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Thread: eBooks question

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    eBooks question

    Is it possible to download and read ebooks on a laptop computer? Also, how about audio books - can they be downloaded and listened to on a laptop computer?

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Short answer, yes! Each eBook manufacturer has an app for this purpose (I believe). Barnes and Noble does have an app for the Nook ebooks they sell. Specific link for PC. There are quite a few free ebooks available, some quite good, but for the most part you would need to buy the ebook you wish to download. I am unsure if you have to be a registered Nook owner first to qualify for the ebook app download from BN since I already was a Nook Color registered owner when I downloaded the PC app.

    I am unsure about Kindle or any other, but I would suspect they do as well.

    eBook.jpg

    These can be sorted by Title, Author, Date and can be displayed in various ways. This is small icons I would guess.

    p.s. As can be seen on the included links, BN has Nook apps for several different platforms. Take a look.
    Last edited by Medico; 2011-04-22 at 22:12.
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    The Kindle also has apps for several platforms, not only PCs, but also iOS and Android.

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    You can also find probably free ebook rentals at your local library's web site. Carefully check the system requirements.

    Jerry

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    Look at the freeware program Calibre to manage your ebooks, and convert them to different formats. You can learn more about the program and download it here.
    PJ in FL

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    Yes -- Calibre works well, especially for free ebooks. Barnes and Noble is pushing a new program called Blio. So far, it is Windows only, but has some interesting features.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trebor View Post
    Is it possible to download and read ebooks on a laptop computer? Also, how about audio books - can they be downloaded and listened to on a laptop computer?
    If the audio book is an MP3 file, then almost any device should be able to play it. If it's some other file format, then you need the relevant software to play it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_file_format

    Similar with ebooks, as the others have explained. Play around with different reading software to find the one(s) you like, then you know which file format(s) you need to get your ebooks in. To start somewhere, avoid PDF and try EPUB, PRC/MOBI or LIT.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...e-book_readers - see especially the "Supported File Formats" section for a nice overview chart.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...e-book_formats

    Ebooks can be read on most devices which have a screen--eg desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone. I endorse Calibre mentioned by others as currently the best general ebook management program. Also, you can usually transfer ebooks easily enough between devices, eg from laptop to phone, usually via USB cable--some apps will also transfer real-time settings, so eg you can pick up reading on your phone at the point where you stopped on the laptop.

    Dropbox could also be useful, if it fits your needs, as could free 'cloud' storage so you can access your library from anywhere with any devices which will read your file formats.

    When buying ebooks, watch out for DRM. Buy something cheap first, so you can see if the DRM limitations will be okay for your preferred reading habits. Different vendors can have different DRM schemes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital...gement#E-books
    Last edited by Mike Feury; 2011-05-05 at 07:57.

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    ebook readers

    An ebook reader created for the ipod and iphone is Stanza, and it is very good. I believe there is now a version for Windows, and perhaps also one for Mac.
    Epub format books can be read in the Firefox browser by installing the EPUBReader add-on - just go to the search page and search for EPUBReader add-on for Firefox.
    Kindle for PC allows the reading of Kindle books on your PC. Is there one for Mac? I do not know.
    Last edited by pablo234; 2011-05-05 at 09:17. Reason: Spelling mistake

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    All very good info. Someone mentioned library books too - Overdrive-based libraries (which is most of them) require the installation of Adobe Digital Editions. Formats at the moment include ePub and PDF (both using Adobe DRM except for a few DRM-free books in the system) and a few older Mobipocket books. Note: The current Mobipocket library books are not the same as Amazon Kindle Mobi - it's an older version and not compatible, if that's a concern. By the end of the year, library books will be available for Kindle and Kindle apps as well (Kindle for PC/Mac/Android/etc)

    Most online ebook stores have one of three "models" that will affect how you read on your PC.
    1) Proprietary software to access the books on your PC (Amazon, B&N, Sony); or
    2) The use of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your PC (Harlequin, Booksonboard, Overdrive Public Libraries); or
    3) DRM-free titles which can be read by most reader software that uses that particular format (Kindle for PC for mobi/prc, Stanza, ADE and others for ePub) (Smashwords, Baen, Fictionwise multi-format, Gutenberg, and any other store/publisher that offers DRM-free titles for download or purchase)

    So essentially, what you need depends on where you want to get your books from. The only seller/format I can think of that doesn't have a PC option is iBooks from Apple - it is available only on Apple devices, in ePub format with DRM specific to iBooks and thus not compatible with anything else.

