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Old 12-13-2009, 12:07 PM   #1
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B&N Switching to ePub a Sneaky Move?

Is B&N switching over to ePub with newer releases and not telling anyone? I just downloaded the sample of I Alex Cross and it came down in ePub instead of eReader. I took a look at the entry for the eBook and no place did it say anything about ePub. So what gives? B&N is touting eReader all over the place and here we have ePub to which eReader will not handle.

To me, this seems like a sneaky move. If you go to B&N to buy an eBook, you expect if to be in eReader format, but if you get ePub, are you able to return it? Would your credit card company help you out with the problem if B&N will not take it back?
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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They do seem to have made a stealth switch to ePub. Also, ePub isn't currently supported on the BlackBerry so I'm not sure what happens if you download those titles to a BlackBerry.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:49 PM   #3
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I hope that they will make it clear that their ePub books use a custom DRM method which won't currently work on other devices. It's going to cause a great deal of confusion otherwise.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:54 PM   #4
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And here's where using the term eReader to mean what it doesn't mean is so wrong...

Looking at the entry for I Alex Cross I see it says...

Quote:
Works with the eReader you already own.
Does that mean it works with your eReader application or does it work with your electronic Reader? And the photo shows an iPod Touch/iPhone, a Blackberry, Windows system, and MAC. Then you click learn more and get info on installing eReader.

B&N needs to fire whoever is in charge of this mess they've made.

Last edited by JSWolf; 12-14-2009 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:56 PM   #5
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I hope that they will make it clear that their ePub books use a custom DRM method which won't currently work on other devices. It's going to cause a great deal of confusion otherwise.
We know they currently use Adept as that's the only DRM right now. And we don't know what will happen when Adobe gets the new CS4 up and running for the DRM at B&N. Maybe you'll e offered the choice of Adept or the other DRm.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:43 PM   #6
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We know they currently use Adept as that's the only DRM right now. And we don't know what will happen when Adobe gets the new CS4 up and running for the DRM at B&N. Maybe you'll e offered the choice of Adept or the other DRm.
Sorry, Jon, you misunderstand me. Yes, they are using ADEPT, but they're using a later version of than anyone else, which supports both the "old" Adobe ID type DRM and the new credit-card number "password" DRM. The trouble is that nobody else currently has this newer version, so unless B&N explicitly explain to people that their new DRM method won't work on other ADE devices, there could be a lot of people buying ePub books at B&N expecting them to work on their Sony, Astak, etc, and being disappointed.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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Sorry, Jon, you misunderstand me. Yes, they are using ADEPT, but they're using a later version of than anyone else, which supports both the "old" Adobe ID type DRM and the new credit-card number "password" DRM. The trouble is that nobody else currently has this newer version, so unless B&N explicitly explain to people that their new DRM method won't work on other ADE devices, there could be a lot of people buying ePub books at B&N expecting them to work on their Sony, Astak, etc, and being disappointed.
But will the DRM for the B&N ePub support both the ID DRM and the password DRM? Or is it one or the other?
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:52 PM   #8
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You mean can an individual book use both DRM mechanisms? That's an excellent question, and I haven't got the faintest idea! My "gut feeling" is that it would be one or the other, but that's just a guess.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:07 PM   #9
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You mean can an individual book use both DRM mechanisms? That's an excellent question, and I haven't got the faintest idea! My "gut feeling" is that it would be one or the other, but that's just a guess.
I did download a free book from B&N and it is in ePub. Reader Library and Adobe Digital Editions cannot view this. So basically, unless you have a nook, don't buy any eBooks from B&N as you won't know if you are getting ePub or eReader.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:15 PM   #10
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B&N software for iPhone, Mac and supposedly windows can open B&N-bought epubs. I'm sure Sony will release an update to their readers to support updated Adobe modules.

