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Old 09-05-2008, 04:40 AM   #1
Londoner
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Total newbie, please help!

Hey there,

So, being a total newbie to the eBook thing, I could use some advice/info from an experienced Sony user.
I've read through the threads as much as time has allowed and can't find an exact answer to my questions, but apologies if I'm going over old ground.

Basically, the Sony 505 has just come out in Waterstones. I read a lot on the tube/lunch breaks/at home, and would like the convenience of an ebook reader and also the cost saving against buying actual physical books.
I went into Waterstones and saw it on display, had a play around with it and absolutely love the device. But, I have no idea about formats etc and the information I can find from Sony and the press releases is a tad confusing.

What I would like to know, is a little about the formats and their use with the device itself.
I live in the UK (which I dare say you guessed from the username!) and would like to know for example, if it's possible for me to buy ebooks from www.ebooks.com and put them on the reader. I've read somewhere that there is an issue with US format PDF files :s

What I'm basically looking for is the ability to buy the reader, and slowly let the thing pay for itself with the cost difference between ebooks and the physical variety.
Could someone please advise me, if I were to go out and buy a 505 today, the best/cheapest/most compatible way of getting legible ebooks to come out on the screen? Is it possible to buy the UK reader and pay US prices for the ebooks?
I ask this because having waited for Waterstones to actually put their much anticipated ebook store online, they have done so today and the discount for ebooks seems a tad...pathetic. Less in fact than the reduction they offer for going in to the store and buying a new hardback!

Sorry if I'm asking the questions of a simpleton, but I'm an avid reader and effectively crap with technology!

Thanks muchly!
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:46 AM   #2
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Hello and welcome, and the love will only grow deeper

I can't advise you on the Sony directly, since I dont have one of those. What I can advise on is format.

DO NOT use PDF, EVER! PDF is a bad, bad BAD format for e-books.

But there is a plethora of different converters that will take just about any format and convert it to an LRF file which I believe is the native format for the Sony device. So basicly, you can buy even DRM protected mobipocket and MS Reader formated books, and with a relatively simple process remove the DRM protection, convert it to an LRF, drop it to your Sony device and read away!

There are loads of threads on this forum which in depth describes exactly how you go about it. Basicly just do a search for "convert to sony" or "convert to lrf"

Happy reading!
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for the fast reply, I shall get reading and try to gain an understanding of changing formats.
For someone new to the whole ebook phenomenon the manufacturers/press haven't made it particularly easy. The whole marketing machine seems to delight in telling the purchasers that they need to buy ePub files that will definitely work (and just happen to be sold by Waterstones at a crap discount), but that you're taking it into your own hands if you try putting anything else on there.
It's not clear that you can use any format and use some 3rd party software to easily change the format to work perfectly.
I wonder how much extra revenue their poor provision of information nets them?
There's more than likely a large customer base that wouldn't think to look around on the internet and ask a few questions, that will happily buy the reader and then need to purchase around 200 paperbacks to get their value for money!
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:44 AM   #4
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All Adobe ebooks (the old PDFs and the new ePubs) will work on the PRS-505. So far as I know there is no country restriction in ADE, so if a site lets you buy a Secure Adobe ebook (and they all want your money) it should work on the PRS-505. The issue with Adobe PDF ebooks is that ADE and the PRS-505 will "honor" the original page breaks, so everything reflows to the Sony's small screen until you get to the end of a "page" and then most of the screen is blank for no good reason. Font size may also be an issue with Adobe PDF ebooks.

As Slite said, an alternative is to buy Secure LIT (MS Reader) or MOBI (or eReader) ebooks, break their DRM, and format shift them to LRF using Calibre. Note that I don't know what the legal status of this approach is in the UK. However, doing this for personal use on ebooks you purchased does not seem to harm anyone. You have a Windows PC (right?), so LIT is probably your best choice for format shifting.

There are also DRM-free ebooks in Sony format, for sale from Baen Books (Science Fiction) and FictionWise among others and freely down-loadable out of copyright works at this site and others.

The Bookeen Cybook is also worth considering. It supports Secure MOBI ebooks, available from multiple sources.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:32 AM   #5
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W H Smith have started to advertise the Bookeen CyBook on their website, for a penny under £150. It originally showed 'in stock' now shows '4-5 weeks'.

If you can wait for them to come into stock again, and if the price stays the same, I'd definitely recommend the CyBook over the Sony PRS-505.

The main reason is that the CyBook reads Mobipocket format ebooks, both DRMed and unprotected versions. Mobipocket eBooks are available from lots of publishers and lots of eBook stores.

I have had a CyBook for six months, and I'm very pleased with it. I've even ordered another from W H Smiths - it will be interesting to see how long it takes to arrive.

