View Full Version : What's happening to Mobi format?


donbrubaker
06-09-2009, 11:57 AM
I just got an email from Bebook (who's current reader natively supports Mobi-DRM) and here’s what they say about the DRM support for their 2 new models scheduled to be out Q3 2009, Bebook Mini and the Bebook 2:

Both Models only support Adobe DRM (ePub and PDF)

This is interesting in that there seems to be a shift from Mobi-DRM in the marketplace. I have a heavy investment in Mobi-DRMed books (several hundred) and was going to pick up a second reader. I currently own the Cybook Gen3. But I have noticed that the new Cybook that’s coming out and all of the new readers are moving to ePub. I can transition to ePub, but I don’t really want to buy ePub books because I don’t want to be stuck in that format… and when devices move on to the next format, my library will be history. Is this an issue for anyone else? Should I just pick up an original Bebook at the reduced price? Or should I go with one of the new readers and convert my mobi to ePub? Thoughts?

HarryT
06-09-2009, 12:06 PM
It's because Mobi insist on "DRM exclusivity", so if a device support Mobi DRM it can't also support ADE. I believe, however, that most of the new devices will still read DRM-free Mobi files.

pdurrant
06-09-2009, 12:06 PM
Mobipocket are rumoured to have a long-standing policy of only licensing their Mobipocket software if it's the only DRM format on a dedicated reader. Up until now, this has served them well. But not any more. In Europe, ePUB is becoming the format of choice, as it's an open format, and more capable (in principle) than Mobipocket.

Amazon, who owns Mobipocket, don't seem to care about this, as otherwise I suspect they'd change their licensing terms.

I too have bought a lot of DRMed Mobipocket eBooks. But in my case they seem to have lost the DRM somehow. I'd prefer at the moment to keep to Mobipocket devices, as although the format is not as capable, the implementation is more mature than ePUB at the moment - user selectable justification, user selectable fonts, good font size range, dictionary lookup.

But I suspect that in five years time, I'll have ePUB based readers, and will have converted all my Mobipocket books.

I just got an email from Bebook (who's current reader natively supports Mobi-DRM) and here’s what they say about the DRM support for their 2 new models scheduled to be out Q3 2009, Bebook Mini and the Bebook 2:

Both Models only support Adobe DRM (ePub and PDF)

Is this an issue for anyone else? Should I just pick up an original Bebook at the reduced price? Or should I go with one of the new readers and convert my mobi to ePub? Thoughts?

Nate the great
06-09-2009, 12:09 PM
Amazon/Mobipocket insists on exclusivity. If you want Mobipocket DRM you can't have any other.

As for me, I'm sticking with Mobipocket indefinitely. It hjas the most features of all the reader software out there.

HarryT
06-09-2009, 12:14 PM
As for me, I'm sticking with Mobipocket indefinitely. It hjas the most features of all the reader software out there.

I partially agree with you, Nate. Certainly Mobi has things like dictionary support, which other formats lack, and keyword search, and so on. Where it slightly falls down compared to, say, ePub, is in the area of actual document format. ePub is capable of more sophisticated layout than is Mobi.

wallcraft
06-09-2009, 12:22 PM
The MOBI format is still the most popular for US-rights ebooks, because you have to have a MOBI version to sell on the Kindle. However, Amazon seems to be deliberately killing the format. They refused to let MobiPocket release a iPhone version of their reader for example and they refuse to let EInk devices support both MobiPocket DRM and other DRM (e.g. Adobe or eReader).

I think there is a 50% chance that the Kindle in the UK will support ePub (Amazon has a mobile ADE licence for the Kindle after all), which would be the final nail in the coffin for the MOBI format in Europe.

The real answer, though, is don't buy into this DRM nonsense. DRM might or might not effect piracy, but it definitely means that you can't read your ebooks on all the devices (existing and future) that you may want to use. The only protection consumers have is to strip the DRM, and use the DRM-free version on their own devices however they want. There are real differences between formats, but Calibre has demonstrated that format shifting is by and large an effective defence against ebook obsolescence. It can format shift MOBI to ePub and ePub to MOBI.

