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Old 01-31-2010, 06:01 AM   #1
blackthorn
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Question Choosing a e-book-complete novice-help!

Hi all
I've just recently become interested in e-books (as I've realised that my whole house will be completely overrun by books and I will have to move out ) I'm in Australia, I have an imac 21.5 in as my operating system (make any difference? probably not...) I'm currently looking at the cool-er (cheap n cheerful) and the Kindle DX (for the complete opposite reason-quality with more features), but I'm completely confused over the availability of e-books. Obviously I can buy books for the Kindle on Amazon, but not for the cool-er, but can I but a book form say http://www.ebooks.com/ or http://www.readwithoutpaper.com etc and run it on Kindle?? It seems I can run them on the cool-er? So basically I'm looking for info to help me make an informed decision but also I'm open to suggestions........is there a better e-book for me?

Vanessa
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:13 AM   #2
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Welcome to MR. First thing, let's get the terminology right, to avoid confusion. An "e-book" is the actual book that you read; an "e-book reader" (some people prefer "e-reader") is the device that you read it on.

The ebook world is basically in two camps - Amazon, and the rest. Amazon use a proprietary book format; the rest of the world uses a format called "ePub", which you can (broadly speaking) buy in any eBook store (except Amazon) and read on any device (except Amazon's).

There are numerous devices availables; a good place to start would be the comparison matrix in the Wiki here at MR (click the "Wiki" link in the menu bar at the top of the page).
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:21 AM   #3
blackthorn
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Opps sorry! I did basically figure that, but does the Kindle DX do PDF ebooks? Aren't those what are available on the above websites? Or have I gotten this completely scrambled? (wouldn't be the first time!)
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:27 AM   #4
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There are certainly lots of PDF files around, but PDF is a poor choice for an eBook. A PDF file is a digital representation of a sheet of paper of a fixed size - normally A4 or US Letter. Most eBook readers have screens that are much smaller than A4 (even the "large screen" readers, like the Kindle DX), and there's just no good way to display an A4 page on a small screen.

PDFs are great to read on a large monitor on a PC or a Mac, but they really don't work very well at all on eInk devices.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:06 AM   #5
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Thanks So I guess the above bookstores aren't selling PDF e-books then? But rather ePub books? (they are described as PDF for digital editions?? or PDF adobe ebook?)
Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:09 AM   #6
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Oh no, lots of bookstore do sell PDF books; I'm just saying that they aren't a very good choice of format. They work well on the desktop; poorly on hand-held devices.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:43 AM   #7
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Thanks! I guess I need to do some thinking then......
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:38 AM   #8
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Adobe PDF ebooks are PDFs, but they are supposed to be PDFs suitable for ebook reading. This means that they usually work ok on devices like the Cool-er, although with some ebooks there are artifacts and with all ebooks you can still see the original page breaks of the paper book. So if you have a choice, get ePub but if only PDF is available this is should be good enough.

Note that with Amazon you will be locked into ebooks they have the right to sell in Australia. With Adobe ebooks, there are many ebook stores and in some you can work around their geographical restrictions to buy US (say) ebooks.

It is possible to strip the DRM (encryption) from Adobe ebooks, and then convert them using Calibre to MOBI for the Kindle. It is also possible to strip the DRM from Kindle ebooks, which can be bought using Kindle for PC without a Kindle, and then convert them using Calibre to ePub for other devices. I don't know the legal status of doing so in Australia, but when done for personal use on ebooks you bought it harms no one.
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:18 PM   #9
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Being completely useless at converting most things this would have to be super simple to work for me! So the PDF ebooks won't work on the Kindle? (sorry to keep repeating myself, but this is a major deciding factor) If it is relatively easy to 'convert' kindle books to ePub (for cool-er) I think I would go with the cool-er. If not the kindle seems an easier choice. Is there any way of getting round the kindle for aus and buying US kindle books?
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:32 PM   #10
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Not easy to convert Kindle books. They have DRM and that is the problem. Kindle books can have 2 different types of DRM on them, and you first figure out which one and then go through the process of removing it. (an illegal act in some countries) Then you would take it and convert it in Calibre.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you want to buy Kindle books, buy a Kindle. If you want to buy books from Kobo, Booksonboard, Smashwords, fictionwise or dozens of other shops, buy something else.

Kindle is a great product and works great. I did not buy one because..... I did not want the near lock in to the Amazon store, or a (for me) useless keyboard and mp3 player.

Last edited by Bremen Cole; 01-31-2010 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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Most of us stick to ePUB formatted books and when possible without DRM. Of course, I belong to the non-Kindle camp and will say that buying into the Kindle comes at a great cost.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:33 PM   #12
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Welcome Vanessa!

I think we all foresee a lot of changes in what will become available in the next two years - both in terms of the abilities of a device and the prices (which are expected to decline).

Unless you have a very specific purpose in mind, I suggest that you buy now the least expensive model that will suit most of your needs, and then reconsider in a couple of years when the selection will be much more attractive.

I bought a jetBook Lite on sale for $117. It is far from ideal, but so are the competitors' models at much higher prices.

For twice as much you can get a PocketBook 360 which has impressed quite a number of people here.
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