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Old 05-23-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
alfytheige
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Couple of questions

I'm sorry if these are really simple questions to answer but I'm not the most technically minded person and am getting myself very confused by all the different readers and formats etc.

A friend has a sony ereader and after seeing hers decided I would like to get one too.

We both like similar books would we be able to both read each others books on our ereaders or can books purchased by me only be read on my ereader? Not a huge issue if you can't but may be nice as we already share books.

If you can share books am I right in thinking I would have to get a sony too to do that (I prefer the look of the Kindle).

Can I only read books bought on amazon on a kindle or can I buy them elsewhere. I get the impression it is only amazon bought books its good for but then it lists lots of other formats on the site (sorry I'm not sure what all the formats/letters mean am still trying to work all that out)

Is the kindle easy to use. It seems to be fairly straight forward from the clips online but I can't actually go and have a go with one to see. The only ereader I have seen is my friends sony (pocket sized one) and I can't go and have a play with any other makes as they don't seem to be really stocked in shops round here

I'm very sorry for the probably obviously simple questions, I'm sure they have already been answered somewhere but seem to be having trouble finding them, I'm sure its just me. Thanks
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by alfytheige View Post
We both like similar books would we be able to both read each others books on our ereaders or can books purchased by me only be read on my ereader? Not a huge issue if you can't but may be nice as we already share books.
If the books have protection (DRM) then they'll only work if the readers are registered to the same account - that's fine for partners but as a reader can only be registered to one account at a time, less useful for friends trying to share. On the other hand, some sellers don't use DRM, while the third option is to remove it, which is sometimes possible.
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If you can share books am I right in thinking I would have to get a sony too to do that (I prefer the look of the Kindle).
Well, not a Sony specifically, but a reader that reads ePub format books - many do, but the Kindle isn't one of them and it's not trivial to convert from one format to another.
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Can I only read books bought on amazon on a kindle or can I buy them elsewhere. I get the impression it is only amazon bought books its good for but then it lists lots of other formats on the site (sorry I'm not sure what all the formats/letters mean am still trying to work all that out)
The big players are pretty much Amazon/Kindle vs everyone else/ePub

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Is the kindle easy to use. It seems to be fairly straight forward from the clips online but I can't actually go and have a go with one to see. The only ereader I have seen is my friends sony (pocket sized one) and I can't go and have a play with any other makes as they don't seem to be really stocked in shops round here
They're all pretty easy to use - The Kindle does have the advantage of Amazon's return facility and the ease of wireless connection, but it's no big deal to plug in the USB cable periodically (weekly?) when you want to load new books.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:19 AM   #3
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Right so I couldn't buy books from places like waterstones then which seems to have some books that amazon don't (but on the flip side can't buy books for my ereader from amazon if I go for a different make)
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:27 AM   #4
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Actually, conversion of DRM-free books is, while not trivial, fairly easy with Calibre, a free application that has its own forum here. Check it out.

In general, the choice of Kindle or a non-Kindle (Sony, Nook, Pocketbook, Aztak, Bookeen, Jetbook, Aluratek, etc) really comes down to the bookstore: do you prefer the Amazon ebook catalog and buying experience to the various Adobe-DRM bookstores (Sony, Barnes&Noble, Booksonboard, Fictionwise, etc?). When you choose an ebook reader you aren't just choosing a gadget to read on, you are committing to a DRM-based ecosystem, that your ebooks will be locked into. (Unless you choose to become fluent in DRM-removal. Which in not trivial but is not particularly hard, merely technically illegal in some countries. Oddly enough, in other countries it is a consumer *right*.)

I would suggest you first choose the DRM-ecosystem you prefer. There are currently six supported in ebook reader gadgets: AMAZON Kindle, ADOBE Adept Epub, Apple ePub, Barnes&Noble ePub, Barnes&Noble eReader, and AMAZON Mobipocket, but the Barnes&Noble ePub is supposed to be folded into the general Adobe ePub camp later this year. Moving forward your choice is mostlikely going to be between Amazon, Adobe ePub, and Apple ePub, unless yet another independent ePub DRM scheme appears.

Once you settle on the DRM-ecosystem your protected books will come from, you will have a smaller list of reader gadgets (and software) to evaluate. Just don't forget that it *is* possible to find a lot of commercial and public domain ebooks without any DRM and those will not lock you into any specific DRM camp.

