Is DjVu Right for Your Project?
Technically speaking, DjVu is superior to PDF for converting paper
documents to electronic form. No doubt about it. Smaller files
with better quality at lower cost.
In fact, some projects that have been completed with DjVu were just not
feasible using PDF.
But is DjVu right for your project?
Let us start with the attributes that make a project a good candidate
You should use PDF if:
- Your content is not compelling.
The giant hurdle DjVu must overcome is that the PDF plug-in is pervasive.
Everyone has it already. Chances are that for a time your customer
will need to get the DjVu plug-in just for your material. They won't
do it if your material is not important to them.
- File size doesn't matter.
We recently completed a 10 CD DjVu project.
It would have been 40 CDs if we had used PDF.
We joked to the graphic artist doing the artwork for the CD wallet that
he'd be doing the artwork for a suitcase it we had used PDF!
But if your project is small and will fit on your
targeted number of CDs with PDF, or if you have a low traffic website
and your documents are small, stay with PDF.
- Your documents are black and white with only line-art graphics.
The real power of DjVu comes when dealing with photos, color,
and complex graphics. Unless your project is very large and file size
crucial, PDF is adequate for most of these projects.
- You have a large budget.
It is possible to make small, high quality PDF files from scans,
but it is very labor intensive and therefore expensive. It is worth it
for some projects though.
The converse of these attributes make a project a good candiate for DjVu.
Use DjVu if:
- Your documents have photos and/or colors and/or other complex graphics.
- File size is important.
Examples are a set of CDs or a busy website with customers
downloading your documents over dialup modems.
- You have a large project and a small budget.
Again, to get small PDF files from scans, especially if they are not just
black and white, is costly.
- Your content is compelling.
If you are putting information on the web that is important to your visitor,
they will put up with the minor inconvenience of getting the plug-in.
PDF conversion may or may not be expensive,
depending on the nature of the material
and the amount of labor involved in getting the desired result.
Fortunately, DjVu is always an inexpensive option. In a DjVu project,
the largest component of the cost is the scan. It follows then that
for many projects it is quite reasonable to provide customers with
files of both types since the incremental cost is minimal.