But then, there's not a single DRM which hasn't been cracked yet, is there? When there's a will, there's a way.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:21 PM   #11
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B&N software for iPhone, Mac and supposedly windows can open B&N-bought epubs. I'm sure Sony will release an update to their readers to support updated Adobe modules.

But then, there's not a single DRM which hasn't been cracked yet, is there? When there's a will, there's a way.
Yes, there are DRM schemes which haven't been cracked, too many, in my opinion. Topaz has not been cracked, and the now defunct Sony .lrx wasn't cracked as far as I'm aware. Plus they're still struggling with the PID for Kindle for PC. And now this one.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:57 PM   #12
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Teleread is reporting on this story as well.

Quote:
And so if the consumer has one of the devices eReader supports that are not iPhone, Blackberry, Windows, or Mac—to be precise, this includes Android, PalmOS, old Windows CE, new Windows Mobile, Symbian, and OQO—he is basically out of luck, and has no way of knowing this until he’s already sunk the cash.

There is nothing on Barnes & Noble’s e-book page—or even on their e-book FAQ—to give any suggestion that Barnes & Noble’s application is not still using the same format as plain-vanilla eReader. This is the closest their FAQ comes:

What is the Barnes & Noble eReader?

The Barnes & Noble eReader is an application used to read Barnes & Noble eBooks on your iPhone, Blackberry, Windows PC or Mac. Without it, you will not be able to read Barnes & Noble eBooks. Our eBooks are encrypted to protect the authors’ work. Thus, other eBook Readers will not work with Barnes & Noble eBooks. The Barnes & Noble eReader can display styled text (italicized, underlined, etc.) and formatting as well as perform functions not found on other eBook readers. The Barnes & Noble eReader is FREE and is supported on multiple devices.

To be fair, it again mentions only those four platforms. But it still uses the term eReader—and to make matters worse, it is now clearly using it as a proper-noun application name. Because when Barnes & Noble bought Fictionwise so they could create their own reader app to go head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone, they did not bother to rename it.

Thus, there is a Barnes & Noble eReader, which works only for the four platforms above, and there is a Fictionwise eReader, which is the original. So again: “Hey, I’ve got eReader—I’m covered, right?” Wrong.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:51 AM   #13
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I do think it's rather sleazy to slip in ePub without telling anyone. You pay good money for the eBook and find you cannot read it where you want because it's not the format you expected. And then to get Adobe to actually allow changing the DRM on ePub is also a stupid idea. I can see people purchasing ePub from B&N only to find they cannot read them on their reader. B&N needs to just go out of business and save us all this hassle.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #14
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I think you may be misreading a few things.

First, I do know that B&N's switch to ePub has been heavily publicized by both B&N and Adobe.

The choice not to have some indication in their eBook store of which is which is bizarre and a bad judgment call.

On the DRM angle...

If Jim Lester's lurking around, I'm sure he could speak to this much better than I, but...

The sense I get from having seen B&N/Adobe's announcements and Adobe's FAQs on the topic suggest that B&N is using the same underlying DRM scheme for ePub as everyone using Adobe's solutions. Just modified to use the credit card/password authentication option that Adobe licensed from B&N.

Supposedly other devices should support B&N ePubs after the manufacturer updates them to support Adobe's newest SDK.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:22 PM   #15
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I think you may be misreading a few things.

First, I do know that B&N's switch to ePub has been heavily publicized by both B&N and Adobe.

The choice not to have some indication in their eBook store of which is which is bizarre and a bad judgment call.

On the DRM angle...

If Jim Lester's lurking around, I'm sure he could speak to this much better than I, but...

The sense I get from having seen B&N/Adobe's announcements and Adobe's FAQs on the topic suggest that B&N is using the same underlying DRM scheme for ePub as everyone using Adobe's solutions. Just modified to use the credit card/password authentication option that Adobe licensed from B&N.

Supposedly other devices should support B&N ePubs after the manufacturer updates them to support Adobe's newest SDK.
But unless people know what's going on, they'll end up buying ePub that they don't want with DRM they cannot use.
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