    I second, third and beyond the suggestion for calibre. Excellent software that I cannot live without. I also recommend the forums at mobileread.com. It is everything ebooks over there. It is also the home of the calibre support forum - it is manned by the developers and hundreds of users.

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    A dissappointed ebook owner says wait for now, till ebooks are more mature

    Actually, you should go to your local town's library web page, and find the section on Ebooks. Theres a lot of info there on what works, what doesnt, and the hoops you have to jump thru. Plus, chat with your library technical reference person...they know what works, what doesnt, and the pitfalls and benefits of ebook use.

    I did a ton of research before I bought my wife a Sony Ereader, because Kindle doesnt allow a download of public library books - for kindle to work, you have to buy the books and basically, Im cheap. I really liked the Kindle, but it doesnt allow public library book use. Im not all that happy with the Sony device, but it meets the need of what she wanted - I personally think its $150 down the drain, because the latest editions of all ebook products have more features for less cost, and Im just not willing to chase that golden ring again, till the market stabilizes some more on features and a truly dominant product emerges.

    Im a huge fan of public library books and have found that ebook selections are very limited when compared to audio books, and there are still lots of titles that dont even come in audio book formats. My research foundthat when they are available, there are lots more audio copies available to check out and I also usually found more copies for audio available than ebook for the same book choice, although ebook is starting to come of age, but it will be a long time until ebook selections are as readily available as audio books.

    Ive found lots of old classic ebook freebies around the web and at Google Books, but who really wants to read Treasure Island anymore? I mean, we had to do that in high school, and once was enough for me.

    Plus one thing to watch out for....most of the time, when you download a ebook (or audio book) from a library, its just like checking out a real book....it has a 7 or 14 day license to view it, and once the license expires, you dont get access to the book. This is if you are using an ereader or a pc. And its much harder to renew the license, because generally, someone is already put your license on hold to read it, so you cant generally renew it. I have dound that if you transfer an audio book to an mp3 player, it doesnt seem to expire, as long as you dont actually use a syncing program (I copy/paste my audio files to my mp3 player instead of syncing so I dont lose my licenses).

    My opinion....wait for a while. Ebooks are still very new and publishers are still seeing if its a viable source for distribution. Books stores will be there for a long time (even if they are not brick/mortar, Amazon and BN online will still be selling books, just like they are still selling VHS tapes). If your device is online, magazines and newspapers are becoming viable to get subscriptions for on an ebook device, but books available thru the library are still a pain.

    I think that once pads catch on, and more people adopt using them, and more smart phones are utilized for ereading capabilities, more stuff will become available, making it worth while for old adopters to finally jump on the bandwagon. And libraries will eventually get on board, once all the DRM stuff gets settled into standards and common sense use for ereaders and publishers gets worked out. Libraries arent going away, and the concept of lending books for reading has to adapt for the masses. Not everyone can afford an ereader, so until that happens, books will be available. Remember, computers were supposed to remove the need for paper, and we use more paper than ever, since we got better at using computers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmgoat View Post
    I did a ton of research before I bought my wife a Sony Ereader, because Kindle doesnt allow a download of public library books - for kindle to work, you have to buy the books and basically, Im cheap.
    This isn't completely accurate. There are a lot of books available for free or really cheap, and not just public domain classics. I get books for my Kindle from at least 5 different places, all legal and legit, and most of them have free offerings available at any given time. By the end of the year, library books will be available to Kindle owners too.

    Science Fiction and Fantasy fans - Google "Baen free library" and "Baen CD fifth imperium". Baen is awesome. Mr. Baen was a visionary, a true pioneer, and though he has passed, his company carries on his vision.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgoat View Post
    Im a huge fan of public library books and have found that ebook selections are very limited when compared to audio books, and there are still lots of titles that dont even come in audio book formats.
    This varies quite a bit depending on where you are. Many rural libraries are joining consortiums in order to grow a shared collection, and others are adding new ebooks weekly. Yes, there are still many libraries with rather sad ebook selections, but there are also many with surprisingly large collections. The OP will have to check their own library to see what's available. Overdrive has an impressive amount of titles available for libraries to license, so that's not the issue.

