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Old 01-12-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
icebear
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Question I have a lot of questions...

and i'm not very computer savvy. i belong to a number of assorted hobby forums and i understand how annoying it can be to long time members to be answering the same questions over and over, and dealing with newbies who assume that the search feature is not meant to be used by them. So i apologize for these questions.

I have tried to search for my answers, but i think i don't understand the basics enough to know exactly what to ask/look/search for. i thought i had "got it" when i committed to buying the Sony Prs-700, but the more i look around, the less i understand- i think i'm overwhelmed, frankly.


So, i have a sony (it's in the mail) i have a lot of PDF books that i know i can use with it. But i will run out of reading material eventually!
Sony will give me up to 100 classics- i have looked and i'm not sure i'll be able to pick out 100 of them that interest me- but maybe.
I'm not really into Science Fiction, i seem to be in the minority there- so many of the free book sites aren't appealing to me.

What i need to understand is what stores sell books in formats compatible with my reader (of course)
I noticed some sellers offer multiple formats, so maybe i can buy some books, but not all?

Like eBook Mall. in the Wiki, it lists them as selling Microsoft Reader, Mobi Pocket, Palm and Adobe PDF. If i find a book i like and it is only listed as Mobi Pocket, does that mean i can't use it?

Can i get a list of which formats should i look for when browsing to purchase? (without reformatting)
Which formats can i convert to work with my reader?
Are some easier than others?
What programs do i need to use to do this?
Where would i get these programs?
What are the problems associated with buying in one format, then converting to another?
What are the legalities of doing this?


i guess that is where i need to start, at the basics.

Hopefully i don't sound as dumb as i feel....

Thanks for any and all help!

Last edited by icebear; 01-12-2009 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
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> Sony will give me up to 100 classics

With the classics, also check the "E-Books" on this site - Menu near the top of the page - the same content but better formatted.

For more info, check the wiki - http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/PRS700

> Can i get a list of which formats should i look for when browsing to purchase? (without reformatting)

LRF, LRX, ePub, PDF, RTF, TXT

> Which formats can i convert to work with my reader?

LIT, PRC, HTML, at least

> Are some easier than others?

HTML - trivial, LIT - easy, but a bit involved the first time, PRC - a bit trickier the first time

> What programs do i need to use to do this?

Calibre, plus "ConvertLIT GUI" if the LIT is DRMed or mobidedrm if the PRC is DRMed

> Where would i get these programs?

Google

> What are the problems associated with buying in one format, then converting to another?

Mainly, finding the info / tools needed...

> What are the legalities of doing this?

Country-specific, so it depends on your location.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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I wasn't impressed by the formating of the Sony classics. Some of the errors made reading difficult. I also had difficulty picking books from the odd selection of classics. I did find a few authors I wouldn't have read otherwise such as George MacDonald and Charlotte Yonge but after seeing the quality of the ebooks on this site, I wish I had gone through the hassle of the Sony classics.

What do you like to read? New releases? Fiction or non-fiction? What genres? Some of those answers can determine which free book sites or bookstores you may prefer.

Dreamer
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gwynevans View Post

> Can i get a list of which formats should i look for when browsing to purchase? (without reformatting)

LRF, LRX, ePub, PDF, RTF, TXT
so anything listed as Mobi Pocket is not going to work?

i guess i don't get what MP is... is it a program for reading? is it a converter, a viewer?


it seemed so simple at first, now i am confused.
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BookishDreamer View Post

What do you like to read? New releases? Fiction or non-fiction? What genres? Some of those answers can determine which free book sites or bookstores you may prefer.