As others have said, the MOBI reader software is still better on balance than Adobe's reader software. So the ePub format may be superior, but the MOBI reader is still a good choice. I use FBReader for both formats, and it is a viable alternative (with its own flaws) once you are DRM-free.

=X=
06-09-2009, 12:43 PM
The MOBI format is still the most popular for US-rights ebooks, because you have to have a MOBI version to sell on the Kindle. However, Amazon seems to be deliberately killing the format. They refused to let MobiPocket release a iPhone version of their reader for example and they refuse to let EInk devices support both MobiPocket DRM and other DRM (e.g. Adobe or eReader).

What about Kindle for the iPhone, isn't the azw format a mobi format?
Heck iPhone has the best MOBI solution access to the cheapest and most abundant source of MOBI books.



I think there is a 50% chance that the Kindle in the UK will support ePub (Amazon has a mobile ADE licence for the Kindle after all), which would be the final nail in the coffin for the MOBI format in Europe.

Does it make sence yes, but will it happen I don't think so. Like you said if they do go with ePUB, its the final nail in the coffin.

When a company has control over a standard it gives them a competitive edge, but add the fact that they also get kick backs from the DRM scheme. I just don't see amazon giving up on this. They are going to fight tooth and nail to keep their dominance.



As others have said, the MOBI reader software is still better on balance than Adobe's reader software. So the ePub format may be superior, but the MOBI reader is still a good choice. I use FBReader for both formats, and it is a viable alternative (with its own flaws) once you are DRM-free.

Really the superior format is PDF. The rest look all the same to me. You've even proved it with your study of the Hobbit, which is one of the better formatted eBooks out there.

donbrubaker
06-09-2009, 12:57 PM
Thanks for the input! I think HarryT mentioned that some of the new readers will be supporting non-drm Mobi... do you know which ones?

If you were to purchase an ereader device that was either ePub DRM or Mobi DRM which would you buy?

wallcraft
06-09-2009, 01:00 PM
What about Kindle for the iPhone, isn't the azw format a mobi format?
Heck iPhone has the best MOBI solution access to the cheapest and most abundant source of MOBI books. I agree that the Kindle app for the iPhone is Amazon's replacement for the MOBI app, but it does not read DRMed MOBI ebooks from anyone but Amazon. So Amazon is killing MOBI to replace it with AZW, which is the same thing except you must buy from Amazon. In fact, the Kindle iPhone app, as designed, does not even read DRM-free MOBI from your own collection because it provides no way to get these ebooks to the app.

HarryT
06-09-2009, 01:01 PM
If you were to purchase an ereader device that was either ePub DRM or Mobi DRM which would you buy?

Personally, Mobi, because that's still by far the most popular format with the large US eBook stores - FictionWise, BooksOnBoard, etc.

Jack Tingle
06-09-2009, 01:04 PM
It's because Mobi insist on "DRM exclusivity", so if a device support Mobi DRM it can't also support ADE. I believe, however, that most of the new devices will still read DRM-free Mobi files.

Which has always struck me as one of the silliest and most useless policies ever. They don't even follow it themselves, since my PDA will read just about any kind of DRMed ebook file, including PRC/MOBI. Almost every ebook format has a WinCE reader. The only lack I note (though only en passant) is an ePub reader, and until everyone gets on board with a common file format (as opposed to renamed .zip) that's not much use anyway.

Regards,
Jack Tingle

Jellby
06-09-2009, 01:12 PM
Which has always struck me as one of the silliest and most useless policies ever. They don't even follow it themselves, since my PDA will read just about any kind of DRMed ebook file, including PRC/MOBI.

Yes, it seems the restriction only applies to "fixed" firmware, not to programs that can be installed over an underlying OS... I was hoping Bookeen could use this "loophole" somehow.

