Problems with CBRs

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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #2160 by Cez
Problems with CBRs was created by Cez
Hi Kiwi,

I'm still a fan of PDFs (its a personal thing :) ) so I am converting all the CBRs into PDFs. Not going that well though. I have been converting the latest lot of Sega Power (many thanks). Issue 33. I used Fotosizer to get them all same height and changed DPI to 300dpi (don't know what it was originally). Merged them together using PDF24. It came out as 624 mb which seems crazy big for an 80-odd page magazine. Any idea why it would be so big. Many thanks, Cez

*EDIT* Think I worked it out - don't think it reduced from 400dpi to 300dpi. Doh!
Last edit: 3 months 1 week ago by Cez.

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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #2162 by Kiwi
Replied by Kiwi on topic Problems with CBRs
I hear you re PDF's but after getting CDisplayEX configured it is working out way better for displaying pages,especially side by side as even if the pages aren't the same vertical height it just displays them fully. And if there is a supplement where the pages haven't been split it displays them as if they are. Wow!! Call me a convert.
Last edit: 3 months 1 week ago by Kiwi.

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3 months 1 week ago #2167 by kitsunebi
Replied by kitsunebi on topic Problems with CBRs

Cez wrote: Hi Kiwi,

I used Fotosizer to get them all same height and changed DPI to 300dpi (don't know what it was originally). Merged them together using PDF24. It came out as 624 mb which seems crazy big for an 80-odd page magazine. Any idea why it would be so big. Many thanks, Cez

*EDIT* Think I worked it out - don't think it reduced from 400dpi to 300dpi. Doh!


Converting a CBR (which is just a container of jpgs) into a PDF requires the jpgs to be re-encoded. In other words, once you turn those jpgs into a PDF, they aren't jpgs any more. If at a later point, you "extract" the images from the PDF and save them as jpgs, they will not be the exact same jpgs that you started with. So there's no way to do a 1:1 conversion of a CBR to PDF, since the action of turning jpgs into a PDF subjects them to a compression algorithm.

Of course, depending on the settings of the compression being used, the file can become larger or smaller. For example, you could take a 192kpbs mp3 and recompress it as either a 128kbps mp3 (reducing the quality and filesize) or a 320kbps mp3 (increasing the filesize WITHOUT increasing the quality). The same applies to jpgs - in Photoshop, if a jpg is saved at the maximum "quality level," the file will actually increase significantly in size. Obviously the image quality cannot improve beyond that of the original file, but the maximum quality compression algorithm is such that it bloats the filesize unnecessarily (which is why no one uses that setting. ;) ) So the trick when creating a PDF is to find the compression level that results in a filesize as close as possible to the original CBR, since that's the one that will have the least quality degradation (and no pointless bloat such as you experienced.)
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3 months 1 week ago #2169 by Cez
Replied by Cez on topic Problems with CBRs
Kiwi - say it ain't so! :)

If I'm going to persist with PDFs (and I am because I'm stubborn as anything) I'd like to replicate the work you used to do Kiwi. I know you've gone over it before but to check. Fotosizer to change the height to all the same and 300 dpi. Any other changes there? Then what do you use to put the images together into PDF? I use PDF24 which is quite good but would change if there is better. Then save, but as Kitsunebi says not at best settings so as to avoid bloat. Just thought, have you set this out in one of the guides on the site? Going to look there now! Cheers, Cez

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3 months 1 week ago #2170 by kitsunebi
Replied by kitsunebi on topic Problems with CBRs
Any steps Kiwi used to create PDFs were probably taken when he was starting with raw scans. If you're starting with CBRs that Kiwi has created and converting them to PDFs, there should be no need to change the height, or DPI...which are really the same thing - ways of changing the size. Scanning at a different DPI will result in a different quality scan, but once a scan has been made, changing the DPI is just another way of resizing the image, no different from changing the height, so long as you have the image set to scale proportionately (i.e. changing the height also changes the width to keep the proportions correct.) And of course, changing to a higher DPI or setting the height to anything larger than the original file should never be done.

