LaTeX and the Kindle


I’ve got a project on Github that makes it easy to produce multiple pdf files with different styles but the same content. Handy for producing documents for the multiple formats.

Just before Christmas I bought a Kindle, the main justification being that I could use it to read my university course notes on there rather than printing them all off and wasting reams of paper.

The problem

I use LaTeX to produce my notes as .pdf files, that up to now, have been formatted as A4 sized documents. However, if you’ve ever tried to view a pdf file on a kindle (I’ve got the basic model), then you’ll know that it maps each page of the pdf file on to the screen without any scaling. Ah.

This is an understandable decision on Amazon’s part; the pdf format was created to be like ‘digital paper’, and so it might not be wise (or even feesable) to just reformat the file so that it fits nicely on the screen of the kindle. Uunfortunately, this results in the page being squashed down to less than half it’s original size, resulting in minute, even unreadable text. The kindle does offer zoom functionality, but it’s a pain to use, and ruins the experience.

The solution was to set up my project so that two pdf files would be created when I compiled my notes file; one would be A4 formatted, and the other sized to fit a kindle screen.