Paul

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Originally Posted by Londoner View Post
Hey there,

So, being a total newbie to the eBook thing, I could use some advice/info from an experienced Sony user.
I've read through the threads as much as time has allowed and can't find an exact answer to my questions, but apologies if I'm going over old ground.

Basically, the Sony 505 has just come out in Waterstones. I read a lot on the tube/lunch breaks/at home, and would like the convenience of an ebook reader and also the cost saving against buying actual physical books.
I went into Waterstones and saw it on display, had a play around with it and absolutely love the device. But, I have no idea about formats etc and the information I can find from Sony and the press releases is a tad confusing.

What I would like to know, is a little about the formats and their use with the device itself.
I live in the UK (which I dare say you guessed from the username!) and would like to know for example, if it's possible for me to buy ebooks from www.ebooks.com and put them on the reader. I've read somewhere that there is an issue with US format PDF files :s

What I'm basically looking for is the ability to buy the reader, and slowly let the thing pay for itself with the cost difference between ebooks and the physical variety.
Could someone please advise me, if I were to go out and buy a 505 today, the best/cheapest/most compatible way of getting legible ebooks to come out on the screen? Is it possible to buy the UK reader and pay US prices for the ebooks?
I ask this because having waited for Waterstones to actually put their much anticipated ebook store online, they have done so today and the discount for ebooks seems a tad...pathetic. Less in fact than the reduction they offer for going in to the store and buying a new hardback!

Sorry if I'm asking the questions of a simpleton, but I'm an avid reader and effectively crap with technology!

Thanks muchly!
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:54 AM   #6
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W H Smith have started to advertise the Bookeen CyBook on their website, for a penny under £150. It originally showed 'in stock' now shows '4-5 weeks'.

If you can wait for them to come into stock again, and if the price stays the same, I'd definitely recommend the CyBook over the Sony PRS-505.

The main reason is that the CyBook reads Mobipocket format ebooks, both DRMed and unprotected versions. Mobipocket eBooks are available from lots of publishers and lots of eBook stores.

I have had a CyBook for six months, and I'm very pleased with it. I've even ordered another from W H Smiths - it will be interesting to see how long it takes to arrive.

Paul
Oh sod, thanks very much for the recommendation, but in the time between reading Wallcraft's reply and getting back from lunch I went into Waterstone's down the road and went and bought a Sony.
Thanks to everyone for the replies, yes I do have a Windows PC (though I prefer my Mac!) and so can use the Sony Connect software.
I'll have a good browse through the forums on content and how to change formats, but thanks very much for putting my mind at rest as to exactly how the different formats are applicable to the 505.
I'll have a crack at the out of print site and try the different formats to reassure myself that I know what I'm doing, and I'll get downloading a copy of the converter software.

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Old 09-05-2008, 12:57 PM   #7
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What I'm basically looking for is the ability to buy the reader, and slowly let the thing pay for itself with the cost difference between ebooks and the physical variety.
While you have gotten some good info on the formats and such I wanted to address the above quoted sentence.

This is probably not going to happen. At least today, for the most part eBooks sell for about the same price as a mass market paperback. While some back catalog stuff may sell for a bit less, it's not less than you could probably get the paperback used for.

Get a reader for the ability to have a portable device with many books on it. Get a reader because it is much lighter to hold than your average hard cover. Get a reader because you don't have a lot of room to store pbooks. But, I don't think you will realize your goal of saving money.

That said, and maybe some other UK people can talk to this... you "may" be able to save some money due to the $ to £ conversion rate and also I think Harry saying that books in the UK about about £8. So, if you buy an eBook for $6 you are saving a bit.

Anyway.... good luck with your choice... I am sure you will enjoy having a reader.

BOb
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:22 PM   #8
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This is probably not going to happen. At least today, for the most part eBooks sell for about the same price as a mass market paperback. While some back catalog stuff may sell for a bit less, it's not less than you could probably get the paperback used for.
It's actually quite easy to do if you live in the UK, Bob .

The typical paperback in the UK is £6.99. The typical book at Fictionwise is, let's say, $6 (for "non-hot") stuff, which is £3.40 at today's exchange rate. That means one is saving about £3.60 per book. To repay the cost of the Reader (£200) only takes the purchase of 200/3.6 = about 56 books. That's probably less than 6 months book buying for me .
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:27 PM   #9
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It's actually quite easy to do if you live in the UK, Bob .

The typical paperback in the UK is £6.99. The typical book at Fictionwise is, let's say, $6 (for "non-hot") stuff, which is £3.40 at today's exchange rate. That means one is saving about £3.60 per book. To repay the cost of the Reader (£200) only takes the purchase of 200/3.6 = about 56 books. That's probably less than 6 months book buying for me .
Hmm... I've gotta get my employer to pay my in pounds... or maybe even euros.

