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Old 06-23-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
SAM64
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CONFUSED NEWBIE !!!

Hi to everyone and I apologise now for all the questions I'm about to ask!
I live in the UK and have narrowed down my choice of an ereader to a Sony 505 or 300. I have Windows 7. I will only be reading novels.

1) some of the books I want to download are in HTML format, is this compatible with Sony

2) What software do I install - the Sony software that comes with the reader, Calibre or Adobe DE?

3) Am I correct in thinking that anything in ePUB format (with or without DRM) is OK for the Sony?

4) I have read somewhere that PDF format isnt too good, is it possible to change the format to something else?

5) Also I want to store my ebooks for any future reader I buy (due to breakages etc). Is it possible to store them in such a way that the format can be changed to suit any future reader or will I always have to buy Sony. I was thinking of doing this by putting them on an external hardrive.

Thats all for now, although I'm sure I'll think of some more!

Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
1) some of the books I want to download are in HTML format, is this compatible with Sony
You can very, very easily convert HTML into LRF (sony's format) with Calibre, which is a superb alternative to Sony's own poor Library software. I do this often, and most of the time images, toc, etc are preserved as well as the actual text.

Quote:
2) What software do I install - the Sony software that comes with the reader, Calibre or Adobe DE?
Skip the software included. Install Calibre, install ADE if you plan on buying DRM'd ePubs.

Quote:
3) Am I correct in thinking that anything in ePUB format (with or without DRM) is OK for the Sony?
Yes. If it is a valid ePub, it's compatible. DRM'd epubs will require ADE for verification, in order to work on your device.

Quote:
4) I have read somewhere that PDF format isnt too good, is it possible to change the format to something else?
Yes, though it's usually not that great. Converted PDFs look fairly good in landscape mode, having used soPDF (available under LRF subforum here, main page > scroll down) to convert them, on my 600. The 505 is still fairly good at PDFs, although slow. Less options in way of zoom/pan than the 600, which I reccomend trying yourself, as it's usually on display beside the 300 in stores. The 300 is hands-down the worst PDF reader available, imho.

Quote:
5) Also I want to store my ebooks for any future reader I buy (due to breakages etc). Is it possible to store them in such a way that the format can be changed to suit any future reader or will I always have to buy Sony. I was thinking of doing this by putting them on an external hardrive.
Calibre automatically organizes your books for you in a back-up-able library on your hard drive... You can, from there, convert them to and from various formats, so you'll be able to use them with non-sony devices. Most every format the Sony supports others do too, as they're all pretty standard. The only format the Sony exclusively supports is LRF (and it's now defunct DRM'd LRS cousin)... Those are able to be converted to ePub or mobi etc and used on other devices.

Hope I helped!

Last edited by dorino; 06-23-2010 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:32 PM   #3
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Thumbs up

Thank you very much for your help and speedy reply!
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post
Thank you very much for your help and speedy reply!
I agree with dorino on everything but the suggestion to skip SONY's software.

If you don't plan on exporting, storing or viewing on your PC your annotations, than I agree - just go with Calibre.

But if you need your annotations, you need SONY's software. In which case, I would recommend installing both (Calibre and SONY's Library). Just don't use them at the same time, as many posts wisely suggest.

And no, PDFs are not bad. In Landscape mode, of course. Most are readable without any text resizing/zooming - at most, by using the margin crop of the reader. Some require zooming, but those are rare exceptions, at least in my experience (I download tons of PDFs from JSTOR and SSRN).

Last edited by vxf; 06-23-2010 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by vxf View Post
I agree with dorino on everything but the suggestion to skip SONY's software.

If you don't plan on exporting, storing or viewing on your PC your annotations, than I agree - just go with Calibre.

But if you need your annotations, you need SONY's software. In which case, I would recommend installing both (Calibre and SONY's Library). Just don't use them at the same time, as many posts wisely suggest.

And no, PDFs are not bad. In Landscape mode, of course. Most are readable without any text resizing/zooming - at most, by using the margin crop of the reader. Some require zooming, but those are rare exceptions, at least in my experience (I download tons of PDFs from JSTOR and SSRN).
The Sony software isn't required for taking annotations off. One can manually do that, though it easier through the software. I prefer not to use the software, though.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:37 AM   #6
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What Dorino said, Sam. And you've narrowed your device choices down to two superb wee gizmos. I've used a 505 with Calibre software for about eighteen months now and have never had the slightest problem. Plain sailing and happy reading all the way. Good to have your new company, by the way. Good luck and best wishes. Neil
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:47 AM   #7
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With regards to the PDF query, You should be aware that not all PDF's are created equal.

If you are talking about textbooks / graphically intensive pdf's then dorino's suggestions are correct. Neither device will be great for viewing PDF's and they tend to be quite slow to open.

