Kindle 3 PDF Photos, Video

Now that the Kindle 3 is shipping it’s worth looking at Kindle 3′s PDF capabilities.

First, we’ll go over Kindle 3′s PDF capabilities in detail. Next, we’ll look at a lot of Kindle 3 PDF photos and at one Kindle 3 PDF video.

Kindle 3 PDF – New PDF Features in Kindle 3

There are lots of new Kindle 3 PDF features -

  1. Notes and Highlights – You can now add notes and highlights to a PDF. This is a huge addition.
  2. ‘Nudge’ added to PDF pan and zoom. Now when you are zoomed into a PDF not only can you pan using the 5-way you can also ‘nudge’ by holding the Shift key and pressing the 5-way – a nudge is a slight pan (a tiny incremental shift).
  3. Adjust contrast of PDFs. Kindle 3 gives you the choice of 6 contrast options - lightest, lighter, default, darker, and darkest. This is very helpful for PDFs that are too light or have been scanned without enough contrast.
  4. Support for reading Password protected PDFs.
  5. The Dictionary now works in PDFs. A nice addition though it didn’t work for one of my PDF files.

These are all good additions with Notes and Highlights being a super useful addition. Kindle 3 PDF support is very solid and, at the moment, it’s the best PDF support you can find on an eReader.

Kindle 3 PDF – Existing PDF Support in Kindle 2 and Kindle DX 2

All these features were present in Kindle 2 and are carried over to Kindle 3 -

  1. Adding bookmarks.
  2. Landscape Mode – Flip a PDF’s orientation to see it in larger font size.
  3. Pan and Zoom. You can zoom into PDFs with zoom options of Fit to Screen, Original Size, 150%, 200%, and 300%. Zoom level stays the same as you flip through the PDF’s pages. Once you are zoomed in you can pan around using the 5-way.
  4. Search – You can search through PDFs. The search term is highlighted wherever it is found. You can circle through each search result – the page the result is on is shown with the actual search result highlighted.
  5. Go to a particular page - You can jump to a page by choosing ‘Go To’ from the menu and entering a page number.
  6. Automatic cropping of white space.

These are a good set of features and the additional PDF features added in Kindle 3 combine with these to make the overall Kindle 3 PDF feature-set very compelling.

Kindle 3 PDF – Things to Know

Here are things that the Kindle 3 handles well -

  1. Academic PDFs – Tables, diagrams, special formatting, formulae, and two column PDFs all show up well. 
  2. PDFs in general.  
  3. Images and illustrations – These look very good on Kindle 3′s eInk Pearl screen (check out the photos further on in this post).
  4. Password protected PDFs – Haven’t tested these myself as don’t know exactly where to find such PDFs. However, Amazon says they are supported.
  5. Embedded Fonts. PDFs that have embedded Chinese characters or other language characters or use any sort of embedded fonts work well. Have tested this on Kindle 2 and there’s no reason it won’t work on Kindle 3.

Add a link to a PDF if you want it tested.

Here are things that the Kindle 3 can’t handle or can’t handle well -

  1. You can’t edit PDFs.
  2. You can’t create PDFs.
  3. You can zoom in but you can’t change Font Size. That means you can’t break a 5 page PDF into 12 pages to fit it better to your Kindle 3′s screen. If it isn’t formatted with the right font size then you have to use Zoom. To work around this format PDFs using your PC or Mac so that they have a larger default font size.
  4. You cannot use the Text to Speech feature in PDFs. You can get around this limitation by converting PDFs to Kindle format.
  5. Highlighting is spotty with two column PDFs. Often text in both columns is highlighted instead of the text you select in one column. 
  6. PDFs that are poor quality scans. Kindle can’t improve the scan quality.  
  7. PDFs that have very small text. The text will show up very small and you’ll have to use the zoom option.  
  8. PDFs with DRM Protection – Don’t even know if this exists but Kindle 3 can only handle password protected PDFs.

