[Sca-cooks] kindle format or PDF?

Patricia Dunham chimene at ravensgard.org
Wed Jul 6 15:03:20 PDT 2011

My Dear Husband/Lord, Meistari Gerekr, has been working a lot with e-formats the last several years, all of them, as he converts as much of our ancient paper library (ancient paperbacks especially!) to e-forms, in order to get degrading, allergy-making paper out of the house.

From that experience, his current opinion about what is up-and-coming, and what is or will be fading away:

(This has gotten LONG, and possibly recursive, SORRY!  Don't get confused by apparent repetition, I hope.)

A lot of the decisions one needs to consider are platform-dependent, not file-form dependent.  RTF and PDF are readily openable on most desktop systems and iPads.  He thinks most e-readers will handle ePub formats these days also.

Kindle formats not so much:  there's the Kindle-specific format (name?), and Mobi.  G knows there are other platforms (besides the Kindle) that support Mobi, but doesn't know what they are.  Kindle, he thinks, supports ePub.  The Sony e-reader uses its own format (PRC), but will import from some other formats.  

The current front-runner for formats is the "ePub" format; in theory there are more than one ePub format, but virtually all are zipped HTML files with one or two minor additions, that operates as a unit.  The one exception is Adobe epub, which is DRM, an encrypted file (a huge pain to work with).  If you have good (well-formatted) HTML, you can easily convert to ePub for what is going on your reading device.  Even ePub, if you have images, will be difficult to read on the smaller devices (iPhone, iPod), unless they are very small images.

PDFs have a lot of advantages and strictly speaking what you are seeing is not, necessarily, a picture, but it is pretty rigid in format.  They (pdfs) are not practical, for the small-image reason His Grace stated, on iPhone/iPod sized devices.  iPad-sized and up will work better and better as the reading screen increases in size.  PDFs are used primarily to render books where you want the e-form to LOOK exactly like the book.  PDFs come in two flavors, sort of:  the most-rigid, that cannot be altered at all, because they ARE just a series of pictures, cannot be searched; and the text-flow form, which CAN be edited and searched.

The Kindle formats (usually Mobi or a variant) we haven't used used much, as we do not have a Kindle (at this time).  Maybe half of all e-readers can utilize Mobi's, and it appears to be slowly becoming an obsolete form.  Kindles will read PDFs and RTFs

M Gerekr says the Calibre program will directly convert stuff from HTML to ePub, along with virtually all the other formats you mentioned.  Calibre will convert between most e-book formats, with greater or lesser success.  (Basic conversion from HTML to ePub format, G just showed me, takes about 2 keystrokes in the Calibre program.)  There are also a few programs around for editing e-pubs, such as Sigil.

So, getting back to specifically answering your questions about formats to drop, keep or add, and workload considerations:  
	1. Don't drop anything in favor of Kindle format.
	2. Text format is probably not worth any work it takes (no pictures, no formatting).
	3.  Keep the RTF, while it doesn't do pictures, its probably the most easily-manipulated, and most easily searchable.  It can be used as a source-file for virtually any of the other formats.
	4.  Keep the HTML, it's what ePub is based on and most e-readers these days will handle HTML one way or the other.
	5.  PDF and HTML are probably the most useful as far as getting data into e-readers, PDF and ePub would be the formats to add.  BUT getting PDFs right can be a pain in the posterior, LOTS of work, and ePubs have to be constructed to some degree if you want it to look good.  Or you could leave it to users to construct their own ePubs from the HTML.
	6.  IF there are content graphics involved in a particular file, the HTML will handle them as well as the PDF format would.  as, for example, this http://www.florilegium.org/files/TEXTILES/8-P-Stitches/8-P-Stitches-art.html, these pics would show fine on a iPod, because they're so small to begin with.

So...... you COULD keep RTF & HTML, drop text, and not add anything, if you wanted... 

TOO MUCH INFORMATION, huh?  Do write if we've caused you more questions, 8-)!!

Meistari Gerekr & Mistress Chimene

On Jul 3, 2011, at 3:42 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> <<< Like many of their free classics, it came from another source, in this
> case Porject Gutenberg.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is available there,
> but also at one of my favorite sources for public domain ebooks,
> manybooks.net.  Here's the link for the Chronicle, which can be
> downloaded in over a dozen different format, including Kindle, PDF,
> and plain vanilla text:
> http://www.manybooks.net/titles/anonetext96angsx10.html
> Brighid ni Chiarain >>>
> Since I may just end up going on a downloading splurge, when something is available in PDF or kindle format, What are the pros and cons of each? Especially when being used on a Mac, an iPhone or maybe a future IPad?
> Most files in the Florilegium are available in HTML, RTF or Word, and text. I'm considering dropping the text because of how much is lost and because now most people using the Florilegium can read the HTML or translate from it to text if they need to. Would one of these other formats be better than the Word/RTF or should they be considered in addition to what I currently offer?  More formats does mean more work each time a new file is created or an older one is updated.
> I have considered dropping the Word/RTF versions, but I think some newsletter editors may still prefer that format and the search engines may search the HTML and Word/RTF better than the PDF format.
> Thanks,
>  Stefan
> --------
> THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
>   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
> http://www.linkedin.com/in/marksharris
> **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****
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