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Old 08-01-2010, 10:36 PM   #1
apb
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How to tell if it's a Topaz, in advance?

Greetings. Newbie here.

I just bought a novel from Amazon via Kindle for PC. It's an .azw file (with an accompanying .mbp file, which means nothing to me). I added it to Calibre, and then tried to convert it to epub. It failed, and the error details indicated that it was a Topaz format item and couldn't be converted.

I had read earlier about the Topaz issue, but how could I have known before I bought the ebook that it was one of those? Do I have to download the sample first?

(I could have bought the same title as an epub, but the Kindle version was cheaper. False economy, as it turns out!)

I have read that there is a non-Calibre two-step process for converting Topaz to epub, but it sounds way more complicated than I can deal with.

Guess I'll be downloading the Kindle app so that I can at least read this one on my Touch. (I've previously just used Stanza on that.)

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:47 PM   #2
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Usually, but I won't guarantee all the time, if you are looking at the book from the Amazon web site in a browser, under Product Details if there is NOT a file size listed then the book is likely Topaz. Example, a current freebie: Faces of Betrayal (link here)

Product Details

* Format: Kindle Edition
* Print Length: 320 pages
* Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 7, 2009)
* Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
* Language: English
* ASIN: B0024NLHSA

You see it shows a print length, but no file size. So it is probably (and did turn out to be) Topaz.

In contrast, another freebie (Goddess of Fried Okra) shows:

Product Details

* Format: Kindle Edition
* File Size: 518 KB
* Print Length: 242 pages
* Publisher: BelleBooks - A (March 30, 2010)
* Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
* Language: English
* ASIN: B003EO8EVG

So it lists File size and is likely NOT Topaz and is a regular azw/mobi file.

I forget if this holds true when browsing the store from your actual Kindle. I do most of my browsing from the website.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:05 PM   #3
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Alas, that apparently wouldn't have worked in this case (Marrying the Captain, by Carla Kelly):

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 263 KB
Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Historicals (January 1, 2009)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B001OERNHO
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:09 PM   #4
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For what it's worth, I can halfway confirm this by saying that nothing I've downloaded from Amazon has been Topaz, and everything has had the file size listed.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:13 PM   #5
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That surprises me...Harlequin has been doing pretty good ebook business and a good portion of their listings are available at other sites so epub, mobi, etc. are most common for them. Are you sure your error message said it was Topaz or just that it couldn't be converted? I wonder if maybe you have a PID/de-drm issue instead of format. Since you bought and downloaded it thru K4PC did you run skindle or unswindle on it? If it is .azw, it shouldn't be Topaz. (Topaz is either .azw1 or .tpz usually)
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apb View Post
I had read earlier about the Topaz issue, but how could I have known before I bought the ebook that it was one of those? Do I have to download the sample first?
Yes. Once you have the sample, open it in a program like Notepad++ if the first 4 characters in the sample are TPZ0 then the book is topaz.

The other answers on how to tell if it is Topaz have always worked for me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apb View Post
(I could have bought the same title as an epub, but the Kindle version was cheaper. False economy, as it turns out!)
Whether the book was topaz or not the odds are very, very high that the book you bought from Amazon would have been restricted by DRM. This means you would need to remove the DRM before calibre could convert the file to epub.

But at least you had the option of the app so you aren't out the money.
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:01 AM   #7
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My bad! I was mixing up my books.

The Topaz book was a freebie (Lynn Austin, A Proper Pursuit) I had downloaded earlier, but for some reason its azw and mbp files got the same modified date/time as the Kelly.

The Topaz one *does* follow the no-size given rule:

Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (September 1, 2007)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B001GIPF6Y

After posting here, I decided to experiment on the other item with today's date; that was really the Kelly, and I brought it into Calibre fine -- obviously with better info than the Austin, but I hadn't known what I should be looking for -- but then, on trying to convert, ran into the DRM issue.

I'll poke around for ways to break the DRM -- I'm aware it's possible, but for obvious reasons no one wants to point to the directions! And if it seems too complex for me, I'll be happy with the Kindle version.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:07 AM   #8
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Glad everything is cleared up! Yeah, we can't be too specific here about what exactly to do, but since you are using K4PC if you look at my 2nd post there are a couple words you can google (skindle, unswindle). Also, I think the blog to look for is by Alf Apprentice (IIRC). I actually don't use K4PC so far, so I've never actually run those.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:05 AM   #9
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Smile

Bingo! Thanks again! I now have an epub version of the Kelly.

In the future, I think I'll just spend any extra money and get the epub to start with, but this will be terrific if I find something that is Kindle-only.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:55 AM   #10
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Good to hear it did the trick APB ... and also good to have your new company. Best wishes. Neil
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:05 AM   #11
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It's been my experience that the page count/file size in the listings is not a good indication of a book being Topaz format. So far I've always been able to immediately see the difference in a sample, though. I'm hoping that Topaz is on the way out: I've purchased two books in Topaz format that (months later) were available as standard .azw. On one of them I cared enough about it to email Amazon and ask if I get a refund on the Topaz one and buy the AZW, which they did (it was an exceptionally bad Topaz conversion, I didn’t look at it for several months after purchase. That will teach me.).
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