Dreamer
history, bible stuff, historical fiction, parenting, animals, nature subjects, some political, cooking even... kind of a little of everything except romance, horror and scifi. if it looks interesting i will try it, but it can vary greatly. i might like one or two of an author's books and not like the rest. i never know what i will end up with when i go looking for something to read.
that is another reason i am all over the place trying to look for books.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:52 PM   #6
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history, bible stuff, historical fiction, parenting, animals, nature subjects, some political, cooking even...
Hi Icebear and Welcome!
I, too, share your reading interests and have a Sony PRS-700 on the way. I can relate to the pre-arrival jitters!! I know the publisher Zondervan has ebooks available on their sight. If I find any other good ebook sites or suggestions, I'll try to pass them along.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icebear View Post
so anything listed as Mobi Pocket is not going to work?

i guess i don't get what MP is... is it a program for reading? is it a converter, a viewer?


it seemed so simple at first, now i am confused.
MobiPocket is a program for reading (on Windows, and on a variety of eBook reading hardware, but NOT Sony). It's ALSO a format for eBooks. As gwynevans wrote, MobiPocket format is one of the ones you can convert for use with your Sony reader.

As to how, well, there's this legal issue. If you are located in the US, the (&^$&^%$) DMCA law makes it a Federal Felony to tell someone else where to get software to remove DRM, or to tell them how to use such software. Legal opinions differ on whether or not it is, in fact, legal to use software to remove DRM from your legally-purchased content. I've sat in a graduate seminar in which eminent legal experts have given their considered opinion that it is clearly legal to do so. One expert even went so far as to provide written advice of counsel to all the students in the seminar stating his considered opinion that such use is legal. Other legal experts say that removing DRM is clearly against the law (that very same DMCA -- Digital Millenium Copyright Act). No case has yet been tried in court, so nobody really knows.

All that said, if you purchase a MobiPocket book you can certainly remove DRM (if any) and then convert the book to any of several formats that the Sony reader can use. But since I'm in the US, I can't tell you how!

Xenophon

P.S. All the experts agree that you are exceedingly unlikely to be hassled for stripping DRM from legally acquired content for personal use. They also agree that sharing or uploading that content (outside your immediate household) is unquestionably a violation of the copyright owners IP, and is rather more likely to get you in trouble. My personal take is that there's no ethical problem with stripping DRM from legally acquired content... but DON'T STEAL BOOKS!
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebarnmom View Post
Hi Icebear and Welcome!
I, too, share your reading interests and have a Sony PRS-700 on the way. I can relate to the pre-arrival jitters!! I know the publisher Zondervan has ebooks available on their sight. If I find any other good ebook sites or suggestions, I'll try to pass them along.
oh, cool Zondervan...! it even says "sony ereader" next to the appropriate selection - Yay! that is the sort of obviouness i need
thanks!
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
MobiPocket is a program for reading (on Windows, and on a variety of eBook reading hardware, but NOT Sony). It's ALSO a format for eBooks. As gwynevans wrote, MobiPocket format is one of the ones you can convert for use with your Sony reader.
ok, i think it is beginning to get clearer!

as far as the legal issues, looks a bit tricky... my intent would be to buy books that i cannot find for free (legally) and convert them so i could use them on my reader. i have no actual desire to steal books, but it is frustrating when you are perfectly willing to pay for something but it dosen't come in the right format to be usable...

do you think there will ever be a universal format? frankly i think the publishers are hurting themselves in some ways. i could easily drop a lot of money all at once if all ebooks were available in one, guaranteed usable format. the only thing stopping me right now is the incompatibility issue. i have found a number of books i want, but my reader can't use them without being converted.
it is such a jumble.


i have found some more free books that come in zipped form, text document. So that recent find will let me get even more use out of my reader now, since TXT is compatible without needing finagling.



thanks for the help and patience!
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:47 PM   #10
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I found another site that looks promising called Symtio http://www.symtio.com

About Symtio
Symtio is the first multi-channel digital media platform for retail. With Symtio, customers purchase eBooks, audiobooks, and soon music and movies, in-store and download them from anywhere they have an internet connection. It’s the link between digital media and the retail experience. [] More and more people are transitioning to the ease and convenience of digital media. Music came first, but eBooks, audiobooks, and movies are quickly gaining popularity as well. The key difference with Symtio is that by making its products available for purchase in retail stores, customers can shop the way they always have while still taking advantage of the digital
revolution.


I contacted the company because the nearest retailer wasn't very near and also because I could only search by zip code and not by state. I received this quick response:

Quote:
We continue to refine the ways that allow you to find a retailer and support retailer through online sales. We will take your suggestions into consideration as we continue to grow. We continue to see new retailers sell Symtio cards so perhaps an outlet will open near you soon.

