About eBook reader: a total stranger

Submitted by Nicola Rainiero on 2012-06-03 (last updated on 2012-07-30)

It is a electronic gadget little widespread, but with some hint it might be an optimal solution to read comfortably digital documents, without using printer or staying for long time in front at the monitor.

I own an ebook reader for almost a year, in detail an Asus DR900. It is a problematic product with some imperfections that lets me consult documents, saving me from photocopies and from eye strain.

For a complete review of this eBook reader I suggest you this video-review (also available in English) and a dedicated forum in Simplicissimus site. I bought this one, knowing its problems, because I found a reasonable offer in a supermarket, but I was interested in the PocketBook Pro 903 model (very expensive and purchasable only in the web).

What is an eBook reader? Have you ever heard amazon.com and its Kindle? Well the eBook reader is an electronic gadget optimized for reading books, comics, documents and online newspapers. But people can object that is sufficient theirs own PC, tablet or smartphone. Why buy another device? It is partially true, above all if you read for a few time every day. But eBook reader has a special screen technology (today principally black & white, but there are some colour model and prototype ) that lets you more battery autonomy and the impression to read the documents like in front of printed paper.

Anyway I was looking for a capable device to read PDF in A4 format (i.e. 21,0 x 29,7 cm), avoiding my PC monitor or the paper. I can say that this target was reasonably reached, because I can read and consult my digital library every time and everywhere I want, without to power on my computer and without fear to remain in low battery mode.

Sometime I have many problems with optimized PDFs for printing or full of heavy graphics. My eBook reader become unstable and slow. So I have to resize and scroll every page, and above all I have to wait minutes to change page. If I have to find a section or a chapter without the TOC or bookmarks, I start to prey!

At first it was not a problem, but later the situation became more enervating and frustrating. Rarely I had to reset this diabolic gadget! What are the possible solutions? Excluding the rubbish skip, I followed 2 roads:

  • firstly I found in the web specific software to resize, optimize, make marker;
  • secondly I wrote some script in bash and latex to automate the operation page by page.

Today I can resize a PDF, divide it in more pages if this is a grouping of more pages (the slides released in conferences); provide it with a bookmarks and TOC.
In the next articles I will explain you what software I use, and I will publish the scripts that I realized to simplify my cohabitation with the ebook reader.


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Nicola Rainiero

A civil geotechnical engineer with the ambition to facilitate own work with free software for a knowledge and collective sharing. Also, I deal with green energy and in particular shallow geothermal energy. I have always been involved in web design and 3D modelling.