=X=
06-09-2009, 01:14 PM
I agree that the Kindle app for the iPhone is Amazon's replacement for the MOBI app, but it does not read DRMed MOBI ebooks from anyone but Amazon. So Amazon is killing MOBI to replace it with AZW, which is the same thing except you must buy from Amazon.


Okay I see your point your referring to the mobi brand over the actual format, yes I agree then they are killing the mobi brand.


In fact, the Kindle iPhone app, as designed, does not even read DRM-free MOBI from your own collection because it provides no way to get these ebooks to the app.
Wow that's lame! No they have any plans in the future?

=X=

wallcraft
06-09-2009, 01:19 PM
Really the superior format is PDF. The rest look all the same to me. You've even proved it with your study of the Hobbit, which is one of the better formatted eBooks out there. PDFs are good on large screens. It would be very interesting to compare the PDF and MOBI versions of The Hobbit (say) on a Kindle DX or a DR1000S. Note that to do so you would have to strip the DRM from the Adobe PDF.

tompe
06-09-2009, 01:59 PM
Personally, Mobi, because that's still by far the most popular format with the large US eBook stores - FictionWise, BooksOnBoard, etc.

It is is not illegal already to buy region restricted books from another region it will probably soon be so this might not be any big advantage.

Lbooker
06-09-2009, 02:55 PM
I am very unhappy about two things: they sold themselves to Amazon, thus losing their independence. And they did not help Frank Burkhardt, author of mobipocket ports of Wikipedia in several languages, available freely on his site:
http://pinguinburg.de/wpmp
Some older files are also available here:
http://www.axelschaefermdb.de/service/wikipedia.html
(I can use the March 2005 version 1.6 in German in my Lbook thanks to the latest Lbook firmware).
Here is the little thing he asked them on their forum:
http://www.mobipocket.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=32971
Because they refused to fix this, all the recent versions of Wikipedia split into several files cannot work on my reader.
My only hope now is Fbreader. There are discussions on their list:
http://groups.google.com/group/fbreader/browse_thread/thread/57060a9c50379d7e/4facfa2e0763a879?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=mobi#
So I gave up on the company, but not on the format and an open source version of the reader.

=X=
06-09-2009, 03:14 PM
PDFs are good on large screens. It would be very interesting to compare the PDF and MOBI versions of The Hobbit (say) on a Kindle DX or a DR1000S. Note that to do so you would have to strip the DRM from the Adobe PDF.
I think this a is a common misconception that all PDFs are Letter/A4.

A PDF can be made to any size device including made for an 6" screen. And when done so, they can look far better than any ePUB/MOBI/LIT.

Take a look at Ahi's Art of War (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=465239&postcount=1) or even the sony PRS-505 user manual.

I just don't see ePUB/LIT close to that level of quality a PDF can render.

=X=

wallcraft
06-09-2009, 03:49 PM
A PDF can be made to any size device including made for an 6" screen. And when done so, they can look far better than any ePUB/MOBI/LIT. They can if DRM-free and if the source format is not PDF (which is the hardest to change to a new page size). Feedbooks takes this approach for example. I don't know how far Calibre 0.6.0, and its successors, will push PDF as an output format but it certainly has advantages if you want exact control over what appears on the screen.

What has killed PDF as an ebook format is DRM, which prevents customization. Amazon has half of a good idea with TOPAZ, which contains exactly six font sizes. It would be perfectly possible today to bundle a few (3, say) PDFs with different font sizes into one ebook, either implicitly (define a wrapper format) or explicitly by providing multiple PDF files. This might fit in with many publisher's workflow better than reflowable ebooks.

Sweetpea
06-10-2009, 05:23 AM
Thanks for the input! I think HarryT mentioned that some of the new readers will be supporting non-drm Mobi... do you know which ones?

If you were to purchase an ereader device that was either ePub DRM or Mobi DRM which would you buy?

The BeBook mini and 2 will support non-DRM mobi. And the only difference between the readers was either epub DRM or mobi DRM, I'd go for the mobi. Mainly because about 99% of my DRM'd files are mobi (I also got a few lit files).

