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Old 05-24-2009, 04:48 AM   #1
enarchay
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PDF on the PRS-505?

How do PDFs look on the Sony PRS-505? I'm trying to decide between the PRS-505, PRS-700, and Kindle 2. I'm pretty sure I've ruled the PRS-700 out, because I've read a number of complaints about its readability, so that narrows it down to the PRS-505 and Kindle 2. The main thing stopping me from buying the Kindle 2 is that it does not natively support PDFs. Now I have no problem converting files myself, but it's often the case that through conversion the files end up looking pretty bad. So my question is, how good do PDFs look on the PRS-500? And do they look better than post-converted PDFs on a Kindle 2?

I've read that you cannot zoom in or enlarge text with PDFs on the Kindle 2 (without screwing up formatting), so I wanted to check this out. Basically, if the Sony doesn't display PDFs much better than the Kindle 2 - even if I must convert in the latter case - then I know which product is for me.
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:15 PM   #2
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Anyone?
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:18 PM   #3
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Gotta give people some time, especially on a holiday weekend; half an hour is not a long wait.

How good PDFs look on the PRS-505 depends a lot on how they were designed in the first place. I find I can read most ebook-formatted PDFs (as opposed to letter/A4-sized ones) without any reflow, but I don't mind fairly small text.

Reflow is touchy. About half of the PDFs I read (which tend to be freebies; when I purchase, PDF is not my format of choice), the "M" setting doesn't increase the font size much, but it does remove the whitespace and that helps a lot. For some of them, I need to read on "L" to get a decent font size, and it's often a bit larger than I like.

Some PDFs don't reflow; this tends to be heavily-formatted things with lots of charts, or, I believe, certain ebooks made in InDesign without consideration of conversion from PDF. And some books reflow, but either keep the original line returns (which makes them useless) or lose some paragraph breaks, esp. for short paragraphs like dialogue. Tagging them seems to help with this, but I'm not sure if that's available without Acrobat Pro.

For most books, the reflow works fine. And the ability to natively read PDFs--drag & drop, without going through an interface--has been wonderfully useful for me.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Gotta give people some time, especially on a holiday weekend; half an hour is not a long wait.
I made this post last night, I believe.

Quote:
How good PDFs look on the PRS-505 depends a lot on how they were designed in the first place. I find I can read most ebook-formatted PDFs (as opposed to letter/A4-sized ones) without any reflow, but I don't mind fairly small text.
What exactly is reflow?
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:24 PM   #5
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I answered in your other thread --> http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?p=469160 <-- and there are several other answers there as well.

PDFs are most often designed to fit a particular size of paper. Even if the book is printed on non-standard paper, the PDF version may be sized for US letter-sized or international A4-sized paper with wide margins. So, when you put a PDF file on the Sony reader, it's highly likely that it is going to try and fit the 8.5x11 inch image onto the 3.5x5 inch screen. Some PDF files respond well to the Sony's resize function, though I've not had one reflow properly.

You can also run the PDF file through software such as Calibre or MobiPocket Creator and get a better version which can be put onto the reader. I ran a quick experiment with Pendragon: The Merchant of Death which Barnes and Noble gave away earlier this month. The PDF was OK, but not good on the Sony reader. Running it through Calibre produced a version with better reflow, but it didn't automatically detect the chapters and it retained the header and trailer text from each page. I could easily open the ePub format produced by Calibre and edit it to fix these problems -- but I didn't need to after Amazon released the book as a free download.

Tell you what ... I'll get a couple of photos/scans of the screens & you can decide for yourself.
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Gotta give people some time, especially on a holiday weekend; half an hour is not a long wait.
Quote:
Originally Posted by enarchay View Post
I made this post last night, I believe.
Yeah - it was 12.5 hours. With the "am" and "pm" tags on the times it's sometimes easy to overlook the exact time that a post was made.
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:37 PM   #7
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Whoops; you're right. I hadn't noticed the AM/PM switch. Sorry I wasn't paying attention.

Reflow:
When the Reader opens a file, it shows it at default "S" size; for PDFs, it shows the whole PDF page in the ~3.5x4.5 screen. If the full page is letter sized, the text is very small.

The Reader has two more sizes: M and L. For most files (LRF, RTF, TXT, ePub), it'll increase the font size by a certain percentage for each of those. Many books that I read at S during the day, I put at M for reading in dim light in the evening.

For PDFs, the M & L buttons do something different: they reflow the text, removing the white border around the page, setting the text to left-justify, no indents, with a small space (about half a line) between paragraphs. It may also increase the size a bit, but it's hard to tell exactly how that works, since the first view is "whole page" rather than a particular font size.