But again, all you should really be doing is unzipping the jpgs from the CBR and converting those "as is" to a PDF if you want a comparable quality to the original files. If the filesize of the PDF ends up being bigger or smaller, you're using the wrong compression level. I can't advise you on how to adjust that, since it depends on what PDF software you're using.

Unless of course you're trying to save space by making the files smaller, in which case you can resize them to smaller dimensions or use a higher compression level with the understanding that the scan will take a visible hit in quality.

It goes without saying that any kind of resizing/recompression/conversion of files is totally OK for personal use but should not be shared elsewhere, lest we have multiple versions of the same scan, all of varying quality, floating here and there on the Internet (which is already problem enough thanks to the Internet Archive and the like).

I've personally never converted my scans to PDF because I don't like taking scans I worked hard to make look nice and then subjecting them to an extra level of compression. Plus, once they've been converted to PDF, there's no way to access and edit those images again should the need arise without converting and compressing them AGAIN back into jpgs. Like I said before, once you create a PDF, the original jpgs are gone forever, so leaving the jpgs intact within a CBR container is non-destructive and allows the most freedom for how those images can be viewed/used/edited/etc. in the future. You can't run into the difficulty you're experiencing of making a file larger or smaller when creating a CBR because you aren't altering the images at all in the process.

But I totally relate to and salute your stance of stubbornness in this matter, even if I don't take a similar stance in this particular instance. We stubborn people have to stick to our guns, or else what do we have left? ;) Frankly, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Kiiwi has finally come around to appreciate the CBR. This time a month ago, I would have never believed it...:blink:
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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #2171 by JabbaTheGamer
Replied by JabbaTheGamer on topic Problems with CBRs

Cez wrote: Then what do you use to put the images together into PDF?


I'm not Kiwi, but will try to answer your question anyway as a casual user dealing with the same problem. I unpack CBRs using 7Zip and combine images into a PDF file via Acrobat Pro. I referred to this webpage for conversion settings: Link When I used those settings, the size of the PDF file was almost the same as the original CBR one. For example, a CBR of Dreamcast Monthly # 14 is 287 MB, and the PDF I got after the conversion weighed 292 MB.

I wouldn't need to convert CBR files to PDF if I knew about a CBR editor that has the same functionality as the existing PDF editors. All the programs I've tried so far didn't allow me to extract pages from a CBR and make a separate CBR file with the pages I chose, and also edit the images themselves. The only program I haven't used is CDisplayEX. I'm too afraid to install it as I've read multiple accounts about malware its installer reportedly contains:

CDisplayEX Talk Page (Wikipedia)
How I got Trovi on my computer and why you should never install CDisplayEx

It'll be much appreciated if anyone here recommends a CBR editor to me that can edit images inside a CBR (like I do with PDFs in Acrobat Pro) and extract them as separate CBR files. I need this functionality because when I download magazines from OGM, I do not read them from cover to cover: I always extract pages with the articles I'm interested in, frequently removing the original file afterwards. It was very easy to do so when Kiwi's releases were in the PDF format, but now, with the introduction of CBRs, I also need to unpack them, find the pages I want and convert them to PDFs using Acrobat Pro.

I'm not against the CBR format by any means, especially after reading kitsunebi's previous comprehensive answer regarding the preservation of image quality in CBR containers. It's just that its introduction to OldGameMags have caused some inconveniences for me.
Last edit: 3 months 1 week ago by JabbaTheGamer.
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3 months 1 week ago #2172 by Cez
Replied by Cez on topic Problems with CBRs
Jabba, Thanks for the input and great to hear what you do to get round the issue. Sounds like we both do similar with our PDF magazines. I even give it a name - I call it extraction. That's right I am that sad. So I need PDFs to be able to pull pages out nice and easy as you say you do too. I "extract" (maybe it will catch on ;) ) reviews mainly but also game adverts and certain features and reviews of the year. They all go into my filing system and it makes me happy. I'll take my scans anyway Kiwi wants to pass them along - just means a little extra work at our end I guess. All to the good and slowly but surely those collections of magazines are getting closer and closer to 100%. Good times to be into retro games and magazines eh?

