Author Topic: What do you use for reading ShadowRun pdf files? Do you like it?  (Read 606 times)

Beta

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What is your preferred device for reading ShadowRun PDFs on?  (yes, many of us prefer the physical books, but with pdfs being half the price and available months sooner, sometimes Im going to buy the pdf.)

Background:
Up until now Ive just been reading them on my laptop at home except really Ive just been skimming, or jumping to parts that Im looking for, because I find reading full page pdf layout on a laptop screen to be a fairly horrible experience.  Always having to move the page around, I find it rough on the eyes, and really easy to lose track of exactly where I was reading.  (I also have the same issues with long electronic documents at work, so finding a solution that works for SR pdfs might also be handy in some other applications)

I looked into the possibility of reading them on an e-reader (Kindle, Nook, or Kobo), which have an appealing price point, would let me order a bunch of other books that are only coming out electronically, are close to paper as a reading experience, and can easily be read anywhere.  But those are all basically formatted for paperback sized pages, and from what I understand they deal poorly with large pages and with much non-text formatting (how does a black and white e-ink screen deal with those ugly read text boxes?).  There does seem to be a reader called Onyx with a somewhat larger page (but still well short of full page size), but those seem to have some issues and are quite expensive.

Which leaves, as far as I can see:
-    full sized computer monitors (not generally where I want to curl up and read for an hour),
-   A tablet.  I dont have a tablet currently, I guess there would be the question of screen size, screen quality, whether it has some mode to reduce the blue-light glare that fatigues the eyes not sure what would be good here
-   Or possibly one of the laptops that can convert to tablet mode (screen folds flat back), and look into rotating the document on the screen so the proportions match better.

Obviously spending big bucks on a device to save a few bucks by getting the books in pdf format doesnt make a lot of sense. 

It eventually occurred to me to see what devices (and or software/applications) others use for reading ShadowRun pdfs, and how much they liked or disliked them.  Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions!

Kincaid

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I have my entire Shadowrun library on an Amazon Fire that I bought especially for that purpose.  I've been pretty happy with it--I won't say the Fire has the most amazing display out there, but it was a very low price point and it's functional enough for my limited needs.
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Beta

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I have my entire Shadowrun library on an Amazon Fire that I bought especially for that purpose.  I've been pretty happy with it--I won't say the Fire has the most amazing display out there, but it was a very low price point and it's functional enough for my limited needs.

Interesting -- do you shrink the pages to the screen size and find them readable?  Or do you have to move around to read it all?  And does it read them OK natively, or are you running them through some other software first to make them more manageable?

ETA: and what screen size of Fire do you have?  Looking at the Amazon Fire page, it would appear that they come in 7", 8", and 10.1" screen sizes.
https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Fire-7-Inch-Tablet-8GB/dp/B00TSUGXKE
« Last Edit: (17:41:27/03-15-17) by Beta »

PMrk

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I'm reading them (and most of my books for a while, including all rpg books, because of price and accessibility in Hungary) on my Kindle (next-to last gen model). It handles pdfs fairly well and it's easy on the eye. Yes, you have to move over the page (since you'll have to zoom in), but, with the never models' touch screen, it's not a big deal. It tends to struggle with pdfs which have many elaborate layers (picture+background+border+...) as it loads pages slower and some pages, usually the full-page picture ones not at all, but it's really mostly about layers, not pictures in my experience. In the case of SR books, it had problems with the pages with only the red boxes on them, but somehow not the ones with boxes and plain text too. That means 3-4 pages from the corebook it can't show and that's all.

 Aside from the above, it works fine 99% of the time and I'm happy with it. Of course it's not the best device for in-game referencing, but for first, cover-to-cover reading and for reading fluff, it's a good substitute of physical copies for me. I might add that due to the light gray background of 5e books, it's a bit darker than books from earlier editions (and my kindle isn't a paperwhite), but still fine/okay depending on the ambient light (and you could change page lightness).

So, it's not the best, but it works and you'd have a great device for reading novels too and for a bargain price.
« Last Edit: (15:55:30/03-16-17) by PMrk »

The Tekwych

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I use iBooks on an iPad. There are times when I zoom in that I get black boxes instead of text but that happens with pdfs from many companies. I would buy every book again if they were published in ePub

AJCarrington

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I use an iPad Pro 9.5 ion conjunction with PDF Expert by Readdle. I keep all of my PDFs in the cloud currently MS OneDrive) and I then sync files I want to have on hand with PDF Expert.