But then, de-DRM'ing my books takes about... what... 10 seconds (depending on the size of the book....)?

HarryT
06-10-2009, 05:39 AM
But then, de-DRM'ing my books takes about... what... 10 seconds (depending on the size of the book....)?

... but doesn't (apparently) work for dictionaries. That's a big deal for me, personally.

Jellby
06-10-2009, 06:08 AM
... but doesn't (apparently) work for dictionaries. That's a big deal for me, personally.

I've done that to a dictionary (Chambers), and it seemed to work...

HarryT
06-10-2009, 06:28 AM
Interesting. Other people have reported a lack of success. Good to know that it works for some, at least.

Sweetpea
06-10-2009, 06:56 AM
I've done that to a dictionary (Chambers), and it seemed to work...

Interesting. Other people have reported a lack of success. Good to know that it works for some, at least.

I've tried and didn't succeed (not with the "default" script anyway...)

... but doesn't (apparently) work for dictionaries. That's a big deal for me, personally.

Yes, after reading another thread, that came home to me too...

montsnmags
06-10-2009, 07:04 AM
Interesting. Other people have reported a lack of success. Good to know that it works for some, at least.

I'm on the "some" side, thankfully. I do know that it took a hell of a long time on the Chambers, such that after a while I took the dogs down to the woods for a walk - when I got home, it was done. This was similar with the Harraps French-English.

Cheers,
Marc

Sweetpea
06-10-2009, 07:05 AM
I'm on the "some" side, thankfully. I do know that it took a hell of a long time on the Chambers, such that after a while I took the dogs down to the woods for a walk - when I got home, it was done. This was similar with the Harraps French-English.

Cheers,
Marc

Did you use mobidedrm or another tool?

Jellby
06-10-2009, 07:23 AM
Did you use mobidedrm or another tool?

I used mobidedrm, version 0.05.

montsnmags
06-10-2009, 07:31 AM
Did you use mobidedrm or another tool?

mobidedrm

Cheers,
Marc

Sweetpea
06-10-2009, 08:04 AM
No chance for me then... as mobidedrm won't de-derm my dictionary...

montsnmags
06-10-2009, 08:26 AM
No chance for me then... as mobidedrm won't de-derm my dictionary...

I don't know if it makes any difference, but I think I was using 0.01 or 0.02, and doing so under WinXP. I've moved to Ubuntu since, but still have the scripts 'round here somewhere, as well as the DRM'd files. I should try again, just for the hell of it.

Cheers,
Marc

ahi
06-10-2009, 11:30 AM
Really the superior format is PDF. The rest look all the same to me. You've even proved it with your study of the Hobbit, which is one of the better formatted eBooks out there.

You courageous heretic, you! :D

Could I get a link to that thread?

- Ahi

ahi
06-10-2009, 11:37 AM
What has killed PDF as an ebook format is DRM, which prevents customization.

I would argue what has "killed" PDF (which is the most popular eBook format--quite regardless of its poor showing on eBook reading hardware) is that publisher's don't yet care enough about eBook reading devices to put in the effort to make PDFs specifically for them.

It would be perfectly possible today to bundle a few (3, say) PDFs with different font sizes into one ebook, either implicitly (define a wrapper format) or explicitly by providing multiple PDF files. This might fit in with many publisher's workflow better than reflowable ebooks.

Bingo! I think it's the most sensible and most professional way forward.

- Ahi

wallcraft
06-10-2009, 11:47 AM
Could I get a link to that thread?

A Comparison of format limitations based on The Hobbit (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45297)

ProfJulie
06-10-2009, 01:25 PM
Interesting. Other people have reported a lack of success. Good to know that it works for some, at least. I've removed the DRM from The Chambers dictionary as well as the Collins English to Spanish and Spanish to English dictionaries.

The program takes a long time to run, and on my first couple of tries I thought it wasn't going to work and cancelled it. When I left it to run, it eventually worked.

I guess dictionaries are big books and it takes a long time to remove the DRM.

donbrubaker
06-11-2009, 07:37 PM
The BeBook mini and 2 will support non-DRM mobi.

