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Old 02-03-2010, 01:53 AM   #1
c0r1nth14n
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Best PDF viewing or conversion?

I will soon be purchasing my first eReader soon. I only want it for reading books, and I already have many books on my computer as PDFs. They are just plain text, no complex charts or graphs. I know many eReaders have trouble displaying PDFs, so what I'm wondering is, can I easily convert PDFs into another format for better viewing? I've been leaning towards buying the Kindle 2, but the PDF viewing is a major factor for me and I'm not sure if I'll be able to read these books well or not. any tips on what I can do and which eReader to buy are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:22 AM   #2
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I used the Sony PRS-505 for almost a year. PDFs haven't been an issue when it was just plain text. The reader reflows the PDF when zooming and sets the page and line breaks according to the display size. Usually, in the default zoom setting small, the text was barely readable. So I usually used medium size. Sometimes the line spacing gets mixed up in a way that the spacing is about one line in between the text. But that just happened on some pages within a book.
For PDFs with heavy formatting (pictures, graphs, etc.), I usually extracted the pages as jpgs. This worked for me.
Now I've switched to the PRS-600 (touch edition). I think this one handles pdfs (with heavy formatting) much better as there is a zoom function where you can pan around. This works much better for me. For books (text mainly), the function with reflowing works as on the PRS-505. So I still use reflow (I don't bother if line breaks are a little odd) for books and use the zoom and pan for formatted pages. The zoom and pan is actually much better on the 600 as the pages don't have to be extracted which caused like 70 jpgs not being held together in one file.
In terms of readability, the 505 was better as it didn't have the touch layer.
Ok, that's all my opinion. Here in Germany, there aren't many models to have in electronics stores which is why I went with the Sonys.
I think I read that the kindle doesn't support zoom and pan for pdfs which was a no go for me.
Some other readers where on sale online, but I didn't like the input concept with only page turn buttons and a D-pad. The Sony either had enough buttons or with the 600, touch.
The bigger readers were to expensive, and I especially like the size of the Sonys. It's easy to take with you.

Sorry I wrote so much, but I thought this should give a first look two of the readers that are out there.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:10 AM   #3
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For text-based PDFs on a Kindle 2 your best option is to convert them to MOBI. Amazon has an e-mail service for conversion, but it performs similarly to Windows MobiPocket Reader. So I suggest importing a PDF or two into WMR and seeing if the MOBI versions (which is what will be displayed) look ok. Another option for conversion is Calibre (has its own forum here), which you should definitely check out for its many other features.

If you instead go with a Reader using mobile Adobe Digital Editions (which is practically all of them except the Kindle), they will all work about the same as Mike_73's PRS-505. You can test how they will look using the Windows (or the Mac) version of Sony's eBook Library. This uses mobile Adobe Digital Editions to display PDFs, just like most EInk Readers. Note that you also have the option of converting the PDFs to (say) ePub using Calibre.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c0r1nth14n View Post
I will soon be purchasing my first eReader soon. I only want it for reading books, and I already have many books on my computer as PDFs. They are just plain text, no complex charts or graphs. I know many eReaders have trouble displaying PDFs, so what I'm wondering is, can I easily convert PDFs into another format for better viewing? I've been leaning towards buying the Kindle 2, but the PDF viewing is a major factor for me and I'm not sure if I'll be able to read these books well or not. any tips on what I can do and which eReader to buy are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
From what I've seen, the main reason many ereaders have a problem with PDFs is that they are formatted for a larger size than the ereader's screen, such as standard letter sized paper (8.5 inches x 11 inches). When viewed on an ereader, the page is shrunk down to fit on the screen, making the text barely readable. Some ereaders can reflow the PDF text to make it larger, but my experience with this is that it negatively affects the formatting of the document.

I've found that the PDFs that work best with an ereader are ones that are formatted for the ereader's screen. When that is the case, the PDFs are rendered perfectly with all of the formatting intact.

As an example, the following thread contains information on how format an ebook as a PDF using StarOffice/OpenOffice.org (just adjust the page size to match the size of your ereader's screen):

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=70936

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitaire1 View Post
I've found that the PDFs that work best with an ereader are ones that are formatted for the ereader's screen. When that is the case, the PDFs are rendered perfectly with all of the formatting intact.
Well, I think that is true. On the other side, PDFs usually are not really created to fit on a reader. It's more for publishing as print media.

In my opinion, any reader providing zoom and pan for heavy formatted pages will do the trick. When zoomed and panned, the text on my PRS-600 comes out great and I don't bother moving the page.
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