We currently sell the products via our web site and we offer you an opportunity to support a retailer closest to you (even if that is hundreds of miles) when you purchase online. Thank you for contacting us.

Britt Dennison
Symtio
P.S. I also received a complimentary *e-copy* of Karen Kingsbury's "Between
Sundays" for setting up an account!

*correction* It was a free audiobook. I'm sorry for the misinformation.

Last edited by rebarnmom; 01-14-2009 at 11:24 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:48 AM   #11
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> do you think there will ever be a universal format? frankly i think the publishers are hurting themselves in some ways. i could easily drop a lot of money all at once if all ebooks were available in one, guaranteed usable format.

Hmm - HTML or RTF. LIT's probably the closest DRM'd one as it's been broken for so long now. Interestingly, Baen Books doesn't use any DRM (and in fact gives away many books) and seems to be doing well with eBooks.

> since TXT is compatible without needing finagling.

It is, but you loose out on things like Table of Contents, formatting, etc! There are various options when you decide to start seeing how best to start formatting them, though! (Keywords: "Book Designer", "Book Creator" & "txt2lrf" should describe three alternatives!)
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:15 AM   #12
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do you think there will ever be a universal format? frankly i think the publishers are hurting themselves in some ways. i could easily drop a lot of money all at once if all ebooks were available in one, guaranteed usable format.
ePub is being pushed by Adobe as the universal format of the future. Seeing how well PDF caught on, I think it's a good possibility to be a universal format, except that Amazon has such incredible strength in the marketplace that it may hold out and decide not to jump on any other bandwagon than its own.

And without Amazon as a sales outlet, it's no wonder that many publishers are treading lightly in the ebook marketplace.

As for free books for the Sony Reader, manybooks.net has 22,000 free books, all available in many different formats including Sony, and Munseys also has a huge library available.

Then there is the basic source for most of these free books -- Project Gutenberg itself. You can either download books from PG which have been formatted by others, at this forum, or you can download the originals in HTML or in TXT format and then decide whether you want to do additional formatting or simply read them as TXT files on the reader.

There is a Word macro which will strip away the single HardReturns in the PG files but keeps the double hardreturns used between paragraphs, and for those who don't use Word there is a program at the yahoogroups for the Librie which will do the same thing quickly and efficiently, allowing you to open the file, format it and then save it again all in just a few mouse clicks.

I've found that reading .TXT files this way is perfectly fine although with the huge explosion in free books formatted for the Reader, I tend to download those and only keep the TXT files for those books which haven't been converted.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:18 PM   #13
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ePub is being pushed by Adobe as the universal format of the future. Seeing how well PDF caught on, I think it's a good possibility to be a universal format, except that Amazon has such incredible strength in the marketplace that it may hold out and decide not to jump on any other bandwagon than its own.
<SNIP>
ePub is not just "being pushed by Adobe." It's an actual <gasp> standard and everything! I expect we will see lots more devices that support ePub in the not-too-distant future, along with desktop support for creating and reading ePub-formatted books.

Sadly, ePub does not mandate a particular DRM format (or NO DRM format), so we'll still have eBabel when it comes to DRM.

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Old 01-13-2009, 03:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by icebear View Post
history, bible stuff, historical fiction, parenting, animals, nature subjects, some political, cooking even... kind of a little of everything except romance, horror and scifi. if it looks interesting i will try it, but it can vary greatly. i might like one or two of an author's books and not like the rest. i never know what i will end up with when i go looking for something to read.
that is another reason i am all over the place trying to look for books.
Historical Fiction is kind of BINGO here. There are lots and lots of Historical Fiction ebooks on this site, in LRF and more and more in ePUB. You should check them out and put them on your Sony. In fact there should be enough of them to last you a life time. (Cooper, Stevenson, Ballantyne, Kingston, Marryat, Sabatini, Dumas and so on and so on) And the best: They're totally free.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #15
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ePub is not just "being pushed by Adobe." It's an actual <gasp> standard and everything!
Xenophon
It'll only be a real standard when every device supports it. As long as many devices don't support it, it's hardly a standard.
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