I'd love to know where you found this out. I was directed by Bebook to post the question on their support forum and they have yet to answer me...

Sweetpea
06-12-2009, 02:47 AM
I'd love to know where you found this out. I was directed by Bebook to post the question on their support forum and they have yet to answer me...

http://www.ereaders.nl/bebook_mini?category_id=0

asjogren
01-10-2010, 07:27 PM
I bought the Kindle Spanish-English translation dictionary and made it the default. The Kindle integration is very good. But, the dictionary is extremely limited. It is the Merriam-Webster which is the only one for sale on the Kindle website.

1) I was able to dedrm it and try it on MobiPocket on a laptop. It worked. I don't need a dictionary on the laptop since WordReference.com is just a click away. Now I strongly suspect that I can buy a different Spanish/English dictionary in MobiPocket format and use it on my Kindle - where an integrated dictionary is an asset.

2) What is a recommended Spanish/English translation dictionary in MobiPocket format?

kevindorsey
01-14-2010, 05:17 PM
I bought the Kindle Spanish-English translation dictionary and made it the default. The Kindle integration is very good. But, the dictionary is extremely limited. It is the Merriam-Webster which is the only one for sale on the Kindle website.

1) I was able to dedrm it and try it on MobiPocket on a laptop. It worked. I don't need a dictionary on the laptop since WordReference.com is just a click away. Now I strongly suspect that I can buy a different Spanish/English dictionary in MobiPocket format and use it on my Kindle - where an integrated dictionary is an asset.

2) What is a recommended Spanish/English translation dictionary in MobiPocket format?

Question 2 is probably what I will research soon. I have a good spanish to eng dictionary in paper form, and would like to add one to the Kindle too. Although I might opt out for the web version if there is nothing on the market.

sabredog
01-21-2010, 06:28 PM
It is is not illegal already to buy region restricted books from another region it will probably soon be so this might not be any big advantage.

That more than DRM will "encourage" more readers turn to the darknet to source a copy of the ebook they are willing to pay for but cannot.

I have made the decision to remain with Mobipocket for the foreseeable future. Both my wife and I like the format and with Calibre conversion is simple and fast if required.

angelad
01-25-2010, 01:58 PM
A Comparison of format limitations based on The Hobbit (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45297)

Ah, that's a very good thorough review of defficiencies.

vishcompany
02-09-2010, 05:04 PM
I've removed the DRM from The Chambers dictionary as well as the Collins English to Spanish and Spanish to English dictionaries.

The program takes a long time to run, and on my first couple of tries I thought it wasn't going to work and cancelled it. When I left it to run, it eventually worked.

I guess dictionaries are big books and it takes a long time to remove the DRM.

Another one here. Just removed DRM from a Pons dictionary. It's almost 20MB and it takes ages, but it works.
:thumbsup:

asjogren
02-09-2010, 09:21 PM
Is there a recommended Spanish-English translation dictionary in Mobi format?

The only one for Kindle is poor (Merriam-Webster). And after my post DeDRM test Kindle->MobiPocket, I now believe if I buy a better MobiPocket translation dictionary I can DeDRM and put it on my Kindle where I will actually use it.

I have no need on MobiPocket Reader - WordReference.com is the best.

mirphak
02-21-2010, 01:27 PM
I own a number of paper and eBook Spanish-English and Spanish-only dictionaries. The best Spanish-English dictionary is the Collins unabridged which unfortunately is not available in mobipocket. It is available online at http://mobile-dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish. Of the available mobipocket e-book dictionaries I´d place them in this order:

HARRAPS (Much more complete than the following which are all abridged)
Cambridge Klett Compact
Merriam-Webster´s
Pocket Oxford

If Collins or Harraps doesn´t have the word I need then I go to my Spanish-only dictionaries listed below in order of usefulness:
Diccionario de la Lengua Española 2001 (RAE)
Diccionario General de la Lengua Española (Vox)