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Old 07-28-2010, 03:40 PM   #12
frabjous
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frabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameterfrabjous can solve quadratic equations while standing on his or her head reciting poetry in iambic pentameter
 
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Location: Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Device: Sony PRS-505
Quote:
Originally Posted by toddos View Post
The problem with PDF is that it's not inherently flowable (it can be made flowable, but most PDF authors don't do the right thing). It's a fixed, "pixel-perfect" format targeted at a very specific form factor. This is great when you're getting ready to print a paper book and you want to see exactly how it will look before printing. This is terrible when you're using it in a context where you need the document to be adjustable.
I don’t advocate distributing PDFs. I advocate distributing source documents which would then be converted by the user to a PDF matching his/her preferences. PDF is not just great for printed material. That’s just untrue. PDFs specifically created for your device using settings determined by the person who will be doing the reading resultings in something much more attractive than anything possible with any other format. Try out jellby's epub2pdf script and tweak the results, and you’ll see what I mean.

If you create the PDF yourself using the exact formatting you want, the document doesn’t need to be reflowable. You’ve already "reflowed it". By the way, don’t blame authors if PDFs aren’t “tagged” for reflowing. (I assume you mean tagged PDF by “flowable”.) Most authors don’t create their own ebooks; their publishers do, and tagged PDF is a new standard and not much software supports it yet. But it doesn’t need to.

Quote:
Also, I guess it depends on the amount of work you want to (or can, in the case of DRMed PDFs) put into modifying the PDF to fit your device. Without any modification, I've never seen a reader that can handle PDF well (as in, properly sized, reflowed text rather than panning and zooming). Maybe the Kindle DX works because it's nearly the targetted size of most PDFs, but good luck if you need to resize the font larger.
Those kinds of modifications are not ideal, I admit. But they're only necessary if the source files are not available. If you have access to the source documents, creating a document that fits your device is easy.

Quote:
If you're going to go to the effort of modifying the PDF as you linked, why not modify it into a better ebook format?
There is no better ebook format for converting-to. Only PDF offers intelligent white-space usage, typographic ligatures, pair kerning, end-of-line hyphenation, complete font choice, complete font-size choice, widow and orphan control, footnotes, visual-based extended punctuation level microtypography, and so on. Why would I prefer anything else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by calvin-c View Post
I'm afraid your arguments, whatever they are, are wasted as far as I'm concerned. I routinely quit reading as soon as I hit a statement that "format [x] is the best". There is no *best* format (or device) for all users, so that statement serves as a warning that the rest of the posting is equally specious.
Read one sentence you don’t agree with, and then stop listening entirely, and assume untrue things of the person who wrote that sentence? Yes, that's very reasonable and open minded of you.

I didn't say PDF was best, period. I said it was best under certain specified conditions.

I didn’t write anything about devices. Don’t assume I have attitudes about devices that I didn’t express.

I think you missed most of my point about PDFs if you didn’t read the rest of what I wrote. I admit that it isn’t the best format for distribution, only for reading, and then only when you create the PDF yourself.

As for the superiority of PDFs for reading when you create the PDF yourself, I’ll happily provide argumentation if you’d like, but I’ve never heard of any real reason against it. The reasons to prefer other formats are all reasons to prefer distributing other versions, not for reading other versions, unless you know of some arguments I don’t, and I can’t really fathom what they would be. I can’t think of any feature any other ebook format offers which PDF cannot replicate if you create the PDF yourself, and I can think of about a dozen things PDF offers that none of the others do.

The only reason I can think of reading anything other than PDF is if a file has DRM on it and can’t be converted.

Last edited by frabjous; 07-28-2010 at 04:01 PM.
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