Help my nook read continuous text from PDFs
February 2, 2010 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Can I customize PDFs so my nook e-reader doesn't display a break between "pages"?

My nook (Barnes and Noble's e-reader version of the Kindle) makes a mess of PDFs. It seems to keep the page breaks that you'd see when viewing the text in a PDF viewer set on one-page-at-a-time view, which doesn't work with the nook as the nook's screen is much smaller than the PDF viewer. You get empty space for the rest of the "page" whenever it ends, which results in nook pages with large empty gaps instead of continuous text. If I make the text small enough that one "page" fits one nook screen, it's too small to read easily).

I'd like to get PDFs set up to be read like continuous text, rather than with a set page-break. Is this possible? The PDFs I'm working with are mostly ones I've created myself from text files.
posted by ollyolly to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you have access to the source material, why not create an ePub (which the Nook is supposed to support) instead? The PDF format was originally intended for printing, so the content and layout are more or less baked into the file. On the other hand, ePub is (from what I understand) just specially formatted plain text which the device decides how to lay out.

Keep in mind I don't own a Nook or any other eBook reader, so I could be missing something.
posted by Grant Heaslip at 6:09 PM on February 2, 2010

Are you using to make the PDF's? If so here is a trick that I just verified.

You can format the page characteristics so that the height of the "letter" sized document is more or less whatever you want. That is, you can have a 8x100 inch long letter instead of the regular 8x11. So, when you have a document that you want to read on the nook simply make it (temporarily) long enough for all of the text to fit on one page. Use OO.o's print to PDF feature and then revert the page to standard size.

Presto, a PDF with all of the text on one page.

I suppose this could work on any decent word processor.
posted by oddman at 6:25 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try using Calibre and letting it convert stuff rather than having the Nook do it - it might be smarter about it.

It's a great program for other reasons as well - I let it grab the Washington Post every morning at 6a and load it to my kindle.
posted by phearlez at 6:31 PM on February 2, 2010

2nding Calibre. If you have text files to begin with, skip making PDFs and just convert the plain text into EPUB files. It's the easiest thing in the world with Calibre, and you'll have nook-ready continuous flowing text like the store-bought ebooks B&N sells.

If a PDF is your only source file, Calibre can still do a decent job of preserving paragraph breaks in making a EPUB file as well. If the PDF doesn't have vertical spaces in between paragraphs, however, the EPUB might turn out as a big block of text. That's really the only tricky part.

Feel free to email/memail me if you want more details on getting ebooks ready for the nook. I've had one since late December and I've put a dozen or so hours into Calibre and ebook preparation.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:11 PM on February 2, 2010

I know he didn't mean it that way, but let me reassure you that it's nowhere near necessary to put a dozen hours in on Calibre to get worthwhile results.

It's not the most fantastic interface in the universe but you can slap all your various format ebooks into it and have them magicked over to your reader in a quality format in nothing flat.
posted by phearlez at 8:16 AM on February 3, 2010

Don't bother with PDFs. They're only a useful format for print and for large screens where you don't anticipate needing to change how they display in any way. Pretty much any other format is preferable (which makes me sad, 'cause my public library's ebook collection is almost entirely PDF-based.)

Calibre has a somewhat clunky interface (though it's improved over the past year-plus I've been using it) but usually produces very good results for this sort of thing without much work. I use it to produce epub files for my (Sony PRS-505) reader all the time, with very good results.

Another thing: not sure what sort of text you're reading, but if it's Project Gutenberg-style stuff, you can often find nicer pre-formatted versions at other sites without having to do the work yourself. This is increasingly true of fanfiction as well! And Calibre will create nice files for a variety of news sites.

Oh, and be sure to check out the Nook forum on MobileRead!
posted by asperity at 8:45 AM on February 3, 2010

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