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I have a collection of PDF files which I'm looking to load onto a Kindle. First, however, they need to be converted.

Experimentation gives sub-par results by selecting and converting to mobi through calibre. Better results are achieved by copy/paste to a text file. I haven't yet tried a bulk convert to text from calibre.

Some PDF's have very odd results, where what's visually and logically a paragraph of text is somehow "columns" either when copy/pasted or converted. The result is a sort of interlace, but slightly out of sequence. However, that's unusual. For the most part/copy past gives excellent results.

These PDF's generally are all text, with footnotes.

It's a bit mystifying why copy/paste would be better than calibre converting to mobi.

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PDFs are not designed to be converted from. They have no structure that allows Calibre to determine for sure how many columns of text it has or what's a footnote. The Calibre manual describes the topic in more depth.

I found that copying the text to a text editor, cleaning it up and then pasting it into the Calibre e-book editor gives the best results but it takes long and is boring. 🙁 I've written down my work-flow in a blog post. It describes how to make EPUBs, but I'm sure it can be adapted to mobi fairly easily, since it seems to use XHTML too.

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