Perhaps the biggest limitation of Kindle 3 is the 6″ screen. Most PDFs are built/created to be read on A4 size paper or on large computer screens. The Kindle 3′s 6″ screen just isn’t big enough.

If you are buying Kindle 3 primarily for reading PDFs do take a look at the Kindle DX 2 PDF post. Kindle 3 is much better value for money but the 6″ screen is pretty limiting. The DX 2′s 9.7″ screen is far more suited to reading PDFs though it doesn’t have some of the Kindle 3′s PDF capabilities (all the features listed in the top section, New PDF Features in Kindle 3, are missing from DX 2).

More Kindle 3 PDF …

After the jump – lots of Kindle 3 PDF photos.

Continue reading

Kindle PDF feature, Kindle Vs Sony PDF

Amazon has added native Kindle PDF support. This Kindle PDF Feature Guide walks you through what you can and cannot do with your Kindle and PDF files. 

After that it adds on a Kindle Vs Sony PDF support comparison.

Here’s a video discussing the PDF capabilities of the Kindle (it misses out Search which is pretty cool) -

Kindle PDF Capabilities added to Kindle 2.

Amazon has taken a big step forward by adding significant features -

  1. PDFs work on the Kindle.  
  2. PDFs in different languages work on the Kindle. 
  3. You can search through a PDF. You can also circle through the results easily.
  4. Tables, Formulae, Charts – everything just displays well. 
  5. The default font setting of the PDF is used which means very small text size – imagine a sheet of paper scrunched to the Kindle screen.
  6. The rotation feature lets you view PDFs slightly better – the text is bigger.
  7. You can add bookmarks and quickly go to a page or a bookmark.

The update has also made loading files and searching through a book (or PDF) noticeably faster.

It’s only half the battle though.

Kindle PDF limitations – Kindle’s PDF support is still a work in progress

There’s a significant part of the Kindle PDF feature missing.

The Kindle Vs Sony PDF comparison (next section) will show that re-flowing PDFs is tough so it’s not like Amazon is being lazy.

However, here’s what’s missing -

  1. No changeable font sizes. 
  2. No zooming or panning. 
  3. No highlights.
  4. No notes.  

There are two workarounds -

  1. To get over the font size problem, re-format PDFs to have larger font sizes. PDFs that have larger font sizes work well on Kindle 2, especially in landscape mode. 
  2. Alternately, convert PDFs to Kindle format. Check my Kindle PDF conversion post.

Once the converted PDFs are in Kindle format you can change font sizes and add highlights and notes.

Which brings us to odious comparisons.

Kindle Vs Sony – PDF Capabilities

Sony wins. Here’s a video showing exactly what each can do –

There’s a lot of misinformation so it’s worth noting a few things -

  1. Sony has changeable font sizes. However, anything other than the smallest size does not preserve formulas, tables and pictures consistently (70% of the time formatting and tables and pictures disappear or the PDF resets to the smallest font size).
  2. That means for technical documents you’re always switching between views.
  3. You can add notes and highlights and that’s a good feature.
  4. You can also zoom in to any part of the PDF and pan around and that’s a good feature too.
  5. The default font size for PDFs is better on Kindle in both portrait  and landscape mode by a bit – However, 30-40% of PDFs are still going to be unreadable on Kindle as they’re formatted for A4 size paper.

Sony supports PDF better. Hopefully Amazon keep improving the PDF feature on the Kindle and catch up.

Amazon do deserve kudos for adding in PDF support and screen rotation and for continuing to improve the Kindle.

Kindle adds PDF support, screen rotation, boosts battery life

Amazon took a major step in making the Kindle more compelling than the Nook (more on whether it’s still a tie later) by adding some really cool features -

  1. In-built PDF Support. You get this on Kindle 2 Global and Kindle 2.  
  2. 75% longer battery life – Use the Kindle for up to a week with wireless on. 
  3. Screen Rotation – You can manually rotate the screen. Note that Kindle 2 does NOT have an accelerometer so you must select the screen rotation from the Fonts menu. 

