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Topic: E-reader questions--thinking about giving in and saving up for one

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Subject: E-reader questions--thinking about giving in and saving up for one
Date Posted: 9/10/2011 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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Question:

1. If I buy an e-reader (Kindle, Nook), will I only be able to buy e-books from Amazon or Barnes and Noble to read? I like a lot of independent book companies who are offering e-books in addition to being able to download to read on my computer. Most of these are PDF files.

2. Are there e-readers out there that are not affiliated with any bookseller and that are really good ones?

 

Date Posted: 9/10/2011 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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1. If I buy an e-reader (Kindle, Nook), will I only be able to buy e-books from Amazon or Barnes and Noble to read? I like a lot of independent book companies who are offering e-books in addition to being able to download to read on my computer. Most of these are PDF files.

When it comes to any eReader, find out what formats it will take, then check your favorite ebook stores and see what formats they sell. They vary.

Here's a link to Wiki which lists the eReaders and the formats they handle. Here.

Most devices will handle more than one format. Even Kindles will work with DRM-less (Digital Rights Management) books in the .mobi format well.

Many ebook stores will offer various formats. Smashwords for example, shows you choices like this. Here. This example is a free ebook and you can see down the page what formats you can download the book in, for what machines. Baen shows them this way... Here. And Fictionwise has two main section, Multiformat and Secure. Here.  You can click on any multiformat book and the book description tells you what formats they offer.

So you want to see what your favorite store offers in formats and go from there.

Just be aware that PDF is one of the worst formats for ereaders. They're not always actually text, but sometimes just pictures of text, so the size of the font can't be adjusted or the text 'reflowed'. PDF's are made for an 8x11 1/2 size page, to mimic paper documents. So they're usually the worst for smaller screen, even when they can be adjusted. If at all possible, convert or don't buy them for eBooks unless they're technical manuals. If they're for technical manuals, with pictures and graphs, then I'd suggest forgetting most e-ink screens and going for a tablet. IMHO, they're the only thing worth reading most PDF's on.

2. Are there e-readers out there that are not affiliated with any bookseller and that are really good ones?

I have two Sony's, a Kindle, and Ipad and a Kobo, and I actually buy very little from either anyone but Amazon, Fictionwise, Smashwords, Baen or the other indie stores I run across. (plus, massive amounts of free fanfic.)

When I can, I use the free program Calibre to convert my DRM-less stuff to either .epub, .LRF or .Mobi and the program already knows which format to send to whichever machine I plug in.

But you can browse the Wiki entry to see what's out now. And you'll want to watch the news. Amazon is coming out with a color tablet sometime in November for $250. So if you decide a table is best for you, you might want to keep an eye on them, since that's a killer price compared to the iPads.

 

 

Date Posted: 9/10/2011 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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I would check the online stores you like to buy from, see what format they publish their ebooks in, then go from there.  I believe Kindle books are the only ones in a non-standard format (mobi).  NookBooks, Kobo, and maybe Sony (I have never gotten anything from their site) offer books in ePUB format which is standard.  Most readers can do ePUB and PDF, so as long as the ereader you choose does those formats you will be able to shop everywhere--except the Kindle store.

Smashwords offers books in a variety of formats. 

There is the Lirerati as well. I've never used it.  I remember Marilyn saying something about it had a propensity to overheat when charging.

I haven't bought any ebooks yet.  I scoured InkMesh.com and the Cheap on Facebook and look for the free offerings.  I am also signed up for a couple of publishers who give out a free book each month.

Date Posted: 9/10/2011 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
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The Ectaco Jetbook is a nice reader that reads almost every format out there, including DRM library books, and DRM Barnes & Noble books.

Date Posted: 9/10/2011 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,516
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I love my Sony reader!  I didn't want to go with either a Kindle or a Nook because I didn't want to be tied to one place or the other.  I know, you can buy from other places if you have either reader and convert the format to what your reader likes but I didn't want to have to do that.  Plus, I didn't need (or want) the ability to shop from the ereader and download wirelessly.  Would not be good for me, I'd go bankrupt buying ebooks!

One thing with the Kindle, if you do get one and then later decide to get a different ereader, you won't be able to get your Kindle books on a non-Kindle without stripping the DRM from them first.  Plus, you'd have to have all your Kindle books saved onto your PC to do it.  I have a friend who had a Kindle and it broke.  She's been reading her Kindle books on her Ipod thingy but is now looking to get a new ereader.  She's going to have to buy another Kindle or go to a lot of time and trouble to recover her Kindle library.

