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Old 02-11-2009, 03:28 AM   #1
mbp
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How common are Topaz ebooks?

I'm seriously considering getting the new kindle as my first ebook reader. The decision basically can be boiled down to the fact that there isn't much difference between the various e-ink offerings (as they all use basically the same screen) and amazon is the content king and the only way to get their content is to buy a kindle first.

One thing one thing that's putting me off though is DRM. If I buy a book from Amazon I want to be able to use it they way I want. I know that the AZW files can be de-DRMed but that the Topaz ones (currently) can't be.
How common is the Topaz format on average from Amazon? 1 in 2 books, 1 in 10?
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:37 AM   #2
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You'll rarely, if ever, find it in fiction books. It tends to be things like textbooks which need complex layouts, embedded fonts, etc.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:45 AM   #3
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There are a few fiction TOPAZ ebooks, but they are very rare. Even without the DRM issue, they are generally very hard to read because the fonts are not anti-aliased and the font is often not a good one for viewing on a screen.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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Glad to hear that. Hopefully they won't become more prevalent. Well looks like I'll be going with the kindle then. Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:51 AM   #5
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I'm hoping to get a Kindle too, and I was wondering if you can tell if a book is AZN or Topaz before you purchase it. I looked around in the Kindle store a bit, but the format for each book I checked just says Kindle edition. Does anyone know how to check that?
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:00 AM   #6
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I think PilotBob said that if you download the free excerpt, you can see what the format is.

I haven't researched it much because, I just have had no luck with the MobiDeDrm program.

And this shames me no end.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:07 AM   #7
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Ah, that makes sense. I'm definitely a "read the first few pages in the store" kind of person, so I'd pretty much always be interested in reading the excerpt before buying.

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deety View Post
I'm hoping to get a Kindle too, and I was wondering if you can tell if a book is AZN or Topaz before you purchase it.
The free sample will be .azw1 or .tpz, but you will have to view them via USB from a PC to tell this. It is also usually obvious from the page layout that it isn't AZW (which always uses the same font).

On Amazon's web page, AZW ebooks list File Size and Print Length but TOPAZ ebooks only list Print Length.

Here are a few TOPAZ ebook titles:

Basic Relativity by Richard A. Mould
Gateways by F. Paul Wilson
Nobody Runs Forever by Richard Stark

Not all Stark novels are TOPAZ, this one is AZW:

Dirty Money by Richard Stark
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:56 AM   #9
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I bet Kindle exclusive books are always in Topaz.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:27 AM   #10
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No, the new Stephen Kind exclusive, "UR", is in AZW (mobi) format.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to Topaz - some series started AZW, changed to Topaz for the middle books and back to mobi for the latest. I only have 3 or 4 Topaz books, bought before I learned to be careful.

I'm hoping the speed of the new Kindle will help one aspect of Topaz problems - the page rendering tends to be slower so a new processor should help.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deety View Post
I'm hoping to get a Kindle too, and I was wondering if you can tell if a book is AZN or Topaz before you purchase it. I looked around in the Kindle store a bit, but the format for each book I checked just says Kindle edition. Does anyone know how to check that?
If, in the "Product Details," you see both "File Size" and "Print Length" it is likely not a Topaz book (which will show only the former in my experience).

(Also, as Nate notes above, a book that is available for the Kindle but not at any other Mobipocket stores is more likely than not to be a Topaz book, in my experience.)
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
I bet Kindle exclusive books are always in Topaz.
As tlrowley says, that's not always the case but it seems that .tpz books are often exclusive to the Kindle. It seems to be a format barely above OCR so that makes sense. They didn't want to do the work to get it in a flexible format so they went with .tpz and nothing else. At least, that's my suspicion. I've only had three .tpz books and I don't see any of them elsewhere. My last one was egregious but I tolerated it because I really wanted to read it and it was 950 pages in print.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:37 AM   #13
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Alisa, I totally agree. it seems to be - Kindle exclusives are not topaz, but topaz are Kindle exclusive.

Your comment about "barely above OCR" makes sense. I've seen comments about not being able to change the font size in topaz, which is not true, (time for the myths thread?), but increasing the font size doesn't improve the experience

I try very hard to avoid topaz, but if I really want to read the book, I will. I just have to understand that I'm locked in.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:55 AM   #14
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In addition to all the other hints of what to look for contained in this thread, you might also look with grave suspicion at all books published by St. Martins Press. They're one of the worst offenders, in my experience.

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Old 02-15-2009, 03:42 AM   #15
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Unfortunately for me, so far about 80% of the books I want are Topaz books. And they're fiction -- Robert J. Sawyer books, Steve Alten books, Christopher Moore books ... ARGH! We really desperately need a tool to convert Topaz books!
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