Monday, 30 December 2013

Conversion of PDF (size > A5) to Kindle compatible (readable) format

As I just got a new e-book reader that is to replace my IRex Iliad e100 model (A year 2006 Linux based E-book reader), an awesome reader, that really has no replacement today, but sadly has become to slow to really work with and the battery lasts only hours now... So I switched to Kindle, and with it all the issues it has with reading PDF documents.

The screen is just not ment to read a full size A5 or even bigger A4 PDF sized documents, also has issues with multi column text etc.

Enter calibre! The multi tool of e-book handling! Available on all major OS, can manage your e-book collection, but is it good enough to convert to a format Kindle can read/display comfortably? YMMV, in my case some PDFs are converted OK - depending on their complexity, some require additional steps to make them readable on Kindle itself.

The tool that helps the most here is called k2pdfopt, and can convert your PDF to a smaller sized format with a bit of its own digital wizardry ;) I have to say the results are quite OK, I converted a couple of technical PDFs and they are quite legible on my Kindle now.

There is however one downside. The k2pdfopt conversion creates PDF files that are quite a bit larger than the original. In my case for instance it converted a PDF file od 28MB in size and created output PDF of  276MB in size. Additional conversion to Kindle AZWF format created a file of 365MB which is quite substantial increase from the original 28MB. It is true though, that the first one was quite unreadable and the last one you can read comfortably on Kindle.

The good part about both the tools is that they are free and available on both Linux and Windows OS.

Another tool that has given me good results is also a free tool (only available for Windows sadly) which is called Mobipocket Creator. After you download the installer it asks you which version to install - both are free, but to convert the PDF files you need to install the Publisher edition.

For details on how to use the tools mentioned on this page please check the instructions on each specific page since they all have tutorials on them - or just play around with them, it is quite intuitive to do it anyway.

So good luck converting your own files too!

And a Happy 2014 to you all!