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Author Topic: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?  (Read 24941 times)

Offline Mr. Greyfox

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Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« on: August 24, 2011, 04:52 PM »
I've been collecting eBooks ever since the Franklin eBookman came out (read: for ages) and in all my travels through legit, questionable, or downright illegal channels, people seem to understand the NEED for reflowable text, able to be converted LOSSLESSLY between formats. 

Except you guys.

Now, I probably don't need to say this, but ... Reflowable text is to like a vector-based image: you can manipulate it, re-size it, and -most importantly- convert it between formats for use on different devices without losses in fidelity or cascading artifacts. Once a book is rendered to PDF it is forever bound to the hard line breaks, page-breaks, hyphenation, and, in some extreme cases, interspersed headers and footers created during the conversion process.  Any attempt to convert it back, even with Calibre's heuristic processing or XY-based mashing, results in HUGE losses in formatting and line-break issues that make it either unreadable or too undesirable to read. 

So, I ask:
Why does this form seem so attached to PDF? Why not Why not upload in a rich, convertible format and let people irreversibly render the books to PDF if they so choose? I'm not asking anyone to cater to any particular format or device... just that more versatile, convertible formats be posted if you have them. 

UPDATE: 8 months later...:
Since I posted this, the balance of PDF's to more modern, reflowable formats like mobi and epub has been slowly shifting towards the latter.  I'd like to pretend I had something to do with it ;) but I know it's more likely just a result of a broader, internet-wide adoption of the formats.  As more people use them, they're easier to find, and therefore easier to share. Still, if you haven't made the switch from PDF to ePub or Mobi, I BEG you to pull your head from your ass and see what you've been missing. Not only are they easier to share, they offer a re-sizable and flat-out better reading experience (well, except for text books, but that's another thing ;) ).

As nikkimiller01 suggested, here's some information which should help you make the switch, originally posted by Jessadia: 

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Honestly, if you can read a PDF on your computer, then you can certainly read an ePub or Mobi file. What do you currently have downloaded as your reading program? Adobe Reader? If you like that one Adobe also has a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login download for free that allows you to view ePubs seamlessly (unlike with PDF's) and its FREE. There's also You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login a free Mobi reader from Amazon (no kindle necessary), a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login that allows you to read ePubs (also free), a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login (again- FREE!) and you can also both convert and read ANY FORMAT with You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login that's (yes, again) FREE!!!

And if you really want to read PDF (WHY?!) you can download Calibre and convert it yourself or you can go You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login and (again) convert it yourself online (no downloads necessary).
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 01:28 AM by greyfox »
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Offline Mr. Greyfox

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Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2011, 05:49 PM »
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@inferno- well, I guess my post is pretty pointless...

Not at all! Having more people speak out about this will no doubt help convince those stuck in the archaic PDF world to get up to speed with more modern formats.  And I'm glad we're on the same page =D
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Offline -mags-

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2012, 04:24 PM »
Just bumping.
 

Offline jessadia

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2012, 04:32 PM »
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Just bumping.

Thank you! I was actually searching for this thread earlier but couldn't remember the name of it so I created a new one.
 

Offline book^gurl

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Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2012, 06:00 PM »

wow! i just stumbled on this thread too. kinda late. hehe

like with everyone i'm not into PDF either. ugh... all the scrolling hurts my eyes. LOL
for years i had to put up with bad PDF copies of ebooks... e.g ABC converlit on every page... sigh, i can't complain since its free ebooks xD.

in the past, just to have a good ebook copy. i convert pdf into txt. copy paste the txt into MSWord, then proofread for errors (this takes a lot of time and effort) then convert to lit. since its my preferred format back then.

but this all changed a year ago, when i was introduced to calibre and much later on Sigil.
i only realized the great potential of Sigil when greyfox and jessadia had started an introductory thread about it (thank you very very much guys) plz keep up the great work!

now most of my ebooks are in Epub/mobi (lesser size compared to pdf therefore i can store more). i don't keep Pdf copies unless its the original one or unless its requested.
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Offline -mags-

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2012, 06:58 PM »
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Thank you! I was actually searching for this thread earlier but couldn't remember the name of it so I created a new one.

