Read why Adobe PDF files don’t display correctly on the Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader.
Chuck, I’d love to get a new Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle but I have a large collection of books that are PDF file format and I’ve heard that the electronic readers screens don’t display PDF files very well. Can you tell me if this is true?
Chuck’s answer: The Amazon Kindle DX, which is the large screen version of the Amazon Kindle, can display native PDF files precisely how they were formatted by the author and publisher. For other versions of the Amazon Kindle, you can e-mail PDF files to the device, and Amazon will attempt to disassemble the PDF document and reformat it for the Kindle’s smaller screen. The problem with PDF files on smaller electronic rear screens is that the text does not “Reflow” and instead each entire PDF page is shown in its original format, but is too small to read.
The Adobe PDF file format was created specifically to allow author and publisher to firmly and precisely control the appearance, placement, images, dimensions and layout of every single page. That means the PDF file specifies *specific* fonts and *specific* page dimensions and *specific* image sizes and so on – in hard, dictated places. So, PDF files were designed to *NOT* to not allow the reader the flexiblity to change to six different font sizes and to not re-flow the text depending on the users’s font choices and image sizes.
Similarly, some (hacker) software tools can “disassemble” PDF files and convert them to other formats that are better suited for small screens, however, many PDF’s are secured by the author / publishers and can’t be reformatted. The PDF files that can be reformatted usually aren’t appealing because of how the PDF pages were designed. Think of the “Dummies” books, HUGE white margins with blocks of text taking up only the center few inches of the page. That page design looks okay on the printed page of a large book, but looks terrible on the Kindle (or Sony’s) trade-paperback sized screen.
For the past 20 years, the dictatorship required by the Adobe PDF file format was fine if the reader was viewing it on a 12″ laptop screen or a 21″ monitor, but the PDF file doesn’t work well if you’re viewing it the smaller screen of a Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle or on ANY screen smaller than 10″
So, if you want to view an Adobe PDF file of electronic reader such as the Amazon Kindle or Sony reader, your best bet is to buy a large screen Amazon Kindle DX. Otherwise, you’ll have to try to use a program to “disassemble” the PDF so that it will display correctly on the electronic reader.