mostly PDFs. I have to say that it isn't all bad. While being relatively slow, PDFs are pretty readable when using flipped landscape orientation and "fit to widh"; that way, the navigation key is conveniently under my right thumb. (By the way, I just timed the largest PDF on the device, 21 MB- it takes about 17 seconds to load.) Yes, the characters are quite small, but so far I have yet to find a PDF document I couldn't at least relatively comfortably read.

So, PDF reflow would be great, but I think I could manage with just user-selectable zoom levels. Oh yeah, there seems to be an image embedding method which results in one page being defined as a single image- those don't seem to work, would be great if they did.

ePub is even less of a deal for me, what fiction I read on the Cybook I've so far been able to convert to Mobipocket with absolutely no problems.

Sorry if this is a little incoherent, I've been studying the whole day, and it's been far too warm...

Edit: Oh yeah, just remembered: Converting PDFs to Mobipocket is out, seems to screw up formulas, which are pretty much essential in physics texts

You *could* use Adobe Acrobat Pro to turn the PDFs into Word .doc files and then re-convert from there. Not having done a conversion of a text file with lots of formulas, I can't speak to how well that conversion process would work. However, if the books are available in PDF, have you thought of looking for them in .chm? It's easier to port from .chm to .prc than from .pdf. I use the ABC .chm converter to translate into Word .doc and then go into .prc using either mobigen or BookDesigner.

Derek
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by delphidb96 View Post
You *could* use Adobe Acrobat Pro to turn the PDFs into Word .doc files and then re-convert from there. Not having done a conversion of a text file with lots of formulas, I can't speak to how well that conversion process would work. However, if the books are available in PDF, have you thought of looking for them in .chm? It's easier to port from .chm to .prc than from .pdf. I use the ABC .chm converter to translate into Word .doc and then go into .prc using either mobigen or BookDesigner.
Derek
The Word (or Open Office) formula support is rudimentary at best. I haven't as yet searched for CHM versions of the books, but I highly doubt they're available- PDF is the de facto standard for digital publishing in science literature. And, aside from that, I'm happy when I just need to slap the PDF file on the device without any need to convert.
But more importantly, it seems I wasn't clear about one thing: I wasn't complaining about PDF support. What I was trying to say was that, while it could certainly be improved, I'm quite happy with what I got so far.

As for the formulas, I don't think Mobipocket does have any formula support at all (it is, after all, just encapsulated HTML, right?), so probably the only solution would be embedded images.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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The Word (or Open Office) formula support is rudimentary at best. I haven't as yet searched for CHM versions of the books, but I highly doubt they're available- PDF is the de facto standard for digital publishing in science literature. And, aside from that, I'm happy when I just need to slap the PDF file on the device without any need to convert.
But more importantly, it seems I wasn't clear about one thing: I wasn't complaining about PDF support. What I was trying to say was that, while it could certainly be improved, I'm quite happy with what I got so far.

As for the formulas, I don't think Mobipocket does have any formula support at all (it is, after all, just encapsulated HTML, right?), so probably the only solution would be embedded images.
For formulas: MathML isn't included in any e-book format... yet. I expect ePub in the next version of its standard to include MathML support. Currently, it would already be possible to use MathML in an ePub files if you use a proper fallback (XHTML + images for formulas in SVG).
SVG though, is already included in the standard, and it's fairly easy to export formulas in SVG.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:57 PM   #10
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I'm hoping for the ePub support. I'll probably convert my library to ePub if/when that happens.

In regards to the memory. I saw one post where someone said their friend said it needed 128MB of memory... so I'd like to see something more definitive until I give up hope. The Adobe web site says minimum memory of 128MB for Windows and Mac OSX machines but it doesn't list a minimum memory requirement for "Others". I know that Acrobat Reader has the reputation as bloatware but I'm hoping ADE is better. In the original interview with Sony they responded that they were still "looking into it" when asked about the PRS500. They didn't respond it didn't have enough memory.

