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Old 10-20-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
jamcoops
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Converting PDF via Calibre for Reader 300

Hi all,

Firstly, thanks to all the informative articles that I have used over the last week since I purchased my PRS-300. Without them it would have been returned by now due to rubbish software and the inability of Vista on my laptop to pick the reader up (it is now used with my XP machine with no real issues).

The reason for this post is simple. I purchased the reader to use it as a tool to handle the multitude of PDF files I read mainly downloaded from jstore; plus to have mobile access to lot of older books now available for free. It performs the latter admirably, however, PDFs are slow to turn pages and very difficult to read (I am a historian so I do not have to worry about loads of tables etc in the files I read). What I would like to do is to convert PDFs to epub format; Calibre does this but reduces 30 page documents to three or four, mainly just the front sheet and some notes.

So the question is: does anyone know how to get Calibre to convert properly or is there better software for this purpose?

I have read a lot of the articles regarding this subject and have tries converting to different formats then to epub with little success. Please help because I am in danger of disappearing up my own proverbial if I carry on for much longer.

Many thanks in anticipation.

Mark
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:20 PM   #2
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It depends on the pdf. I've had some decent luck with Calibre's conversion to epub, but a lot of people have trouble. Do you have access to software like Acrobat that you can edit your pdf's with? I've found that cropping the left and right margins and adding tags is all most pdf's need in order to be perfectly readable on my 505. If you don't have Acrobat or something similar, I think there are some free tools on the internet that will allow you to crop and add tags.

What do the pdf's look like on your 300?
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
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I don't have a way of editing PDFs only creating them. The PDFs look exactly like they do with an Acrobat Reader on the Sony, they are just like miniture versions. You can read some in good light but if you have something with footnotes you are stuffed! All the zoom function does is just make the text a little bolder.

I would have bought the PRS-600 just for the bigger screen but I couldn't stand the reflections when I tried one.

It's really weird the way that Calibre works with these PDFs. It seems to convert the first page fine then it just gives loads of page numbers, in a list like they are some form of bookmark, followed by a blank page or two. When you view the converted document on the viewer it looks fine but not on the Reader.

I just want the thing to do what it says on the tin!

Thanks for the reply,

Mark
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:48 PM   #4
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What software are you using to create the pdf's?
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:07 PM   #5
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I suspect that the PDF's in question may be image based PDFs instead of text based PDFS. If this is the case Calibre cannot read the actual text and wouldn't be able to satisfactorily convert it to ePub. I am not an expert of converting image based PDF's to text, but I suspect there is some OCR software out there that would be able convert these docs.

Hope you find a solution!

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Old 10-20-2009, 04:26 PM   #6
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I have not tried it, but ABBYY Finereader lists conversion of PDF files as something it does. Seems to be one of the better considered OCR packages.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:40 PM   #7
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I'm not creating the PDFs that I am having the problem with. I just tested one by outputting one of my own essays to PDF using MSword; this has worked perfectly. Therefore, it must be as dordale says; they are image based rather than text based.

So anymore recommendations for conversion of image based PDFs to Epub? I've had a look at the Abby website and it may do what I need and can be downloaded as a trial version. However, if there is something more straightforward out there (and cheaper!) please let me know.

Thanks once again for the help.

Mark
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:58 AM   #8
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Adobe Acrobat itself does a pretty good job of OCR'ing pdfs, if you have it. Otherwise, there are lots of OCR apps out there--I use Acrobat for my work needs so I haven't checked out other programs.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:00 AM   #9
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I've downloaded a copy of Abby PDF Transformer and, although I can only play with two pages on the trial version, it seems to work very well. A few formatting issues on converting the text PDF to Epub but I think when I start converting to HTML and then to either Epub or LRF the results will be much better. A straight conversion from text PDF to Epub is very readable however.

Going to cough up the £60.00 for the full version shortly; at the rate which I get through printed PDF journals it should only take a couple of months to recoup the cost of ink cartridges!

Many thanks for everyone's help, very appreciated.

Best wishes,

Mark
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:59 PM   #10
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I tried converting a PDF (that was originally formatted for 8.5" x 11") using Cailbre into an EPUB document suitable for my Sony PRS-300. It didn't work very well. All kinds of formatting errors cropped up, lines of text were squashed together, that sort of thing.

I don't know whether this was because the original PDF wasn't generated correctly (it seemed to be OK), or because the PRS-300 just didn't like the file.

I'll keep trying with other PDF files and see what kind of success I have.
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