BOb
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:50 PM   #10
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Get a reader for the ability to have a portable device with many books on it. Get a reader because it is much lighter to hold than your average hard cover. Get a reader because you don't have a lot of room to store pbooks. But, I don't think you will realize your goal of saving money.

That said, and maybe some other UK people can talk to this... you "may" be able to save some money due to the $ to £ conversion rate and also I think Harry saying that books in the UK about about £8. So, if you buy an eBook for $6 you are saving a bit.
BOb
Let this UK person talk about the savings to be made with eBooks.

Let's take the paperbacks for a series that's been out some time, but is still popular - Terry Pratchett's Discworld.

The paperbacks in the UK have an RRP of £6.99 or £7.99. The first 25 are available at various discounts at Amazon.co.uk, but to buy the lot would be £134.29, an average cost of £5.37

At fictionwise, they all have an RRP of $7.99, but club members get them for $6.79, and there's a 10% rebate, taking them to $6.11. So to buy the first 25 would cost $153.43. (That's 24 at $6.11 and one at $6.79.)

At today's exchange rate, that's £87.09, a saving of £47.20

That's pretty good for a bunch of not-very-discounted ebooks from a major publisher.

Now let's look at this month's set of books from Baen Books. Baen published six books this month, three hardbacks, and three mass-market paperbacks. To buy them all from Amazon UK would cost £47.17

To buy them from Baen in eBook format would cost $15 - about £8.51, a saving of £38.66

Of course, you might not want all of them. But buying them all in eBook form is cheaper than buying any one of the hardbacks in paper.

Paul
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:36 PM   #11
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Awesome replies chaps, thank you. It's apparent that's it's much easier for us UK people to recover the cost of the reader than folks in the US.
I have to say that I'm up to date with most of the new books out and I'm working my way through back catalogues of authors that I haven't yet read, so I'm currently buying a lot of older books.
I'll take a look at the sites you've mentioned and start downloading myself some content!

Harry - I don't read at quite your rate but thanks for the sums, it at least gives me something to tell the missus to rationalise another gadget buy.

Paul - THanks for the site suggestions, I'm off right this minute to get buying

Edit - Having major trouble with content tonight. I can't stress enough how little I know about technology, and this is baffling me. I've bought a book from fictionwise which only came in one of the two DRM formats.
I went for the microsoft format and after an hour and a half finally managed to shift the DRM off (more by luck than judgement I might add).
Now I have a sodding great folder full of html files and no idea how to get them into an lrf.
I've tried searching through the forums and tried using Calibre, but frankly I can't work the bloody thing out at all.
If anyone could point me at a guide that's in idiot-speak then please feel free!
Thanks

Last edited by Londoner; 09-05-2008 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Post-post blues
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:46 PM   #12
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For stripping the DRM, did you use ConvertLit command line or the GUI ("windows" with buttons version)? I use the GUI version and just click the "Downconvert" button which leaves me with a tidy .lit file I can then convert in Calibre. I couldn't figure out the command line version of ConvertLit.
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:48 PM   #13
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I use the GUI version and just click the "Downconvert" button which leaves me with a tidy .lit file I can then convert in Calibre. I couldn't figure out the command line version of ConvertLit.
Funny... I couldn't get ConvertLitGUI to work for beans. I just use the command line... so much simpler.

BOb
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:54 PM   #14
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I went for the microsoft format and after an hour and a half finally managed to shift the DRM off (more by luck than judgement I might add).
Now I have a sodding great folder full of html files and no idea how to get them into an lrf.
I've tried searching through the forums and tried using Calibre, but frankly I can't work the bloody thing out at all.
ConvertLIT does two things, Downconvert (crack the DRM, but leave as a LIT) and Extract (pull all the files out of the LIT). You have managed to do both, but you only need do the first.

I echo mollybo's advice to use the GUI version, from here. Once you have a DRM-free LIT, Calibre can convert it to LRF for you (again via a GUI).
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:04 AM   #15
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Thanks again Wallcraft and thank you Mollybo, following your posts I have successfully gotten my first working eBook onto the reader.
I'm entirely non-technical so it's heartwarming to find how easy it was to do with the GUI, and I'm very appreciative to whoever made it.
I'm off to attack fictionwise now to get this month's reading downloaded and added on, and I'm delighted with the unit itself.
I loaded on the free 100 books and had a good flick through a few of the titles and it's fantastic. Much easier for me than having to get to a bookshop and then carry the things around all the time.

Thanks to everyone that posted in the thread, you've been more than helpful and saved me a long time pulling at my hair!

Last edited by Londoner; 09-07-2008 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Attrocious spelling
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