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Old 09-01-2010, 06:32 PM   #1
KACartlidge
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Question Kindle 3 and RTF Metadata

I currently have a Sony PRS505 and a very large collection of books in RTF format. My work colleague has just got the K3 and I have had him load one of these RTF books so I can see how they are handled as it is time I upgraded my reader and am considering the Kindle.

I know the RTF metadata is fine.
  1. As a software developer I wrote the tool that generates them myself so I can guarantee no peculiar content or conversion issues (also the reason why testing with one is fine - they are absolutely identical in RTF structure).
  2. I can open them in Notepad and see from the raw RTF they are correct.
  3. My Sony sees the metadata perfectly and organises them for me.
  4. Microsoft Word also picks up the metadata (file properties) correctly.
So I have very simple and very compatible RTFs matching the RTF spec and working elsewhere.

On the Kindle, however, only the filename is shown. The Title and Author tags are totally ignored. Is there an issue with the RTF metadata handling, or does anyone know if I am missing something possibly less obvious?

For reference, the metadata is in the standard {\info{\title My Book}{\author Me}} kind of format (I go by memory as the file is not in front of me). I really need RTF to work correctly due to the lack of EPUB options and my unwillingness to keep copies in different formats (for use on more than one device) just to please Kindle.

Any help or advice is appreciated.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:53 AM   #2
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I have over 500 books in RTF and I used Calibre to convert them all to MOBI format and as far as I can tell (I only got my Kindle yesterday so I am only reading the first one) they converted fine and have all loaded onto the Kindle 3 okay. I don't know if the Kindle is supposed to take RTF but that's my solution. I even converted Pdf's to MOBI and again they look fine, with no reflow problems.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:29 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info - it's reassuring to know they can get on there somehow.

My issue really is that I have put a great deal of effort into getting my books consistent and tagged with correct metadata - and they are without exception in RTF as i love that format for its virtually across the board support and its ease of use when developing software.

Whilst I could convert them to many formats (I have the tools) the Kindle 3 specifically claims RTF support (I believe converted on the fly as they arrive, but that should not be my concern). As such, I would have expected it to at least pick up the absolute basics of title and author like the Sony does and MS Word does.

I would accept EPUB format as that is pretty ubiquitous too (though less so than RTF when non-ereaders are taken into account) but the Kindle does not take them.

Many thanks again for the reassurance, though the question remains: are there any known issues regarding RTF metadata on the Kindle and if so are there any workarounds that do not involve format shifting before a file is sent to the device?
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:48 AM   #4
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I sent one again this morning to my Kindle using Calibre and I didn't even have to convert it first, I loaded the RTF into Calibre, connected my Kindle, and clicked Send to Device, Calibre asked me if I wanted to convert it first, I said yes and Calibre created a MOBI file. I checked the book on my Kindle and the formatting looks perfect to me. Title and Author correct, and even the picture at the front of the book is perfect.

I hope this helps. I am not technical so don't understand code (although I know what it is as I test computer systems from a user perspective for a living)
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:15 AM   #5
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I believe OP doesn't want to convert, but use RTF in the raw so to speak.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:30 AM   #6
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The Kindle doesn't support RTF, so they have to be converted. You can do the conversion yourself, or you can let Amazon's conversion service do it for you. Given, though, the limitations of Amazon's not terribly wonderful converter, it's probably best to convert the files yourself.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:38 PM   #7
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Hi Kumabjorn, you're right in what you say.

That said, thanks Josieb1 for reassuring me as to how simple it is with Calibre. I've gone ahead and ordered one, but won't hold you responsible if it's not right for my needs!!

Fortunately, the Kindle has now reached a price point whereby the outlay is not a show-stopper should it prove unsuited.

I still hope to figure out what the issue is with the RTF metadata - as the Amazon.co.uk site specifically states RTF support (even if it converts it itself internally) it's a bit poor to fail on the title/author. Maybe I'll find I've just got something obvious wrong somewhere, but I won't know until around the 20th when it is shipped.

In the meantime, a semi-transparent process via Calibre should be reasonable.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:31 PM   #8
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Kindle also does not read PDF metadata, just displays the file name.

I'll qualify this a little: some of my PDFs do show an Author in Kindle's item list, but most don't, even though they do have Author metadata. And for those that do, I can't figure out where Kindle is reading the Author string from. And I cannot create a PDF of my own that shows Author when put on the Kindle.