    Here's irony for you - in Tennessee, a consortium of sorts was created to bring a larger ebook selection to the many rural counties. The four largest counties (including mine, Davidson) were left out because they were large enough to sustain their own collection. The result? The consortium counties ended up with access to more than twice the amount of ebooks than we have. I don't begrudge them their ebooks, I just find it amusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgoat View Post
    Plus one thing to watch out for....most of the time, when you download a ebook (or audio book) from a library, its just like checking out a real book....it has a 7 or 14 day license to view it, and once the license expires, you dont get access to the book. This is if you are using an ereader or a pc.
    This is indeed something to look out for, but again, it varies by library, as does the number of checkouts permitted at a time and holds policies. My library, for example, allows me to choose 7, 14 or 21 days for each book during the checkout process, and I can check out 10 at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgoat View Post
    My opinion....wait for a while. Ebooks are still very new and publishers are still seeing if its a viable source for distribution. Books stores will be there for a long time (even if they are not brick/mortar, Amazon and BN online will still be selling books, just like they are still selling VHS tapes). If your device is online, magazines and newspapers are becoming viable to get subscriptions for on an ebook device, but books available thru the library are still a pain.
    It's not so much a matter of publishers not seeing it as viable as it is publishers trying to fight the inevitable. Not all of them, of course, but some are quite plainly trying to make things as difficult as possible, most notably the Agency 6 (used to be 5). The publishers that embraced the changes are now the shining examples of How It Can Be. Examples of those publishers include Baen, Harlequin and BeWrite among others. Baen and BeWrite don't even use DRM, nor do the authors and publishers who publish on Smashwords, Feedbooks and some other online venues.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgoat View Post
    And libraries will eventually get on board, once all the DRM stuff gets settled into standards and common sense use for ereaders and publishers gets worked out. Libraries arent going away, and the concept of lending books for reading has to adapt for the masses.
    Sadly, I don't see the DRM issue being settled any time soon. Same goes for format. We've got it down to a few primary types of each, which is an improvement. But in my eyes we're not really looking at a "VHS vs. Beta" issue - we're talking about companies with ecosystems they are trying to build on. Many people said that Kindle owners would never get library books unless they allowed ePubs on the devices. Instead, Amazon developed a way for Overdrive to work with Amazon's system, rather than the other way around.

    Ebooks are not new, it's just that they've been expanding out of their niche a lot more over the last few years. Those of use already using ebooks are saying, "It's about time!" while those who weren't are asking, 'Where did you come from?" Now we just need certain publishers to realize that making things harder is not going to pay off for anyone.

    As I'm sure you can tell, I'm quite an ebook geek. My Kindle has greatly improved and expanded my reading life, even though I've always been an avid reader. (I also have a Literati that I use for library books, but I particularly don't care for it.) I've also gotten quite involved in the technical aspect of it and follow the developments quite closely. I expect some interesting things over the next year. Though e-Ink have stated they won't be producing a new screen in that time, I suspect more devices will be showing up with the eInk Pearl, currently only available on Kindle and Sony. B&N have stated that a new Nook model will be announced on May 24th, causing much speculation. Amazon have apparently contracted a supplier, making it likely that they will be offering a tablet soon. Amazon also just added a Kindle Store for Germany on amazon.de. It's an exciting time in the ebook world.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablo234 View Post
    An ebook reader created for the ipod and iphone is Stanza, and it is very good. I believe there is now a version for Windows, and perhaps also one for Mac.
    Epub format books can be read in the Firefox browser by installing the EPUBReader add-on - just go to the search page and search for EPUBReader add-on for Firefox.
    Kindle for PC allows the reading of Kindle books on your PC. Is there one for Mac? I do not know.
    Nook apps are available for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC and Mac's. There are numerous free books available, some very good. I believe there are methods to get books from your public library on Nook as well. I have not attempted this.
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