Good PDF to EPUB Converter?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by bob616, Mar 30, 2012.

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  1. macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    I have some textbooks in the PDF format and I want to convert them to EPUB so that I can use the highlight and sticky note features in iBooks. I tried using Calibre however the outputted EPUB file looked really bad. Any recommendations for a good PDF to EPUB converter that would work with textbooks?

  2. macrumors G4

    Jul 17, 2002
    I don't believe that what you are asking for is possible. ePub is a superset of HTML. It allows links to other text and graphics files. PDF is a proper subset of PostScript. It is a flat-file format. For the time being, let us put aside the fact that Adobe has managed to get the pig to dance.

    You want things to look nice. You cannot turn your dancing pig into a prancing gazelle without some work. This means that you must edit your ePub files that you convert from PDF. You may have to tweak them for accuracy as well as for formatting.

    Now to your question. The respected Mac shareware site,, lists 24 ePub-related software titles. Several of these perform PDF to ePub conversion. The best rated converter is PDF Converter. It is available at the Mac App Store.

    Among the other ePub utilities listed by is a suite from Sixty Four, LLC. You may find that these utilities will help you to perform the necessary checks and and edits of your converted ePub files.
  3. macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    I'd highly recommend you look into Goodreader or Notability. both allow you to import PDF files and annotate them. converting PDF to ePub will never be easy, your better off using an app that will allow you to annotate PDFs.
  4. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i find it difficult to imagine why i would take a perfectly good pdf file (viewable in just about any application) and convert it to epub (locking it into just a few).

    i recommend you purchase one of the high-quality applications for reading and annotating (iannotate is my favorite, but there are goodreader, pdf expert, and others). it costs more than ibooks (of course), but they are vastly superior.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    You can convert PDFs to pretty much any format, but PDFs retain no formatting information, so converting from a PDF to any other format usually results in a fairly messed up document, especially if the PDF has anything but the most basic layout. I do ebook conversions as part of my design services, and sometimes I have to start with a PDF that I then must convert so I can format in preparation for conversion, and the results of converting from PDF to MS Word is very often quite nasty!
  7. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011

    as i said above, i cannot see why you would want to go from pdf to epub. ibooks is pretty, but not even in the same league as pdf expert or iannotate when it comes to annotating.
  8. macrumors newbie


    May 14, 2012
  9. macrumors member

    Thomas P.

    Oct 5, 2011
    Are you looking for a PDF to EPUB converter on PC or for the ipad? Can you please elaborate? or did i miss read the post?
  10. macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2010

    OP is looking for a (Mac or PC?) software so he can covert PDFs to EPUBs on his/her computer and use the EPUBs in iBook so he can read and annotate them.

    @OP: Textbooks are long and have chapters with a lot of images, and the format of the ePub will be horrible! I suggest just buying iAnnotate (or one of the PDF annotating software mentioned above) and use it to annotate. My personal thoughts on this (as we both use digital version of our textbooks) is that you should only use the iPad as as PDF reader. Just get a good old spiral notebook (though i prefer a legal pad) and use that to hand-write notes. You can highlight and add notes in iAnnotate (and i believe it has one of the fastest PDF rendering system or something like that). The price is a little steep, but I think it's well worth it.

    EDIT:: Sigh.. i just realized this is a thread from a few months ago. Well these are my opinions... if anyone reads it, consider it :)
  11. macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2012
    Calibre is good for free software. but it does tend to have some formatting issues and I have never been able to create a working TOC and Index links.
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2011
    The problem is that Calibre uses the same line breaks as they appear in the PDF. So what you get are terribly formatted pages.

    What I do then is to use Sigil and remove all breaks with the REGEX function. It's quite easy, you want a break only after a . - : etc. - but usually not after a word.

    All is free, but not easy.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2012
  14. macrumors newbie


    Jun 12, 2012
    Calibre is good enough.
    Don't know what you mean by saying "the outputted EPUB file looked really bad"?You mean it couldn't keep the origional layout?
  15. macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2013
    I have had good luck with PDF -> RTF -> EPUB. However, that might be because I have Acrobat to do the first conversion.
  16. macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    There's a lot of spam in here, so I'll get right down to the point.

    You want a PDF to ePub converter? No you don't.

    PDFs are usually made in one editor, and then simply converted. Most of them are WYSIWYG and let you layer elements to your liking. Open up something in Adobe Acrobat Pro and you'll see just how unorganized and ugly everything is in something as simple as a manual.

    There is NO way you can convert documents that complex into a simplified ePub without doing the dirty work yourself. That means copy and pasting every page and fixing it yourself.

    Like someone else said, you want a dedicated app that deals with PDFs exclusively. Or you want to use Calibre and manually edit the file yourself.
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