Calibre reads the PDF metadata when importing PDF to populating its own metadata, but it doesn't seem to write any changes you make back to the PDF (unlike, say, ePub or mobi). Nevertheless, the PDFs that showed an Author on Kindle before being imported to calibre no longer show one when using the copy stored in calibre's library.

This has been driving me a little nuts this morning. Seems there are bugs everywhere I look.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:55 PM   #9
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Your issue with PDFs may (only may) be related to Calibre.

The reason I suggest this is that my tool for producing RTFs can also create PDFs, so I got my colleague to test a sample I knocked up. He transferred it via email over wireless (no Calibre involvement) and upon arrival the metadata was fully intact for Title and Author. That, combined with your comment about the issue with Calibre's copy, is a little suggestive to my mind.

That said, even PDF isn't perfect on the Kindle.

I don't care about the scaling as my tool creates them paginated them for a small screen and uses a large font, so scaling is not needed on any e-reader I have tried, including both Sony and Kindle. However the Kindle totally ignored my table of contents, unlike Acrobat Reader on the laptop and my Sony PRS505, both of which understood it perfectly and offered me suitable navigation options.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
Kindle also does not read PDF metadata, just displays the file name.

I'll qualify this a little: some of my PDFs do show an Author in Kindle's item list, but most don't, even though they do have Author metadata. And for those that do, I can't figure out where Kindle is reading the Author string from. And I cannot create a PDF of my own that shows Author when put on the Kindle.

Calibre reads the PDF metadata when importing PDF to populating its own metadata, but it doesn't seem to write any changes you make back to the PDF (unlike, say, ePub or mobi). Nevertheless, the PDFs that showed an Author on Kindle before being imported to calibre no longer show one when using the copy stored in calibre's library.

This has been driving me a little nuts this morning. Seems there are bugs everywhere I look.
... and if you highlight a PDF in the item list and click Right, you can see Title, Author, Filename in the summary/item options screen or whatever it is called.

Ok, I finally figured something out: if you want Kindle to recognize new PDF metadata, you have to remove it from any Collections it is in, or rename the file. Otherwise I guess the metadata is cached somewhere and doesn't get refreshed properly. One bug for Amazon.

Still it looks like calibre is not preserving or updating existing PDF metadata when you change some of calibre's. I have to go in and edit PDF metadata directly (with Acrobat etc.) after calibre is done doing its thing. One bug for calibre.

In any case, I guess I have a workaround now.

[update:]
I spoke too soon: still can't get Kindle to display metadata in one of my PDFs...sigh.

Last edited by tomsem; 09-02-2010 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KACartlidge View Post
I still hope to figure out what the issue is with the RTF metadata - as the Amazon.co.uk site specifically states RTF support (even if it converts it itself internally) it's a bit poor to fail on the title/author. Maybe I'll find I've just got something obvious wrong somewhere, but I won't know until around the 20th when it is shipped.

I don't see where it says that RTF is a supported file format, just that it can be converted via sending wirelessly. So you are not actually viewing an RTF file on the Kindle, but a converted mobi file. Which would be the exact same as having done the conversion via Calibre, but with Calibre you are given more control of the process.


From the Amazon.co.uk site:
Quote:
"Content Formats Supported Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion."
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KACartlidge View Post
Your issue with PDFs may (only may) be related to Calibre.

The reason I suggest this is that my tool for producing RTFs can also create PDFs, so I got my colleague to test a sample I knocked up. He transferred it via email over wireless (no Calibre involvement) and upon arrival the metadata was fully intact for Title and Author. That, combined with your comment about the issue with Calibre's copy, is a little suggestive to my mind.

That said, even PDF isn't perfect on the Kindle.

I don't care about the scaling as my tool creates them paginated them for a small screen and uses a large font, so scaling is not needed on any e-reader I have tried, including both Sony and Kindle. However the Kindle totally ignored my table of contents, unlike Acrobat Reader on the laptop and my Sony PRS505, both of which understood it perfectly and offered me suitable navigation options.
Don't get me started on Kindle's PDF support (and lack thereof). I have a long list...

Still, I prefer its limitations to a crappy conversion (and almost none of my attempts to convert PDFs have resulted in anything I want to use).
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:14 PM   #13
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if you want Kindle to recognize new PDF metadata...
.. restart your kindle, this updates the author in the internal database or whatever it's called
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:14 PM   #14
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.. restart your kindle, this updates the author in the internal database or whatever it's called
Yes, as it happens that was what I just tried. But it doesn't seem to fix everything.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:27 PM   #15
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then you need to resave the PDF like I described here
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