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Old 10-14-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
techlvr83
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e-book App / reader suggestion needed

Hi All,

I have taken on a big project, which I am trying my best to complete. I own a bookstore, however in the niche book category that I work in, not a lot of publishers are going towards e-books market. I am trying to change that and I have come up with a idea. I will take on the responsibility with getting the publishers to provide me the e-book version of the books.

I will create a e-book marketplace within my existing website, where people will be able to purchase e-books as a digital purchase, instead of them getting the file download, they will get instructions to download the app in android or iOS marketplace. There I will create a app which will be Kindle style app, which will be connected to my bookstore, where I will be selling ebooks. Once they login using same credentials as website, they will be able to see the purchases there.

1- I want to know what kind of things (Security wise) I should be worried about, so people can not have access to any of the files on my website.

2- Should I use DRM if not how can I convince Publishers. If Yes, which is the best DRM to go with? What are opinions about using Opendrive?

3- I use opensource PHP shopping cart, any security issues I need to worry about.

4- Hosted on VPS (with strong firewall) that only allows certain IP address on ports (FTP, cPanel etc)

5- If my publishers provide me data in InDesign / Word / PDF please provide me info on how to convert that into ePub.

Thank you everyone for all your feedback in advance, I am more than happy to provide more details if needed to get the right feedback.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:48 AM   #2
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Any suggestions will be really appreciated.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:23 PM   #3
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Why would you need to create your own app? Ebooks come in 2 standard formats, Kindle (.mobi) and ePub. There are lots of apps that can read those formats already.

You say "I will take on the responsibility with getting the publishers to provide me the e-book version of the books", but if the publishers create an ebook, why would they need you to make it available, when they can send it to Amazon and/or B&N, etc.

People's ereaders will not be able to access the books if you create your own DRM or format, and they will not like that. You would be missing a vast amount of the market.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
Why would you need to create your own app? Ebooks come in 2 standard formats, Kindle (.mobi) and ePub. There are lots of apps that can read those formats already.

You say "I will take on the responsibility with getting the publishers to provide me the e-book version of the books", but if the publishers create an ebook, why would they need you to make it available, when they can send it to Amazon and/or B&N, etc.

People's ereaders will not be able to access the books if you create your own DRM or format, and they will not like that. You would be missing a vast amount of the market.
May be you misunderstood, I will use the standard ePub format, However I would create a app where ePub formatted books will be read, I just want to create different than iBookstore and Kindle, so instead of giving 30% to Apple, I will take lower percentage from the publishers, as an incentive.

Also, because at my e-book store will carry same category books, and as some major publishers will help me with marketing, I feel it will be good to have a separate niche category marketplace, and it might help in cross sales.

As I said, I will be using same standard ePub and DRM in market so hopefully compatibility will not be a issue.
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:42 AM   #5
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Why create another app for that? There are already several apps available that can read ePUB, also DRM restricted.
You will need Adobe software to put the DRM on the books, and that is not cheap. Also, it is rather useless since it can be removed in milliseconds. Also keep in mind that converting Word/InDesign/PDF to ePUB takes a specialist to do it right. All of the automated tools will deliver questionable results with unpredictable output on the various readers.

Security will be an issue, but nothing that can be solved. Having a good SSL certificate will help, but good quality code is also very important.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:32 AM   #6
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Why create another app for that? There are already several apps available that can read ePUB, also DRM restricted.
You will need Adobe software to put the DRM on the books, and that is not cheap. Also, it is rather useless since it can be removed in milliseconds. Also keep in mind that converting Word/InDesign/PDF to ePUB takes a specialist to do it right. All of the automated tools will deliver questionable results with unpredictable output on the various readers.

Security will be an issue, but nothing that can be solved. Having a good SSL certificate will help, but good quality code is also very important.
I know there are lot of apps in the market, however this will be my app. As I will control what kind of books will be available in the app.

