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Old 12-08-2009, 01:51 AM   #1
sherryg
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Question Getting PDF onto a Kindle

I don't have a Kindle yet (read on a Nokia N810 or iPod Touch). I'm still in the deciding phase. A key thing for me is the ease of getting PDFs onto the device. I have quite a few fanfiction stories in PDF (I use fanfiction downloader to download stories). Is there a USB transfer cable or do I have to send files to Amazon to be converted? I've been told there is a few for ever file they convert. That will definitely be a deal breaker. I also don't like the idea of having them converting my files. I want to be able to read what I want to read when I want to read...not have to wait for a file to be converted.

Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:41 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherryg View Post
I don't have a Kindle yet (read on a Nokia N810 or iPod Touch). I'm still in the deciding phase. A key thing for me is the ease of getting PDFs onto the device. I have quite a few fanfiction stories in PDF (I use fanfiction downloader to download stories). Is there a USB transfer cable or do I have to send files to Amazon to be converted? I've been told there is a few for ever file they convert. That will definitely be a deal breaker. I also don't like the idea of having them converting my files. I want to be able to read what I want to read when I want to read...not have to wait for a file to be converted.

Thanks!
Yes, you can copy any file onto your Kindle via USB (it acts just like a flash drive when you plug it in).

I haven't used the conversion feature much but from my experience it is very fast (less than a minute to be emailed back to you if you use the @free.kindle.com address).
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:28 PM   #3
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I personally recommend moving away from PDF as a reading format. However, that's kind of hard to do for some reason authors keep sharing their fics as PDF.

I've yet to see a PDF that looked good on a 6 inch screen and no author in my two years of expererince has ever offered a PDF actually created with a 6 inch screen in mind. As a result when you add regular 8x11 PDFs to the Sony you end up with wide margins and tiny text.

I have no clue how the Kindle will convert the PDFs but I've heard mixed reviews.
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:36 PM   #4
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I have mostly used MobiPocket Creator to convert my PDF's for the Kindle. It is does a really good job but it works on one file at a time.

I have recently started using Calibre to convert my PDF's. There can be a bit of a learning curve with Calibre but it has some awesome features like mass conversions and changing metadata in bulk (great for fixing author name formatting). I had to tweak some settings (made the Unwrapping factor .25 instead of 0 for example) but I am really pleased with the results. Calibre also handles a variety of formats other than PDF so that comes in handy too.
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:42 PM   #5
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I've tried using Calibre to convert PDFs sometimes it works and other times it's a mess. Like one pdf had no paragraph breaks so large portions of the text would run together and I don't get why that happened because the PDF had blank space between each paragraph. Finally, I just gave up because of the lack of consistancy. It seemed like it depended on how the PDF was made on whether or not it would look good on conversion. Now I just ask authors if they have a single file version not in PDF, or ask my friends if anyone has merged it already. I just wish more authors would use archives based on efiction rather than LJ.
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Amalthia View Post
I've tried using Calibre to convert PDFs sometimes it works and other times it's a mess. Like one pdf had no paragraph breaks so large portions of the text would run together and I don't get why that happened because the PDF had blank space between each paragraph.
Very likely an untagged PDF, where the original file had line breaks instead of returns after paragraphs (as would happen if someone printed to PDF from many fanfic websites). Some programs' PDFs are horrible for later conversion; Maya's fanfic was made on some Mac program that loses all paragraph breaks when converted.

Adding tags to the PDFs usually helps and sometimes fixes the problem entirely. I don't know of any free or cheap software that'll do that, though.

Quote:
Finally, I just gave up because of the lack of consistancy. It seemed like it depended on how the PDF was made on whether or not it would look good on conversion.
PDFs made from Word tend to be okay (and often these are tagged), except for what they do to tables. Made from InDesign is hit-or-miss; it depends on what formatting features were active. Made from simple word processing programs on a Mac are awful. Haven't seen enough made from Linux programs to have any thoughts on those yet.

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Now I just ask authors if they have a single file version not in PDF, or ask my friends if anyone has merged it already. I just wish more authors would use archives based on efiction rather than LJ.
LJ's for social; efiction's for archiving. A lot of authors will ignore good archiving features in order to encourage comments. LJ stories get a lot more comments than ones posted pretty much anywhere else.

If you've got nightmare PDFs that you really want converted, drop me a line.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Adding tags to the PDFs usually helps and sometimes fixes the problem entirely. I don't know of any free or cheap software that'll do that, though.

LJ's for social; efiction's for archiving. A lot of authors will ignore good archiving features in order to encourage comments. LJ stories get a lot more comments than ones posted pretty much anywhere else.

If you've got nightmare PDFs that you really want converted, drop me a line.
I may just take you up on that offer. Maya's PDF just about drove me nuts! It wouldn't have been so bad but it's like she just slapped it together with no thought at all about readablity. (thinking of the lack of Table of Contents for example)

My last annoyance was the Tardis Big Bang pdfs. I think they had line breaks instead of paragraph breaks because those also ended up running together too. It hadn't occurred to me to try tagging them?

I have Adobe Acrobat 9 at work so I'll test this out.
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