Tech book on Kindle

I met Brian Donahue at ALT.NET in Seattle a couple of months back, and earlier this evening he tweeted that he was curious how well code in PDF would display on the Kindle. So I replied and told him I'll try it out and show him the result.

The process of converting a PDF to Kindle format is very simple. Since I am at my computer I don't need to send the PDF to my Kindle wirelessly, so I emailed the PDF (5.6MB) to my 'free' Kindle email address: alexhung@free.kindle.com. I received back the converted .azw file (2.6MB) from Amazon within a couple of minutes. I copied it to my SD card, popped it into the Kindle, switched it on, and there it was right at the front page. 

So here's a screenshot of the original PDF taken from Preview.app:

And here are how the roughly same page looks on the Kindle:
As you can see the colouring and the code font are gone, obviously, the line-break is off and the download links are gone too but these are to be expected. But overall, I am impressed by the quality of the conversion. The text is properly converted, i.e. not being displayed as a bitmap image. Even the table of content is navigable (it doesn't show up as in the Kindle menu though).
Despite the good quality, I am still not completely convinced the Kindle is a good way to read tech book. Simply because there is always a lot of flipping back and forth when I read tech book, especially reference books, and the Kindle page by page flipping is way too slow. But for regular PDF book, I think the Kindle works just fine.
(Note that I took the photos indoor with flash, at ISO 1600 handheld. Even with image stablizer on, there are still some handshakes.)

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One comment

  1. Doc

    I've sent a number of PDFs, including documents provided by the travel medicine clinic that I scanned into PDFs, beta versions and official PDF versions of Pragmatic Press books, and others.

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