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3 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 day ago #2173 by JabbaTheGamer
Replied by JabbaTheGamer on topic Problems with CBRs
Thank you, Cez, I'm glad to be of help. In the article I linked the method # 2 works the best for me. Kiwi and kitsunebi probably know better conversion methods, but in the absence of a dedicated CBR editor this'll do too. As for OGM magazine collections getting closer to 100%, Nipedley and me will assist with that through nice new releases in the coming months. There will be lots of Game Developer issues coming from Jason as well.
Last edit: 2 months 1 day ago by JabbaTheGamer.

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3 months 1 week ago #2176 by Mark
Replied by Mark on topic Problems with CBRs

Kiwi wrote: I hear you re PDF's but after getting CDisplayEX configured it is working out way better for displaying pages,especially side by side as even if the pages aren't the same vertical height it just displays them fully. And if there is a supplement where the pages haven't been split it displays them as if they are. Wow!! Call me a convert.



Count me as a convert too. And I'm usually pretty stubborn too (Persisted with Windows Mobile right to the very end!). I think the issue some may have is that they now have a split collection of PDFs and CBRs, and don't like switching readers. I've been using Moon+ Reader on Android and Pico Viewer in the Windows 10 store for the last couple of years and they are great. They have a similar wooden bookshelf display as iBooks on iPad. Plus they can work with many formats, including PDF and CBR. So I won't even think about the format of magazines anymore. And for anyone who prefers to stick to a single reader app for all formats, then I highly recommend you check out the multi format readers I recommended.

I'm unsure about iPad and Linux as I no longer use them. Does iBooks support both formats?

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3 months 1 week ago #2177 by kitsunebi
Replied by kitsunebi on topic Problems with CBRs
A few things, directed at different posts.

1. I find it ironic that the main problem you guys are having is extracting images from a CBR, since all of the original jpgs are right there, either in a RAR or ZIP file. With a PDF, the jpgs have been converted into a proprietary PDF format and must be converted back into jpgs during extraction, resulting in files which are no longer exact copies of the originals.

But anyway, I believe what you're looking for is being able to save the images to a location on your computer while reading the CBR, which is something that I believe most CBR readers can do. Just like PDF readers, there are lots of different choices and most of them will have different controls and keypresses. I use CDisplay (the original) and I can just right click and "save image to file" from anywhere within the CBR. Kiwi can probably tell you how to do it in CDisplayEX, since that's what he's using.

2. Regarding CDisplayEX, I don't use it myself, but there is something to keep in mind. The pages you linked to are the accounts of just a few different people with the newest dating back to 2014. I may be mistaken, but I believe that CDisplayEX is the most widely used CBR reader, so you will find FAR more written in its defense. The pages you liked to remind me of someone who used to post on the Retromags forums insisting that Steam was essentially the devil's work and no one should use it, since the one time they installed a game on Steam 10 years ago, they had compatibility issues. :lol: Obviously, with millions of satisfied users, believing that person's insistence that Steam was "broken" would be a bit unfair.

That said, while the insistence that CDisplayEX is full of "malware" is untrue to the best of my knowledge, I wouldn't be surprised if it perhaps included some bloatware. These are unrelated programs that can get installed if you don't de-select them during the installation process. As with any program you install, first, make sure you download it from the official site. Next, always read carefully - don't just click "next" "next" "next", since you might end up with extra programs or a new Internet browser or something. Anytime an installer asks you "would you like to install ____?" you should probably deselect that check box, because you're looking at bloatware. (Lord, if I could get a dollar for every time some other program has asked me if I'd like to install Google Chrome...)

