Tutorial: PDF to Kindle for academic journal articles

This tutorial shows you how to convert PDF ejournal articles and book chapters to read on your Amazon Kindle. I’m assuming that you are converting relatively simple arts and humanities articles of the sort found via JURN, and not fiendishly formatted articles from maths, medicine or science. There is no reliable way of converting PDFs for the Kindle, and your results will only be “good enough”, not perfect. Do not use this method for converting PDF content you wish to sell commercially.

The software: The freeware conversion software Mobipocket Creator 4.2 Publisher Edition works quickly and speedily, and produces a “good enough” .prc ebook file, of a type supported by the Kindle. The MobiPocket Creator Software is wholly free software and is not timebombed, crippled, ad-supported, or subject to a “trial period”. MobiPocket is the company that Amazon purchased in 2005 to use for the Kindle, but MobiPocket’s excellent software is still freely available. In my experience, Mobipocket Creator appears to convert a simple academic PDF article in a more acceptable manner that the freeware Calibre software does.

1. Download and install Mobipocket Creator Publisher Edition. Load a PDF file…

2. Select and highlight the loaded PDF file.

3. Click to have Mobipocket Creator convert the PDF…

4. Open the Windows folder where the resulting files have been deposited…

5. The folder will contain the files used during the conversion process, and the final .prc conversion. The Kindle can load/view the .prc format without any problem. If you have installed Amazon’s Kindle for PC software on your desktop PC or laptop, then Windows will already have identified .prc files as “belonging” to the Kindle. Just double-click the file to open it. If you’re satisfied, then drag it over to your Kindle via the USB connection, for reading.

Note that there is also the HTML file used during the conversion, which can be edited for errors with a good HTML editor such as HomeSite. You can then email the corrected HTML page to your Kindle.

6. If the starting PDF file is made up of “hard” page scans (i.e.: has no text to copy and paste), then it will need to be opened in the powerful Adobe Acrobat Pro suite (not the Acrobat Reader) and be subject to an OCR scan, during which Acrobat Pro will inspect each letter and attempt to convert it to editable text. Acrobat Pro will then overlay this editable and copyable text over the page image. When this process is complete, save the file…


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2 thoughts on “Tutorial: PDF to Kindle for academic journal articles

  1. For technical and scientific papers, try k2pdfopt, papercrop, or pdfread (Google them). They were designed with technical/two-column PDFs in mind.

  2. Pingback: New JISC survey on open access monographs « News from JURN.org

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