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Old 02-21-2009, 09:48 AM   #1
UncleIvor
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PDF vs LRF etc

Most of my stuff on the 505 has been converted from plain text. It's tempting to convert to some format like LRB, but instead, I've made a template in Open Office with correct page size, font size, margins, para indent, space after para, etc, and converted to pdf with fonts embedded.
That way I have full control over appearance, and to me the biggest issue is readability.
One of the problems with LRB etc is that the small font seems too small, and the medium too large (particularly with wide margins).
The downside is, of course, file size - but since I've now added a 2Gb sd card for the flashing, I'd have to have an awful lot of books on the reader to even make a small dent in the memory available.
The 505 doesn't handle pdfs very well, but if the formatting is correct in the first place, that's not an issue.
What do others think?

[Originally posted elsewhere, and it was suggested that it might make a more general thread]
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:18 AM   #2
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Yeah, I started to do that once myself. And I totally agree, if you get the formatting exactly how you want it, the pdf should be fine. Myself, I do tend to change the font size based on reading conditions, such as low light, or if I'm tired. And you wouldn't be able to do that with a pdf. But that's probably not a big deal. The only other thing to realize is that s/m/l fonts aren't fixed sizes. They're set within the LRF, and sometimes one book's small font is the same size as another book's large font. If you play with the LRF creators available (or linked to) through mobileread, you might find that you can create an LRF with margins and font sizes that you like. If you think there might be advantages to that, check it out. Otherwise, nothing wrong with a pdf. Actually, the advantage of the pdf is that you could read it on other devices/computers too, if you wanted.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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When I have time, I format books to convert to LRF--use Heading styles for the chapters, convert footnotes to something that shows up properly, and so on. I either need enough time to deal with BookDesigner, which means careful runthrough of the whole book, or time to format & convert to HTML, which I'm still not comfortable with, to throw it into Calibre (otherwise, I keep my bold/italic/etc, but lose chapters & page breaks; I still haven't figured out if there's any way to go from RTF to chaptered, TOC'd book with Calibre).

When I want a quick conversion, I use a Word doc with roughly three-and-a-half by four-and-three-quarters inch pages (can't remember the exact numbers), .15" margins all around, put the whole thing in 10 pt Fontin condensed by .1 pt, put page breaks before the chapter headers (which I haven't decided whether they should be 12 pt or 14 pt) in bold & centered, and play with a few more settings like footnotes and prologue and so on.

Convert to PDF. If I took the time to make the Chapter labels "Headings," they'll be bookmarked; if not, I do a quick run-through to add bookmarks. Change metadata to what I like. Then load it onto my (currently very tiny) card and it's good to go. Don't need reflow 'cos I've picked the size that I like to read.

I'm aware that, if I practiced more with BD or HTML programs, it'd be as fast or faster to work with them. I've been working with PDFs for over eight years; I'm very comfortable & quick setting them up.
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleIvor View Post
One of the problems with LRB etc is that the small font seems too small, and the medium too large (particularly with wide margins).
The text size in an LRF file is entirely the choice of you, the creator. If the "s" size is too small, then use a larger font!
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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Isnt lrf/epub faster than pdf? Especially if you are embedding fonts and stuff?
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:52 PM   #6
UncleIvor
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I don't find speed of page turning an issue - I haven't consciously noticed a difference, though I must admit to not having timed it. Perhaps having the correct page size helps.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techie_007 View Post
Isnt lrf/epub faster than pdf? Especially if you are embedding fonts and stuff?
No, the other way around; if you're embedding fonts, LRF will slow to a crawl, but PDF won't.

PDF should, however, be avoided if at all possible. It was never intended to be a book format and has all sorts of issues which make it a very poor choice.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
PDF should, however, be avoided if at all possible. It was never intended to be a book format and has all sorts of issues which make it a very poor choice.
Is there a thread or wiki article that details the problems with pdf? I was trying to explain to a friend why pdf wasn't great, and I hit a few points, but I'm wondering if there are more points I hadn't thought of.
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Old 02-22-2009, 08:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by europas_ice View Post
Is there a thread or wiki article that details the problems with pdf? I was trying to explain to a friend why pdf wasn't great, and I hit a few points, but I'm wondering if there are more points I hadn't thought of.
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/PDF#Limitations
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
No, the other way around; if you're embedding fonts, LRF will slow to a crawl, but PDF won't.