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Edit: Oh yeah, just remembered: Converting PDFs to Mobipocket is out, seems to screw up formulas, which are pretty much essential in physics texts
Hmmmm I wonder if you had an infinite number of monkeys converting physics PDF's to Mobipocket... I wonder what kind of formulas you could come up with?
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Old 07-26-2008, 04:29 PM   #11
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For formulas: MathML isn't included in any e-book format... yet. I expect ePub in the next version of its standard to include MathML support. Currently, it would already be possible to use MathML in an ePub files if you use a proper fallback (XHTML + images for formulas in SVG).
SVG though, is already included in the standard, and it's fairly easy to export formulas in SVG.
So, ePub is the format of choice for scientific ebooks? Let's hope we get a pretty complete implementation on the cybook, then. And some nice science textbooks.

On second thought, and slightly off topic (sorry for highjacking), shouldn't it be possible to patch together some kind of converter from PDF to ePub with some notice to formulas? Hm... given some time, which is not probable to happen in, oh, another two years, I might have a look.

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Hmmmm I wonder if you had an infinite number of monkeys converting physics PDF's to Mobipocket... I wonder what kind of formulas you could come up with?
Well, it could actually be the question to the answer to life, the universe and everything

Last edited by Manichean; 07-26-2008 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 07-26-2008, 04:31 PM   #12
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So, ePub is the format of choice for scientific ebooks? Let's hope we get a pretty complete implementation on the cybook, then. And some nice science textbooks.

On second thought, and slightly off topic (sorry for highjacking), shouldn't it be possible to patch together some kind of converter from PDF to ePub with some notice to formulas? Hm... given some time, which is not probable to happen in, oh, another two years, I might have a look.
PDF to ePub would only provide a non-optimal conversion. Most scientific papers are created using LaTeX: it should be possible to do a LaTeX to ePub conversion with some pretty good results.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:06 PM   #13
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I agree that with enough time, knowledge and patience one can convert almost all the formats.

Up to now, and for the 6” screen readers at least, one of the unique hypothesis to read complicated Pdf files (or A4/letter ones), was to rotate the screen and read in landscape, but even so most of the times this is still difficult and not comfortable, or even impossible because the text is still too small.
Also quite some Pdf’s do not open, crash or show the pages as white in the Cybook.

But, after the Sony firmware upgrade it become prove that it was possible to have Pdf files who would “flow” the text, and thus read almost all Pdf’s directly, even DRMed ones (something we can still not do).

Hell this is what the Adobe Reader for the PocketPCs (and for Palms too) can do the same since 2002! I do it on my HTC phone edition all the time (I can not sustain the part for DRM files in this case).

Of course, I could just take a difficult Pdf with formulas and images and graphics, export to, per example txt, save the formulas and complex images as that - images - and laboriously recreate the all document, inserting the images in the correct places and then convert the final product to Prc with Mobipocket Creator, or create a Pdf the exact size of the Cybook screen as they do in the Feedbooks site - BTW congratulations Hadrien for the amazing job you have done.
Those are the options we have now.

But, and since another Reader has it now, I want that too… I want to be able to throw a Pdf file into my Cybook and read it, and that’s it.
Or that someone says it can not be done, or the Company selling it says they can not/ would not want to implement it.
Also as I state in the first post, I’m very curious to ear if others have this necessity too, or not.

Best regards,
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:14 PM   #14
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For me to support PDF reflow is very important, but not change of platform (Cybook) to Sony. Regardless of the Cybook not be perfect yet feel the best.
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Old 07-26-2008, 09:22 PM   #15
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Sure - mine is purely a personal opinion; I'm sure that many people feel differently.

Support for "Digital Editions" on the Sony doesn't sound to be that great - eg see this thread.
The complaint in the first thread was about the reflowing of PDF. The poster then said later on in the same thread that ePub did look good. While I agree the PDF relow is not perfect, it's a lot better then what any other 6" eink device has as far as PDF support goes. And ePub does work well.
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