The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Almost all of today's ebook readers and tablet computers advertise that you can use the device to read documents and books. Doing so is a great way of taking your information with you. Whether it is a document from the office or a white paper you downloaded or a report from your favorite genealogy program, being able to read information at the beach, on a commuter train, on an airliner, or in a hotel room is a great convenience. There is but one problem: most owners of ebook readers and tablet computers never use them for documents or books other than the ones that can be downloaded from the online bookstores.
Almost all owners of these devices download commercial books, newspapers, and magazines. In my casual conversations with owners of these devices, I have often asked about converting other documents to suitable formats and copying them to the handheld devices. The most common response I receive is, "I don't know how to do that" or "I need to learn more about that" or some similar words. I decided to write this article with "how to" instructions.
First, the instructions for converting documents of all sorts to suitable formats will often start with the words, "It all depends." In fact, the process will be slightly different for owners of Amazon Kindles than it will be for Barnes & Noble's Nook devices. It will be different still for anyone with an Apple iPad or an Android tablet computer. However, there are some common procedures that will be covered here, and at the end of the article I will give specific instructions for some of the more common handheld devices.
Copying an existing document or book will require two steps:
- Converting the original file into a format that the ebook reader or tablet computer can use.
- Copying the newly-converted file from a desktop computer or laptop computer or web site to the ebook reader or tablet computer.
Once the document or book is converted and stored within the handheld device, you can read it in the same way as any other document or book already available in the device's native format.
Most of the handheld ebook readers and tablet computers can display PDF files; but, this is a poor choice, in my opinion. In effect, a PDF file is a "picture" of the page. If you are using a device with a large screen, such as an Apple iPad, you may find the on-screen display will show the entire page at one time. However, if you are using a device with a smaller screen, such as a Barnes & Noble Nook or even the tiny screen of a cell phone, the PDF will not be pleasant to read. You will either need to "zoom out" to fit the entire screen on the page, resulting in letters that are too small to be readable, or else you will need to scroll from left to right to read every single line as the lines are too wide to be displayed in their entirety. Scrolling left to right to read every line in a 200-page book is not a pleasant experience.
Luckily, there is a better format.
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