For well-made PDFs, this results in reading that's very similar to a website cut into 4.5" long pieces per page. Reading good PDFs on reflow is like reading any other filetype; you get all the content, it's nicely arranged For poorly-made PDFs, it results in full lines, then a line and a half, then a full line, then another line and a half. (I'll see if I can find examples.)
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:13 AM   #8
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Rasterfarian improves the PDF readability significantly, see http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13678
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:48 AM   #9
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Although it is awkward to use buttons in that mode, I found that the best way to deal with PDF's is to switch to landscape mode.

My 505 displays half a page per screen in landscape mode, and for everything but the smallest font sizes the rendering is decent.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enarchay View Post
How do PDFs look on the Sony PRS-505? I'm trying to decide between the PRS-505, PRS-700, and Kindle 2. I'm pretty sure I've ruled the PRS-700 out, because I've read a number of complaints about its readability, so that narrows it down to the PRS-505 and Kindle 2. The main thing stopping me from buying the Kindle 2 is that it does not natively support PDFs. Now I have no problem converting files myself, but it's often the case that through conversion the files end up looking pretty bad. So my question is, how good do PDFs look on the PRS-500? And do they look better than post-converted PDFs on a Kindle 2?

I've read that you cannot zoom in or enlarge text with PDFs on the Kindle 2 (without screwing up formatting), so I wanted to check this out. Basically, if the Sony doesn't display PDFs much better than the Kindle 2 - even if I must convert in the latter case - then I know which product is for me.
PDF look fantastic on the 505 IF the PDF are targeted to a 6-8" display. When PDF look bad is when they are made for Letter/A4 page size. Sometimes removing the margins on a PDF with a free tool like soPDF.

The problem is that a letter/A4 size page is getting shrunk down to 6". To simulate the problem, If you have access to a copier take a regular letter/A4 size page and zoom it down to 55% and that is how it will look.

Looking at the PDF in landscape does help. But I find using the device in landscape is annoying

As for comparing SONY PDF to Kindle 2 converted PDF. I don't know but anytime you auto convert PDF to HTML/MOBI/ePUB/... I do not think you will get anything close to the original source.

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Old 05-26-2009, 11:50 AM   #11
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Rasterfarian is very good, i am using it for converting comics and it does a terrific job. It needs some small improvements though, is there any way to contact its developer?
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:22 PM   #12
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Let me second =X=:

PDFs made specially for 6" screens work faster and (can) look better than files in any other format. However, in comparison to PDFs that are not intended for 6" screen viewing, all other formats work better.

Take the above with the caveat that PDFs do not offer very good quality resizing (if at all) or dictionary support. But, on the other hand, all the other formats despite their additional perks fail to get typographic fundamentals right (which everyone professes not to care about, but I am fairly sure most people would be hesitant to buy a paper book that looked the way too many present-day eBooks do).

Having said that, for the Sony Reader, LRF can get you the most decent looking eBooks (even if they will be somewhat plain), because at this time proper justification is not supported by the reader for ePubs. RTFs and plain text files I have not played much with... but they sure seemed slow. Not much slower than ePubs and LRFs though--at least in comparison to my 6" customized PDFs.

The question is, I suppose, how capable are you of generating your own custom PDFs? If the answer is anything short of "supremely", you are better off sticking with LRF and ePub files, or, I suppose, with RTFs and plaintext documents.

- Ahi
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:35 AM   #13
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I've been using the Sony PRS-505 for some time now, and I've had access to only pdf files (I know pdf sucks, but it's all I get from the library).

I've had several problems:

1. The size - My pdf files come in A4 sized pages, so when I put it in the reader, it works as other people have said - the entire A4 page shrinks to fit the tiny screen.

Default size for pdf is S(small) so, pressing the magnify button takes size to M(medium) by reflow. I am not sure how this works.

When this happens, one page in the pdf turns into 4 page turns, but the page number at the bottom does not reflect that.

For example you are reading a 200 page book. Suppose you are in the 150th page. When reading at 'M' magnification, you hit the next page button four times, read four pages, before the actual page number changes.

I hope this is clear enough.

2. Time- this is the most irritating thing for a speed reader like me - it takes roughly 3-5 seconds for each page turn to occur and this is extrememly frustrating, especially because I just switched to ereaders from actual books.

I can't compare it to the Kindle 2 because no one I know has one, but I would never buy just because of the way it looks. The Kindle looks cheap with its white plastic, while the PRS-505 looks and feels a lot better - Leather covers, Metal casing - it's cool.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:31 AM   #14
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Other than not using PDF, or trying to convert them somehow, have you tried reading in landscape format (press & hold the 'magnify' button to toggle)?
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:53 AM   #15
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I didn't even know I could do that, until after I broke it. I'll have to try that once I get my refurbished unit back.

I haven't used it in landscape mode, but I imagine pdf files will read a lot better that way due to the greater width afforded, thanks for the tip.
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