PDF should, however, be avoided if at all possible. It was never intended to be a book format and has all sorts of issues which make it a very poor choice.
So basically use normal fonts as much as possible?
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleIvor View Post
What do others think?
I happen to like the built-in sans serif font in the reader, so I create rtf files from the plain text files directly.
If you have a look at the rtf file produced by MSOffice or OpenOffice.org you will be shocked with the level of unnecessary information included in the rtf file.

So I tried quite a few editors looking for the cleanest looking rtf file.
I have created a file with the layout I like in Ted word processor and I then "stole" the simplest possible rtf code needed for the desired layout.
Now, I generate rtf file directly form a plain text editor (not a word processor) using a simple macro.

Just put
/par
at the end of each paragraph,
include character } at the end of the file and
add header
{\rtf1\ansi
\deff6
{\fonttbl
{\f6\fswiss\fcharset0 Helvetica;}
}
{\*\generator Vim script;}
{\info
{\title TitleOfTheBook}
{\author AuthorOfTheBook}
{\creatim \yr2009\mo1\dy9\hr20\min40\sec30}
{\revtim \yr2009\mo1\dy10\hr22\min46\sec11}
}
\paperw8424\paperh11908\margl1\margr1\margt1\margb 1
\ftnbj\aenddoc\ftnrstcont\aftnrstcont\ftnnar\aftnn rlc
\sectd\headery1\footery1
\pard\fi239\li1\ri1\plain\f6\fs32


That is it.
If you are interested in elaborate macro for the Vim editor for creating rtf files directly from txt or html files send me a message.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:11 AM   #12
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I think if done with the suitable size for the device, then PDF's fine - See the "Lewis Carrol" books here, for instance. For my 'quick' conversions from text, though, I use Calibre's txt2lrf app, which uses the markdown formatting, which is typically just a matter of adding a '## ' before each chapter name
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:49 AM   #13
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Another problem is that all the LRF converters are distinctly clunky.
Calibre is quite good, but it wants to take over your whole machine. If you don't want that, the folder set up it used is horrendous.
BookCreator isn't bad, but again, feels clunky.
As to the others - I spent an evening downloading various programs and shuddered.
At the end of it, I have an LRF file, which can be read on ... Sony ereaders.
PDFs may not be designed for ereaders, but it works. Hey, I can even have more than one font in the text! I can send them to anyone else, and they can read it too.
And to make one? Put the text into Open Office, and press a button. It'll have proper widow and orphan control too.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleIvor View Post
Another problem is that all the LRF converters are distinctly clunky.
Calibre is quite good, but it wants to take over your whole machine. If you don't want that, the folder set up it used is horrendous.
BookCreator isn't bad, but again, feels clunky.
As to the others - I spent an evening downloading various programs and shuddered.
At the end of it, I have an LRF file, which can be read on ... Sony ereaders.
PDFs may not be designed for ereaders, but it works. Hey, I can even have more than one font in the text! I can send them to anyone else, and they can read it too.
And to make one? Put the text into Open Office, and press a button. It'll have proper widow and orphan control too.
You can use the calibre txt2lrf converter without using the library functions.
If you want the most general purpose format which allows things like italics, bold and font/size changes, then use HTML. Some of the other formats are just wrappers around HTML anyway, LIT and EPUB for two examples.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
You can use the calibre txt2lrf converter without using the library functions.
If you want the most general purpose format which allows things like italics, bold and font/size changes, then use HTML. Some of the other formats are just wrappers around HTML anyway, LIT and EPUB for two examples.
Mobi and IMP, too. That's why it's so easy to convert between LIT, Mobi, and IMP - they are all implementations of the OEB (Open eBook) standard.
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