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Old 10-28-2006, 01:36 AM   #1
wgrimm
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SONY PRS-500 PDF Support

Has anyone noticed that the PRS-500 has VERY POOR support for pdf's? I have spent a couple of days testing existing pdf's and re-distilling pdf's and most cannot be read on the reader, despite tweaking page size etc.

Don't believe the Sony reader's advertising "native pdf support." I can see that I will have to spend massive amounts of time to get pdf content (let alone anything in html, pdb, or chm) onto this reader, and I am very disappointed. Same thing happened with the Gemstar device (I own 2 of them), and this whole thing is starting to remind me of Gemstar's attempt to get you to buy "content." I've already spent much time over the years acquiring decent pdf conversion software like BCL and Iceni Gemini, but I really don't want to spend time to convert pdf's to another format so that I can look at them on the prs-500.

Sorry, not all of what I want on a portable reader will be bought from the Connect store. I am extremely disappointed. Sony needs to do something to fix this poor pdf support.
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:46 AM   #2
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Seems to me that the Reader supports pdf pretty well, the problem is the screen size is too small to get a good view of a regular sized pdf page (the typical case). But it has been helpful for people with other character sets, for example, to use embedded fonts. Or if you want a particular page layout, it can probably be useful to do pdf. And if you have sharp eyes, the landscape mode does let you see some pdfs clearly enough to read the fine print.

But, I agree with what you are saying, in the sense that you shouldn't expect to take the average pdf file and plop it onto the Reader and be able to read it normally. Just doesn't work that way for most documents.

On the other hand, I love the way it handles rtf files. Have you tried coverting your documents to rtf instead?
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:17 AM   #3
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RTF

Yeah, I have settled on importing .rtf using connect. Works fairly well, but there are some problems (connect has disappeared from the screen on occasion). The .rtf produced (from PDF) by BCL seems to work best, but Iceni Gemini and Acrobat exports work okay.

I am also going to look into creating the Sony format books using software posted on the Yahoo group. I still think Sony needs to improve PDF support, and is going to hear from alot of dissatisfied users over the current situation.

At this point, it takes me less effort to get a fairly readable pdf-derived doc on my Palm using Repligo. The more e-book readers I buy, the more jaded I get about the whole thing <G>. The first company that produces a good reader and makes it easy to get READABLE self-owned content on the device will take this market.

Look at it like an Ipod- do you think the Ipods would be so successful if it was extremely difficult to load songs on? It's easy to load content, easy to use, and- while Apple may want you to buy stuff at their store- it is not a requirement.

Sony should publish information about their e-file format, and provide programs that will take common formats like .chm, .pdf, and .pdf, and convert- and do the conversion well. I have been dealing with these problems since the days of the Rocketbook, and just don't understand why a big player like Sony can't get it right.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgrimm
Sony should publish information about their e-file format, and provide programs that will take common formats like .chm, .pdf, and .pdf, and convert- and do the conversion well. I have been dealing with these problems since the days of the Rocketbook, and just don't understand why a big player like Sony can't get it right.
They promised they'd open up soon. *holding thumbs*
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:58 PM   #5
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For what it's worth, if one has the material in an editable format (rtf, txt, .doc, etc.), one can run it through Open Office and then export it to PDF with the page and font set for a more satisfactory reading experience on the Sony screen.

I've been playing (without much success so far) with extracting text from PDF files, editing them in Open Office, and then exporting them back to PDF after formatting for the screen.

Right now, it appears that it will be a difficult process, but, for long-term document use (persistant technical docs and references), doing so once may be worth the effort. I have a significant library of specifications and such, and some presentations, that would be very handy to have in a portable, instant-on form.

I'm going to check out pdftohtml as a possible time-saver, but not until tomorrow.
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:39 AM   #6
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Text rendering in PDF files looks a little off to me. Serif fonts come out too faint and "skinny". Sans serif fonts look good, though. Somehow, serif fonts in BBeB files look better.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:59 PM   #7
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I just got mine. I'm hoping for the best. I think the whole idea of a portable reader is a great idea.
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:54 PM   #8
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pdftohtml

I have been trying out pdftohtml to see if it would work to help generate more Reader-friendly documents, and I'm afraid it's not working well.

I haven't really studied up on the PDF file structure, but I'm beginning to think that, as a page description file format, some of the niceties are not known about, such as paragraphs.

All of the tools I've tried so far have treated every line of 'data' in the pdf file as either its own paragraph, or as something with line-breaks, but no paragraph markers. (that would be pdftohtml). Trying to subsequently munge the output text to re-group paragraphs is going to be a fairly manual operation. I'm going to try to work up an OOo macro that will let me select a block of text, and remove all line-break and paragraph markers from the middle of it, and add a paragraph tag at the end. I'll still have to go through the entire document and rebuild it, but at least I'll be able to re-flow paragraphs to reformat for the Reader screen.

I think this will be acceptable for moderately sized pdfs, but not for any book-length docs.

p.s.: I know there are web-based pdf conversion services, but a lot of my reading is proprietary information, and I can't toss it out on the internet to convert it.
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:10 PM   #9
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PDF is essentially a "literal" layout format and contains virtually no semantic information such as paragraphs and list structures that you find in HTML.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:14 PM   #10
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Convert PDF to RTF gives good result

Until better tools are found, I select all the text in a .PDF, paste into Word, convert to 16 point font, and save as an RTF document. I then send the RTF document to my reader and it looks pretty good. No pictures of course, but the text is readable.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:37 PM   #11
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With most PDFs the best solution is to completely forget about the format. So, no 'converting' into RTF, HTML or DOC.

I do this every day at work, believe me: either copy and paste for selected text or save to TXT for large files. Of course, you will probably have to reformat, but it's easier with a plain TXT file than with a hideous-looking RTF full of section breaks and what-not.
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:47 PM   #12
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On my Mac, I've started using "File Juicer" (google it). I'd use Word except that I didn't want to shell out the clams for Office. I already paid enough for my MacBook Pro, thank you!

Indeed, RTF is a much better option than having to resize each and every PDF page. The lack of images is a mild bummer, however.
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:34 PM   #13
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I quite agree the reader does not work well with PDF documents but I have had no problems converting the documents either directly to word or through txt versions and then as a word document and into the reader. So far, so good with several different efforts. Am also finding it works well with pod casts that I have pulled into I tunes and then into the reader. At this point I am delighted with the thing.
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:21 PM   #14
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Found procedure that seems to work...

I have created a couple of ebooks from pdf files that seem to display well. Here is how I did it:

1. Open pdf in Acrobat and export to .rtf. For some reason, exports in Gemini and BCL don't work well.

2. Open the .rtf in BookDesigner (the latest) and create an LRF from it, then import to your sony reader. Use the default settings for LRF creation.

I have tried many other methods- re-distilling pdf's with Distiller and Docucom, using Ghostscript, etc. I am in no mood to mess with changing font sizes etc. in a word processor.

The pdf's I used for commercial, non-encrypted. Have no idea why rtf's created from other software don't work well. I used to use Gemini to export to html for the Rocketbook, and it always seemed to work wel....
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:11 AM   #15
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SPAM!

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