These are big, big changes - In particular the in-built support for PDF documents.

The Kindle DX gets only two changes -

  1. Automatic cropping of whitespace in PDF files. It’s an important change as it’ll greatly increase readability of lots of PDF files.
  2. Longer Screensaver TimeOut Wait – You now have 20 minutes (instead of just 5 minutes) before the Kindle DX’s screensaver gets activated.  

You can read up on all the changes at Amazon. Here’s a snippet -

  • Built-in PDF reader: Your Kindle can now display PDF documents without losing the formatting of the original file. Send PDF documents directly to your Kindle (via your @Kindle address) or drag and drop PDF files from your computer to your Kindle (when connected via USB). 
  • Longer battery life for Kindle (Global Wireless): You can now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks.
  • Manual screen rotation: The Kindle screen can now manually rotate between portrait and landscape views so you can see the entire width of a web page or magnify the page of a PDF file. The page-turn buttons work the same in either orientation, and the 5-way controller movements are switched to match the orientation.
  • The Kindle keeps getting better ;) .

    What are people saying about Kindle PDF Support and enhancements?

    1. ZDNet and Welt broke the news. They don’t really dig into the updates - However, kudos for catching it.
    2. Paid Content are saying that only Kindle Global gets extended battery life.
    3. TeleRead shines once again as a user comment points out update details for the Kindle DX -

      PDF Change: Margins are cropped only in Landscape Mode.  Subscription items no longer have ‘progress dots’.

    At MobileRead people are now finding new things to complain about.

    1. While they’re happy about being able to read PDFs and landscape mode and screen rotation and searching documents for words.
    2. They are upset about no highlights or notes in PDFs, no built-in dictionary. 
    3. Also, some PDFs (obviously, it’s a 6″ screen) can’t be read properly as their text is too small – There’s no Zoom for PDFs.

    However, it’s a HUGE upgrade to have in-built PDF support. The 75% increase in battery life is very impressive too and a commenter at MobileRead suggests its a standby mode that shuts off whispernet wireless when not in use – makes sense.

    The Kindle is now a much better value proposition.

    Kindle DX PDF FAQ

    The Kindle DX is out and comes with in-built pdf support. My kindle dx review post has been getting lots of PDF related questions.

    So here’s a detailed Kindle DX PDF FAQ, after much due diligence on my part. Its backed by the kindle dx liveblog review by Brent Newhall and Jeffrey Ritholtz.

    Kindle DX PDF – Top 10 Things to Know

    The Good – Kindle DX PDF Features. 

    1. Native support i.e. just load a PDF and it works.
    2. PDFs are searchable and you can bookmark pages, except for PDFs that are images. The searched term is highlighted wherever its found. 
    3. You can switch to landscape mode and most of the time the DX will show the PDF in a bigger, more readable size. You can go to the lower part of the page by pressing Next Page.
    4. PDFs have page numbers, and completion percentage, and ‘Go To Page’ feature. 

    The Bad – Kindle DX Missing PDF Features

    1. PDFs do not support Read To Me. If you do want a PDF read to you, you could convert it to kindle format and the converted file would support Read To Me.  
    2. PDFs do not support changing font sizes, and they do not support zooming and panning. If landscape mode isn’t big enough, you’re stuck.
    3. The 5-way cursor doesn’t work in PDFs.
    4. PDFs do not support adding notes, they do not support highlighting. Pretty much rules out adding notes to textbooks.  
    5. You cannot click on a link in a PDF.

    Kindle DX PDF FAQ
    Q1: What PDF support is included? What’s Not?
    A1: Based on the Good List and the Bad List above, Kindle DX is great for reading PDFs, technical PDFs, computer programming books, and pretty much anything technical. PDFs look great. However, you can’t change font sizes and you can’t turn poorly scanned PDFs into good looking ones.

