I felt rotten and broke out in rashes.
BUT— After sleeping I decided to see if I could put ActualText into a PDF using xdvipdfmx and DVI specials, and it’s not especially hard to do. Also the limitations of ActualText have become more apparent.
Really the most efficient thing to do, as far as PDF size is concerned, would be to use both the Adobe glyph naming scheme to make a ToUnicode map and ActualText for tougher cases, such as marking a hyphen as a ‘soft hyphen’ that should be removed when content is extracted, and specifying replacement letters for when the hyphen is removed, as is necessary in traditional German spellings.
Also I’ve dumped Digby from my reading list.