Doing it the other way, choosing the hardware first, means the hardware manufacturer makes the DRM-ecosystem choice for you. If you are comfortable with that idea, then you can simply choose whatever reader you fancy.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:36 AM   #5
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Thanks, I can see this taking alot more looking into than I thought
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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Actually, conversion of DRM-free books is, while not trivial, fairly easy with Calibre, a free application that has its own forum here. Check it out.
As the apocryphal recipie goes, "First catch your hare"...

Yes, conversion of DRM-free books is easy enough, the problem is that most commercial books won't be DRM-free and the removal of DRM is, while not usually 'rocket-science', still not always plain-sailing.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:32 AM   #7
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Right so I couldn't buy books from places like waterstones then which seems to have some books that amazon don't (but on the flip side can't buy books for my ereader from amazon if I go for a different make)
Correct, assuming you'd bought a Kindle.

A couple of points to note in passing are that (1) 'ereader' is the name of a particular ebook format, so that contraction's almost never used due to the potential confusion and, if you buy from Amazon from outside the US, you're charged a few $'s premium to nominally(*) cover the costs of the wireless connectivity on top of the US-list price.

* - You're still charged it even if you wanted to download it via your computer or read it there, so even the free books cost a few $s.
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:52 PM   #8
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This is really hard to decide. I can get a secondhand sony prs505 for about £150 or spend the extra £70 on a kindle which would probably give me cheaper books but £70 adds up to quite a few books. Grr why do they have to make it difficult and use different format types. Its like VHS and betamax all over again
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by gwynevans View Post
As the apocryphal recipie goes, "First catch your hare"...

Yes, conversion of DRM-free books is easy enough, the problem is that most commercial books won't be DRM-free and the removal of DRM is, while not usually 'rocket-science', still not always plain-sailing.
Depends on what you read and where you live, but there really are plenty of sources of commercial ebooks that sell without DRM, at least for what I read. (BAEN, Fictionwise, etc)

And while *nothing* is 100% plain sailing, installing a DRM-removable plug-in into Calbre makes it manageable; things have changed a *lot* in that arena in the last six months. And they likely will change even more.

What was true last year isn't necessarilly so *this* year.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:32 AM   #10
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***I can get a secondhand sony prs505 for about £150***

That's pretty flexible, Alf. I've never been disappointed by mine and I pick up reading all over the place. Good to have your company, by the way. Best wishes. Neil
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:08 PM   #11
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Thanks, I can see this taking alot more looking into than I thought
Making your first choice is always hard
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:18 PM   #12
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I have decided to go with the kindle. I had a play with removing the DRM from a book I bought yesterday and think I've figured it out so am hoping with the kindle I can take advantage of the cheaper books but then if amazon don't have it can still buy it elsewhere and read it anyway will see how I go anyway. Thank you everyone for your replys
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:17 AM   #13
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I realise this thread's months old, but I wish I'd read it before buying my secondhand Sony PRS505! I'm an ebay addict, and chose this particular one because of the amount of authors already on it that I liked. Charged it up, had a quick read ... instantly hooked!
THEN I followed the instructions and downloaded Adobe Digital Editions and Sony Reader Library and synced my 505. Switched on again, and EVERYTHING I click on now has "Page Protected" .....
Any advice from anyone? Anyone at all????
from a definite novice :-(
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:35 AM   #14
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I realise this thread's months old, but I wish I'd read it before buying my secondhand Sony PRS505! I'm an ebay addict, and chose this particular one because of the amount of authors already on it that I liked. Charged it up, had a quick read ... instantly hooked!
THEN I followed the instructions and downloaded Adobe Digital Editions and Sony Reader Library and synced my 505. Switched on again, and EVERYTHING I click on now has "Page Protected" .....
Any advice from anyone? Anyone at all????
from a definite novice :-(
In selling a reader with commercial ebooks on it the seller was, at the very least, violating the bookstore's terms of service, and was (if he has retained a copy of the books for himself) breaking copyright law. You did not have the right to those books in the first place. You haven't lost anything that you legitimately bought. There's nothing you can do about it except regard it as a lesson learned.
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