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.

1 Answer 1


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.