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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

It's not that much more work. Adobe publishes a how-to document (as a PDF of course) that covers the internal tagging necessary to allow a document to be reflowed by the reader to "accessible" layouts as well as easier use by text readers for the visually impaired, etc...

 

There really isn't much excuse not to do the work as the document is being created.

 

If my understanding of the process is correct, there is indeed a very good reason not to do the work as the document is created. It is being created to be sent to a printer. The fact that those documents can then easily be converted into PDFs is a cool side effect that allows Hero to publish their books as PDFs roughly at the same time the printed copies are available. But it is a side effect, and it is done quickly because it is a simple procedure. The older process didn't produce something that was as easy to convert, and as a result there are still books that haven't been converted. Adding extra steps to the process (like having to go back through and add tags to the whole document) would just mean that we'd have to wait even longer to get the PDFs available.

 

And as Karmakaze notes the Hero books are exactly the type of texts that don't really reflow well. Lots of pullouts and sidebars.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

If my understanding of the process is correct [...]
Not precisely. The reflow tags don't affect the way the PDF prints. They are followed when a display interpreter wants to reflow the content to a simpler format, such as a small screen that really only display a single column, or a text reader for the visually impaired, essentially anything that needs to read the content in a strictly linear fashion. The tags specify the order that sidebars, pullouts, textboxes, tables, pictures, and the like should be interspersed into the text. Hero's books are exactly the kind of document that benefit most from reflow tagging.

 

Afterthought: Hero-type books are considered to not reflow well, because without tagging the reader's attempt at default reflowing will phail horribly.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

You can do all of those except .pdf[...]
Sorta...

 

Last I checked, you had to submit your material over the Internet to be queued for conversion and either download them via the normal Kindle process for a small fee (very small) or download them over a wired Internet connection into the device via USB.

 

Due to the vagarities of my computing situation, I don't always have immediate Internet access. I want these particular file formats natively supported, and I want to transfer them directly to the device.

 

I'm not saying the Kindle is trash for not having this feature. In fact, I'm still strongly considering its acquisition. Expanded file support and a color display are merely aspects of my dream eBook reader.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

Not precisely. The reflow tags don't affect the way the PDF prints. They are followed when a display interpreter wants to reflow the content to a simpler format

 

This is probably fine, and it might actually be a small amount of work to do it this way, but seriously, how many customers would be interested in a PDF for small formats?

 

I'm unlikely to want to read Hero PDFs on my cell phone. If I need to cart PDFs around, I'll use my laptop.

 

I just can't see why Hero Games would spend any effort on this at all, considering their market for such a product appears to be in the low teens.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

Not precisely. The reflow tags don't affect the way the PDF prints. They are followed when a display interpreter wants to reflow the content to a simpler format, such as a small screen that really only display a single column, or a text reader for the visually impaired, essentially anything that needs to read the content in a strictly linear fashion. The tags specify the order that sidebars, pullouts, textboxes, tables, pictures, and the like should be interspersed into the text. Hero's books are exactly the kind of document that benefit most from reflow tagging.

 

Afterthought: Hero-type books are considered to not reflow well, because without tagging the reader's attempt at default reflowing will phail horribly.

 

You are missing my point. My understanding is that what is sent to the printer isn't a PDF, so whether or not the tags interfere with the printing of a PDF isn't relevant. Unless I'm mistaken what they turn into the printer is a document that they can easily translate into a PDF. Pretty much just a "click here to convert to PDF" and then a quick check to fix anything that didn't go well, or something to that effect.

 

What you are talking about would require them to go back through the document and add those tags. That would suck up a lot more of Andy's time, and would mean that rather than getting PDFs that don't reflow well we wouldn't be getting them at all. Or at best that they would be greatly delayed.

 

And I'll admit that since I don't know everything about the process they go through I could have it wrong. But I'm pretty sure that adding the tags you are talking about isn't nearly as trivial as you make it out to be.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

Going back through a document would be a pain in the butt, no argument there. However, tagging as you go really is trivial. I believe Andy is using InDesign, which makes it super simple as of CS3, but I'll admit I don't know about prior versions.

Afterthought: I wouldn't suggest going back through the PDF archive to tag for reflow. Not with 6e on the distant horizon. But 6e would be a nice place to start.

 

I believe PDFs are the industry standard for file formats sent to a printer (my last job dealing with print publishing ended in 2000), not the relatively low fidelity files we consumers use, but massive files with very high resolution pics and other graphical data. InDesign and Quark, the industry standards for print document creation, output both from a master native file. That native file is where the tagging is done. Even if the printer uses something other than PDF, InDesign and Quark would still output the file format called for, either including or leaving out the reflow tagging, since the print version should be 100% unaffected.