DRM is something I don't like, however that is something publisher might request, how can I convince them to use my services without using DRM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #7
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You won't be able to, with the major publishers, who will probably not be interested in a niche bookstore, anyway.

I fail to see what value you are adding, if you use standard DRM and format. There is no need to have a bookstore integrated with an app. If you can control what books are available via the app, the app will be of limited usefulness, and not desirable to users.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:40 PM   #8
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Bluefire is the app of choice for reading ePub on an iPad or iPhone unless it's an eBook that has come from Apple in which case, use iBooks.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
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To convert a PDF to an ePub, you have to pick some program to do the conversion. No program will do the PDF > ePub without errors. Not even Adobe Acrobat can do it error free. Then you have to take the resulting ePub and A/B compare the text 100% to make sure no errors get past due to the conversion. And finally, you have to then format the ePub.

That is a lot of work and the larger the PDF, the more work it is. A/B comparing can be rather tedious.

To convert a Word document, you have to save it as filtered HTML. Then you convert it to ePub and remove all of the garbage that Word put in and that too can sometimes be a lot of work. You have to edit the CSS and remove everything that's not needed and should not be there. Also, there can be garbage in the XML files as well that needs to go or be modified.

As for the DRM, I can have the DRM stripped from your ePub in the time it takes for Calibre to store the ePub in it's database.

Last edited by JSWolf; 10-16-2012 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #10
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If you really want you own app check with AZARDI. They can create a custom one for you.

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Old 10-17-2012, 12:28 AM   #11
techlvr83
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To convert a PDF to an ePub, you have to pick some program to do the conversion. No program will do the PDF > ePub without errors. Not even Adobe Acrobat can do it error free. Then you have to take the resulting ePub and A/B compare the text 100% to make sure no errors get past due to the conversion. And finally, you have to then format the ePub.

That is a lot of work and the larger the PDF, the more work it is. A/B comparing can be rather tedious.

To convert a Word document, you have to save it as filtered HTML. Then you convert it to ePub and remove all of the garbage that Word put in and that too can sometimes be a lot of work. You have to edit the CSS and remove everything that's not needed and should not be there. Also, there can be garbage in the XML files as well that needs to go or be modified.

As for the DRM, I can have the DRM stripped from your ePub in the time it takes for Calibre to store the ePub in it's database.
What is the recommended format that I should ask the publishers to provide the content to me in? InDesign?


Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
You won't be able to, with the major publishers, who will probably not be interested in a niche bookstore, anyway.

I fail to see what value you are adding, if you use standard DRM and format. There is no need to have a bookstore integrated with an app. If you can control what books are available via the app, the app will be of limited usefulness, and not desirable to users.
Its like having all Christian e-books in one app, anyone who will be interested in buying christian e-books can goto my bookstore and and buy them and read them via my app.

Long term plan is for me to even become distributor of physical books for them so that I can distribute all formats of books. I feel that will automatically bring traffic.

I can further details on my plans, however point here is that I need info help on the questions asked in the first post, not reasons why I should or should not take this project forward. As I have made this decision after discussing it with many people who are in this industry and they are willing to move forward.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:32 AM   #12
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Um, with that intended user base you probably shouldn't worry too much about security.


Converting anything into ePub should be done manually. I can tell you from personal experience that converters do not work very well. Of course, some formats convert a bit better (open formats usually, like HTML/XHTML, ODT, tagged PDF, etc), but some manual layout and/or TOC adjustments will always be required.
  • InDesign can export to ePub since CS4 or something like that.
  • Word files can be saved as HTML, but you need to manually clean it up with batch replacing (to get rid of "mso" tags), then put through Sigil, which can check for syntax errors.
  • For PDF files, you're probably better off OCR-ing them, unless they were saved as tagged PDFs. This format is intended as an output format, as a final destination.

Either way, don't expect them to covert 100% accurately; maybe 80% at best, but it ruins the whole reading experience if they are not checked and adjusted manually.
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