But hey, Kiwi's using that program, why not ask him to check and see if his system is now riddled with malware? :P

3. Last, I find it interesting that anyone would have had only PDFs in their collection up to this point. Obviously, such a person doesn't read comics at all (at least, not digitally), but even if we're just talking magazines, I find it odd. OGM was the only game-magazine-scanning site which uploaded files in PDF. So someone who never had a mix of PDF and CBR until now had also never downloaded a mag from either Retromags or the Out of Print Archive. Which seems really odd, and makes me wonder why they would purposely avoid adding those mags to their collections? I suppose Retromags is mostly USA material, so maybe someone doesn't like reading magazines using American spelling conventions (I personally have never encountered any problems reading English regardless of its country of origin), but OoPA is entirely UK mags, so that theory is invalid, at any rate. ???:huh:

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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #2178 by JabbaTheGamer
Replied by JabbaTheGamer on topic Problems with CBRs
The whole issue I have with CBRs is that I don't know how to edit them with the same speed and ease that PDF editors allow me to when I'm dealing with PDFs. I've tried that "Save image to file" option in the original CDisplay. It just saved that one page I was on, and nothing else. I already can do that (and much faster) using 7Zip.

Is there a program that will allow me to extract multiple pages from a CBR at once and create a separate CBR file, and also do some basic editing on its pages, like making part of them blank etc? Even the most basic PDF editors have this option, but all of the CBR programs I've tried (ComicRack, CDisplay etc) just let me rotate pages or choose whether I want to open the program in a windowed mode or not. There must be a more advanced editor for comic books out there given that they are so popular.

As for CDisplayEX, I don't know whether it contains malware or not, as I've never actually installed it. The reports about it containing malware appeared not only in 2014, but in later years as well. And if its developer did put these nasty "presents" in the installer, I do not want to use such a program and would rather prefer a safer alternative.

There's nothing odd with my unfamiliarity with the CBR format. As you correctly guessed, I don't read comics. Furthermore, I got interested in old gaming magazines only three months ago, when I decided to start collecting articles about a PC game from 2003 I'd been interested in for some time. As only OldGameMags had the magazines that contained articles I hadn't been able to find in the digital format (CG:SP, PC Gamer), I signed up here, and my first exposure to this hobby was through PDFs.

To reiterate: I just want to extract the articles I need from magazines that are now released here as CBRs (and maybe do some basic editing for my modest needs), creating separate CBR files. If there's no CBR editor available that can do this, I'll just stick to the aforementioned "7Zip + Acrobat Pro" combination, even though the image quality may degrade during the conversion to PDF.
Last edit: 3 months 1 week ago by JabbaTheGamer.

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3 months 1 week ago #2179 by Kiwi
Replied by Kiwi on topic Problems with CBRs
I'm sorry but I'm still not getting it I am afraid!!

What editing are you referring to in PDF's using Acrobat Pro? If you are referring to the crop feature for example, well, sure, it "appears" to do a crop but all it is really doing is masking the rest off from viewing. It is all still there but you don't know it until you extra the pages and voila, all that crap you cropped is in the extracted image. So I am unsure what editing you are doing inside of Acrobat itself.

If you are referring to extracting the page, editing in another program then adding it back then it's no different than doing the same in CBR format. Ergo, find the page in your CBR reader and extract. CDisplayEX even has thumbnails view to make it easy to quickly locate the pages. I agree that Acrobat Pro does allow you to extract a subset of pages in one go unlike CDisplayEX but that's about it for ease of extracting pages. And if you do want to extract all the pages, then extracting via winRAR is far quicker because Acrobat has to reconvert the image back to a JPG again as kitsunebi mentioned.

There are a couple of ironies at play here. When I was creating mags over at Retromags I was forced into using CBR's. If you know me I rebel at being told what to use so I gravitated to PDF in part to piss off the admins. Then when I got OGM up and running it was one of the only sites at the time using PDF. Years later when people learned how to rip TruePDF's off iTunes and Readly etc all of a sudden it became fashionable due to smaller files using OCR. Now I discover the benefits of the CBR format for scanned mags and make a change here and all of a sudden it's a problem.

