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Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 13:41
by Misty
Looks like the EPUB is made from scaled-down PNGs, presumably easier on an ebook reader to process. It also consists of only about 24 pages, with no actual book text, which probably also helps. Looks like Google either didn't provide the entire book, or provides only OCR without actual scans of the page text.

Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 19:25
by bnz
I have an iPad myself. Honestly, iBooks is probably the worst app you can try for reading PDFs. I'd rather recommend Goodreader or PDF Expert (if you want to annotate the PDF as well). It's still far from perfect. The PDF rendering is slow, I also experience sometimes empty pages and the resolution of the display is too low to compensate for the smaller size. Nevertheless, when I have a book on my iPad, I don't carry the original around with me. So in some sense, the tradeoff is already good enough at least to substitute a book for a small time.

Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 20:04
by StevePoling
I'm probably just being obtuse, but I believe PDF and e-readers cannot coexist. If I were 30 years younger, I might think otherwise. My Sony and my Kindle DX can both display PDFs very well, provided they scale the page to the dimensions of the display. However, the letters are too small for my middle-aged, farsighted eyes. Thus I think the ability to adjust the letter size to a comfortable size is an essential attribute of any e-reader. And that's something I can do with ePub formatted books on both devices, but I cannot adequately do with PDFs in either device.

There is an exception, if you have text for a book and you're doing a PDF that's going to be opened on a particular e-reader, you can layout the page size to match that of the e-Reader and set the type size to comfort for your eyes, then generate a PDF that will look good on that device. I've done this for a few books and if you're interested in the steps I found to do so, let me know. By eliminating the need to reflow text, and by designing the book for a particular device, you can get a very pleasing output.

Dan's right that most e-Readers use processors that are inordinately slow. And I imagine there's something about the e-ink that makes things go slow, too. I can list a whole lot of things that are wrong with even the best e-readers.

Nevertheless, last summer it was pretty cool to traipse all across the south of England with a few hundred books clutched in hand.

Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 22:12
by rob
Well, technically, you read PDFs on computer screens all the time, so if an ereader had the same size and pixel density as a screen, there shouldn't be any problem reading a PDF on it...

Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 28 Nov 2010, 10:20
by ceeann1
This sounds very similar to the preshakeout phase of early home computing. Just port it forward in time and all y'all sound like my high school geometry teacher. LOL!!! So far these devices are really early adopter stuff (IMHO). They are a bit like a commodore 64 or a Sinclair computer... abit a tweek or so more powerfull, but they are being asked to do more too. It all appears to come back to a basic fact... Power. They need more power to be flexible enough to cross platform and run something that has not been made just for that particular platform. heh, 2 cents worth...

Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 28 Nov 2010, 13:05
by ceeann1
My suggestion is not to buy into the early adoption of an imperfect genre of gadgets. I suggest something a bit more mature like the Motion Computings' LS800 tablet. This machine was introduced in about 2005 and has been used rather extensively by the medical community. The LS800 is 8.95 x 6.7 inches and has a daylight readable screen. The LS800 is a pen based tablet and with a bit of tinkering it has the guts to run windows 7. They run $250.00 to $350.00 on ebay used and in the most basic version... without the bells and whistles. If one is looking for a real tablet as an Ereader then is should work well with a bit of tweeking.

This tweeking I keep talking about is a memory upgrade. the computer is able to handle extended memory beyond the normally installed and is well documented. With the extended memory and probably a new battery pack or two it should be the Ereader that will work. It is not perfect. That will be in the future. This is the begining for this sort of usage. In the mean time this is a very hot substitute!!!

Re: E-reader smackdown: Can they read Google Books PDFs?

Posted: 28 Nov 2010, 14:26
by dansheffler
I haven't yet run into pdf rendering problems like the ones described on my Kindle. I understand the desire to have reflow, but there is something rather nice about carefully set type on a page. I carry around all my scanned books on my kindle in pdf and read roughly 50-100 pages (print) on it daily with little difficulty. When I first started doing this I had issues with speed between pages, but then realized that my filesize was somewhere in the range of 10-20 mb for a 100-200 page book. This is roughly what I have gotten from most Google books. Once I switched to JBIG2 lossy at 300dpi, though, I am now getting files as low as 2-3 mb for 300-400 page books and the pages load in as quickly as I could desire.


Posted: 26 Aug 2012, 12:55
by deklerkt
I have a BeBook White eReader that (contrary to my initial perception) I love to use reading a text-only book. The page size is just right or you can make it so by enlarging fonts, the batteries go a long way (if WiFi is turned off or standby) and you can read it in broad daylight. The contrast also is similar to paper reading and easy on the eye.
It does do PDF but not very good. It cannot properly follow the flow of text and usually (when enlarged) relies on the OCR text behind the page image. And that ocr text may not always be there and will certainly fail in texts with formulas.

However, I'm getting more and more attached also to my iBook reading on iPad. It is not an eReader and runs down on batteries within several hours instead of days. Useless outside in broad daylight, but in a room or shady place quite useful. Basically because it shows PDF files and in colour and layout as the original book. Disadvantage: sometimes you need to enlarge the page to a part-page in order to read the fine print or examine an illustration. And the brightness of the display can be more tiresome than eInk paper.
The whole interface for flipping pages, searching text is a lot easier and more comfortable than the BeBook.
The iPad can also do comic strips in full colour in their cbr or cbz format.

Unless eReaders provide colour and bigger screens and more friendly interfaces, I think they face a hard time surviving, despite their unequalled advantage of reading in bright light. How people find it comfortable to read a book on a mobile phone display I do not understand.

Where is your book without current?

Posted: 26 Aug 2012, 16:37
by deklerkt
I need to add one thing against any electronic book: when last week I suddenly suffered from a power outage (rare, but it happens even in the Netherlands) for some hours I realized that I could not read any book on my pc, only those on my eReader until the battery depleted. But there was still about 60 metres of bookshelf with paper books. Readable as long as the sun shined, candles could be lit and they would not perish in some big fire.

Re: E-reader smackdown [...] / LuraDocument no-s

Posted: 01 Feb 2013, 20:45
by b0bcat
None of the PDFs I've downloaded from which have been scanned and/or created ("Recoded by") LuraDocument PDF v2.28 (and probably other versions which currently I haven't gone back to check) will display on my Sony Reader PRS-650 or on a Sony Reader PRS-505. I tried to fix by running Preflight in Acrobat but all it did was expand a 234-page PDF of a book (text) to 278.80MB whilst it started off under 20MB and maybe under 10MB iirc.

I see reference above to what I take as the possibility that JBIG2 is used by (and so that these readers may not be able to handle that?)

E-readers are used very commonly now and it seems odd that PDFs from can't be read on at least one leading brand of ereader.

1. Any experiences reading them with Kindle or others?

2. Any means of fixing simply so they can be read on ereaders? Preflight experience as above; only next step I can think of is export all existing PDF to tiff, maybe run through ScanTailor, then recompile in Acrobat or by another means -- ... =19&t=2759 #6 -- that results in a PDF that can be handled by the ereader. (Hoping this doesn't mean pdfbeans is off-limits for ereader handling).

What a chore. To the non-specialist (me) it seems PDF is not a standard but just a container much as Palm .prc or .tif.