Beta

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 Aside from the above, it work's fine 99% of the time and I'm happy with it. Of course it's not the best device for in-game referencing, but for first, cover-to-cover reading and for reading fluff, it's a good substitute of physical copies for me. I might add that due to the light gray background of 5e books, it's a bit darker than books from earlier editions (and my kindle isn't a paperwhite), but still fine/okay depending of the ambient light (and you could change page lightness).


That sounds pretty acceptable to me.  Thanks for the information!

A couple of questions:
- you say your kindle isn't a 'paperwhite.'  I'm not up enough on the jargon to know what that implies -- does this mean it is a color screen, or just a different black&white e-ink technology?
- assuming it is a black and white screen, how readable are the parts that are shown on the red background?
- do you know what your screen resolution is? (looks like most are either 150ppi or 300ppi)

Sterling

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I'm in a wheelchair, so carrying physical books around isn't practical.  Instead I use a Sony tablet with a 10" screen, and the EZ-PDF app to actually read them.  It's especially handy because I can double tap the screen and the app zooms in to a scale where one column of text fits the width of the screen, then each subsequent tap moves around the page before finally turning to the next page.
It means I can carry my entire 5th Ed library with me at all times.
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Kincaid

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I have my entire Shadowrun library on an Amazon Fire that I bought especially for that purpose.  I've been pretty happy with it--I won't say the Fire has the most amazing display out there, but it was a very low price point and it's functional enough for my limited needs.

Interesting -- do you shrink the pages to the screen size and find them readable?  Or do you have to move around to read it all?  And does it read them OK natively, or are you running them through some other software first to make them more manageable?

ETA: and what screen size of Fire do you have?  Looking at the Amazon Fire page, it would appear that they come in 7", 8", and 10.1" screen sizes.
https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Fire-7-Inch-Tablet-8GB/dp/B00TSUGXKE

8" and I use ezPDF.

Reading text is generally fine.  I occasionally have to zoom in on tables, but I'd wager at least half of that is my eyes and not the reader itself.
Killing so many sacred cows, I'm banned from India.

PMrk

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 Aside from the above, it work's fine 99% of the time and I'm happy with it. Of course it's not the best device for in-game referencing, but for first, cover-to-cover reading and for reading fluff, it's a good substitute of physical copies for me. I might add that due to the light gray background of 5e books, it's a bit darker than books from earlier editions (and my kindle isn't a paperwhite), but still fine/okay depending of the ambient light (and you could change page lightness).


That sounds pretty acceptable to me.  Thanks for the information!

A couple of questions:
- you say your kindle isn't a 'paperwhite.'  I'm not up enough on the jargon to know what that implies -- does this mean it is a color screen, or just a different black&white e-ink technology?

As far as I know, it's the same technology. The paperwhites' screen is a just whiter and have a better resolution. Although I'm happy with my basic kindle, if you have the money, the paperwhite is unarguably better on everything. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQVZDJM/ref=nav_shopall_1_k_ods_eink_mt  if you scroll down there's a comparative table for the different kindle versions.


Quote
- assuming it is a black and white screen, how readable are the parts that are shown on the red background?

As I said, the screen is real-white on the paperwhite, and slightly more gray-ish on the basic model, but it depends on the ambient light and it's not like that the basic's screen would be bad, pictures on the internet, even on the amazon page are showing it as worse than it usually is.

The red-bacgrounded parts are a bit worse than the normal text but perfectly readable to me. 

Quote
- do you know what your screen resolution is? (looks like most are either 150ppi or 300ppi)

167 ppi I think? The paperwhite is 300, but again, I don't have any problems with the basic. It's not print-text sharp, but absolutely sharp enough, it doesn't tire my eyes more than hardcopy books. I might add that the e-ink is really a great thing, I purchased it mainly because I wanted an electronic device for books which doesn't have blue light, so it's optimal for reading before sleep and a lot better to read than smartphones or tablets, although i don't have experience with any of the e-reader apps for those.

Yes, tablets are a lot better at handling pdfs, the kindle is slower and has worse search and bookmark features, but it has merits as above and as I mentioned, it's okay for long-term reading, when you don't have to skim back-and-forth for cross referencing and it's perfect for novels. And it's cheap. Another great thing is the non-glaring surface of the screen, don't underestimate that.

 I agree, epub/mobi is a sadly neglected format for rpg books in most of the companies (I think it's mostly because of the visual part's importance, but it would be still great).
« Last Edit: (16:27:52/03-16-17) by PMrk »

Beta

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Wouldn't it be great if Drivethrurpg offered books in epub format?

