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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the endless questions that seem to be asked is, Can I convert PDFs to read on my Kindle? The answer is yes and no.

The official answer is no. PDFs are on supported as an experimental format for the Kindle. That said, plenty of folks, including me, have converted documents successfully.

The easiest way is to email the file to <name>@kindle.com. Make sure the wireless is on when you send it. If Amazon will convert it, it will show up on your home page in a minute or two. One time I did send a document and the conversion failed; I received an email saying that PDFs were not a supported file type.

Here's an example of a document that I sent. It converted nicely. There were a few funny typos but overall, it was fine and readable.



On the other hand, a physicist got in touch with me last week and asked me to do a test of an article from a physics journal. It was formatted in columns, with tables, figures, and formulae. Obviously, the result was not satisfactory.



Note: you can tell which docs you have sent for conversion because they will have your email address (the address from which the doc was sent) in the space where the author's name usually is (I have blanked it out in the first example). As far as I know, there is no way to change this.

The other option is to download Mobipocket Creator and convert the file yourself but even that is not guaranteed. Yes, the document will convert but it might not be something you are able to read. For example, here is an obituary from the New York Times:

The headline, picture, and little summary paragraph (shown here) all came out okay, one page each:



but the actual obituary looks like this!



Here is an example of a file that converted nicely. Note that when you use Mobipocket Creator, you can insert the author's name so it will show up in the right place:



So, like I said...PDFs can be hit or miss. The less complex the document, the more likely you are to be successful, but there are no guarantees that that statement is universally true.

Leslie
 

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Leslie--

I've been curious on what "real" publishers do to make Kindle versions of books.  Surely they're not using MobiCreator?

Betsy
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
Leslie--

I've been curious on what "real" publishers do to make Kindle versions of books. Surely they're not using MobiCreator?

Betsy
You're talking to the expert, Betsy.

Leslie is a "real" publisher and her Amazon Kindle FAQ co-author is an expert on publishing for the Kindle.

Jeff
 

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Jeff said:
You're talking to the expert, Betsy.

Leslie is a "real" publisher and her Amazon Kindle FAQ co-author is an expert on publishing for the Kindle.

Jeff
Wow, I knew she was an author, didn't realize she was a publisher! Sounds like I should be able to get some good info!

Betsy
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Betsy the Quilter said:
Wow, I knew she was an author, didn't realize she was a publisher! Sounds like I should be able to get some good info!

Betsy
I have a small publishing imprint and yes, I use Mobipocket Creator, believe it or not!

I think "big" publishers are outsourcing their ebook conversions overseas which is why many of them are less-than-stellar in terms of formatting. I have also heard that publishers can send books to Amazon for conversion. That process is probably very similar to what is happening when people email a file to their Kindle, which also explains why the formatting may be hit or miss.

One nice thing about keeping it small and doing it by hand: I can produce a quality product with good navigation links throughout the whole book. At the end of every chapter (except not in the FAQ book, this will get added in the revision) is a link to return to the table of contents. The TOC has clickable links for the entire book. I think it's little touches like this that make it a more pleasant reading experience for the reader.

Drop by the website for a visit. Maybe you'll find something you want to buy. All the books are available at Amazon and can be sampled. I also have a number of books in the pipeline but I am so busy with this forum that I am terribly behind at work. Ack!

Bristlecone Pine Press

L
 

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Okay, not to steal anything away from Leslie (BIG grin!), but for those who may be interested, I put a book together on publishing a book to the Kindle (and, incidentally, Mobipocket, as well). It's available in Kindle and Mobi format right now, and should be out on Amazon in another week or thereabouts in print ("Publish Your Book on the Amazon Kindle: A Practical Guide").

I wrote it mainly out of irritation (to put it mildly) at how ABYSMAL the tech support has been on Amazon's Digital Text Platform (DTP). I'm a computer geek (well, among other things) by trade, so a lot of this stuff isn't that much of a stretch for me. But a ton of folks have been having lots of problems getting their books published, and there is NO ONE there to help them right now. It's a total about-face from the excellent support we get from the Kindle support people. Amazing.