    It does not support a Table of Contents (there’s an inelegant hack Q10). You can’t add notes or nighlights. 

    Q2: Where can I see actual photos of PDFs on the Kindle DX?
    A2: At Brent Newhall’s Kindle DX PDF Page and at Jef’s tech blog. Here are two snippets (courtesy Brent, one showing tables and an image, and another with formulae) -

    Kindle DX showing PDF with tables and image

    Kindle DX showing PDF with tables and image

    And here’s one showing support for mathematical formulae -

    Kindle DX PDF mathematical formula support

    Kindle DX PDF mathematical formula support

    Pretty impressive.

    Q3: How fast are page-turns in PDFs?
    A3: In Portrait mode, they’re slower. They’re reasonably fast in landscape mode.
    The reason a lot of people are complaining about page turns is – When you first get your Kindle DX and load a bunch of files, those files are getting indexed and that slows down everything. So the page turns you see in the first few hours are slowed down due to indexing.

    Check out this video for more –

    Q4: What options do you get in the Menu when in a PDF ?
    A4: Courtesy Brent Newhall’s liveblogging -

    Pulling up a menu, I get the following entries available:

    Turn Wireless Off
    Shop in Kindle Store
    Go to Beginning
    Go to Page…
    Search This Document
    Add a Bookmark
    My Bookmarks

    The following entries are greyed out:

    Table of Contents
    Sync to Furthest Page Read
    Book Description
    Add a Note or Highlight

    Q5: Can I change font sizes?
    A5: No. When you press Aa to go to the Font Size menu, the changing font sizes, changing number of words per line, and Text To Speech options are greyed out. Only the option to flip the screen orientation is available.

    Q6: Are PDFs clubed together with other books, or do they have their own category?
    A6: PDFs are actually clubbed under the ‘Personal Documents’ section. This separates them from books – However, as Kindle DX does not have a Folders feature there is no way to have just your PDF files show up, and no way to categorize them. You can use the sort feature to order them by criteria like when they were added.

    Q7: Are page numbers on the Kindle DX same as in the PDF?
    A7: Yes. There might be cases where someone has taken a textbook and scanned it and changed the page numbers in the PDF. In that case page numbers on the Kindle DX will match the PDF, and not the textbook.

    Q8: What happens when I delete a PDF I load. Is it saved in the Archive?
    A8: To the best of my understanding, No. Its treated like a personal document.

    Q9: How do Computer Programming Books in PDF format look on the Kindle DX?
    A9: Very good. If they are bad scans, then they obviously won’t look good. However good PDFs look great. Again, from the kindle forum -

    I loaded one of my programming user manuals (400 pages long), also as PDF: the load time was not outrageously long, the text display was fine/quite readable.

    Q10: Is there a workaround to the table of contents?
    A10: Not exactly – However, go to the page that has the Table of Contents, and check what page a chapter starts on and ‘Go to Page’ to that page.

    Q11: How do I see the second part of a PDF page in Landscape Mode?
    A11: Press the ‘Next Page’ key. The 5-way cursor does NOT work.

    Q12: How is the Kindle DX for Medical Journals?
    A12: From the kindle forum -

    1) medical journal articles (PDFs), even with complex tables, superscripts and multicolumn format look very good. Text is a tad on the small side for us older readers but still quite readable in portrait mode–which is the mode that most resembles reading the actual journal.

    Your Kindle DX PDF Questions

    Please let me know your questions and I’ll answer them best as I can. You can buy the Kindle DX at Amazon. There’s a 30 day return period and my detailed kindle dx review helps too.

    Kindle 2 PDF FAQ + Conversion Video

    Kindle 2 PDF Update: Great News! Amazon has added PDF support to the Kindle.

    • PDF support, landscape mode, bookmarking pages, and searching PDFs is supported.
    • Changing font size isn’t. You can view PDFs in larger size in landscape mode and it crops margins too (only in landscape mode).
    • You cannot add notes and highlights.

