Wednesday, April 8, 2009

PDF and EPUB converter ON the Kindle

Gizmodo and O'Reilly report today that there is now a utility offered which runs ON the Kindle and will convert [text-based]PDF and EPUB files to the Kindle's .mobi format.

Called "Savory" and developed by Jesse Vincent, it does not open rights-protected (DRM) books, since that is clearly illegal. As Gizmodo writes:
'It converts specific unprotected files on the fly—from PDF and ePub to Mobipocket, so it feels like they are supported by the Kindle 2. (Not, alas, the first-gen Kindle.)'
Gizmodo goes on to quote Jesse's blog:
'Savory installs a small program which runs on your Kindle and watches for new files in the 'Documents' directory with names ending in '.epub' and '.pdf'. When the system notifies Savory that a document has shown up, it wakes up and runs an open-source file conversion program called Calibre. Savory also updates your Kindle2's browser configuration file to tell it that the Kindle can now handle .pdf and .epub documents.'
However, Jesse is not sure that this wouldn't void the warranty. That is a big uncertainty.

And, the process is not for the faint of heart when it comes to computers. Jesse describes it on his Savory page and reminds people that it could void your warranty.

He also has done a second version over the weekend, which converts a 2nd time, from the converted text to an image-based version.  That's a beta version and the process results in two files, neither perfect but you can decide which one you want to keep.  He's asking for feedback. The image-set version will look more like the original copy but that may not be ideal on a small screen and it will be a much larger file. I would read all the feedback before tip-toeing into this.

I am not recommending any of this be done but am informing the interested that it's available in a Kindle world :-)

UPDATE (4/12/09 at 5:20 pm):  ZDNet's Joe Brockmeier writes on 4/10/09 about this, saying "Jesse Vincent is doing Amazon’s work for it...He released the first version on April 3rd, and has since added support for “picture perfect” conversion of PDFs to the Kindle. The screenshots look very sweet indeed" Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Dear Andrys, hi! I wrote to you some weeks ago to clarify the Kindle´s PDF funcionaties and I keep very worried about this. I tried all the suggestions to convert PDFs (so I could highlight and make notes), like Mobicreator, Calibre and the own amazon free convertion service. All of then completely damaged the PDF files. A bad hyphenization and all the tables were disfigured. And note that I sent files with very simple tables, those you create in a simple word documement. I simply don´t understand why these conversion programs are unable to recognize a table and mantain it!!! It seems so easy, compared to other difficult things. Please, help me!!! My Kindle arrives at Brazil this weekend and I can´t wait to take it and use it... but if I can´´t manage this annoying PDF issue, my experience will be less intense that it could be... Best regards from Brazil! Luiz

  2. Maybe if you press the Aa (fonts) key and 'rotate' it to Landscape mode, it'll look better.

    Calibre, I think, recommends MobiPocket Creator for a better jof on those.

    The PDF can be used for reference and your MOBI or PRC copy can be highlighted and notes made and you don't have to see the tables entirely correctly if you have the original for reference?

    At any rate, I hope you have a good experience when you actually get the Kindle.

    You do get 30 days though in case you want to return it (30 days from the shipping date).

    Good luck!


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