My HTML to eReader process…

I’ve always tried to find the best way to move things from the Web/Computer to my eReader. I have an old eBook reader from BeBook and I always searched for the best workflow to have my stuff always with me in the BeBook. I have been asking for a HTML2ePub plugin or a Save As ePub option  in browsers for sometime, but until that day comes here is how to convert webpages to PDF for the ebook.

My first option was/is Calibre to do conversions. It uses recipes tailored for each website you want to download and converts them to the format you want (ePub, mobi, pdf, etc…). It’s easy, but you need to configure recipes and if the website doesn’t provide an RSS feed you have to code a lot in python.

My most recent approach is a little bit more elaborate, but I think the results are even better. It’s a multiple step process that involves different tools, but gets you wonderful reading experiences in the eBook reader. PDF, yes… I convert everything to PDF. But wait, there’s a trick. Here is how I do it:

1) Install the Readability bookmark/addon for your browser. Readability converts any webpage into a very beautiful and easy to read version.

2) Configure a page format in the printers preferences. Call it “BeBook”. The BeBook screen is 6” (9cm x 12cm) but I found that a page with 14cm x 17cm works best.

3) Print the Readability version of the webpage to a PDF file with this special page size.

4) As this PDF has some white margins (something that is totally nonsense for eBook readers) use Adobe Acrobat Pro to crop all white margins from the PDF file.

The final version reads perfectly in the eReader. The number os words per line is perfect and the font size is also great. The BeBook has two PDF rendering engines: Adobe and XPDF. While the first is more elegant, the second is much faster, but both engines produce great results. If you don’t like the pdf format you can then convert the pdf to epub.