So, I hate pdfs. Any advice on hating them less?

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
This latest thread was prompted by this post-


That humblebundle is a GREAT DEAL! Really. I mean, that's some good OSR product. I'd like me some of that!

But here's the problem. I hate .pdfs. This isn't the type of pure and lovely hate I have for things that truly deserve it (Paladins, Rapiers, Bards, Gnomes, Dex-builds, People that refuse to acknowledge the John Wick trilogy as the greatest cinematic masterpiece of all time). Instead, it's more of a, "Why isn't this a book?"

So, quick note. I use electronic documents all the time. Seriously, it's almost like it's my job, or something. So it's not an aversion to reading on a screen.

And I get that it can be useful- searching for a particular piece of text is oh-so-easy with an electronic document.

And I'm constantly on a phone, or tablet, or computer reading websites or reading things, so it's not an instinctive Luddite reaction.

Instead, it's something particular to books, and by extension, I think, to RPG books. I just don't seem to enjoy long periods of reading a single thing on a screen. It's not the same as curling up with a book.

Nor is it the same when you have to bring a tablet (or what have you) to the gaming table.

But man, that's a great bundle of stuff!

So I'm throwing this out there for discussion and tips- has anyone else overcome this antipathy of pdfs? Any particular tips or tricks that you used? A particular tablet? Playing Lionel Ritchie in the background?*

Inquiring minds want to know.


*This may, in fact, be the root of the aversion. Hmmm...
 
I have much the same aversion - I think PDFs are well and good for reference and stuff, but I simply can’t stand sitting and reading them. I think at core of the problem is the fact that most PDFs are made for reading on paper, and the world hasn’t quite caught up to the idea that even the best screens don’t quite feel like paper. And god forbid you try to read a two column pdf on your laptop or something.

My best tip for enjoying reading PDFs is to get a big tablet. A full size ipad is good, but an e-reader brand works best like a kobo or kindle. Also, amp up your contrast if you can - I find that helps especially when reading lots of black text on white screens.

Good luck!
 
Have you ever used an e-reader with e-ink screen (i.e. Kindle)? E-ink that is not backlit is much easier on the eyes for long term reading than an LCD-type screen. It's also supposed to be better for people whose circadian rhythms get screwed up by reading their phones in bed. I like reading books on my Kindle much more than on my phone screen.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
Research shows we take in less information when reading from a screen. They aren't sure why, but it might be the lack of physically turning pages, and the book smell.

I find it hard to take in new game rules from a pdf. My first reading of 13th Age, for example, was a pdf. When I got my hard copy, it didn't quite feel like the same game.
And I have real troubles running adventures from a screen.

My only advice is an expensive one. Print them off. Totally ruins the savings from the humble bundle. 🙄 Know any noble paladins who'll come to your aid?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
My only advice is an expensive one. Print them off. Totally ruins the savings from the humble bundle. 🙄 Know any noble paladins who'll come to your aid?
Gah! I don't much care for the printouts, either. I'd rather just buy a real book. sigh

Also, Noble Paladin is an oxymoron.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
My fiancée got reading glasses designed to reduce eye strain when reading screens. That might help.
Most e-ink readers do not read PDFs - so you might be out of luck there.
Try adjusting your tablet/phone/computer's brightness and other settings?
As a librarian who loves books, I feel your pain. I also have pretty awful vision. It's also hard to pass up these deals.
What I would recommend is buy/borrow physical books when you can to get that experience. When you have to read something online, take breaks with a real book for that feel.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I still prefer printed books in many ways, but the size of the iPad I have really helps bridge the gap between a book in hand and the tablet in hand. The size feels good - and that's the regular 9.whatever-10.2" size, not the bigger Pro. It really makes the disconnect between tablet and book expectations smaller. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

I use the tablet quite often running PF now - particularly for the AP issues. I still often pull out my Core Rulebook for reference, but I reference the AP volumes exclusively on the iPad. It really saves them a lot of wear and tear since they aren't as durable as the hardcovers.
I use GoodReader and have been making extensive use of bookmarks too to jump around easily.
 

