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Old 12-22-2009, 04:04 PM   #1
lyrx
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Custom PDF files for Kindle

Hi altogether,

I bought a kindle two weeks ago and getting more and more excited about it.

As I a experiment with generation of PDF content for a long time, I started producing PDF for the kindle. Basically I am doing a conversion of the sort
<SOME_FORMAT> to XML to LATEX to PDF.

I think the text looks better than MOBI-Pocket or HTML or plain text, because the typesetting is done by latex and you have professional layout and fonts and all the goodies that come with latex.

It was easy to generate a table of contents and a Reference section as well. I attached as a sample a book about richard stallman written by Sam Williams. The book is free, as everything must be free that is related to Stallman.

I just want to know if you think this idea of special PDFs is interesting for others as well ...
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File Type: pdf stallmann.pdf (786.4 KB, 2202 views)
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyrx View Post
I think the text looks better than MOBI-Pocket or HTML or plain text, because the typesetting is done by latex and you have professional layout and fonts and all the goodies that come with latex.
I don't work with latex, but I like making PDFs for my Sony Reader. (With those, it's important to put the metadata in as well, so the title & author show up right in the Reader. I don't know what the Kindle uses to list its ebooks.)

Can you set the page sizes so they're not coming out as letter-sized pages?

Attached is Cory Doctorow's Content, a creative commons release.
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File Type: pdf Doctorow-Content_SRead.pdf (975.8 KB, 1535 views)
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:15 PM   #3
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Not sure what "Latex" is ? my interest is converting manga files, usually .jpg files w/ b&W pics and dialog, much like comics. there has to be a way of making them into a pdf that is readable on Kindle ! I can read them no problem on my Mac, but it just doesn't feel right.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:52 PM   #4
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Latex is a word processor for Linux, I believe. Powerful. Free. But for Linux.

There's a program, Mangle, for creating PDFs out of manga optimized for Kindle.
Discussion at http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16566; software site http://foosoft.net/mangle/.

Both predate Kindle support of PDFs, so advice may need a bit of updating.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
I don't work with latex, but I like making PDFs for my Sony Reader. (With those, it's important to put the metadata in as well, so the title & author show up right in the Reader. I don't know what the Kindle uses to list its ebooks.)

Can you set the page sizes so they're not coming out as letter-sized pages?

Attached is Cory Doctorow's Content, a creative commons release.
Yours looks good as well!!

yes you can set the page sizte via latex to any size you want. Drawback: You have to know latex and latex really sucks because it is difficult.

I do not know how to set the author and the title in PDF. But I would like to know how my PDF looks on the Sony Reader. Give it a try?
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Latex is a word processor for Linux, I believe. Powerful. Free. But for Linux.
No, you get latex for any OS, not only Linux. It stems from mathematics but can be used for any sort of document. Awkward and old, but good in typesetting. I think it can be still very usefull if you generated latex code from xml or xhtml. So any epub file could easily be transformed into pdf that way ...
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Old 12-23-2009, 05:04 AM   #7
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Well, I use Word 2007 and the feature "Save as PDF" and it works very well. I load an ebook, format it as I want (for example 9 font size and 8 interline, 9x12 page size) and then "export" to PDF.

I think there is no appreciable quality difference between a "perfect" PDF done with latex than one "imperfect" done with Word (or other similar program) when it is being viewed in a reader...
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:53 AM   #8
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I think there is no appreciable quality difference between a "perfect" PDF done with latex than one "imperfect" done with Word (or other similar program) when it is being viewed in a reader...
The difference is the spacing betweens words and letters. There are special rules for that in the book printing craft. I do not know the details, but there is a difference between HTML-Like text and printed text on paper, where all the rules of typesetting are obeyed.