    Take a look at my video discussion of the new Kindle PDF feature.

    You can convert PDFs to Kindle format to get the ability to change fonts and add notes and highlights.

    Kindle 2 PDF FAQ

    This post covers how to use PDFs with the Kindle 2, and how to do kindle pdf conversion.

    May 7th, 2009 – Kindle DX has an in-built PDF reader with technology licensed from Adobe (so you know PDFs will work).

    Thanks to W. Neff for pointing out that Kindle 2 and its purported PDF support (aka converted PDF support) is not well documented, and that it was holding back people from making a Kindle 2 purchase decision. This Kindle 2 PDF FAQ should answer your questions and help you determine whether you will buy Kindle 2.

    Q1: Does the Kindle support PDF format files?
    A: No, the Kindle 2.0 and Kindle do not natively support PDF files. They do however support conversion from PDF into a Kindle 2.0 compatible format.

    Q2; How do I get PDF files converted into Kindle format?
    A: If you want the convenience of getting files sent straight to your Kindle 2 -

    An attachment sent to your Kindle’s e-mail address (”name” will be converted and delivered wirelessly to your Kindle for a charge of only ten cents per document.

    Q3: Can I get conversion done for free?
    A: Yes, you can also get free conversion done in the following manner -

    send attachments to “name” to be converted and Amazon will convert and e-mail the documents back to your computer at the e-mail address associated with your account.

     Q4: Can I do conversion on my own?
    A: Yes, you can use Stanza on the Mac, and MobiPocket Creator on the PC. 

    Q5: How do I convert PDF Files using Stanza?
    A: Open the PDF file using Stanza, then plug your Kindle 2 to your PC using the USB wire, then in Stanza select the File->Export Book As->Amazon Kindle option. In this file dialog, browse to the Kindle (it’ll show up as the name you gave it when you registered).

    Q6: How do I convert PDF files using MobiPocket?
    A: There are a few steps -

    1. Get the Publisher Edition of MobiPocket Editor.  
    2. On the main screen, choose Import from Existing File -> PDF.
    3. In the file dialog choose the file to import.
    4. Now select Build from the top menu, and this will create the file and also open the folder in which the file is contained.
    5. Find the .prc file in the folder and copy it to the Kindle’s document folder.  

    Here is a video showing how to do this, and also showing the effect on formatting of the PDF (please just watch the first 7:43 – it loops once after that) –


     Q7: How do I convert files using Microsoft Word?
    A: (Courtesy The Dude – an appropriate alias given the awesomeness of his solution).

    open your PDF document
    do a “save as” to a Word Doc format – for 800 pages it took about 2 minutes
    Open the new Word document
    do a “save as” to a Plain Text TXT format – took about 1 minute
    connect your kindle to your computer and put the new TXT file on your kindle.

    Q8: How do I convert files using AutoKindle Project Software?
    A: AutoKindle takes PDF, Lit, PDB, CHM, and HTML files and converts them to .mobi. Please look at the AutoKindle Page for details.

    Q9: Is there a way to get perfect conversion?
    A: No. none that I know of. Certain PDFs that have DRM are difficult to convert (or impossible even). There are usually problems with PDFs that have a lot of charts, tables, images.

    Q10: Is Amazon’s conversion better than this?
    A: Not that I know of.

    Q11: Why doesn’t Amazon support PDF conversion on Kindle 2.0?
    A: No Idea.

    Q12: Will Amazon ever support PDFs on Kindle 2.0 or a later model?
    A: No Idea.

    Q14: I really need PDF conversion support – what should I do?
    A: Look at Foxit’s eSlick Reader. Foxit is a company that specifically creates PDF conversion and PDF related software. They are building and selling an eReader that ought to (and is claimed to) have great PDF support.

    Q15: I have another PDF related question. Can I leave it in the comments?
    A: Yes, of course.

    Thanks for reading through all of this – please let me know if this helped you decide on whether or not to buy Kindle 2.


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