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Old 03-23-2009, 12:39 PM   #1
estral
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Converting PDF to Sony format

Hi all,

I am sure that this has been covered; however, I would like to suggest a "sticky" to cover converting non DRM PDF files to "lrf" or "epub" format.

On my own I have tried Calibre and Lib2Go and cannot get file to comvert and display in an acceptable manner. I do have Acrobat 9 professional and checked that the source files functioned properly.

I am sure that there are some tricks or techniques that I have not been able to devise on my own. Hopefully a "sticky" would be helpful to all.

Thanks to all!

Uncle Eric
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
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The first think you would need to do is strip the DRM. Then convert. Then check the poorly converted file against the PDF to fix all the errors and then you have a good conversion. Overall, it is not worth the hassle.
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:28 PM   #3
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If you look around, estral, you'll find innumerable discussions of this subject.

Basically, a PDF file is not a "book"; it's just a series of page images. It does not contain "text" - it knows nothing about paragraphs, lines, or even words. All that is in a PDF file is a series of instructions of the form "draw this shape at these coordinates".

The result of this is that a PDF file can rarely be converted into any other format very satisfactorily. All the information about the original "document" was "thrown away" during the process of creating the PDF.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:03 AM   #4
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PDFs display on a 505, so I'm not sure why you necessary want to change formats. Sometimes it's enough just to strip the whitespace with something like SoPDF.

Try the following tools with various kinds of PDFs and see what you like:
PDFLRF
Rasterfarian
PDFread
SoPDF
PaperCrop

(Some of these convert to LRF; some leave as PDF but make the PDF more readable.)

Personally, I can get most PDFs that start from already published material to display just fine, though some of these, by converting to images, take up a lot of file space.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:44 AM   #5
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I usually do these Steps to read PDF on my Sony:
- remove DRM
- open the PDF with newest Acrobat Reader, select all, copy to clipboard
- open Word, copy from clipboard
- with some macros, fix hyphenation, remove page numbers, Chapters and so on.
- save as HTML
- import into calibre
- convert to lrf

all together, it takes me about 10 Minutes each book.

regards,
macfly.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
If you look around, estral, you'll find innumerable discussions of this subject.

Basically, a PDF file is not a "book"; it's just a series of page images. It does not contain "text" - it knows nothing about paragraphs, lines, or even words. All that is in a PDF file is a series of instructions of the form "draw this shape at these coordinates".

The result of this is that a PDF file can rarely be converted into any other format very satisfactorily. All the information about the original "document" was "thrown away" during the process of creating the PDF.
This is just not true, all that information (paragraphs, lines and words) are there to see. Even your brain can identify them. A good software can identify them also.

EG: BOOKDESIGNER.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:30 AM   #7
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I really do not understand the ignorance on these boards towards BookDesigner. Calibre - which is quite bad at conversion - is popular and recommended. People even defend it: it is not possiple to convert PDFs, hence Calibre cannot do it either.

But this is just plain bullshit. There is a program out there - BOOKDESIGNER - which is perfectly capable of converting most PDF documents to LRF with minimal fuss. True, it is no longer supported and only runs on Windows, but it WORKS.

USE BOOKDESIGNER TO CONVERT PDF TO LRF. And do not listen to naysayers.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackVoid View Post
I really do not understand the ignorance on these boards towards BookDesigner. Calibre - which is quite bad at conversion - is popular and recommended. People even defend it: it is not possiple to convert PDFs, hence Calibre cannot do it either.

But this is just plain bullshit. There is a program out there - BOOKDESIGNER - which is perfectly capable of converting most PDF documents to LRF with minimal fuss. True, it is no longer supported and only runs on Windows, but it WORKS.

USE BOOKDESIGNER TO CONVERT PDF TO LRF. And do not listen to naysayers.
Considering the fact that I have created something over 1000 books with BookDesigner, BlackVoid (as you can see from the "Book Uploads" forum here), your accusation is a little misdirected .

Yes, BookDesigner can - sometimes - produce reasonable results with PDFs, but that does not alter the fact that PDF is a poor choice of format to convert from, unless one has no alternative. Pretty much any other format is preferable. Generally one will need to do considerable "cleaning up" of a PDF conversion, whereas many other formats will convert "losslessly".
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:58 AM   #9
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That sounds much better, I was feeling alone as a BookDesigner fan. And yes, PDF is about the worst format to convert from, I personally prefer other ebook formats which convert very nice. Too bad BD does not handle all of them.
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:40 PM   #10
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I agree that Calibre doesn't do a great job at converting PDFs to other formats. I think it's a great piece of software for all sorts of other purposes, and I'm still a fan, and greatful to Kovid for the countless hours he puts into it with no real recompensation, but I admit it does have its limitations.

I've never tried BookDesigner, though. I have, however, tried Acrobat Pro's export as HTML/RTF feature, with mixed results.

Does anyone have a sense of the relative quality of output of BookDesigner for PDF > X conversions vs. opening in Acrobat Pro and exporting to rtf/html? I'm sure either way a lot of cleaning up will be necessary afterwards if you want a professional looking result.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:48 PM   #11
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If you obtain poor results with BookDesigner converting to pdf, then try Mobipocket Creator to convert pdf to html.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:50 PM   #12
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If you obtain poor results with BookDesigner converting to pdf, then try Mobipocket Creator to convert pdf to html.
That generated worse results than Calibre, and much worse than Acrobat... at least in my experiments with it.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:56 PM   #13
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My biggest problem when converting PDFs to *any* format, be it HTML, RTF, or LRF, is that the line breaks are lost. I end up with 300 pages that are all one continuous paragraph.

Cutting the white space doesn't give me a readable file on the Sony -- the font is still way too small for nearsighted me to read.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:08 PM   #14
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Cutting the white space doesn't give me a readable file on the Sony -- the font is still way too small for nearsighted me to read.
Even in landscape mode, with any columns separated?

Exactly how wide are the lines of text in the PDF?
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:21 PM   #15
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Even in landscape mode, with any columns separated?

Exactly how wide are the lines of text in the PDF?

Yeah, even in landscape mode. The lines of text in the most problematic books are about 8.5" wide when I trim the margins. I should probably add that I am extremely nearsighted. I need a bigger font than most people in order for it to be legible.

Some PDFs are readable with the margins trimmed, but there are a few I have that aren't, and the books are still in copyright but not in print in other e-book formats.
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