It might not make a large difference for text only. But if it comes to newspapers and magazines. I tried them on the kindle. I think these would need a professional layout AND images, formatted specially for the paper size of the kindle. I didn't like the way newspapers show on the kindle. Not worth the money ...
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Old 12-26-2009, 04:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyrx View Post
The difference is the spacing betweens words and letters. There are special rules for that in the book printing craft. I do not know the details, but there is a difference between HTML-Like text and printed text on paper, where all the rules of typesetting are obeyed.

It might not make a large difference for text only. But if it comes to newspapers and magazines. I tried them on the kindle. I think these would need a professional layout AND images, formatted specially for the paper size of the kindle. I didn't like the way newspapers show on the kindle. Not worth the money ...
Yes, I know you mean. However PDF created with Word are enough for me. I know my conversions have some things that professional ones haven't, but to read a novella or a not very technical book it is enough for me.
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:40 PM   #10
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I think that the pdf-idea sounds great! Your stallmann-pdf is a wonder to read, at least compared to normal pdf-files on the kindle. What LaTeX-settings do you use on it? Just big font-size or different paper-size or what? (I'm not that good with LaTeX, but I make do. I know a few other files I'd love to make useable on the kindle, for which I probably can get the LaTeX-codes.)
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
I think that the pdf-idea sounds great! Your stallmann-pdf is a wonder to read, at least compared to normal pdf-files on the kindle. What LaTeX-settings do you use on it? Just big font-size or different paper-size or what? (I'm not that good with LaTeX, but I make do. I know a few other files I'd love to make useable on the kindle, for which I probably can get the LaTeX-codes.)
I just took A5 paper size and changed everything to bold ( \bf) to make the font even more readable. No other adaptions specific to kindle.

It remains the problem, if latex cannot break the lines (message "overfull hbox" or something like that), than the kindle decreases the font size to make the whole line visible.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:48 PM   #12
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I got the best results from this:

\usepackage[paperwidth=9cm, paperheight=12cm, top=1cm, left=1cm, right=1cm, bottom=1.5cm, includefoot]{geometry}

And I changed the font to sans-serif:

{\sffamily ... }

Your format was good though, what was your full documentclass?

Looking at the specs of the paper sizes, it looks like you were more likely to have used A6 though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size

I put the document to actual size, and it's only off by a little bit. (The dimensions of the display are 90mm x 120mm but I guess it may not be an accurate ratio. I tried using A5 and I found the text to be too small.
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:18 PM   #13
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Hi,
I've tried both files posted, and they look great - perhaps a bit too big on the Kindle DX ;-)

I have a question though. I am struggling with the rendering of some PDF files, most likely because they were produced using serif fonts for printing purposes. In particular, I'm wondering whether there is anything I can do to this particular file, a magazine I am a subscriber of. I suspect the anti-aliasing engine of the Kindle is causing the problem, and as a result the rendering is far from crisp, particularly at low levels of magnification. I obviously don't have access to the document's source file. Is there anything I can do to improve the readability of this on the Kindle (DX)?

https://pdf.internazionale.it/numero_prova.php

Thanks!
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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I make my PDFs using InDesign (but that's not even close to free). I'm working on a template that helps you "plan ahead" for Kindle's funky zoom limitations.

BTW, what do people think about Amazon's auto-conversion of things like MS Word DOC files to Kindle format?

hhp
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:36 PM   #15
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When I started this thread

Hi guys,
when I started this thread, I was pretty new to ebooks. In the meantime I experimented a lot with converting ebooks from different formats to different formats, wrote some scripts and combined them with the conversion tools I found in the net.

I no longer generate PDF, but epub or mobipocket. The simple reason: I want a clickable table of contents and better navigation than E-Readers provide for PDF. Also, you need a special PDF for each reader, because of the different screen sizes. Of course, I lost the high quality typsetting of TeX/LateX, but I won a lot of flexibility.

Maybe for big novels that you read page by page, PDF is an option ... anyway, I would like a clickable table of contents in my PDF, and I never tried to get that on the Kindle ...
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