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Old 04-15-2008, 01:40 PM   #1
pilotbob
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PDF is not an eBook format

When will publishers learn that PDF is not an eBook format.

Even Adobe describes PDF as:

The PDF format as a global exchange document format is created by Adobe and is the most efficient way to exchange information.

This is a "document" format. A way to describe what will be printed on paper... the layout is sized for printing to certain sized paper, usually 8.5x11. Adobe also provided an easy way for people to view these documents with out printing them be providing the Reader. The reader works well on a computer monitor which is where it was designed to work.

In the years gone buy, before portable devices that allowed for reading "eBooks" documents stored in the PDF format have been refered to as eBooks. I know that Manning and several other publishers provide an "eBook" version of their content.

A big POD service Lulu is also guilty of this... all thier books can be ordered as paper or "eBook". The eBook of course is a .PDF file.

I have to admit, the publisher I used for a book I wrote also used this practice. Although he started out with making them .CHMs which at the time we didn't know was a much better ebook format.

Ok, well enough said. I am just tired of reading that a certain book is available as an "eBook" and having it be a PDF.

Perhaps PDF can be an eBook format in the future. But, PDF viewers, espesially on eBook reader devices would need to be able to reflow the text, hypehnate, allow for font size changes. All this goes againts the original design and reason for a PDF which was a container for an EXACT representation of a printed page which could be viewed if needed.

I hope we can stop the insanity.

BOb
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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I hope we can stop the insanity.
All the insanity, or just publishing ebooks as pdf files? Humanity is all about insanity. It's been my experience that reason tends to piss them off.

There are ebook libraries with a lot of pdf books, some are exclusively pdf books, and I couldn't figure out why someone would invest in that format, but apparently there are versions of adobe that are used on handheld devices that do reflow the text. If something like that were on e-ink devices it'd make reading pdf's a lot easier on them. I think it's the features we care about, not the format. If we could change font size and reflow the text, etc, who cares if it's pdf or any other format?

Last edited by cmbs; 04-15-2008 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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All the insanity, or
If I could stop all of humanities insanity with one forum then I would certainly shoot for that goal!
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:58 PM   #4
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Cool. Let me know how it goes. Someone should have thought of this before.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:36 PM   #5
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It is an ebook format, it's just not one which meets the OP's current needs or equipment.

I read 8.5" x 11" .pdfs on a Compaq laptop quite frequently (just set them to be rotated 90 degrees and hold the laptop like a book), and smaller sized .pdfs work fine on either my Fujitsu Stylstic or my Sony PRS-505 --- I'm reading Geronimo's autobiography (made available as a very nice .pdf by Jose Menendez / Elegant Ebooks --- http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/ ) to my kids on my Sony (we've been reading biographies of American presidents other notables and had just finished Theodore Roosevelt, since TR authorized the writing of Geronimo's autobiography it was a natural segue).

William

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Old 04-15-2008, 05:54 PM   #6
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pdfs work just fine. As long as they're A5 or smaller, that is.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:56 PM   #7
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pdfs work just fine. As long as they're A5 or smaller, that is.
Certainly... but many so called "eBooks" that are PDF are formated for 8.5x11 inch page and they are just to small when displayed on a 6 inch (or smaller PDA/Cell phone) screen.

Even still you are limited to a specific font and font size... so if you don't like or can't read the perscribed layout you are pretty much stuck.

Bob
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:56 PM   #8
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I think PDF files are grossly underrated as eBooks and not understood at all. PDF books can be fine eBooks.

If they are generated properly, PDF files can reflow to fit any screen size and you can zoom the text to make it as big (or small) as you want it to be. As I see it, the problem is two fold:

1) PDF files are often not accessible to smaller screens because the files were created without tags. Tags are a requirement or else the PDF file cannot be reflowed...Tags can be added to unprotected PDF files through Adobe Acrobat.

2) The PDF viewer software that is installed on many electronic readers do not make use of tags, so the PDF file cannot be reflowed.