I so agreed with your new one that I felt the need to go find and bump this one.   :P ;D ;)
 

Offline jessadia

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2012, 10:53 PM »
Rebump ;)
 

Offline jessadia

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2012, 11:19 PM »
Honestly, if you can read a PDF on your computer, then you can certainly read an ePub or Mobi file. What do you currently have downloaded as your reading program? Adobe Reader? If you like that one Adobe also has a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login download for free that allows you to view ePubs seamlessly (unlike with PDF's) and its FREE. There's also You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login a free Mobi reader from Amazon (no kindle necessary), a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login that allows you to read ePubs (also free), a You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login (again- FREE!) and you can also both convert and read ANY FORMAT with You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login that's (yes, again) FREE!!!

And if you really want to read PDF (WHY?!) you can download Calibre and convert it yourself or you can go You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login and (again) convert it yourself online (no downloads necessary).
 

Offline Filouke

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Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2012, 11:34 PM »
I think not all members are aware of their options... Few days ago I bumped into a thread where a member posted the PDF (while ePub was already posted) so that members could read the book on their iPad!!  :o
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 11:36 PM by Filouke »
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Offline Aerinn

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2012, 12:52 AM »
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I think not all members are aware of their options... Few days ago I bumped into a thread where a member posted the PDF (while ePub was already posted) so that members could read the book on their iPad!!  :o
Sadly this happens more and more...
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Offline bookreader1

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2012, 04:28 AM »
I am guilty of posting pdf files.  I did  not realize it was such a problem.  The reason why I use pdf files is because I run them through my kindle account and convert to azw files.  I do not like mobi files because when I load them into my kindle they come up in alphabetical order by name and I want it by author.  But from now on I will post in mobi or epub.
 

Offline ~Lucy~

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2012, 09:14 AM »
When I post books I try to post them in the version that I have them in as well as mobi that I convert them to. I have found that some members like pdf or ask for the book to be changed to another format.

That being said I prefer any format other then pdf.
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Offline nikkimiller01

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2012, 11:34 AM »
I'm a pdf convert!  I'm so happy that I've switched too.  I never realized what a horrible format pdf was.  I try to download mobi if possible (I have a kindle), but if there's not a mobi, I'll download epub and use Calibre to convert it.  Plus, converting from pdf to something else is just useless.  The formatting is usually so poor that I can barely stand to read the book, (especially when the book has been converted by that amber lit program).  And just in case I don't feel like converting, I have Kindle for PC, I installed the epub add on for firefox, and I downloaded MS Reader for lit files. 
I am forever posting links to Calibre for people who ask for different formats other than what's already posted. 
I have to thank jessadia for enlightening me so that I saw the error of my pdf ways.  I remember awhile back when I was having trouble using Calibre you asked why I used pdf all the time, and I said it was just a habit.  ugh! Why did I ever only read pdf?!

P.S Grey, maybe you should post the links to the programs in your original post, like jess did, that way people know right away the other programs they could use
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 11:36 AM by nikkimiller01 »
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Offline Mr. Greyfox

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Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2012, 01:28 AM »
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P.S Grey, maybe you should post the links to the programs in your original post, like jess did, that way people know right away the other programs they could use

Excellent point. Done!
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mwall

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Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2012, 02:30 AM »
I can only use pdf files, (windows xp professional program) I am technically challenged ( old and very dumb on computers) I use to download epup and mobi and convert on line to pdf. tried calibre, failed to understand the program, now with the new site, I download and can't even open any of the above mentioned formats. (pc does not recognise this format)

Any help please, I miss out on so many books now.  :(
 

Offline nikkimiller01

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2012, 07:33 AM »
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I can only use pdf files, (windows xp professional program) I am technically challenged ( old and very dumb on computers) I use to download epup and mobi and convert on line to pdf. tried calibre, failed to understand the program, now with the new site, I download and can't even open any of the above mentioned formats. (pc does not recognise this format)

Any help please, I miss out on so many books now.  :(
There is a tutorial on how to use Calibre if you are still interested in using it.
Just go here:  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

You don't have to download a program to convert files either.

You can go any of these free online converters:
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Or you can just download these free programs to open the files. 

