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Old 05-22-2009, 04:56 PM   #1
enarchay
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Availability of ebooks?

I asked this question in my previous thread, but I thought it was important enough to start a new thread just for this question.

I'm considering buying an ereader, but I'm wondering if most of the books I want will be available. First, some background. I’m a college student and I read a lot in my free time. I read almost zero fiction, so I’m not sure Kindle’s store would be a big advantage for me. When I'm not reading the required texts for my college classes, I primarily read about philosophy and theology. Most of the texts I'm interested in are usually academic. For example, this summer I was hoping to buy The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy, some Blackwell Companions, some books on logic, and some books on philosophy of religion (as an example, Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga). So, do you think I will be able to get most of the stuff I want to read in ebook format? Glancing at amazon, for example, The Oxford Handbook is not available in Kindle format (or PDF from what I can tell). There's the option of torrent sites, but I'm not sure how I feel about that ethically, and I'm not sure if torrent sites would offer what I'm looking for either.

So, what do you think? Do you think I would be able to get most of the books I want, or are ereaders more useful for popular fiction? What other sites are there? What do you know about torrenting books?
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:00 PM   #2
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So, what do you think? Do you think I would be able to get most of the books I want
I would be surprised if you managed. The percentage of all books in print that are available as eBooks is pretty small, I believe.

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What do you know about torrenting books?
You might find more stuff of interest to you that way, but (1) finding specific books is still unlikely, and (2) a lot of it may be in original book size PDF... for which you would probably want a 10 inch display reader. Basically the iRex Digital Reader.

But I'm a relative newcomer... better advice might be swiftly forthcoming.

- Ahi
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:11 PM   #3
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Check the wiki for a listing of the major ebook stores. Go there, check to see what they have for sale. No need to speculate or guess. It's all there for you to check on.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:17 PM   #4
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Popular fiction seems to be the most plentiful. I suggest you contact the publishers of the books you want to express your interest and ask them what their plans are.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enarchay View Post
I read almost zero fiction, so I’m not sure Kindle’s store would be a big advantage for me.
The Kindle has a bigger lead in non-fiction than fiction over other ebook stores. It has Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga for example. Note that this seems to be a TOPAZ ebook, which are sometimes not of the best quality - but at least it is available.

There are quite a few older non-fiction ebooks only available as Adobe PDF, but until Amazon came along nobody was seriously pushing non-fiction ebooks. There are issues with the Kindle for technical ebooks (with tables and displaying programs as text and other advanced formatting features), but this should not be an issue for philosophy books. If an ebook is only available as an Adobe PDF ebook, then ineptpdf can strip the DRM (Adobe ADEPT DRM for PDF circumvented) and Windows MobiPocket Reader or Calibre can convert it to DRM-free MOBI for the Kindle. This isn't thought by some to be legal in the US, but it is hard to see who is hurt by doing this for personal use on ebooks you own.

Overall, I suggest deciding if the Kindle store has enough of the books you want to read. If so, then get a Kindle (or an iPhone/Touch). If not, then don't buy an ebook reader. Note that the selection of ebooks is hit and miss even in fiction.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:38 PM   #6
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The Kindle has a bigger lead in non-fiction than fiction over other ebook stores. It has Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga for example. Note that this seems to be a TOPAZ ebook, which are sometimes not of the best quality - but at least it is available.
How are they not of the best quality? Could you give me an example? And how do I tell if it is a TOPAZ ebook?
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:50 AM   #7
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A number of sites can be source of books and some are mentioned and discussed in this thread: and you can look at the wiki first:

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_stores

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...856#post467856
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:30 AM   #8
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ya most of the books on amazon are no more in pdf format, they are in chm or something like that format. Y its like that?
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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ya most of the books on amazon are no more in pdf format, they are in chm or something like that format. Y its like that?
Most of Amazon's eBooks are in AZW.
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:37 PM   #10
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How are they not of the best quality? Could you give me an example? And how do I tell if it is a TOPAZ ebook?
Most Kindle ebooks are AZW, which is identical to MOBI, but some are TOPAZ. This is an Amazon-specific format which seems to be based on scanning paper documents OCR-ing them and using bitmaps of the scanned characters as the font. Many ebooks of older existing books are made from the paper version, but TOPAZ's bitmapped character sets are unique to Amazon. The fonts are not anti-aliased and can include scan artifacts, and the OCR can also have proofreading errors. The ebooks are still readable for the most part. See the attached screenshot from Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga, which is a TOPAZ ebook.

One way to tell if an ebook is TOPAZ is to download a sample and look at it, but you need a Kindle within whispernet range to do this. The other way, that is usually accurate, is that the Kindle Store web page lists the size in KB for AZW ebooks but does not list the size for TOPAZ ebooks. This is probably because TOPAZ ebooks are significantly larger (since they include embedded bitmap fonts).
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:58 PM   #11
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The ebooks are still readable for the most part. See the attached screenshot from Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga, which is a TOPAZ ebook.
Hmm... doesn't look that good. Does it look any better on the Kindle itself? Does the table of contents and stuff work?

Do you think you could take a few more pictures of that book? I might buy it in paperback if I don't like how it looks on the ereader.
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:39 PM   #12
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Hmm... doesn't look that good. Does it look any better on the Kindle itself? Does the table of contents and stuff work?
This is an exact copy of the bitmap from the screen. It does look a bit different on the Kindle, because the screen is smaller (more pixels per inch) than the typical computer screen. The attached screenshot is from a larger font, the Kindle has 6 font sizes and this is size 4 (vs size 3 for the previous one). The TOPAZ ebooks have a TOC and a cover, and are searchable and can use the dictionary lookup. I think the footnotes may work in the full ebook, which is why they are underlined. They don't work in the sample.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:00 PM   #13
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This is an exact copy of the bitmap from the screen. It does look a bit different on the Kindle, because the screen is smaller (more pixels per inch) than the typical computer screen. The attached screenshot is from a larger font, the Kindle has 6 font sizes and this is size 4 (vs size 3 for the previous one). The TOPAZ ebooks have a TOC and a cover, and are searchable and can use the dictionary lookup. I think the footnotes may work in the full ebook, which is why they are underlined. They don't work in the sample.
Do the spaces between the words look just like that on the Kindle 2? I think that'd probably bother me.

I could probably get this book in PDF then convert it. Not sure if that'd work better.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Do the spaces between the words look just like that on the Kindle 2? I think that'd probably bother me.

I could probably get this book in PDF then convert it. Not sure if that'd work better.
K2 allows you to change the spacing between words and lines as well as the font size.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:21 PM   #15
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K2 allows you to change the spacing between words and lines as well as the font size.
Really? So, that one TOPAZ book (Warrant and Proper Function) that had the big spaces between words could be fixed?
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