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Old 02-14-2009, 07:42 PM   #1
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Reading PDFs on the 700

I'm seriously considering buying the PRS-700 in the next couple of months (if I can wait that long!), mostly because I'm running out of space to keep my books. I also travel a lot and am planning a 6-month trip next year so the notion of being able to carry around more than 5 books with me during that time is very appealing. To further reduce the weight in my backpack I was hoping that I could take my guidebooks electronically too. How easy is it to read a two-page spread PDF? Sorry, I don't know what else to call it so here's an example:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/shop_pic...ng-started.pdf
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:33 AM   #2
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The answer is: it depends. It depends on how the PDF is made -- if there is a lot of text, you can have the reader (700 or 505) reflow the text, but it will make it out of place compared to accompanying graphics. If you have a PDF editor and the travel books are created in a manner to allow editing, you would be well-advised (in my opinion) to change the travel books into single-column books and if you format the final version to fit the screen size of the 700, it should be easy to read the travel books on the 700.

I would add this caution, though, based on my experience -- there's nothing like being able to flip back and forth really quickly through the pages of a paper book, and even though I love my Sony Readers (I have the 500 and the 700) and do almost all my pleasure reading on them, there are certain books which I don't enjoy reading on them because of the need to quickly go from one page to another back and forth in the book. And travel books are one such book. I can find what I want by knowing where the page is relative to the front or back of the book, and then I can find it by thumbing through the pages at the approximate location. Of course, the bookmarking and annotating capabilities of the 700 make such things possible, usually when looking in a travel book, I'm in a hurry to find the exact information I need and don't want to bother looking at a list of bookmarks or annotations to try to remember where the information is that I want.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
The answer is: it depends. It depends on how the PDF is made -- if there is a lot of text, you can have the reader (700 or 505) reflow the text, but it will make it out of place compared to accompanying graphics. If you have a PDF editor and the travel books are created in a manner to allow editing, you would be well-advised (in my opinion) to change the travel books into single-column books and if you format the final version to fit the screen size of the 700, it should be easy to read the travel books on the 700.

I would add this caution, though, based on my experience -- there's nothing like being able to flip back and forth really quickly through the pages of a paper book, and even though I love my Sony Readers (I have the 500 and the 700) and do almost all my pleasure reading on them, there are certain books which I don't enjoy reading on them because of the need to quickly go from one page to another back and forth in the book. And travel books are one such book. I can find what I want by knowing where the page is relative to the front or back of the book, and then I can find it by thumbing through the pages at the approximate location. Of course, the bookmarking and annotating capabilities of the 700 make such things possible, usually when looking in a travel book, I'm in a hurry to find the exact information I need and don't want to bother looking at a list of bookmarks or annotations to try to remember where the information is that I want.
I agree. Spring for the pbook for the travel guide. Where are you going?
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
I would add this caution, though, based on my experience -- there's nothing like being able to flip back and forth really quickly through the pages of a paper book
Actually, the 700 has a page scroll indicator that you can move with a finger or the stylus, when you open the "go to page" option - you just put the finger on the bar, where you feel you want to be proportionally from beginning to end, or use the stylus for more precision, and it jumps immediately there, you can read the page except the covered several lines on the bottom and see its number too, so you can flip more if needed, or just turn pages one by one if close.

It's a very close approximation to flipping pages and it works very nicely. The 770 has it too and it was always my favorite method of quick navigation
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:52 AM   #5
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I know that about the "flipping pages" technique, but it's still no substitute for knowing that if you open the book to about 1/5th from the back you'll get to the section you're looking for.

Yes, most of what can be done with a paper book can be done with the 700 but there's still something about a reference book I remember the location of things by way tactile memory which can't be replaced by a 700 or any other reader I've tried.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:22 PM   #6
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I know that about the "flipping pages" technique, but it's still no substitute for knowing that if you open the book to about 1/5th from the back you'll get to the section you're looking for.
That is true - when you read the print book, the relative location of what you read tends to imprint in your mind much easier, so you know if it's roughly 1/5 or 1/2 into.

With ebooks I once or twice tried to imagine them as a stack of 700 screens and I still could not remember more than a much rougher approximation, but the good part is that fast flipping with finger scroll + ability to read the page and keep the scroll on, makes it much easier to find the place you want, though again I agree the print book is still easier to navigate.

Whatever we say, print books have some very clear advantages over e, while e advantages for now - search, multiple books on one reader and ability to read in the dark are less important
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:25 PM   #7
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I do rely quite a bit on my guidebooks so it's probably better to take the paper versions as you suggest. I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to carry around so many guidebooks but I guess I'll be saving at least a little bit of room by not hauling novels with me everywhere I go. I'm planning on going to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, India, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Israel so that's a whole lot of guidebooks to lug around for 6 months! A friend will be travelling with me though so at least we'll be able to share the burden.

Thanks for all the feedback!
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReD View Post
I do rely quite a bit on my guidebooks so it's probably better to take the paper versions as you suggest. I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to carry around so many guidebooks but I guess I'll be saving at least a little bit of room by not hauling novels with me everywhere I go. I'm planning on going to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, India, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Israel so that's a whole lot of guidebooks to lug around for 6 months! A friend will be travelling with me though so at least we'll be able to share the burden.

Thanks for all the feedback!
If you're sticking to a lot of cities, might I suggest Knopf Pocket guides? They're very small, and are packed with a lot of info (transportation, hotels, places to go, eating, etc.). They break down the city into smaller sections with pop out maps. They are awesome and I never travel without them anymore.
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