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Old 05-03-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
suzy
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Wink New User, Dumb Question

Hi. I'm very new to the whole e-book thing. I just bought a Sony 300 pocket reader. I downloaded the Sony library and Adobe Digital, but also downloaded Calibre after reading about how great it is. So here's the dumb question...if I want to buy an e-book, where do I go? To the Sony online store? Amazon? Other sources? And when I buy an online book, do I download it directly to my calibre file and then transfer it to my Sony pocket reader? Thanks so much for any direction. Suzy
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:50 AM   #2
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I download my books into a folder on my computer and then import them into calibre to load on the reader. I couldn't make the Sony software do what i wanted so I don't use it anymore.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:47 AM   #3
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Calibre keeps its own archive of your books. So you download a book to wherever, then import it into calibre, whereupon it goes into calibre's black box, and you deal with it through the calibre GUI, including loading it on your PRS.

I'm actually not sure how it works with DRM-restricted books, because I don't buy them as a matter of principle.

Nearly all of my books come from free archives such as Project Gutenberg, but when I buy them, I go to Baen, BookView Cafe, etc., where I can buy good DRM-free books.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Worldwalker View Post
Calibre keeps its own archive of your books. So you download a book to wherever, then import it into calibre, whereupon it goes into calibre's black box, and you deal with it through the calibre GUI, including loading it on your PRS.

I'm actually not sure how it works with DRM-restricted books, because I don't buy them as a matter of principle.

Nearly all of my books come from free archives such as Project Gutenberg, but when I buy them, I go to Baen, BookView Cafe, etc., where I can buy good DRM-free books.
Calibre will transfer a book with DRM. It just can't make any changes.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #5
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what is DRM and why is it so controversial?
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:09 PM   #6
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Calibre will transfer a book with DRM. It just can't make any changes.
Does it? I have never been able to import a book with DRM into Calibre, move it to reader and then read it. Even without making any changes to the book.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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what is DRM and why is it so controversial?
DRM = Digital Right Management.

These little nasties protect the file so that you can only read it on one device (has to be registered) and your computer.

It is controversial because it forbids eBook readers to share the books - unlike hardcopies that you can easily give to someone else after finishing it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:41 PM   #8
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If a book has DRM it won't be read by me
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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DRM is a bad thing because it limits what you can do with something you've bought and paid for. Imagine you buy a paper book and you can only read it in your living room; if you take it to the bedroom, the cover won't open. If you move to a new house, you have to throw out all your books and buy new ones because they're limited to your old living room. That's DRM.

In an ebook-specific example, let's say you own a Kindle, and you've bought DRM-restricted books for it. All is well and good until something very bad happens involving your Kindle and a bubble bath. You see a sale on Sony Readers and decide to buy one of those instead. So you buy it, take it home, and ... can't read your books. They're all in Kindle format, and because they're DRM-restricted, you can't convert them to any other format. You bought them, you paid for them ... but you can't actually read them anymore. And, depending on the exact device, it may even be possible for the corporation that sells it to be able to turn off your ability to read DRM-restricted books at all.

Being able to lend your books to your friends would be a good thing (friends handing me a paper book and saying "you have to read this!" led me to many of my favorite authors, and a lot of sales for those authors) but that's not the really controversial part, nor is the blatant violation of the right of first sale. It's the fact that where, when, and how you can read your books are under someone else's control and that "someone else" does not have your best interests at heart. Or the best interests of anyone else except short-term stock speculators who want their stock price to go up next quarter, or next week.

It's also about platform lock-in. If you have a Kindle, Amazon wants to make you buy another Kindle; if you have a Sony Reader, Sony wants to make you buy another Reader; etc., etc. If they want to force you to upgrade from a perfectly good device, they can (though they haven't so far) refuse to allow you to authorize any more books for your old one. So not only can you only read that book in your living room, but every few years, you have to buy a new couch.

DRM is about platform lock-in. It's about forced obsolescence. It's about the end of the used book market, when "book" doesn't mean it's made of paper anymore. What it isn't about is anything that is in any way beneficial to the person actually buying the books.