jaycrockett

Explorer
My only advice is an expensive one. Print them off. Totally ruins the savings from the humble bundle. 🙄 Know any noble paladins who'll come to your aid?
Free when you print from work! :)
Seriously though, if have a nice big tablet and it still isn't doing it for you, it's probably never going to. I still prefer books but I'm starting to come around on PDFs. I think they are better for rules books anyway.
 

darjr

I crit!
iPad with the fast refresh screen. I read that and it’s really the only enjoyable way I read PDFs or DnDBeyond.
Also the iPads seem to handle moving around a pdf far more intuitively than android or PCs or even Linux. Things like easily expanding columns without having to fiddle with the size, to swiping around inside a page and from over to page. It’s weird, those properties persist from iPad app to iPad app.

I think I’d prefer a Amazon e ink reader. Those are awesome, but pdf support is a disaster, and there isn’t any DnDBeyond support.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
Being able to CTRL-F is the biggest pro of PDFs for me.

I do prefer to have the actual books when I'm at the table playing, though.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Research shows we take in less information when reading from a screen. They aren't sure why, but it might be the lack of physically turning pages, and the book smell.
Does this research only apply to people who grew up with books?

Maybe it's an object permanence thing. When you're holding a book, you know that all of the information is still there, so you can grasp it. With a screen, the only permanent part is what you're immediately observing, so you're less likely to attempt to grasp what's not there? It sounds weird, but human wiring is practical, not logical.

@lowkey13, it's probably a nostalgia thing for you. Your happy memories of reading RPGs include their physical form. Without the form, there's something missing from that happy memory.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
@lowkey13, it's probably a nostalgia thing for you. Your happy memories of reading RPGs include their physical form. Without the form, there's something missing from that happy memory.
Maybe! But I think it's a little more than that, since it's not just RPG books.

I don't like ebooks (novels) either.

...and it's not because of reading on a screen- I do that all the time. For work and pleasure. But my limit is probably a "longform" piece- I just can't even stand the idea of reading a novel or "book-length" text on the screen.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
Does this research only apply to people who grew up with books?

Maybe it's an object permanence thing. When you're holding a book, you know that all of the information is still there, so you can grasp it. With a screen, the only permanent part is what you're immediately observing, so you're less likely to attempt to grasp what's not there? It sounds weird, but human wiring is practical, not logical.

@lowkey13, it's probably a nostalgia thing for you. Your happy memories of reading RPGs include their physical form. Without the form, there's something missing from that happy memory.
It may be that as we adapt to tablets, etc. that the ability to retain less information from screens will vanish. Wouldn't surprise me. It's not a huge gap to begin with, but was noticeable.

Books just feel so good in the hand. 📚😊
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
I find I can easily read fluff on my kindle. Getting better with more in depth novels or non-fiction, but happily turn to books when I can. Running out of space in my house, so am collecting more and more books on my kindle. Except lately, I've been buying physical copies again...
 

darjr

I crit!
The BiG motivation for me is carrying capacity. Mine. I’m out of encumbrance for books. I run at stores and cons and at home and while at home I have easier access to the books, the more I run with my iPad the less I use em.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
The BiG motivation for me is carrying capacity. Mine. I’m out of encumbrance for books. I run at stores and cons and at home and while at home I have easier access to the books, the more I run with my iPad the less I use em.
What? You still play with those rules?

boggle
 

Jer

Adventurer
My advice is different depending on why you want to have those books.

If you intend to just read them then I wouldn't bother. It will be money wasted if you are the kind of person who can't get enjoyment out of reading material off a screen. (And I get it - it took me a long time to train my brain to be able to read for pleasure off of a screen and even now I'd rather not if I have a choice. If it weren't for the fact that ebooks are soooo cheap I never would have bothered with it.)

If you plan on running them - then it's probably worth the money if you have access to a printer. You can skim the adventures in the collection to find the ones that you will actually use and then print them for a more in depth reading or for use at the table. For the amount of stuff you get in these bundles compared to the cost it usually ends up worth it, at least for me.
 

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