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Old 08-29-2016, 03:38 AM   #1
pinktank
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Lightbulb Academics eye the Kobo Aura One, but need better PDF support. Letter to Kobo-ville

I'd be willing to pay extra for this feature, hell, we could even start a crowdsourcing campaign for the programmer at Kobo

The Kobo Aura One, thanks to it's size, is what a lot of academic readers have been waiting for. We each have hundreds of scanned book excerpts and articles in pdf format, and we have been wishing for an ereader that can deal with them since the first ereader came out. The one is the only hope so far thanks to its screen size.

We just need the following:
  1. Highlight and bookmark, indicating highlighted/bookmarked pages on the navigation bar
  2. Maintain zoom while flipping pages without panning around or losing location, could be a lock icon in the corner or something. This is to crop out the margins while reading consistent scans. Right now it goes back to top left after flipping a page(some pdf readers allow you to double click a text area to automatically do this)
  3. While reading a zoomed crop, auto-hide the area thumbnail, but display it when you single tap the screen, and allow tapping on the area thumbnail to move location without dragging through.

    Example: If the pdf is a scan of a book spread with a page on each side, I could zoom in to just have the left page in the canvas, tap once on the screen to bring up the little thumbnail, click on the right side of the thumbnail to move the canvas to the right side, and when done with that side, tap the side of the screen to move to the next pdf page. This would also work to horizontally split display large textbook pages without the hassle of dragging.


We read for a living -not to mention write a significant portion of your non-fiction section- and would just really appreciate the above additions. I have culled some other requests as we wanted to keep it to the essential ones.

Thank you for at least moving the trend towards hardback sized readers, in the worst case, we will wait a little longer for another manufacturer who already has pdf support to make a device with the new display.

Here is an old review where they point out that the opensource KOReader supports all of this, and that pocketbook inkpad has many of these pdf issues covered under a 'reading mode' popup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsJizVAMpDQ

Last edited by pinktank; 08-29-2016 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:19 AM   #2
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I second that (although my requirements might differ, I develop software and read alot of programming PDF ebooks).

GoodReader (iPad) like cropping, searching and PDF navigation would really make this a dream device!
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:40 AM   #3
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I assume both of you have tried KOReader, yes? Yeah, it's not a perfect solution and it's not integrated, but it does work quite well for PDFs in my experience.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:48 AM   #4
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I assume both of you have tried KOReader, yes? Yeah, it's not a perfect solution and it's not integrated, but it does work quite well for PDFs in my experience.
Of course, but I am not going to go around installing it for all the academics I know and as you said, it's not well integrated, they should look at KOReader.

On a sidenote, I haven't been following, can you install KOreader on recent versions of the OS without modiciation? ie. Kobo Aura One that doesn't have a microsd slot.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:20 AM   #5
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Hi,

at the moment I don't own a Kobo (anymore). I will buy the One, when it becomes available. I would not install KOReader (probably because (!) I am a developer?). To me this is a reading appliance, a black box that suits a purpose. I'm not willing to hassle around, compiling stuff, going through hidden menus, etc. (as good as KOReader might be), probably because that is what my daily job is

bye
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Old 08-29-2016, 10:10 AM   #6
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I would not install KOReader
Me neither but I'm still glad the option exists if there is ever a need to switch away from the stock firmware. Even if you're not interested in firmware mods yourself, it's never a bad choice to pick a device that has somewhat of a modder community.

About a more powerful PDF reader, it would sure be nice to have although I have to admit, I don't have a single PDF on my reader, and some of the requested features you could achieve by optimizeing the PDF beforehand (like, trimming borders with briss and such).
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Old 08-29-2016, 10:13 AM   #7
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Me neither but I'm still glad the option exists if there is ever a need to switch away from the stock firmware. Even if you're not interested in firmware mods yourself, it's never a bad choice to pick a device that has somewhat of a modder community.
Truth, still hopeful (dumb?) that kobo will fix this. Even pocketbook has it down, surely Kobo would have a programmer that could sit down on it for a week. I tweeted at them too.
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Old 08-29-2016, 10:13 AM   #8
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Me neither but I'm still glad the option exists if there is ever a need to switch away from the stock firmware. Even if you're not interested in firmware mods yourself, it's never a bad choice to pick a device that has somewhat of a modder community.
Absolutely. 100% agreed.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:37 PM   #9
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it would be nice if it could as easy to install / use an external reader with nickel as it is on pocketbook 's system.

That way even if they don't fix their crappy pdf reader - but why wouldn't they put someone to work on that? could they be too much centered around the library approach to dismiss pdf? - you could easily install another reader and use it from within nickel.

