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

Posted: 24 Nov 2010, 20:34
by daniel_reetz
I found this article very interesting, basically it shows what I already knew: all e-readers SUCK.

http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2010/11/ ... b-vs-ipad/

I am still waiting for the Notion Ink Adam, I hope they do it right.

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

Posted: 24 Nov 2010, 21:16
by seltzered
I think what you meant to say was that all default pdf apps suck.

I'm waiting for the Adam too, but I think there will be alternate pdf viewing apps out there to improve the experience though. Notion ink's 1gig of ram should hopefully help with loading pages as well.

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

Posted: 24 Nov 2010, 22:34
by StevePoling
daniel_reetz wrote:I found this article very interesting, basically it shows what I already knew: all e-readers SUCK.

http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2010/11/ ... b-vs-ipad/

I am still waiting for the Notion Ink Adam, I hope they do it right.
I'm inclined to offer a counter-thesis: PDF is a sucky e-reader format. Because you cannot easily reflow PDF text, you're stuck with ugliness when a book's physical dimensions are jammed into the procrustrean dimensions of the e-reader.

Contrast how inept the Nook was with PDFs, but how brilliant it handled ePub. PDF shows the original book designer's efforts, but free ePubs bear designs that are worth what you paid for them.

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

Posted: 24 Nov 2010, 23:19
by daniel_reetz
Sorry, I disagree. If any of these devices had even marginally paper-like resolution, reflowing wouldn't be an issue. And furthermore, ALL ereaders so far have crappy processors and minimal ram and networking capacity. They do not make the best of the digital medium in any way.

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

Posted: 24 Nov 2010, 23:25
by spamsickle
In my opinion, re-flowing is an admission that the readers can't handle real books. You can't re-flow pictures, graphs, tables, etc., so even that compromise won't work for many of the books I'm scanning.

I may have to wait for a heads-up display built into a pair of glasses before there's a portable e-book reader that really handles things like textbooks and technical manuals. Until then, I'm happy with desktops and laptops and ... books.

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

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 10:57
by Misty
Huh. These are kind of unpromising results. I'm very surprised PDF support on these devices is quite so poor.

Unfortunately I can't download the PDF in question, since Google restricts many public domain books from access outside the States. Can anyone check what kind of images it's using? The article says JPEG, which is probably wrong. I'm curious as to whether the compression format makes any difference.

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

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 11:10
by daniel_reetz
You should be able to find the book on the Internet Archive, almost every book that's marked Public Domain in Google Books is archived there. I'm also going to try to download it for you and repost it here.

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

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 11:25
by daniel_reetz
diybookscanner.org/Success.pdf ought to do it

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

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 12:00
by Misty
Thanks!

It looks like they are using JBIG2. I wonder if the other devices in question would support something else like CCITT Group 4?

What does the EPUB version use, and how big is it? The EPUB standard only mentions GIF, JPEG and PNG, which sounds pretty inefficient for this kind of compression.

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

Posted: 25 Nov 2010, 13:37
by daniel_reetz
diybookscanner.org/Success.epub