I get that some people prefer PDF. I was one of them. But I adopted PDF in part because of the ability to add bookmarks if I so desired and I have NEVER EVER used the feature. I adopted it because I could use Cover page mode. CDisplayEX gives me that and it is faster to edit and re-add edited pages to a RAR or ZIP file than wait for Acrobat to do the same thing. This all relates to scanned mags, not OCR'd TruePDF's of course. Lastly, I am using a non-legitimate version of Acrobat Pro. At some point if Adobe implement better protection measures like Corel did with Paintshop Pro and it stops working for me I am not spending a grand to buy a legit version when I can just RAR a mag up instead.

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3 months 1 week ago #2180 by Leon
Replied by Leon on topic Problems with CBRs
I'm 100% sure it's possible to losslessly compile JPEGs into a PDF. I converted a JPEG with JPEGtoPDF , then extracted it again, and it's the same file (same SHA1 and everything).

I prefer PDFs because they load faster. CBRs take a couple of seconds to decompress when you open them.

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3 months 1 week ago #2181 by Kiwi
Replied by Kiwi on topic Problems with CBRs
I agree with the load fast comment re PDF's BUT on my PC flicking through pages is way better for CBR in part because I think Acrobat renders the images. It isn't all that noticeable on 300dpi based PDF's but is really noticeable on the 400dpi ones of Nipedley's in double page viewing where often I get the left page displaying but the right page is blank for a couple of seconds while it populates. Very distracting and I don't get that at all with CDisplayEX.

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3 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 day ago #2183 by JabbaTheGamer
Replied by JabbaTheGamer on topic Problems with CBRs
When I talked about editing CBRs, I meant these two options:

1. The thumbnails view for fast extraction of multiple pages or, alternatively, removal of those I don't need. Sometimes I want to create a PDF containing two-three articles from the same magazine issue, but these articles can be located on the opposite ends of the magazine, with many pages in-between. In that case, I simply delete the rest using the thumbnails view, and get a PDF that has only the I articles I decided to read.

2. "Erase" button for the ability to make part of a page blank. Sometimes a page has an intrusive ad or an offensive image I want to remove so that it doesn't interfere with my reading experience.

These two options will cover most of my editing needs. As I wasn't able to find a CBR editor that can do that, I asked about it here as OGM team is much more experienced than me in these matters. I tried looking for it myself, but my searches were unsuccessful.

At the end of the day, it's unimportant for me in what format magazines get released on OGM. What matters is the existence of an editor that can be as flexible with the format used on OGM as Acrobat Pro or ABBYY FineReader 14 (that I used before it) are with PDFs. I have an established routine for working with magazines I download as I have a filing system just like the one Cez maintains. I extract separate articles and organize them by their subject in the folder where I keep magazines downloaded from this site. Before CBRs were introduced, I just downloaded magazines and extracted articles from them; with CBR files I have to take two extra steps because I also need to unpack a CBR archive and convert the images it contains to PDF in order to have articles as separate files. Had there been an editor for CBR files that could allow me to skip these extra steps, the CBR format would have caused no inconveniences for me.
Last edit: 2 months 1 day ago by JabbaTheGamer.

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3 months 1 week ago #2184 by kitsunebi
Replied by kitsunebi on topic Problems with CBRs
All I can say is that, from the point of someone who spends hours upon hours creating and editing scans, making the utmost effort to capture perfect edge-to-edge scans of every page, I find it a little disconcerting that there are people out there throwing most of the pages into their recycling bin and cropping out the parts they don;t like on whatever pages are left. :( I'll try not to take it personally. :P

Seriously, though, it bugs the hell out of me if pages are missing from a scan or a publisher doesn't include the ads with their digital releases. Nothing worse than an incomplete scan to me...and yet now I find out that there are people out there creating incomplete scans on purpose because they prefer them. Mind blown, I can't relate.:lol:

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3 months 1 week ago #2186 by Kiwi
Replied by Kiwi on topic Problems with CBRs
It looks like you have a specific set of criteria far outside the norm as far as what most members here want out of their reading experience, that being they, and I, tend to just want to read a magazine and not edit it.

