What are the best paid and open source PDF to ePub converters?

Kyem G July 26, 2013
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I love the iBook interface in my iPad, which looks almost like an original book when you read an ePub.

Yes, I do use Adobe Reader for PDF. But still I would like to convert my PDF files to ePub, such that I can read them in the iBooks with the book like interface.

PDFs in iBooks look pretty dull, but Adobe does a good job with customisable night, day modes like the iBooks. But still reading an ePub in iPad is a charm.

I have tried 3-4 PDF to ePub converters, but non worked fine for my iPad, as when I tried to open the converted ePubs in my iPad, it said ‘iPad does not support this ePub’ (it said not exactly the same as I said here but its near to it).

Please suggest me a good PDF to ePub converter, both open source and paid. Maybe MakeUseOf guys can say this better as they are publishing both PDF and ePub documents and the ePub works great in iPad!

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  1. Nickbango
    July 28, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I definitely agree with Oron J and Justin Pot, there is no way to convert PDF to EPUB flawlessly and for sure.

    As a matter of fact, working in the industry, I can also tell that the source files for the PDF output are quite always not properly made: they are not styled so there are local overrides everywhere, margins are often made with hard returns, etc., which is just unprofessional.

    As a consequence, we must modify those files so that they can be exported to EPUB well... So imagine what the PDF looks like at the fundamental level... And you can't modify it. I've noticed this while working from the PDF files and their InDesign/quark source. If book is simple and the source file is well-made, then you're likely to convert the PDF file well. If the source file is a mess, then it will just be impossible to get something decent. Of course, I'm not taking EPUB limitations into account (columns for instance).

  2. Justin Pot
    July 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Hey, I'm the PDF/EPUB editor here at MakeUseOf – and an ebook enthusiast. I just wanted to say that you're never, ever going to find an automated tool for converting a PDF to an EPUB that doesn't kind of suck. Put simply, PDFs aren't made for converting. They're made for printing. The data isn't arranged in a way that's logical, so there's always going to be weird glitches.

    I find Calibre to be better than most, but not perfect. And you're not going to find perfect, short of an intern who will manually convert the file for you piece-by-piece. There's a reason we have humans create our HTML, EPUB and PDF versions separately – if software existed for the job we'd have found it.

    Of course, I'd happily be proven wrong, so any recommendations are appreciated.

  3. Oron J
    July 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    The most common way to convert PDF to ePub is with Calibre. It's a free tool which offers a lot for eBooks of all types, so definitely worth checking. However, the quality of the conversion is variable; it depends - A LOT - on the original PDF.
    PDF was designed as an output format rather than as a document format, so there are many different ways to represent a particular document in PDF and while they may all be correct, the resulting PDFs do not necessarily reflect the inner structure of the document (word order, line order, column order... even the individual letters) in such a way that they can be faithfully converted into a readable document, let alone one which is similar to the original.
    If you're a member of Linked in, join the "eBooks, eBook Readers ..." group and have a look there. There are often vigorous discussions on the subject, with suggestions ranging from the free products like Calibre to software or services costing thousands of pounds!

  4. Hovsep A
    July 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Go4Convert: Online File Conversion To PDF & EPUB
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/go4convert-online-file-conversion-to-pdf-epub/

    Zamzar to Convert PDF to EPUB
    http://www.zamzar.com/

    http://4ebooks.net/en/convert-to-epub

    Flip PDF to ePUB
    http://www.flippdf.com/flip-pdf-to-epub/

    A User’s Guide To Calibre eBook Manager
    http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/download-open-book-managing-your-ebooks-with-calibre

    EPUB Straight to the Point Cover of EPUB Straight to the Point
    http://www.elizabethcastro.com/epub/