How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?



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  1. #1
    Tiny Tim
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    Jan 2010
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    Default How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    Just got my nook and I'm loving it so far for ebooks from B&N and from the library. But I'm a grad student and I also want to use the nook to read pdfs of journal articles and things. My nook seems to do just fine with Adobe PDF ebooks (from the library) but when I try to use it to read my own pdfs of articles it tries to show both columns of text at once and makes it really really tiny. (Basically it just tries to show the whole pdf image on its little 6 inch screen, which makes it unreadable). How do I go about reformatting the pdfs so that the nook will read them correctly? Is there a way to reflow the pdf to fit the smaller screen? Or should I be converting the pdfs to OCR, and if so how do I do that? I tried using Calibre to convert the pdfs to epubs, but that didn't really make any difference.

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  3. #2
    Puck
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    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    If the PDF Files don't have DRM (Copy Protection), you can convert them to EPUB using Calibre, which is a free program (www.calibre.com). EPUB tends to format better in the nook than PDFs.
    Paul...
    Proud owner of a rare and exclusive autographed copy of the soon to be classic novel: Boomerang, by Alan Hutcheson!

    Now reading:
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  4. #3
    Tiny Tim
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    I've tried converting them to epub in Calibre, but that made almost no difference in how they displayed on the nook. Maybe that's because these are scanned pdfs rather than pdfs that are already in a reflow or OCR format? Any suggestions on how to convert them into a format that the nook can actually reflow rather than just showing them as an image?

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  6. #4
    Puck
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    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    That might involve opening them in Adobe Acrobat and doing some reformatting. I'm not aware of another way to do it if they are scanned in such a way they won't reflow... Sorry, hopefully some one else has a suggestion...
    Paul...
    Proud owner of a rare and exclusive autographed copy of the soon to be classic novel: Boomerang, by Alan Hutcheson!

    Now reading:
    Man of Steel, by Dave Conifer
    The Murder of King Tut, by James Patterson

  7. #5
    Tiny Tim
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    17

    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    I don't have acrobat at home, but I'm pretty sure some of the computers at the university library have it. So sometime in the next couple of days I'll go in and try playing around with the files for a while. I'll report back on what I figure out.

  8. #6
    Tom Sawyer
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    130

    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherHannahM
    I've tried converting them to epub in Calibre, but that made almost no difference in how they displayed on the nook. Maybe that's because these are scanned pdfs rather than pdfs that are already in a reflow or OCR format? Any suggestions on how to convert them into a format that the nook can actually reflow rather than just showing them as an image?
    PDFs can be a PITA to modify, especially if they're in two columns. If I'm understanding correctly, though, you've scanned these into the computer from a paper copy? So they're in image format, and you won't be able to get around the problem by changing to a different format.

    I haven't had to do such things for almost a decade, but Acrobat (FULL version only) used to handle the OCRing and column-specification fairly well. It took a while to figure out how to do it correctly, though, and I can't remember the exact process.

    Your other option - very messy, but possibly faster - is to cut each page into four using a graphics editor, and put them back into Calibre with one image per page in the correct order. So you basically just increase the size to 400%. If Calibre's converted a PDF to EPUB for you, the images should be available for modification.

    I hope I'm making sense. It's almost lunchtime here, but I'm still not finished my first coffee...

  9. #7
    Tiny Tim
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    17

    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    Hmm. Not sure it's worth all of the trouble to go through a graphics editor for every pdf. The problem is that these aren't pdfs I've made, they're pdfs that are posted for everyone to read before a talk or before a class. Or they're pdfs of journal articles from sites like JSTOR. I haven't tried any JSTOR articles yet, so maybe they will reflow on their own. But the others are pretty much all just plain old scanned pdfs that weren't made with an OCR or reflow software. And knowing academics, it will be a while before everyone catches up to using the newer technology. I'll let you know how it goes with Acrobat and if I can figure out how to make it work, I'll post step-by-steps for anyone with the same issue.

  10. #8
    Tiny Tim
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    17

    Default Re: How do I re-format PDF articles for the Nook?

    Here's my report on reformatting scanned pdfs through Adobe Acrobat:

    If you have a pdf that's just a scanned image, it looks like it needs to be changed to OCR to get it to work on the nook. Acrobat will do this, but with varying levels of success depending on the quality of the original scan.

    1. Open the pdf in Adobe Acrobat
    2. Under Document, go down to OCR Text Recognition
    3. Select "Recognize Text Using OCR," or if you want to do multiple files at once select "Recognize Multiple Files"
    4. In the window that pops up, select "edit" because you will need to change the default settings.
    5. The default setting for the outcome is usually "Searchable File," but this will cause the Nook to display a scanned image of each page before displaying the readable OCR text (which is annoying because you're stuck paging through extra unreadable pages). So change this to "ClearScan."

    After you have done OCR Text Recognition, you may also need to clean up the pdf a little depending on how clean the original scan was. Basically, you want to get rid of everything that's not text or an actual image. If it's a pdf scanned in from a book, you'll probably have outlines of pages showing and that line down the middle in between the pages. If you don't get rid of all of this, the nook will display them as images on separate pages in between the pages of text. It's really annoying because I found I usually had to page through one or two pages of lines and things for each page of actual text when going through the file on the Nook. To get rid of these annoying lines,
    1. Under Tools, selected "Advanced Editing" and then the "TouchUp Object Tool"
    2. Now you can go through and click on whatever extraneous lines or dark patches you have and then hit delete. This process actually doesn't take too long, but it is an extra step.

    Then you can just drag and drop the new saved pdf file onto your Nook and move it into the Documents folder.

    I tried this on a few pdfs, and if the original scan was decent it worked pretty well. There are of course all of the normal OCR formatting issues and possible errors, like it only putting a couple of lines on a page or something, but it still makes for a fairly readable text. However, it doesn't work on really messy scans very well. I tried it on one that was really crooked and included parts of text from the next page, and it made for a really messy display on the Nook. It might be possible to clean it up enough for it to work, but it would take some time and I decided it wasn't worth it.

    Overall, this does take a little more time than just a normal drag and drop, but I think for the most part it's worth it not to have to print out lots and lots of pdfs. Some pdfs may already be in OCR and will display just fine on the nook without these extra steps, but this is at least one way to get scanned non-OCR pdfs onto the nook.

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