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Old 06-05-2008, 10:07 PM   #1
KiloSierra
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Noob questions on e-readers.

I am completely new to the e-reader concept, so I have questions.

1. Is there a universal name? Is E-Reader a brand name or a device description?

2. Is there a preferred format?

3. Is there free out of print downloads? (like from a library or Google)

4. Are the reading programs interchangeable with any laptop software?

5. If I already own the book, do I still have to pay for the e-version?

6. Who supports new printed material? Publishers or book stores?

7. Will the e-readers put book stores out of business?


Thanks in advance.

KS
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiloSierra View Post
I am completely new to the e-reader concept, so I have questions.
Quote:
1. Is there a universal name?
Ebook Reader Device, ebook device, ebook reader, digital book reader, digital reader, liseuse (don't ask).

Personally, I call mine "George" and am more than happy to share the name universally.

Quote:
Is E-Reader a brand name or a device description?
The Wiki is your friend:

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Ereader

Quote:
2. Is there a preferred format?
Well, "preferred" is a mouthful when it comes to format. PDF is usually not preferred for mobile devices (though not always - for instance, you can annotate pdfs with the stylus on the Iliad). Anything with DRM is generally disliked. Probably the only "preferred" format, in the absent of a standard, is whatever can be most easily and accurately be transferred into all other formats with the assorted software tools available.

Quote:
3. Is there free out of print downloads? (like from a library or Google)
If you mean public domain, then, yes, there is a wealth of them, even here at MobileRead.

Quote:
4. Are the reading programs interchangeable with any laptop software?
There are quite a few reading programs. For instance, Mobipocket Reader (for the mobipocket format) is available on multiple platforms (unfortunately not OS X), and is what, for instance, both the Cybook and the Iliad run as their internal standard reader software too.

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5. If I already own the book, do I still have to pay for the e-version?
Almost certainly, though some folks have scanned their own paper books and converted them for reading on their own devices. Legalities of the former and the latter might depend on jurisdiction in some way that others more interested and informed than I can elaborate on (hopefully without turning it into a mad bunfight that is no real help to you).

Quote:
6. Who supports new printed material? Publishers or book stores?
I'm not sure what this means. I would say "authors" support printed material. Publishers and book stores rub their hands together, laughing evilly, while contriving more and more ways to DRM their goods to annoy customers while bringing in the lovely, lovely, lovely money (but then, I'm paranoid delusional, so feel free to ignore that ).

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7. Will the e-readers put book stores out of business?
Who knows? It's possible, but I suspect that, though they may have to reinvent themselves somewhat, people still like book-browsing in paper-and-meat form, and the online experience is going to find it difficult to simulate that satisfactorily, or change that. This is, of course and at the moment, putting aside the issue that can be contained in the phrase "coffee table book".

There you go. Some information and half-formed, half-deformed opinions. Hopefully it'll prompt others (if only to correct the madness! ).

Cheers,
Marc

Last edited by montsnmags; 06-06-2008 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:22 PM   #3
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From my personnel persceptive, I bought a Sony Reader and a Bookeen Cybook Gen 3. I prefer using the Cybook because of the ease of use. Cybook has great user interface, and it supports multiple formats; i.e.: Mobipocket format, which is widely used, as well as PDF.

Sony Reader is nice but the user interface is horrible; it is very difficult to use, but neverless, it is a great reading device.
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:33 AM   #4
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Hello KiloSierra
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiloSierra View Post
I am completely new to the e-reader concept, so I have questions.

1. Is there a universal name? Is E-Reader a brand name or a device description?
"eReader" is the name of a specific book format. Don't use it to describe a reading device - it causes confusion. Best to call the device an "eBook Reader".

Quote:
2. Is there a preferred format?
The main eBook formats you'll find in stores are:

1. PDF - avoid like the plague!
2. MobiPocket - can be read on a wide range of different devices.
3. Microsoft Reader - can only be read on Microsoft Reader software on the PC and Windows CE, but can be easily converted to other formats, hence very popular!
4. eReader. Once popular on Palm devices. Best to avoid, probably.

In addition, certain devices have their own custom book formats, most notably the Sony Reader uses a format called "BBeB", which is sold as DRM-protected books by Sony's own bookstore, and in DRM-free versions for some books by a number of other bookstores such as Baen and Fictionwise.

The most popular "generic" formats are, I'd say, MobiPocket and Microsoft Reader.

Quote:
3. Is there free out of print downloads? (like from a library or Google)
There are tens of thousands of eBook in the public domain. See our "Book Upload" forums here.

Quote:
4. Are the reading programs interchangeable with any laptop software?
All the main eBook formats have reading software for a PC. If you mean "can a book be imported into OTHER software" then generally the answer is "no" - not without conversion, at least. There are, however, tools for CREATING eBooks from many different formats freely available.

Quote:
5. If I already own the book, do I still have to pay for the e-version?
Yes, of course you do, unless the text is in the public domain.

Quote:
6. Who supports new printed material? Publishers or book stores?
What do you mean "supports" it? eBooks are created (generally speaking) by publishers, and sold in eBook stores.

Quote:
7. Will the e-readers put book stores out of business?
No.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:18 AM   #6
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someone should make Marc's answer into a sticky ; i bet a lot of n00bs have these exact questions, and a short, friendly FAQ like this could really help them out.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
someone should make Marc's answer into a sticky ; i bet a lot of n00bs have these exact questions, and a short, friendly FAQ like this could really help them out.
That is a great idea. I am a noob here, and did not want to ask some of those particular questions. I don't recall seeing a Noob FAQ sticky here, is there one available?

Wait! Isn't that a noob question?

I must also say, that this is perhaps one of the most friendly forums that I have seen. Everyone here has different opinions, but all the members seem to be nice and play well together.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
someone should make Marc's answer into a sticky ; i bet a lot of n00bs have these exact questions, and a short, friendly FAQ like this could really help them out.
2nd. Great summary. And charming as always.
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