With my Sony, I download the ebooks onto my computer first and then put them on the Sony.  So, I already have a backup of all my ebooks which'd put me a step ahead should I get a different ereader.  I've got a copy of my digital library on my computer already.

Date Posted: 9/10/2011 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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One thing with the Kindle, if you do get one and then later decide to get a different ereader, you won't be able to get your Kindle books on a non-Kindle without stripping the DRM from them first.

Only for the books with DRM on them.

You can find DRM-less Kindle books on Amazon by looking in the book details for "Simultaneous device usage: unlimited". That's a DRM'less book. Since the Author/publisher choses to DRM or not, if they have their book at one store DRM'd, it'll be that way at all the stores. They don't want any free copies out and about.

And if a Kindle file is DRMless, it'll convert in less than a second to another format with Calibre, easily.

And that will be true of all the other devices tied to a book store. The DRM that's tied to a Sony won't be available to another reader either unless it'll work with Adobe Digital Editions DRM. I think the Nook will, but don't think any of the other readers will.

And your friend can easily copy her Kindle library to her computer by installing Kindle4PC and copying her books down to it. That will put her .azw files on her computer, and she can back it up with all her other documents. Amazon should keep her library up for the forseeable future, but I like to be safe and back up my own files.

I love my Sony's but the Sony store has DRM issues of it's own.

Date Posted: 9/11/2011 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
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And your friend can easily copy her Kindle library to her computer by installing Kindle4PC and copying her books down to it. That will put her .azw files on her computer, and she can back it up with all her other documents.

while she can easily read on her computer that way, having the files backed up doesn't mean she'll be able to read them later if something happens.  i had my Kindle files backed up, something broke and i had to reinstall and reauthorize Kindle For PC, and it didn't recognize any of the files i had restored to the Kindle directory.  i had to delete and re-download everything.

now i don't keep anything stashed there, unless i'm actively reading on my computer.  anything i *really* want backed up locally, i'll download and then add it to Calibre.

Date Posted: 9/11/2011 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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anything i *really* want backed up locally, i'll download and then add it to Calibre.

You can do the same thing with the .azw files that are backed up, drag them to Calibre and they'll load, then reload to Kindle. The Kindle will have to reindex them, and that's the easiest way to do it.

When I'm talking 'backup', even my Calibre files, I'm meaning off the original computer and onto a backup drive or burned to DVD or even with an on-line storage stie if you need to. Where ever you back up your irreplacable pictures. Just never leave one copy of something you can't lose on any one hard drive. They do crash and burn.

In that kind of situation, I can backup from the Kindle director from the Kindle PC App, or Calibre, or both. I do both. And that's true of all the ebook stores with computer apps. You can find the book on your drive and back them up that way. That way you have at least the book in the original format if you have to rebuild from scratch later.

 



Last Edited on: 9/11/11 11:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/11/2011 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,516
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Even though I have a Sony, I have never installed the Sony software that came with it nor purchased from the Sony bookstore.  It's not necessary to do so.  I prefer to use Calibre for my ebooks.

Date Posted: 9/12/2011 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
Posts: 7,751
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I going to go Tablet in a few months....  Why Cause you can Download the Apps from a LOT of ebookstores & have the ability to get ebooks anywhere you want!!  You can also download Movies on them & Surf the internet!

Date Posted: 9/12/2011 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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I going to go Tablet in a few months....  Why Cause you can Download the Apps from a LOT of ebookstores & have the ability to get ebooks anywhere you want!!  You can also download Movies on them & Surf the internet!

They're great if you like reading off the screens. Some do and some don't.  I've had an Ipad for a year and still have yet to actually read too much off of it. I can only go for about 90 minutes without taking a break. DD is the same way. She has a Sony and a Xoom, and only reads on the Sony.

We're just more comfortable with eInk. Just easier on our eyes. That's why I hope they don't mess with them too much.

 

Date Posted: 9/18/2011 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2006
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I have a sony touch prs 600 and I haven't had any issues with any books.I buy them from the sony store,borrow them from the library,buy them from smashwords,ect. I got it when it first came out and it was expensive BUT I just picked up one off ebay for our son for xmas for $86.XX!

