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Old 09-26-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
Timoleon
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Absolutely, Positively, Best-Looking?

If I create a custom pdf for my 6" Sony PRS-505, using Adobe Acrobat with all the bells and whistles it makes available to me, and then send it to my 505 as a pdf --- is this potentially the nicest presentation possible of the written word on this device? All the proper wonderful fonts, a perfect layout without any rivers, images sized and arranged just so, widows and orphans properly fed and clothed, etc...

In other words, if someone wanted to create a masterpiece for the 505, with no thought of being able later to "convert" it to some other format, would a custom-crafted pdf be the way to go? Sort of a "high end" ebook creation.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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IMO, yes.
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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My estimate would be yes. In addition, if you're going to that much trouble, tag the PDF and it can be used in other venues, and probably look almost as nice.

The problem with this strategy is that it requires a labor of love for each format, and most publishers just aren't that interested in the ebook business. They use PDF to make the paper book layouts because it interfaces with their presses well, not because it's beautiful.

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Old 09-26-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Yes, that would get the best-looking ebook. The problems include:
  • If you sometimes read at M in dim light or when your eyes are tired, you lose all that nice formatting,
  • If you give it to someone else (presuming that's legal), and they prefer a larger or smaller font, it's not the best option for them,
  • If you later wish to add content--images, annotations, whatever--it's a lot more hassle than adding them to an ePub file.
That said: I make PDFs to my preferences, make sure they're tagged (so I can reflow, even if I generally prefer not to), include bookmarks for a TOC, set the title & author as I'd like it listed in the Reader, link the TOC page to the doc pages (if I feel like going all-out), and then set the PDF to open to facing pages, bookmarks showing, show doc title instead of filename.

This allows someone else opening the file on their computer with Acrobat Reader to see a "book," opened as two facing pages, with the TOC off to the side.
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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I definitely think that custom-made PDF looks the best on the reader. The only tool you mentioned for making the PDF, however, is Acrobat, and Acrobat by itself isn't a typesetting system.

My personal preference would be pdfLaTeX (free) for creating the PDF. Depending on your source file format, however, that might be a fair bit of work. You might consider Prince XML (free for personal use) instead for HTML or XML-based source files. Those will give you ligatures, kerning, end of line hyphenation, widow/orphan control. Not sure if they, or any widely available software, will do stacks/river control without hand tweaking. Maybe Scribus (free) or InDesign($$)?

Last edited by frabjous; 09-27-2009 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Tingle View Post
if you're going to that much trouble, tag the PDF
How does one "tag" the PDF?

I know what tagging is... but I'm yet to figure out how to actually do it... other than what seems like Acrobat Pro's occasional offer to automatically tag it for you... a suggestion that seems to defeat the purpose of tagging (i.e.: a human being manually specifying how/if certain content should reflow).

So... does anybody have a link to a specific way of doing this either with Adobe Pro or other reasonably accessible tools?

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Old 09-29-2009, 12:55 PM   #7
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How about this?

http://river-valley.tv/towards-tagged-pdf/

OK, so that's not a "reasonably accessible tool", but I think it's pretty cool that they put this lecture online.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frabjous View Post
How about this?

http://river-valley.tv/towards-tagged-pdf/

OK, so that's not a "reasonably accessible tool", but I think it's pretty cool that they put this lecture online.
Yes... very cool. Alas, the impression I have gotten from anyone I've spoken to is that TeX of any flavour is potentially years away from producing tagged PDFs. :-(

So, to me, the practical question in the meantime is... how does one tag an already prepared PDF?

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Old 09-29-2009, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahi View Post
So, to me, the practical question in the meantime is... how does one tag an already prepared PDF?
Ok, I've never done this but have been looking a bit through the Acrobat 9 help files and it sounds like, besides 'auto tagging', you can use the 'TouchUp Reading Order tool' to do this.

I don't know if these links will work if you don't have Acrobat installed or not...
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/...ff-7d07.w.html

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/...ff-7cff.w.html

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/...ff-7cf3.w.html
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
Ok, I've never done this but have been looking a bit through the Acrobat 9 help files and it sounds like, besides 'auto tagging', you can use the 'TouchUp Reading Order tool' to do this.

I don't know if these links will work if you don't have Acrobat installed or not...
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/...ff-7d07.w.html

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/...ff-7cff.w.html

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/...ff-7cf3.w.html
That seems to be the answer... thanks!

I'll report back as to what comes of it.

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