Already have Adobe Reader?  why not download Adobe - Digital Editions to open epub files?  You can download it You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Also, some internet browsers have options to download add ons.  Firefox has an epub add on that you can download You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Kindle for PC will open mobi as well as azw files.  You can download the app You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login (you don't even need to have a Kindle!)
Mobipocket ebook Reader will also open mobi files.  You can download the app You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Microsoft Reader will open lit files.  You can download the app You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

I hope this helps!
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Offline jessadia

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2012, 12:22 PM »
Bumping this thread just because it can never be stressed enough how much PDF's suck!!
 
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Offline nikkimiller01

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #37 on: August 04, 2012, 06:02 PM »
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Bumping this thread just because it can never be stressed enough how much PDF's suck!!
:iagree:
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darkfey88

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Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2012, 05:37 AM »
I read this thread a few months ago. And I confess that up until then, I was reading only ebooks in PDF (I was new to ebooks  ^-^). I didn't really know much about other ebook formats. Whenever I found books in word, I converted them to PDF. I've since seen the light that is epub. So, thanks, Mr. Greyfox and everyone else who posted in this thread! It was very informative  :)
 

Offline CelluloidJunkie

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #39 on: November 29, 2012, 01:02 PM »
I'm 150% with the OP on this PDF issue.  PDF is my very last format of choice.  I'd rather have a word document than a pdf (and word and lit leave ugly coding in the background). 

To get a pdf to a reasonable format I usually:


1.  Start with the pro version of Acrobat (v. 11)
     a. Crop all the white space down as close to the content as I can get it,
     b. Run the cleaner function to get all the embedded information out of it
         b1. Ever crop a pdf to get rid of the headers, footers, and pagination and then have them in your converted document anyway?  That's because whoever built the pdf stuck that crap into the metadata.  You cropped the page but the data is still there.  You have to clean it out

2. Convert in calibre

3. Finish tweaking, coding, and editing in Sigil.


It usually takes about an hour to do a novel that was in decent shape to begin with and calibre was able to do some of the text wrap.  PDFs that cling to every line being a paragraph take much longer because I try to compare where the real paragraph breaks are as I move through the book, trying to make the final as close to original as possible.

Then I DELETE the pdf, usually while cursing and promising a hex to the creator that will banish them to one of Dante's outer rings until they become more amenable to real ebook formats (I do the same thing to people who code ebooks such that every single paragraph is a div class, so it's not personal).

The thing is that pdf was never meant for books.  It's a review tool, just a review tool.  If Adobe had ever intended pdfs to be for books they would not have created the epub and developed Digital Editions.  In the very early days of pdfs I remember book length pdfs would crash acrobat, even the professional version.  Adobe support was always quite clear that doing 100 page documents in pdf, either on a scanner or printing to pdf aka distiller, was way outside the intentions for the software.  Yes, pdf has come a long way since then - but it's still just a review tool.

There was a time when I used to say "oh, I'm just happy to have it however I can get it."  The truth, however, is that I only feel that way about something I can't find in any other format and it still chaffes.  I will pass a pdf up, perhaps bookmark where it is in case I can't find better and have to come back to it, but I usually pass a pdf by.  I have an entire folder full of pdfs that "one day" I'll format and read and put into my library.  The truth is that folder is my "to replace" folder.

To the folks who need pdfs because they are taking books to work and they can't be seen using a portable device when they are supposed to be working, and they can't install software on a work computer, consider looking into the portable version of calibre.  You can take your entire library with you on your keychain, plug it into any usb drive and operate calibre (including calibre's reader) right off the thumbdrive without having to install anything.  Then, if you go to visit a gf and want to give her a book you can just stick your thumbdrive into her computer and copy the book over.

It's an elegant solution to the "not supposed to be reading at work" set who often are the ones who insist on pdf.

But pdf books are evil.


ETA:  Link to the download page for the portable version of calibre:   You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

One last thing about using calibre - calibre was intended to service epubs.  Although you can read just about any format on calibre reader, the truth is that the software converts the book to an epub format before it opens it in the reader.  So why not just convert to epub and read that?  It'll function more smoothly if you do.

« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 01:12 PM by CelluloidJunkie »
 
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Offline CelluloidJunkie

Re: Book Formats - Why is this forum stick in PDF mode?
« Reply #40 on: November 29, 2012, 01:17 PM »
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Sadly this happens more and more...

That deserves a facepalm.

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