View Full Version : New to all this and I need some advice

03-14-2010, 01:05 PM
Hi all. Thanks for having me here.
I recently got an Astak EZReader and am loving it but I'm having a couple issues. Mainly that I want to buy some ebooks but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for the ridiculous DRM. It seems like .pdf is generally a pretty good format because it's so versatile so I'd like to make all of my purchases as .pdf. Can anyone please point me to what I need to know to get a handle on the different .pdf DRM formats and how to cope with them? I have seen some threads here but they are pretty long and people talk about all kinds of things I have little grasp on. Also some recommendations on where I should buy them would be nice also. So just some general information and directions to resources would be great.

Thanks again everyone.

03-14-2010, 02:35 PM
It seems like .pdf is generally a pretty good format because it's so versatile so I'd like to make all of my purchases as .pdf.

PDF is a very poor choice of format, because it's formatted for a specific page size - generally, a size much larger than that of an eBook reader. It's really the very last format that you should buy unless you know that the book has been formatted for the screen size of the device that you'll be reading it on.

03-14-2010, 02:53 PM
They aren't all tagged so they can reflow properly?

Then is mobi format good? What's ideal? Pro's and con's?

Thanks for the response.

03-14-2010, 03:32 PM
The standard eBook format used today by pretty much everyone except Amazon is ePub. It generally works pretty well.

03-15-2010, 04:50 AM
They aren't all tagged so they can reflow properly?

Then is mobi format good? What's ideal? Pro's and con's?

Thanks for the response.

As mentioned by another poster, my own experience with PDF is that it works best when it is formatted for an ereader's screen size. Although my reader is capable of reflowing PDFs, the results have been less than satisfactory and I basically disregard the feature.

I basically treat PDFs as electronic paper. In the same way that if you want to increase the size of the text on a printed page you have to reprint the page, if I want to increase the size of the text in a PDF, I reformat the source document and regenerate the PDF. The only thing I rely on my reader to do is to display the PDF at the default setting.

03-15-2010, 07:11 PM
OK. Thanks a lot guys. Epub it shall be.

And sorry about the DRM removal questions. I didn't realize that removing DRM from ebooks was illegal. I thought it fell under fair use just like with music and movies.

03-15-2010, 07:51 PM
As far as we can pin down, removing DRM is legal for personal use, but providing someone with the software to do so is illegal. So if you can build your own DRM remover, you're fine; anyone who helps you find DRM removal software is breaking the law. (That said, Google is your friend. All forms of commercial DRM currently in use for ebooks that can be read on mobile devices have been cracked.)

The rule for DRM: When looking at a new bookstore, see if there's a free sample to test the DRM with. Right now, the EZReader can read Adobe Digital Editions DRM, but the site may not tell you what form of DRM it uses. Barnes & Noble sells ePub & PDF, but uses different DRM that the EZReader doesn't have. (Yet, I believe.)

PDF is troublesome for ebooks, because it's almost never designed for such a small screen. (There are a few here at Mobileread were designed for e-ink readers; those are fine.) EPub is likely to be the new standard format, because it's versatile and easy to work with (it's just HTMLs collected in a renamed zip file, with an extra file that tells the ebook reader where to find the parts). Mobi is also very popular, but is proprietary, and was designed for more limited devices than modern ebook readers--it may have formatting limitations that ePub doesn't.

However, for reading novels, most formats are about the same. They all do fine with linear text. Most commercial non-PDF ebooks are poorly formatted, or at least very basically formatted--no consideration went into fonts, chapter headings, or any other details that would make them look nice on the screen. This is in part laziness, and in part because a few years ago, reading on a mobile device meant a ~320 pixel square screen with very basic fonts, so there was no reason to make ebooks look "nice." And although ebook readers have drastically changed, the processes used by publishers haven't.

To find what you like, experiment. Download some free ebooks from here at Mobileread, the same one in several formats, and see if you notice or care what the differences are. Head over to Feedbooks and try some of their free ebooks, in ePub and custom-sized PDF pages; pick up some .txt and .Mobi books from Project Gutenberg. Collect eight versions of the same book and see how different they look, and whether you've got any solid preferences about them.

03-18-2010, 10:27 AM
Thanks for all of the help guys. I have now de-DRM'd all of the books I bought. I even was able to get Kindle books on my device! I changed them to epub.

I have a couple more questions though that probably don't fit in the .PDF section but there is no newbie section (which is where I think this entire thread belongs). When I make an .epub from a .PDF, or any file for that matter, I get a .epub file and an .opf file. What is the .opf file?

Thanks again all. You have helped me on my way to new horizons full of mobile reading.