Fight with your wallet. Friends don't let friends buy DRM-restricted ebooks.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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It's also about platform lock-in. If you have a Kindle, Amazon wants to make you buy another Kindle;

DRM is about platform lock-in.
At least with the Kindle format, you can read the book on your Kindle, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, or iPad.

Hardly seems like platform lock-in, since you don't have to own a Kindle to read books from the Kindle store.

Nonetheless, DRM is user-unfriendly.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:10 PM   #11
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Does it? I have never been able to import a book with DRM into Calibre, move it to reader and then read it. Even without making any changes to the book.
Try again, Calibre handles management of DRM'd books fine. It can't convert the file, but it does allow you to add it and transfer the file to your reader. I even use it for some old LRX files.

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At least with the Kindle format, you can read the book on your Kindle, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, or iPad.
Don't forget the PC and Mac platforms, of course all of these have only been in existence for 6 months or less but it is a move in the right direction for Amazon.

Because of Kindle4PC I now buy Amazon books too. Of course I strip the DRM, convert it to ePub and read it on my Sony prs-505. The process takes about 2 minutes. If I needed a Kindle to buy the book they never would have got the sale.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:23 PM   #12
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At least with the Kindle format, you can read the book on your Kindle, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, or iPad.

Hardly seems like platform lock-in, since you don't have to own a Kindle to read books from the Kindle store.
You are still locked into using the Kindle "platform". Even if Amazon is making it accessible to a wide variety of devices, you can only read the books on a device Amazon has approved. For instance, I can't read a Kindle book I've purchased on my Cybook. This is only because of the artificial restrictions imposed by DRM.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:17 PM   #13
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Hardly seems like platform lock-in, since you don't have to own a Kindle to read books from the Kindle store.
You still have to own Amazon-controlled software. You can't read a Kindle DRM-restricted ebook on a Sony PRS-300. You can't read a Sony DRM-restricted ebook on a Kindle. And any time they want to, Amazon can stop distributing that software -- and, given that it's Amazon (1984, anyone?), they can probably disable it by remote control.

Yes, you can strip the DRM (though that's a felony in some jurisdictions) so you can actually read your book on whatever you feel like reading it on ... but you shouldn't have to. You don't need a hammer and chisel to get the cover open on your paper book if you want to read it in bed instead of on your couch, and you shouldn't need the electronic equivalent to read it on your PRS instead of your Kindle.

I'm on the hardcore end of the anti-DRM spectrum. I won't buy a book and strip the DRM because I feel that buying DRM-restricted books gives the publishers a reason to believe that the market will accept them. "The market" might, but my tiny little corner won't, and I choose to spend my book budget at Baen, BVC, O'Reilly, and other vendors who don't use DRM.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:40 PM   #14
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You still have to own Amazon-controlled software. You can't read a Kindle DRM-restricted ebook on a Sony PRS-300. You can't read a Sony DRM-restricted ebook on a Kindle. And any time they want to, Amazon can stop distributing that software -- and, given that it's Amazon (1984, anyone?), they can probably disable it by remote control.

Yes, you can strip the DRM (though that's a felony in some jurisdictions) so you can actually read your book on whatever you feel like reading it on ... but you shouldn't have to. You don't need a hammer and chisel to get the cover open on your paper book if you want to read it in bed instead of on your couch, and you shouldn't need the electronic equivalent to read it on your PRS instead of your Kindle.

I'm on the hardcore end of the anti-DRM spectrum. I won't buy a book and strip the DRM because I feel that buying DRM-restricted books gives the publishers a reason to believe that the market will accept them. "The market" might, but my tiny little corner won't, and I choose to spend my book budget at Baen, BVC, O'Reilly, and other vendors who don't use DRM.
Yes DRM books can stay unread all they like. Its a bit like driving the long way round to avoid a toll but I will not be encouraging the market.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:26 AM   #15
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You are still locked into using the Kindle "platform". Even if Amazon is making it accessible to a wide variety of devices, you can only read the books on a device Amazon has approved. For instance, I can't read a Kindle book I've purchased on my Cybook. This is only because of the artificial restrictions imposed by DRM.

Quite right. I took "platform" to mean the Kindle.

And no, I don't favor DRM at all. Doesn't matter much, since so few of the books I'd like to read are even available for purchase in ebook form. So I stick with classics and places like Baen.
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