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Old 11-02-2006, 10:41 AM   #1
sarahw2275
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Using ebooks from other sites...

Forgive my ignorance, but I have a question about buying ebooks from other sites. I'm become bored with the choice of books at the connect bookstore so I've been looking elsewhere. What is the best format to buy and how do I convert the file to be able to read it on the Sony Reader?
I know I'll need some sort of software to convert the file, but I don't know what, where to get it from, or how to do it!!!
If anyone could give me some advice I'd be grateful.
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Old 11-02-2006, 11:28 AM   #2
Jake
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"I know I'll need some sort of software to convert the file..."

Ah, and therein lies the rub, so to speak. It is of course, illegal to defeat the DRM (Digital Rights Management) of an e-book. That's what converting a file (and the software that accomplishes it) often does. Yes, illegal even if you own the e-book in another format.

Far be it from me (or probably others on this forum) to recommend or advise anything to assist you in performing such a heinous and naughty act. However, a well-formed Google search yields all sorts of information on so many fascinating subjects ...
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Old 11-02-2006, 11:44 AM   #3
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I think that sarahw2275 is in the UK, Jake, so the the DMCA doesn't apply to her, and she didn't say DRMed files regardless.

sarah2275, I'd recommend that you aim to get your files into RTF format, it gives you pretty good flexibility, and displays well.

I'm not up on conversion methods from other formats, but if you do a bit of searching here in the MR forum, you'll find a fair amount of discussion. I recall some recent discussion of .lit to .rtf conversion, but I wouldn't suggest that as the best format, 'cause I just don't know much about it.
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:46 PM   #4
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Nathan--
I have a question of my own.
Texts available at Project Gutenberg are all devoid of copyright, and in the public domain. So, if they are in plain text (.txt?), it is legal to import them to MS Word &, after messing with the font & size, save it as .rtf, yes?

Anyone know if removing the headers from a Gutenberg text is OK?
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:27 PM   #5
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As long as you don't redistribute it, I don't think there's any harm in removing the Gutenberg headers... I do that all the time for the files I load onto the reader so I don't have to page-page-page through it with every book. So I guess I hope there's no harm, anyway, since I don't then distribute them.

As for the best format... so far I'm finding RTF to be best because:
  • it supports text formatting (txt clearly doesn't)
  • it resizes nicely in S/M/L text modes (I always enlarge the text late at night when I'm tired)
  • it has the proper metadata to list title and author in the book list

I converted some of my (non-protected) Dr. Who lit files (free from the BBC) to html using convertlit, then merged & converted the html to pdf using htmldoc... is there a way, does anyone know, to convert html to RTF similarly? I was loading the html up in Open Office, then doing a copy/paste into another OO doc and saving it as RTF - just a little labour-intensive... when you open HTML in OO it doesn't let you simply "save as" RTF for some reason...
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
I'm not up on conversion methods from other formats, but if you do a bit of searching here in the MR forum, you'll find a fair amount of discussion. I recall some recent discussion of .lit to .rtf conversion, but I wouldn't suggest that as the best format, 'cause I just don't know much about it.
Yeah, LRF has the potential to be the best format, but the tools just aren't there yet. I also recommend RTF, although it lacks some features like links and embedded images.
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:41 PM   #7
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Sarah, you bring here a relevant point! I know many non computer users that would love ebooks and readers. They just can't get to learn and use software. For the state of ebooks at this time, computer use is essential.

It is true that ebabel is confusing. You really have to be a computer expert just to get by. The number of ebooks available is not fantastic yet, but that will change. Also I am confident that in the coming years when a leader appears (as I sense Sony will) the format war will stabilize. In the mean time, whatever non DRM text you can find can be translated. The basic two apps. that help are Acrobat Pro and Word. They are complicated but once mastered, it will be easy for you to use additional software.
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Old 11-02-2006, 03:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yvanleterrible
The basic two apps. that help are Acrobat Pro and Word.
If you don't have Microsoft Office (i.e. MS Word) you might try OpenOffice at http://www.openoffice.org/. It will provide much the same capability as MS Office & is free.

I agree thet RTF is currently the best option. Many ebooks can be found in this format. For example check out http://manybooks.net/ & http://www.baen.com/library/ for free ebooks in this format.

Lastly, if/when you have a specific format you need help on, it may be easier to ask about that format. That way you will learn at a slower pace how to deal with the variety of formats and which to try to stay away from.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
Nathan--
I have a question of my own.
Texts available at Project Gutenberg are all devoid of copyright, and in the public domain. So, if they are in plain text (.txt?), it is legal to import them to MS Word &, after messing with the font & size, save it as .rtf, yes?

Anyone know if removing the headers from a Gutenberg text is OK?
airlik has pretty well said what I would have. I'd only add that removing the Gutenberg preface and distributing it would basically be like claiming credit for the work, bad bull, but I don't see any problem with stripping it for my personal use, and the last time I read the stuff, I didn't think they'd be too upset with it either.

I used to clear it when I was reading on my Palm, because it's, like 73 of those pages, but on the Reader I've just left it 'cause it's only 2~3 -- click, click, click. Just easier to leave it now, in my opinion.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for the clarification.

I figured that it was legal/allowed, but I wanted to be sure, considering all the posting I keep doing regarding DRM software and the legality of conversions.

HTML is not currently supported on the Reader, yes? Need to check the wiki wishlist. Now *that* would be a nice feature, and obviate the need (to an extent) for a "go to page x" function
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:44 PM   #11
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No, HTML, unfortunately, which is a puzzle to all of us....
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:59 PM   #12
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HTML support seems like a good chunk of constant work for the Reader's microprocessor, and as such would infringe on its long battery life. Or maybe not. Shows what I know about computer operations.

To return to Sarah's initial post, as long as the content is downloaded in a supported format, the frontrunner seeming to be rtf, it can be viewed and used on the SONY Reader, yes?
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Old 11-02-2006, 06:18 PM   #13
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Try HTML2LRF for putting HTML on the Reader. Not perfect, but works for simple cases.

Last edited by igorsk; 11-02-2006 at 06:19 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-02-2006, 06:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cthulhu
...the frontrunner seeming to be rtf, it can be viewed and used on the SONY Reader, yes?
Quite nicely, in fact.
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Old 11-02-2006, 06:43 PM   #15
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That's quite uplifting news.
Nice to know that there other alternate avenues for content available for the Reader.
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