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Old 05-22-2009, 06:57 PM   #1
enarchay
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PDF to Kindle - how bad is it?

How bad do converted-to-Kindle-PDFs look? Can someone show me some pictures?

I'm considering the Kindle, but I'm not sure if it is worth it if many of the books I have will be in PDF.

Last edited by enarchay; 05-22-2009 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
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it really depends. I mean, really. Text PDF's (and I mean by that PDF's that are made into PDF's from documents, not scanned) often look very good, but not always. If it's pretty straight forward - it'll usually be VERY usable. If it has graphics, weird formatting, etc... it can get very hairy.

And yet, sometimes, you'll be surprised by how well one turns out that seems like it shouldn't, and vice versa.

Sometimes scanned PDF's come in as sideways images that are usually not too bad. But then sometimes you get a weird mix of "image" and text where they'll turn one page into an image (so the text is too small to be read) and the next will be standard Kindle text that is resizable, etc.

I send a lot of PDF's to myself... I'd say about 90% of the text PDF's come out good, and about 60% of the OCRd scanned texts turn out ok.

But quite frankly... because I use so many PDFs, I'm planning on getting the DX. It looks like the ideal device between PDF's and ebooks.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enarchay View Post
How bad to converted-to-Kindle-PDFs look? Can someone show me some pictures?

I'm considering the Kindle, but I'm not sure if it is worth it if many of the books I have will be in PDF.
If you're talking about PDFs that are mostly text, there are few if any issues with conversion. If they are full of charts and graphs will be problems (Kindle DX will read PDF files natively). For more complicated conversions, here are a couple of threads to check out:

Kindle 2 and PDFRead
Savory
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:09 PM   #4
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Most of the PDFs I have are not scans. Some have images, but most of them have footnotes and things like that. Not sure if converting would affect the layout. I don't want text to be all over the place.

Does anyone have any pictures I can see as an example?
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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The (free) Windows MobiPocket Reader can import DRM-free PDFs and export (and display) them as MOBI ebooks. The Amazon conversion is thought to be very similar, but it may work in cases that Mobipocket's fail. Amazon owns MobiPocket, and the the Kindle essentially only reads MOBI ebooks (Amazon calls them AZWs, but they are MOBI).

The conversion works well in some cases, but is terrible in other cases.

There are other conversion options, including Calibre (has its own forum). However, version 6 of Calibre (due out soon) is supposed to have better PDF import than the existing version.

Another option is PDFRead, which converts the original pages into images, typically multiple images per page. Use the prc-mobi or prc-mobi-p options and view them (for now) using Windows MobiPocket Reader.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enarchay View Post
Most of the PDFs I have are not scans. Some have images, but most of them have footnotes and things like that. Not sure if converting would affect the layout. I don't want text to be all over the place.

Does anyone have any pictures I can see as an example?
If you supply a couple page sample, we can do the conversions for you several ways so you can judge for yourself. I don't read books in PDF so I don't have a sample to show you (maybe someone else does).
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:32 PM   #7
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There are other conversion options, including Calibre (has its own forum). However, version 6 of Calibre (due out soon) is supposed to have better PDF import than the existing version.
Is it free?

Quote:
Another option is PDFRead, which converts the original pages into images, typically multiple images per page. Use the prc-mobi or prc-mobi-p options and view them (for now) using Windows MobiPocket Reader.
Wouldn't it take up a lot of space if it was a bunch of images?
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:33 PM   #8
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If you supply a couple page sample, we can do the conversions for you several ways so you can judge for yourself. I don't read books in PDF so I don't have a sample to show you (maybe someone else does).
Alright good idea. How do I cut a PDF file down to one or two pages?
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:43 PM   #9
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Alright good idea. How do I cut a PDF file down to one or two pages?
You can use free version PDF software like CutePDF and print a couple of pages as a new PDF.

This may not work if the PDF has DRM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:44 PM   #10
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Calibre is free, and version 0.6 due out soon will have much better PDF conversion.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:05 PM   #11
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Calibre 0.6 is supposed to be out soon as others have said. Last I heard was late May / Early June. However, it does support PDF conversion in its current form and it is free. Go to:
http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/download

Download it, and convert a few pdf's. Calibre has a built in viewer and you can use your PC to view them in the converted format and see what they look like. If they aren't good enough, wait till 0.6 and you'll have another shot.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:03 PM   #12
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You can use free version PDF software like CutePDF and print a couple of pages as a new PDF.

This may not work if the PDF has DRM.
Alright. Hopefully this works. I cut two pages from two different books.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:05 PM   #13
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Alright. Hopefully this works. I cut two pages from two different books.
I think those giant watermarks might cause a problem but I'll give it a try.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:23 PM   #14
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I think those giant watermarks might cause a problem but I'll give it a try.
Yeah... it's because I have the trial version. I don't know how to get the full version.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:46 PM   #15
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Yeah... it's because I have the trial version. I don't know how to get the full version.
I combined the 2 files. So far I've converted the sample 3 ways. I'm uploading the mobi samples, which will work on a Kindle. If you have a PC, you can use MobiPocket Reader to view them (works better than Calibre to me) I upload screen grabs separately after I load up my Kindle.

- using MobiPocket Creator using
- PDFRead in portrait mode
- using Amazon's Conversion service (renamed to .prc from .azw)

I haven't tried Savory because I have to re-install it on my Kindle and I don't want to unless it's necessary. I was unable to get the Calibre conversion to work and it may be due to the watermark.
Attached Files
File Type: prc sample pdf with MobiPocket Creator.prc (235.5 KB, 281 views)
File Type: prc sample pdf protrait with PDFRead - daffy4u.prc (333.5 KB, 184 views)
File Type: prc sample pdf with Amazon conversion.prc (418.3 KB, 230 views)
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