If however you are talking about novels that have been provided as PDF then it is useful to note that most of these do not have embedded fonts. This means that the fonts are readable as separate to the page rather than being a part or an image. Using the excellent Calibre you can convert these into ePub or any other format you wish. (it does not convert tables and graphics too well which is why textbooks are best left as PDF. Sometimes you will get some odd conversions as it uses character recognition so 'ri' ( r and i ) may be read as 'n' ( letter n ) etc. But on the whole I tend to prefer converting from PDF to HTML as you can get some really odd formatting with HTML files that are a pain to correct.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:06 AM   #8
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When using Calibre to convert from HTML, rather than converting to LRF (which is now defunct), consider converting to ePub instead, which is more future proof and will is likely to be supported by future devices (unlike LRF).

The Sony library software has one advantage over other software, because it displays ebooks as they will appear on the device; if you make formatting changes to an ebook you can quickly preview them in the Sony library.

Beware--although ePub is an industry standard, DRM is not. An ePub without DRM should be readable on all ePub compatible devices. An ePub with DRM is effectively a different format, and therefore will only be readable on devices that support that type of DRM. There are at least two DRM schemes currently used with ePubs: Adobe ADEPT, and Barnes & Noble DRM; AFAIK the B&N DRM is not compatible with Sony devices, so I suggest you do not buy any ePubs with it (e.g., from the B&N store).

Waterstones and WHSmith in the UK both use Adobe's DRM, so will be OK.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorino View Post
The Sony software isn't required for taking annotations off. One can manually do that, though it easier through the software. I prefer not to use the software, though.
If there is a way to view my annotations on my PC without using SONY's software, please let me know - because I would love to do that.

I can manually copy the folders, but I still haven't figured out how to get them to display on my docs.
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dorino View Post
Skip the software included. Install Calibre, install ADE if you plan on buying DRM'd ePubs
Last time I've checked, it was impossible to buy a book (or snatch a freebe) from Sony store without the software.

Darn, the frontend for the store are (X)HTML forms anyway, why oh why is that you need a client application (and Mac or Windows OS) to buy from them?
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:07 PM   #11
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Last time I've checked, it was impossible to buy a book (or snatch a freebe) from Sony store without the software.

Darn, the frontend for the store are (X)HTML forms anyway, why oh why is that you need a client application (and Mac or Windows OS) to buy from them?
You don't need to buy from Sony, though. There are alternatives.

vxf,

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Hi all,

I've just made a small python program that let you browse the files stored on your PRS600, list the files for which freehand notes are available, and export them to a jarnal package. From jarnal, the notes can then be exported to pdf, edited, etc... See jarnal doc for details:
http://www.dklevine.com/general/soft...000/jarnal.htm

I'm on ubuntu, and I have little time, so this is command line only. It should be pretty easy to pass it to a wxpython app if required, but don't count on me for that. I think the app should work on OSX and Win, but I have not tested (and don't plan to).

Usage: annot.py /media/READER
or the directory where your reader database appears.

Note: you need to uncompress the .py file before using it, and make it executable.

Disclaimer: this should work pretty well for A4/letter paper. For other size you may experience shifts because I could not figure out the conversion matrix of the prs600.

Now regarding, text annotation: This is a bit harder to solve because the overlined text is referred to by a #pdfloc tag (encoded in base64) which is a non-documented feature of adobe pdf. If someone has info about it, it should be no problem to add the overlining to the jarnal file. I have not been able to find anything usable.

Please let me know if this is useful.

Best regards
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:08 PM   #12
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If it's DRM'ed epub, make sure it's Adobe Adept DRM that are only those epubs.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:09 PM   #13
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If it's DRM'ed epub, make sure it's Adobe Adept DRM that are only those epubs.
Pretty much everyone but Barnes and Noble use Adobe Adept, though, right?
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sillyfishyboy View Post
With regards to the PDF query, You should be aware that not all PDF's are created equal.

If you are talking about textbooks / graphically intensive pdf's then dorino's suggestions are correct. Neither device will be great for viewing PDF's and they tend to be quite slow to open.

If however you are talking about novels that have been provided as PDF then it is useful to note that most of these do not have embedded fonts. This means that the fonts are readable as separate to the page rather than being a part or an image. Using the excellent Calibre you can convert these into ePub or any other format you wish. (it does not convert tables and graphics too well which is why textbooks are best left as PDF. Sometimes you will get some odd conversions as it uses character recognition so 'ri' ( r and i ) may be read as 'n' ( letter n ) etc. But on the whole I tend to prefer converting from PDF to HTML as you can get some really odd formatting with HTML files that are a pain to correct.
To add to the conversion about PDFs, I've found they work best on the Sony Reader when they are sized for the reader's screen (3.5 inches by 4.75 inches). When that is the case, I've found that they work very well on my ereader with the ebooks formatted exactly as intended. It is for this reason that I use PDF when formatting ebooks for my ereader (such as those from Project Gutenberg).

It's when the PDFs are not sized for the ereader's screen (such as PDFs that are designed to be printed on standard typing paper). Although reflow makes it possible to read them on my ereader, the results are less than satisfactory since it changes the formatting of the ebook (such as page breaks falling in the middle of pages).
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:55 PM   #15
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Smile

Thanks again, for all your replies, and Shellshock actually answered my next question before I asked, of which would be the best format to convert to either LRF or epub. Its becoming a little clearer!
And I've just ordered my Sony 505 today so cant wait to get started. Had a look at Smashbooks today and that looks a really good site.
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