Stacy

Date Posted: 10/9/2011 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 10
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I bought a nook color in January or so. $250 seemed reasonable. I did not buy any books from B&N at the time; I thought, and still do, they are too expensive (a hardcover is 50 cents more!). About 6 weeks later I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab (7") from Verizon, with minimal phone connection data ($30/monthy). The Tab cost $175. (they WILL dicker a little bit!<G>) and the 3G connection does make it handy to read the news when having sunday breakfast at a restaurant or to look up something when I'm away from home or to, even, control my home computer from the tablet though I'm miles away. That little extra is worth the $30 Verizon charges me. The nook offers nothing like this (although I have converted my nook to a fuill tablet with a chip available from AMazon).

The tab is the best, as would be any tablet that can utilize one or more of the dozens of reader softwares out there (speaking Android here, iOS I dunno). Moon+Reader is great and will read anything not restricted by DRM. Akkido Reader is anotehr one I like. Both make the nook and kindle readers seem so "last year"<G>

Then I bougfht a book from B&N, Daniel Silva's latest. Only place I could get it was Kindle or B&N (or other places I;'ve never dealt with). But then the fun began.

I could only read it on my nook. Not on my tab. Unless I wanted to read it on the half-baked nook software on my tab that was logged into B&N. So I cashed out my B&N card and resolved to never deal with B&N or DRM books ever again. I can easily buy the "P-books" at Costco or Amazon for pennies more than their ebook prices and when I'm finished I can legally give them away or sell them or do anything I want with them. Even scan them and give them away that way! (I can't charge for them, however I can charge for the work involved in scanning them--which would be greater than the cost of buying the freaking book tyo begin with. WHich is as it should be.<G>)

when you buy a DRM ebook you are not buying ANYthing. You are buying a license to read it. That's all. In fact, it should not be subject to sales tax (in CA because no property has been transferred (yet they do charge stales tax inspite of electronic transmission of data being exempt).

There are plenty of non-DRM sources. They just don't always have the latest stuff. The publishers have frightened the authors. (some discussion of this can be found on the BAEN website). Basically Baen authorts afgree that even having free distribution of their books has improved their royalties because sales increase).  

For the latest releases, you are stuck with being screwed by the publishers or buying the p-books which you then own and wich you can then dispose of as you wish not according to some EULA that is unreadable anyway. 

One Sci-Fi publisher who DOES sell the latest releases in non-DRM ebook format (your choice) for $6 or less is BAEN. (http://www.baen.com

No. I am not shilling for them. I am merely a happy customer of their site.

I love ebooks. It is just easier to flick your finger than it is to torn the page, and keeping track of where you are is easier, and all that.

But the publishers are polluting the water with their greed.

 

<bang crack>well, my soapbox just collapsed.<G>

 

 

Date Posted: 10/11/2011 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 12,776
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I was at a Best Buy today and played with a tablet while waiting to see if they had the newest Kindle. (The guy brought out a sealed box. Display not available yet). I think it was a Motorola, not sure. Anyway the point I am getting to is, the tablet was really fun and cool to play with! I found 3 books on it and played with turning the pages etc. Loved it! Didn't, however, like the backlight for the pages. Though it was very white, and would be nice at night! I guess I can kind of see the appeal tablets hold for people. (Fingerprints, though!)  Makes me think a touch e-ink would be fun! (They had a Nook Touch on display but I don't think it was fully functioning, either that or it is a slow machine). I am looking forward to playing with the new Kindles when they come out.

Date Posted: 10/11/2011 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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Mac T,

Sorry to ruin your fun but unless a book is not in copyright, it's illegal to scan a paper book in and give away a copy of the scan.  It would be doubly illegal to charge for such a file.  Google Books is actually getting sued for this right now.

Depending on how you interpret the law, you MIGHT be able to scan a book in for personal use on JUST your own devices.  And, if you were to give away the paper book, you'd need to delete that electronic file.  No one has been prosecuted for this, as far as I know.

But to make copies of that file and sell it/give it away is piracy and is definitely illegal.

I agree with the anti-DRM sentiment, but PLEASE don't advocate piracy.

Date Posted: 11/6/2011 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
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My husband got me a Kobo for our anniversary from Best Buy and I love mine. So far, I have only ordered books from Kobo directly but I haven't tried downloading from other sites yet.