It is a shame that there seems to be a lack of software like Acrobat for the PDF format that doesn't allow direct editing but I think that is simply because the images can easily be removed from the CBR, edited on any photo editing program then dropped back into the CBR again so easily.

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3 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 day ago #2190 by JabbaTheGamer
Replied by JabbaTheGamer on topic Problems with CBRs

kitsunebi wrote: creating incomplete scans on purpose


This is not what I meant. I can keep the source file as well if it's one of the magazines I donated for scanning or it has some nostalgic value for me; in addition, OGM scans are quite heavy in size and I don't have free space on my computer to keep them all. I extract pages out of magazines because I prefer to read articles about a game in their chronological order. For example, if I want to have a "System Shock 2 Day", I upload 40 articles about this game that I got from OldGameMags to my iPad, and have an opportunity to see how that particular game was seen by gaming journalists from its first preview till 2020.

I, just like you, would rather not mess with the quality of the original files. That's why I'm asking whether there's a comic book editor available that can extract pages into separate CBR files, so that the image quality wasn't affected by compression or bloating. I convert unpacked CBR images to PDF only as a last resort (using the "Lossless Compression" option in Acrobat Pro), as I don't know of any editing software for the CBR format that offers the same functionality as Acrobat does for PDFs.

And I too find it rather odd that in 20 or 30 years since digital comic books entered the market, not a single editor has appeared that can offer these simple editing options. What if I downloaded a 100 page-long comic book, but only liked, say, pages 20-40 and 85-100 and wanted to delete the rest? There's no program that can suit these needs and let me reread only my favourite parts of that comic book?

I apologize if these comments come off as grumpy: this was not my intention. This is just a minor complaint that got out of proportion. At first when Kiwi announced the move to CBRs I wanted to keep silent about it, but decided to speak up after Cez created this thread as I saw that I wasn't the only one here who has a preference for the PDF format. I understand that CBRs are here to stay, in addition to the fact that this is the main file format other scanning communities use (and OGM was actually an outlier as it used PDFs intil recently).
Last edit: 2 months 1 day ago by JabbaTheGamer.

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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #2191 by kitsunebi
Replied by kitsunebi on topic Problems with CBRs
It's literally not possible to extract images from a CBR that aren't exactly the same as the original images, because they ARE the original images.

If for some reason I only wanted to keep pages 85-100 and delete the rest, I would simply right click on the CBR, select "open with WinRAR," then from within WinRAR, select pages 1-84 and 101-whatever the last page was, then hit delete. Finished! Easy peasy.

Edited to add: As Kiwi pointed out, the reason CBR readers don't include editing software is because they don't need to since they are an open format. The actual original jpgs that make up the CBR are right there in a lossless zip/rar file, ready to be manipulated by whatever program you choose. A PDF is a closed format, so for the convenience of PDF users, higher end PDF software offers its own ways to manipulate the files. A PDF reader may offer such editing abilities because there is literally no way to directly access those original jpgs - in fact, they were destroyed when the PDF was created, so the only way to edit images in a PDF using outside software is to create new (not identical) jpgs from the PDF and then edit those.
Last edit: 3 months 1 week ago by kitsunebi.

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3 months 6 days ago #2192 by Cez
Replied by Cez on topic Problems with CBRs
Worth me clarifying my position here too. I was just after advice to help keep my PDF-collecting-OCD-riddled mind happy and convert CBR to PDF in a way that will give me results that equate to the PDFs that used to be released on here (so they all look the same and aren't too big or too small). Basically I'm goldilocks - I want them just right :). I will take any scans scanned with immense gratitude in whatever format they are supplied. I will then do what I need to do to make them fit with 'my' way. Also, worth saying I don't discard the rest of the magazine - I am a collectoholic. I am looking to have complete sets of all the magazines I used to have as a kid (plus a few extras that you lovely lot have introduced me to - Particularly the Aussie ones like Powerplay and Hyper). I do also like to extract the reviews and features though. Cos then I can collect those. I then extract the adverts. Cos then I can collect those too. Somebody please help me....

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