Anyway, a good deal of the book is how to publish using Mobi Creator, both to Mobipocket and to the Kindle Store...

Here's the link to the image of the Kindle version - I'll let Leslie or Betsy sort out the affiliate code for Kindleboards, since I somehow hosed it up last time! ;-)

Cheers,
Mike

 

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I'll have to let Leslie do it as I can only modify on Accessories and the Book Corner!  But this is great, Mike, thanks for posting it!

Betsy
 

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kreelanwarrior said:
... I put a book together on publishing a book to the Kindle (and, incidentally, Mobipocket, as well). It's available in Kindle and Mobi format right now, and should be out on Amazon in another week or thereabouts in print ("Publish Your Book on the Amazon Kindle: A Practical Guide").

Mike
Mike,

A short time ago I started a forum for indie authors that's just begging to help you sell your book:

http://www.eliscopublishing.com/smf/

Jeff
 

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I did not know about the free option...

..."The elegant design touch here is the range of choices for getting .DOCs and .PDFs into the Kindle. If you're willing to spend ten cents per document, and if you're in range of Kindle's wireless network in the U.S., you email each file to [email protected], and a minute or two later it appears automatically on your Kindle. If you don't want to spend that money, or if you're outside the US, you email them instead to the bluntly-named YourName @free.kindle.com. Then a minute or two later you can download the converted files from an Amazon site and transfer them to the Kindle by USB cable. "...

<http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/08/kindle_elegance.php>

Worked for me I used the "free" option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Even though they say that using <name>@kindle.com will result in a 10 cent charge, I have never been charged. I don't know anyone else who has ever been charged, either.

L
 

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I know this thread is old but I have a couple questions about PDF files and wanted you to know I had looked for some answers and also so things didn't need to be repeated. I would like to be able to read some of my professional journals on some type of portable device. The articles do not convert well- like Leslie's physics example- because there are a lot of tables and photos in them. Right now they are all downloaded on my laptop, but it's a bit big to carry around to read off of it unless I'm at my desk. I have looked online at the ultramobile devices and laptops like IBM's thinkpad? (the one with the flip screen) and was wondering if anyone has experience with these and  if so what do you think of them. I am assuming the Sony reader does not do any better job of reading these type files but since I don't have one I don't really know. Any comments are appreciated.

Lynn L
 

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How have you tried converting them?  Via Amazon, or using MobiCreator?  I've had better results with MobiCreator.  The documents I've converted have been mostly text. . . .

I would think Sony wouldn't be any better at display but can't be sure.

There are a number of really small computers, usually referred to as NetBooks.  No DVD drive but decent on board memory. . . reasonably priced in the $500 +/- range. .  I don't know anything about them personally, but I expect some here will be able t o provide some info and/or research sites.

Ann
 

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Yes I've tried converting them through Amazon and with mobicreator. They don't convert well. The tables end up as lists in the middle of the page and is very confusing. I was wondering about the netbooks also but know nothing about them- hoping someone here does though :)

Lynn L
 

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Lynn said:
I was wondering about the netbooks also but know nothing about them- hoping someone here does though :)

Lynn L
ASUS, HP, and Acer are the brands I recall hearing of. . .possibly others but that's all that comes to mind right now. Anyway, it's a place to start. . .and I'm thinking one or two of our regulars here have one so they'll probably chime in at some point.

Good Luck!

Ann
 

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Another option would be to check out Adobe's on-line tools page that someone on the DTP forums pointed out. I tested it with a sample file, and while it seems to work pretty well on text, it won't return any images (at least the send by mail functions; I couldn't get the web/URL process to work).

But yeah, PDFs are just bears when it comes to conversion for the Kindle unless they're just straight text (and even then, it's not a perfect process by far)... :-(
 

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I will try that, even if it won't do images I can live with that. I would just like for the tables (that don't look like tables when converted) to not be in the middle of the page interupting the text! I would like  a really good reason (other than just wanting the newest version) to get a K2. Then one could be for work stuff and one for home stuff! But I may have to get a different device altogether. Oh well after all I did get the Kindle to read books on it, not as a document reader.

Lynn L.
 
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