I don't care so much about fonts and font sizes when I am reading. I care about being able to see text. I read PDF ebooks on my Pocket PC all the time. As long as the book can be reflowed to fit the smaller screen, I think PDF is as good a format for eBooks as any other format.

I am talking about books here, PDF journal articles are a whole different matter.

Last edited by ProfJulie; 04-15-2008 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:24 PM   #9
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It's actually disturbingly common to find that the PDF actually contains no text at all - it's just a really bad way to present a slide show. Some magazines have taken this route and it's appalling. If they're going to ship a bunch of jpegs they could at least just give us those rather than wrapping them in pdf crud.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:19 PM   #10
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It's actually disturbingly common to find that the PDF actually contains no text at all - it's just a really bad way to present a slide show. Some magazines have taken this route and it's appalling. If they're going to ship a bunch of jpegs they could at least just give us those rather than wrapping them in pdf crud.
CBZ or CBR would be a lot better for this but then you would have to use a different reader (which isn't all bad by the way).
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:27 PM   #11
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I think PDF files are grossly underrated as eBooks and not understood at all. PDF books can be fine eBooks.
Fair 'nuff.

Quote:
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If they are generated properly, PDF files can reflow to fit any screen size and you can zoom the text to make it as big (or small) as you want it to be.
Ah, but things things are not being done. Even if they were I would still not equate .PDF to eBook since 100% of PDFs would not be made correctly. Perhaps if we get to that point I will change my mind.

(Also, I believe even flowable PDFs don't flow on any of the current crop of eInk devices.)

BOb
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:43 PM   #12
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Well, if you are reading on the computer, PDF is not that bad. It's only a problem when you want to go to a portable device that is becomes an issue. I go to my local library that had eBook lending and they have PDF and Mobipocket format from Overdrive. Overdrive doe snot have every eBook in both formats. In fact, that have some of the better eBooks (to me) in PDF only. Though what really annoys me is when there is an eBook I want to read that they have that is in PDF only when Overdrive also has it in Mobipocket.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:54 PM   #13
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Fair 'nuff.

Ah, but things things are not being done. Even if they were I would still not equate .PDF to eBook since 100% of PDFs would not be made correctly. Perhaps if we get to that point I will change my mind.

(Also, I believe even flowable PDFs don't flow on any of the current crop of eInk devices.)

BOb
I don't see how this is a fault with the PDF format that people don't generate the PDF books properly or developers don't incorporate the features that would make PDF files more accessible into their electronic readers. Frankly, I don't understand why vendors don't incorporate this functionality into the electronic book reader devices.

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Old 04-15-2008, 09:57 PM   #14
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Well, if you are reading on the computer, PDF is not that bad. It's only a problem when you want to go to a portable device that is becomes an issue. I go to my local library that had eBook lending and they have PDF and Mobipocket format from Overdrive. Overdrive doe snot have every eBook in both formats. In fact, that have some of the better eBooks (to me) in PDF only. Though what really annoys me is when there is an eBook I want to read that they have that is in PDF only when Overdrive also has it in Mobipocket.
I read PDF formatted library books on my Pocket PC all the time. They work fine and, even though I prefer my Cybook to my Pocket PC as a reading device, reading PDF books on my Pocket PC works out very well. Every book I've checked out of the library has reflowed beautifully to fit my Pocket PC screen and I can make the font as large as I want.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:44 AM   #15
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I don't see how this is a fault with the PDF format that people don't generate the PDF books properly or developers don't incorporate the features that would make PDF files more accessible into their electronic readers. Frankly, I don't understand why vendors don't incorporate this functionality into the electronic book reader devices.
Because:
1. Reflowable PDFs are something that's very new and not all PDF creation software supports that feature. When they do, they create a PDF that is even more bloated than the non-reflow PDF.
2. Since reflowable PDFs are new, most readers don't support them. I believe that only Acrobat supports the format - and then only for Microsoft products. So even if reflowable PDFs were created, they couldn't be used.
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