 

The reason to do this is that print media, while nowhere near dead, has only a limited remaining reign as the King of mass publishing. Portable display devices are the future. I currently read my Hero books on a 4" 480x640 PDA screen using PocketXpdf, which at least can re-render a PDF page into plaintext, though it's a little hit or miss about where to place floating elements that aren't reflow tagged. It would be great to read it with the floating elements logically placed and pictures appearing at all.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

I'm unlikely to want to read Hero PDFs on my cell phone. If I need to cart PDFs around' date=' I'll use my laptop.[/quote']There is currently a wide niche open between cellphone-sized displays and laptops. Sony's eBook Reader and Amazon's Kindle are the only real contenders in this range (IMO), but any success on their part will drive further innovation.
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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

Going back through a document would be a pain in the butt, no argument there. However, tagging as you go really is trivial. I believe Andy is using InDesign, which makes it super simple as of CS3, but I'll admit I don't know about prior versions.

Afterthought: I wouldn't suggest going back through the PDF archive to tag for reflow. Not with 6e on the distant horizon. But 6e would be a nice place to start.

 

I believe PDFs are the industry standard for file formats sent to a printer (my last job dealing with print publishing ended in 2000), not the relatively low fidelity files we consumers use, but massive files with very high resolution pics and other graphical data. InDesign and Quark, the industry standards for print document creation, output both from a master native file. That native file is where the tagging is done. Even if the printer uses something other than PDF, InDesign and Quark would still output the file format called for, either including or leaving out the reflow tagging, since the print version should be 100% unaffected.

 

The reason to do this is that print media, while nowhere near dead, has only a limited remaining reign as the King of mass publishing. Portable display devices are the future. I currently read my Hero books on a 4" 480x640 PDA screen using PocketXpdf, which at least can re-render a PDF page into plaintext, though it's a little hit or miss about where to place floating elements that aren't reflow tagged. It would be great to read it with the floating elements logically placed and pictures appearing at all.

 

As I said, my understanding from talking to Darren in the past was that PDFs are not what they submit to the printer. I'll admit that I could be misremembering or that things might have changed, but I'm pretty sure that is what he said.

 

Personally I usually try to avoid telling people that a process that I am not a part of, or at least am not intimately familiar with, could be modified trivially. Particularly when it involves adding more work to someone's plate.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

As I said' date=' my understanding from talking to Darren in the past was that PDFs are not what they submit to the printer. I'll admit that I could be misremembering or that things might have changed, but I'm pretty sure that is what he said.[/quote']Naw, you're probably remembering correctly. If Darren said it wasn't PDFs, he's in a position to know.

 

Personally I usually try to avoid telling people that a process that I am not a part of, or at least am not intimately familiar with, could be modified trivially. Particularly when it involves adding more work to someone's plate.
I don't know what Andy's process is. There are dozens of ways to approach document design, even within one application. Thus, I don't know how trivially his process could be modified.

 

I am saying that the tagging process itself is trivial. It takes more effort to determine the order and insertion points of the floating elements than the tagging process takes. That sort of design decision is where a professional like Andy earns his kibbles. The tagging itself could be handled by a temp except it would take just as long to communicate said design decisions as to just do it.

 

Anyway, I've said my bit. Not getting 6e tagged for reflow won't make me not buy the PDFs; Hero is still the line I've decided to take 100% digital, though sufficiently attractive 6e books may see me buying both. A tagged 6e would be nice, and I think it would be advisable, but in the end I'm just one consumer, no matter how much I think I know. I don't see it as my role to convince anyone of my PoV; I just try to publish info as I see it.

 

/threadjack

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

As I said' date=' my understanding from talking to Darren in the past was that PDFs are not what they submit to the printer. I'll admit that I could be misremembering or that things might have changed, but I'm pretty sure that is what he said.[/quote']

 

Really? I'm kinda surprised at that. I would think that sending Print Ready PDFs would be so much easier than sending something like a design packet.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

Sorta...

 

Last I checked, you had to submit your material over the Internet to be queued for conversion and either download them via the normal Kindle process for a small fee (very small) or download them over a wired Internet connection into the device via USB.

 

Due to the vagarities of my computing situation, I don't always have immediate Internet access. I want these particular file formats natively supported, and I want to transfer them directly to the device.

 

I'm not saying the Kindle is trash for not having this feature. In fact, I'm still strongly considering its acquisition. Expanded file support and a color display are merely aspects of my dream eBook reader.

 

You can convert files offline using MobiPocket Creator (which is free) and then transfer over to the Kindle via USB cable.

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Re: PDFs on Kindle

 

I would think that sending Print Ready PDFs would be so much easier than sending something like a design packet.
There may not be a more conservative industry than printing. Some printers have moved past PDFs to better, but some have yet to enter the digital age. The place I worked at the turn of the century HATED change. Both the management and the union fought technology improvements tooth and nail. (It's worth noting that they are long gone to the tar pits.)
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