I recently got a Kindle, and one of the first things I wanted to put on it was the Dedicant’s Manual. Fortunately, ADF makes the manual available as a PDF, and the Kindle can read PDFs. Perfect, right? Not so much, actually.
It turns out that viewing PDFs on the Kindle is rather painful, at least compared to viewing native Kindle books. So I figured… well, how hard can it be to convert the PDF to a native Kindle file? Well, pretty bloody hard, actually. Okay, maybe not hard but really laborious.
The first problem is that the PDF on the ADF website seems to be a scan of the physical manual rather than straight text, so running pdftohtml (Kindle books need to start as HTML files) produced a file filled with OCR errors; missing sentences, spelling errors, etc. The text was unusable. Fortunately, ADF also makes the manual available as HTML, so I could copy and paste the text of each section into my file.
The second big challenge was fixing all of the formatting. Web browsers allow web designers to get away with lots of informal HTML coding which the Kindle was not going to accept. Almost all of the lists needed serious grunt work to get looking decent, and in all I spent hours upon hours fixing up the formatting. I then had to make up a table of contents and figure out how to get it all bundled together for Kindlegen to work its magic. Thankfully, it all finally came together and I now have the Dedicant Manual on my Kindle with nice reflowing and adjustable text.
If anyone else is interested in getting the manual for their Kindle, I have sent the file off to ADF for them to share if they wish. Hopefully they’ll make it available to members. I’d like for all of the effort I put into this to benefit others.