Koreader is very nice and fantastic for pdf reading but having everything within the same interface would be way better for those who don't want to use koreader only and its minimal interface.

Some people said, couple of years ago that an inkpad 840 with the new carta screen would be the ideal reader for pdf / scholars. Kobo didn't listen, and it seems like PB hasn't been able to put a carta in their inkpad 2...
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:46 PM   #10
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It's a bit embarrassing really, I mean the pdf UX.

I understand they don't directly profit from it but there are a lot of people (ie. the people who wrote a majority of their non-fiction catalogue) that would popularize the reader, and use their commercial catalog through that.

Even if they spend a month of programmers' time (nigh impossible on such a limited scope), it's a bit large to leave it be while claiming they developed it with the users' input.

It is worse than what I helped make for Rockbox back in early 2000s, reading comics on my h120 mp3 player's 160x128 display
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:01 PM   #11
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I am waiting to see some usage video before even wanting features added to PDF reading on this device considering how jaw-grindingly slow my Aura HD is at reading PDFs or even ePub files for that matter.

I don't know if it's limitations in the screen technology or the processing power they put in these readers or something else, but my iPad doesn't require intermissions when I pan a PDF document or anything else for that matter. :/
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:04 PM   #12
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I am waiting to see some usage video before even wanting features added to PDF reading on this device considering how jaw-grindingly slow my Aura HD is at reading PDFs or even ePub files for that matter.

I don't know if it's limitations in the screen technology or the processing power they put in these readers or something else, but my iPad doesn't require intermissions when I pan a PDF document or anything else for that matter. :/
*Edit, E-ink cannot work in the same manner that typical LCDs do in preserving a clear image while addressing individual pixel changes, it has to basically clear the screen before it can write on a new page after a couple images as the cells retain some of their charge that brings the 'ink' to the surface. But this has to do with the screen technology, and cannot be made ipad like by simply upping the processor.

E-ink doesn't work in that manner, it has to refresh post-pan because you are piling a lot of memory on a single bin. Anyhow, the usage will be the same, the processor is the same, and adding functions doesn't have anything to do with speed. You can install KOReader on your Aura if you want and see that it can work faster, it's just that the native pdf reader is shoddy.

Last edited by pinktank; 08-30-2016 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:43 PM   #13
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E-ink doesn't work in that manner, it has to refresh post-pan because you are piling a lot of memory on a single bin. Anyhow, the usage will be the same, the processor is the same, and adding functions doesn't have anything to do with speed. You can install KOReader on your Aura if you want and see that it can work faster, it's just that the native pdf reader is shoddy.
I think I understand what you're saying here, but I find it amusing that the software to read PDFs is "shoddy" but adding a bunch of features to it wouldn't impact the already poor performance? My skepticism isn't entirely unreasonable is it?
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:58 PM   #14
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Truth, still hopeful (dumb?) that kobo will fix this. Even pocketbook has it down, surely Kobo would have a programmer that could sit down on it for a week. I tweeted at them too.
Well, all we can do is wait. We've reached a very good level of hardware by now... lots of progress in the past few years (frontlight, higher resolution, better contrast, waterproof, ...). In comparison there is very little progress on the software side. Actually Kobo removed some parts of its software (chess and other gimmicks). Even if you downgrade to an old firmware revision, there is not much difference in terms of reading experience...

I'm not sure what priority firmware enhancements have with Kobo, if they made it a top priority, that would be great for all of us.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:09 PM   #15
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I think I understand what you're saying here, but I find it amusing that the software to read PDFs is "shoddy" but adding a bunch of features to it wouldn't impact the already poor performance? My skepticism isn't entirely unreasonable is it?
*Edit: Terrible analogy below as the systems are not entirely separate, but rest assured that it is not slow because of the limitations of hardware, as the pocketbook is using the same software base(Adobe's SDK) with a lesser processor and still manages to do most of the above.


<strikethrough>Nope, not unreasonable, but for the sake of simplicity, imagine you get a great car. Great ride, good mileage, and the radio sounds great but there is no cd on it. We are just asking for a new head unit that -also- has a cd. The car can take whatever they throw in there, and as a radio will not make a car run any slower, the radio (in this case the pdf engine) is not going to make the Aura any slower either, and who knows, maybe they'll even improve the wiring while they are at it.

The point is that it is a mostly separate entity and will not hog resources away from anything else. As demonstrated by KOReader, the device is very capable of running the code, there are many posts noting how even the epub reading is faster.</strikethrough>

Last edited by pinktank; 08-30-2016 at 02:13 AM.
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