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Topic: Kindle questions for a friend

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Subject: Kindle questions for a friend
Date Posted: 2/1/2011 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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A good friend of mine is wanting an ereader and her mom is pushing her to get a Kindle because she loves her own. I've answered the questions I know through my own researching, but I don't want to give her wrong info on the things I'm not sure about. Can you help me (her) out?

1. Can the Kindle read books from The Free Library of Philadelphia? (I was telling her about it since I'm considering a membership for my Nook ebooks.) I believe they're all in PDF format and *think* the Kindle does not support PDF, but I'm not sure.

2. Are there free sites to download ebooks from for the Kindle? (I know of Project Gutenburg and from their website, they list Kindle as one of the ereaders that are compatible with their files. True, correct? Any others?)

3. She really wants access to current, free books (mostly but not exclusively). Is the Kindle a good option for her?


Thanks so much!

Date Posted: 2/1/2011 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
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1. No. Kindle books can read pdf files but cannot read the Adobe Reader epubs that nearly all libraries have for ebooks. There are a precious few libraries that do have Kindle books, and she can check her local library to see if it is one of the few. If library books are essential to her, the Kindle is not for her. 

2. There are many free sites to get ebooks for the Kindle. Check out some of the threads here. I'm pretty sure there's a thread with a list of places. Less than half the books on my Kindle came from Amazon. My average cost per book is $1.96 and I buy a good deal of non-fiction at $10-12. 

3. Depends. She should check out Inkmesh.com, a website that lists all the free books for Kindle, Nook, Sony, and others. That will give her a feel for who has what. It's my personal opinion that Amazon has more and better quality freebies than B&N does, but that is only my opinion and is not fact. http://inkmesh.com/

I recommend that people go to Best Buy or other places and hold each of the ereaders in their hands. For almost everyone I know, one ereader "felt" better than the others. 

Last Edited on: 3/5/11 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2011 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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1.  No--unfortunately, the Kindles won't work with library books.  The Free Library of Philadelphia offers DRM protected PDF and ePub books and the Kindles won't work with these.  (There are ways to strip the DRM from these files, but the legality of that is questionable.)

2.  Yes--there are places to download free e-books that will work on the kindle.  Anything that is unprotected "mobi" format will work on the Kindles.  One site to check out is www.mobileread.com.  The members there have uploaded a lot of very nicely formatted public domain books in formats that will work on just about any reader there is.

3.  If you want free current books, you'll really want a reader that will read the Adobe DRM protected ePub files.  The only place to get legal current bestsellers is from libraries.  She should check out libraries close to her to see if they offer books and if their collection includes books she'd be interested in.  The Free Library of Philadelphia is always an option--$15 year is a bargain--but as they get more and more popular I'm guessing the holds for available books will get longer and longer.  Both the nook and the Sony readers will work with library books.  I know there are other readers out there as well--but not the Kindle.

Personally, I have a Sony 650 and I love it!  It doesn't have wi-fi or 3g, but I don't mind just connecting it to my computer to load books on to it.  I can put so many books on it that I never worry about running out of something to read.

Good luck!


See that Marilyn beat my post--her advice is good--especially about going to the store and trying out the various readers to determine which ones you like better.  I actually have both a nook and a Sony and find myself using the Sony almost exclusively.  I just like the way it feels in my hands better.  (Much better dictionary support on the Sony as well!)

Last Edited on: 2/1/11 7:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2011 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,697
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If your friend lives near a B&N store, another good feature of the Nook is the ability to sit in the store and read any ebook free for one hour.  Definitely a plus!  I would have gone with a Nook if I had a B&N in the vicinity but the nearest one is 120 miles away.

Date Posted: 2/1/2011 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
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See also http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2010/11/14/holiday-buying-guide-part-1-device-differentiation-which-type-is-right-for-you/

for a very nice list of pros and cons by a source I have found to be accurate generally. 

Date Posted: 2/2/2011 6:46 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,520
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Also, if you see a free book, and you are even remotely interested in it, download it now and ask questions later. It probably won't be free later and you will curse the ground you walk on for not getting it. The worst that can happen is that you will delete it.

Ronda (RONDA) - ,
Date Posted: 2/2/2011 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 415
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alot of free books are offered for one reader, then a few days later the others match it.  In a little over a year i have downloaded about 250 free books from amazon.  and there are tons of classics that are free (out of copy-right timeframe)

& www.overdrive.com supplies e-books and audio books to libraries.  check out their website to see what is available for your library.  also check your library website, cause a co-worker couldnt find his location on overdrive, but when he went to his library they were using overdrive.

I did find that for the audiobooks, even tho it says it works with the ipod, i did have issues with loading it to my ipod related to drm.  I was able to get it to load but it took a long time.  i think it is something to do with microsoft software vs apple software. it played with no problems on my computer using microsoft media player.


Last Edited on: 2/2/11 9:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/2/2011 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
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Thank you so much, ladies! I've forwarded this info along and she says thank you to all for the help! :) She said she's going to visit all of the websites mentioned, too, before making a choice.