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  1. #1
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    Build an e-book library free of DRM limits




    DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT


    Build an e-book library free of DRM limits


    By Lincoln Spector

    When you buy a book, you expect to have it forever not until technology changes or the bookseller takes it away, as is the case for most e-books sold today.

    You can add new volumes to your permanent library if you buy e-books unencumbered by digital rights management, but your choices are limited.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/digital-entertainment/build-an-e-book-library-free-of-drm-limits/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Great article about ebooks. Audio books are similar. As my eyes get weaker every year, I find I like to have books read to me. I can mow the lawn, cook supper, drive across the state, etc. and enjoy a book while doing it. Audible.com has a great selection and I would like to buy a lot of them, but I refuse to deal with their DRM. A few authors are allowing some of their books to be sold as .mp3 files on CD. I am currently listening to Steven King's Under the Dome in .mp3 format. Also figured out how to produce .mp3 audiobooks from Audio CD books by using Easy CD-DA Extractor (shareware) and MP3Tag (freeware) but that method is a lot more work.

  3. #3
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    A correction about Baen: Every book I have from Baen is in epub format (they offer e-books in seven formats, although it is correct that they don't use PDF).

  4. #4
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    Post

    Hi

    ePub is my preferred format for my ebook reader because of the font size zooming and word wrapping, but so many books and articles only come in .PDF format. That is easily resolved by using Calibre to convert the PDF to ePub format. Get Calibre from http://calibre-ebook.com/

    Not only does Calibre do PDF to ePub conversions but also many other formats (taken from the Calibre web site):

    Input Formats: CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, DJVU, EPUB, FB2, HTML, HTMLZ, LIT, LRF, MOBI, ODT, PDF, PRC, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ

    Output Formats:
    AZW3, EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, HTMLZ, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ

    Calibre sure makes my reading live easier

    Cheers

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    bobprimak (2012-07-12)

  6. #5
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    The posters have echoed my thoughts - Baen does do ePub and Calibre is the best program for converting. I'm surprised the author missed this.

    One other thing that no-one seems to be commenting on. With "real" books ( dead-tree variety as the article author so delightfully puts it), I can pass on a book once I've read it. You can't do this with Kindle (or other DRM) books. Why not? It can't be that had to develop? Of course, the answer is obvious - profit! Comments?

    Alan

  7. #6
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    Thumbs up Google Books

    I have a number of free ebooks from Google Books. I can leave them in Google Play or download them in .PDF format. I prefer to have them on my computer so I download them. Just found some great reading about Thomas Jefferson, and reading some of his correspondence as well. No cost books are great and .pdf works for me well.
    Also you can get some historical works from CCEL.org it is religious works from ancient through early 20th Century works.
    John Quigley

    "Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
    --Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1746

  8. #7
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    excellent stuff. what I'd really like to see is an e-book link on the inside cover of any dead-tree book you buy, or some way of having both copies.
    cos real books still look cool on bookshelves.

  9. #8
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    EPUB is the new PDF

    Lincoln, I have to tell you that EPUB is better than PDF for simple ebook reading. I like PDFs for magazines and technical books with lots of photos and illustrations, but for just reading an electronic book, EPUB format is definitely the way to go. That's one big reason why I purchased a Nook tablet when it came out. (Having a mini-SD slot so you can boot it to regular Android is the other big reason). EPUB is the native format for my Nook. A pox on Amazon and all their DRM and their non-expandable readers.

    I have purchased few ebooks from the Barnes & Noble store. They do have "Free Fridays" where you can get some books for free, but my main reading is non-DRM EPUB format ebooks that I have loaded from other sources, some of which you mentioned in your article. I also use Calibre to convert ebooks to EPUB. With a 32 GB mini-SD card and thousands of books, I'm set for reading for a long time in the future.

    So... if I want to read an ebook using a laptop, especially one that has photos and illustrations, PDF is fine. On my Nook, even though it can display PDFs, I much prefer EPUB. Hopefully the EPUB format (without DRM of course) will come to dominate the electronic book standards arena.

  10. #9
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    I guess I've missed the point of buying ebooks! I get all my ebooks from the local public library. I use the ePUB format and the library allows me to keep a book for 21 days. This means that I don't store a lot of ebooks on my tablet but I do typically have 2 books, one I'm reading and a second one I will read when the first is finished. My tablet has Wi-Fi so I have no problem looking for and downloading a new ebook anytime I am within reach of a Wi-Fi network, at home or on the road. The Overdrive reader for the ePUB format manages the lending period and also lets me 'return' a book to the library after I've read it so someone else can check it out. I don't have any desire to keep books after I've read them.

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    Bill

  11. #10
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    PDFs are unreadable

    I'm surprised that PDFs were recommended at all. I tried reading them on my tablet PC, and found that I had two unacceptable choices: increase the font size so that I could read the text, but then have to manually scroll left and right, and up and down, which was laborious and annoying; or leave the font size so that the full page was visible, and then try to figure out what was written, which was impossible. Neither approach is acceptable. People should stick with reflowing formats, like MOBI and EPUB

  12. #11
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    While I agree PDF is probably the best long-term format for now, I also agree with the posters that it isn't very useful for smaller screens. Too much scrolling around. I too am very upset with Amazon and the publisher's DRM policies. My wife and I both got Kindles and she ordered her books on her account with Amazon, and I ordered them on mine. Nowhere was I informed that having done that we were forever separate in our two collections of books: I cannot read any of her books on my Kindle and she can't read any of my books on hers! The only solution is lending and MOST of the books don't let you lend or only let you lend once or twice. I dared to point this out on a Kindle forum and you wouldn't believe all the nasty comments I received from Kindle-ites. You thought by just pointing out this simple restriction to others I was doing the community a service. Apparently saying anything negative about a Kindle to a Kindle lover is like stabbing them in the heart. I've gone back to buying paper books unless I can find a free book somewhere. What a racket!

  13. #12
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    Two notes regarding this article: First, I own a Nook Tablet, as opposed to a Kindle, in part because it supports DRM-free ePub (not to mention it is technically superior!), and buy all my books in that format. Secondly, I disagree with the statement that Bean books does not support ePub. They certianly do! As far as I can tell, everything they sell is available in ePub. And their free library is a great way to discover new Sci-Fi authors, who often give away the first book in a series!

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