All the reasons that you just mentioned (the reading for long stretches, non blue light, etc) are the exact reasons I've been hoping to use an e-reader for these books, I just didn't want to buy one for this if everyone agreed that they were garbage for the purpose (although I'm seeing more authors putting out some books and a lot of novellas and short stories purely electronically, so had been thinking about getting one for those purposes anyway)

Thanks for all the input, and more view points are always welcome!

PMrk

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Wouldn't it be great if Drivethrurpg offered books in epub format?

Yes it would. I hope more companies will use the format as time goes. I think Chaosium has the Cthulhu 7e books in epub and maybe FAITH has them too.  Onyx Path currently does research about adding that option to their books.

Quote
All the reasons that you just mentioned (the reading for long stretches, non blue light, etc) are the exact reasons I've been hoping to use an e-reader for these books,

I think it's the best for that. I bought mine for exactly that reason and I love it. Honestly, before I bought it, I thought it'd be more different to read it than reading a hardcopy, but it wasn't, it's 90% the same (and I imagine a paperwhite model would be even better). The reader is even more convenient, light, easier to hold, don't closing up, etc. I still like hardcopies, but for emotional reasons and because I think some kinds of books are just the best in that (rulebooks, art books, etc.). For simple reading, the ereader is a perfect alternative to me.

Quote
I just didn't want to buy one for this if everyone agreed that they were garbage for the purpose

As I said, it's suboptimal for in-game rules-referencing. Tablets, or laptops are better for that, although I my solution for a time (for monetary reasons) is buying the pdfs, reading them on kindle, then printing out and binding the important rules parts for dirt cheap, because I like physical books even more for in-game referencing than pdfs.

Quote
(although I'm seeing more authors putting out some books and a lot of novellas and short stories purely electronically, so had been thinking about getting one for those purposes anyway)

Yeah, it's more and more a thing, so for the price, I think a Kindle is wothy. Amazon sells it for a more cheaper price than other companies their approximately similar readers, because they don't want to make big money on the kindle itself, but on the books.

 
Thanks for all the input, and more view points are always welcome!

I hope it helped! :)

Beta

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I thought I should report back to this thread with my experience.

After the discussions above and a bunch of research, earlier this week I took a chance and bought a Kobo Aura One e-reader.  It is 30% bigger than most e-readers (diagonal of 7.8" instead of 6"), with top end resolution (300dpi), and I hoped that would be enough to make the SR pdf readable if I zoomed in to the print area.

I'm happy to report that it has exceeded my expectations.  I find the pdf quite readable without magnification.  I have terrible eyes and am getting old, so have to wear fragging tri-focal lense glasses, so I assure you that the readability is not because of my amazing eyesight.  Reading with no zoom leaves my eyes a little tired after an hour or so, but I can't go much longer than that reading physical copy without fatigue either.

I did install the KOReader 3rd party software (along with the associated 3rd party start menu for kobo, which lets you switch between the standard operating system and KOReader).  It makes .pdf much more responsive, with faster rendering when turning pages or moving the page or even zooming.  (I'm still playing with zoom options to try and find something I like -- unfortunately the easiest zoom modes in KOReader adjust to content size, but due to the dark footer across the bottom of the page this doesn't adjust to just the print size.  But as I said, I don't find the zoom to be essential).

With this I've finally made it through most of Market Panic, finding it far, far, easier going than on a laptop.

And speaking of Market Panic, I was able to plug the Kobo into my laptop and just copy across my library of .pdf files like to any external drive, and use them right away.

As a side bonus, it comes built in with software that lets you very easily interact with public libraries for which you have a card (or at least, with a lot of public libraries -- mine is on the list, I don't know how complete that list is).  So when I look up a book it finds it in their on-line bookstore, but also gives me an option to sign out the e-book from my local library if they have it (don't have to do two separate searches), and I've grabbed my first e-book and found reading it to be delightful.

On the downside?  So far not a lot.  It is a black-and-white screen, so the art doesn't come through great, but I can live with that.  Bringing up menus so that you can go back to the table of contents or jump to another page is a bit slower than I'd like, as in it isn't near-instant but takes a few seconds.   It does have a built in web browser but that seems pretty terrible and very slow, so most likely I'll do future drivethrurpg  downloads onto a computer then transfer them over. 

In short, I've been really happy with this one so far.  Not the cheapest, but being just big enough to handle full page pdf was worth it to me.

YMMV and all of that, but I hope this helps someone else find an easier way to handle their books, too!