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Old 08-19-2010, 11:51 AM   #1
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Do you worry about the Kindle "future"?

I bought an Astak reader because it supported so many formats, but ePub being the main interest. It is capable of DRM ePub (library), and I guess because of that the Sony bookstore is also an option. I'm still unclear on Barnes & Noble. What the Astak can't do is OTA downloads. So every single book I ever read has to be sideloaded or "adapated" in some way. It gets old, especially since when you start messing with that stuff you lose page breaks and all kinds of other things.

So I've watched with interest this craze over the Kindle. I am intrigued...I like the idea of OTA downloads and I'm assuming that if I buy a book from Amazon, it's going to be formatted right (or they will refund me). I assume I'll finally be able to tell where I am in a book...whether I have half the book left, or just a few pages. That is a major downfall of the Astak...you convert books and you have no idea where you are in the overall size of the book. It drastically changes the reading experience to not know how much more is left.

I'm almost sold on Kindle because I love Amazon as a company, have an Amazon credit card....I've already justified in my mind spending the money on the books because I get so much cash back on the credit card. I think one of my main concerns is that by going Kindle I'll finally have the ease of the OTA downloads and properly formatted books I want, but if I want anything other than a book from Amazon I'm back to wrestling with formats, etc.

So let's say I put it aside and say, "I resign myself to forever only buying books from Amazon (or free books from Amazon)". Does anyone ever worry about 3 or 4 or 5 years from now, if all the money they've spent on a "proprietary" format will just be wasted money because they will no longer be able to access those books?

Has anyone ever desperately wanted to read a book and they couldn't find it on Amazon? What did you do?

I love the idea of the simplicity of it, but I'm scared about locking myself out of all the other formats available.

And I am truly disgusted with how sloppy the ebook industry is as a whole. Maybe I'm alone in this...but I would rather see ONE ebook format with only ONE DRM scheme, but I would gladly pay a LOT more money for the reader itself. I would be more than happy to let the company make money off the cost of the reader, and then all the books end up on a fair game field. And as for pricing on ebooks...they should be at the very least the same as paper back, but really less than paperback, and honestly that's a fair price to me. Everyone should still be making money off that price point.

Why does it have to be so difficult?

Thanks for listening to my rambling. I look forward to any responses...as I'm really looking for some other thoughts/opinions/ideas on the subject from somewhere other than my own brain.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by French View Post
So let's say I put it aside and say, "I resign myself to forever only buying books from Amazon (or free books from Amazon)". Does anyone ever worry about 3 or 4 or 5 years from now, if all the money they've spent on a "proprietary" format will just be wasted money because they will no longer be able to access those books?

Has anyone ever desperately wanted to read a book and they couldn't find it on Amazon? What did you do?

And I am truly disgusted with how sloppy the ebook industry is as a whole. Maybe I'm alone in this...but I would rather see ONE ebook format with only ONE DRM scheme, but I would gladly pay a LOT more money for the reader itself. I would be more than happy to let the company make money off the cost of the reader, and then all the books end up on a fair game field. And as for pricing on ebooks...they should be at the very least the same as paper back, but really less than paperback, and honestly that's a fair price to me. Everyone should still be making money off that price point.
Hi

I do have faith that Amazon will keep something up: if they, in the end, abandon Kindle, they'll have some kind of backup plan like permitting re-download into other formats, simply because it would be bad press to make so many customers (and their attorneys) discontent. (And more than discontent, at that point).

You can still buy from shops other than Amazon, because the Kindle reads DRMd .mobis and has a PID. For everything else, well, the routes you can take aren't always the ones that might me ok in your State (buying and de-drming, for example, then changing the format- the legality of the act is one's main concern in this problem, I suppose).

I'm not so sure I'd like the scenario of "one DRM system". Not per se, but because it would mean monopoly, and monopoly is not good- then things get sloppy, because, for one thing, you couldn't avoid passing through that "agency" (Adobe, for example). Also, I suspect that we've still to discover a lot of things or features we might want to have in our ebooks- visualization of this and that, and so on (for example, I'd love to have a different way to show footnotes)- which is why there's still not one format; there's of course the main reason- protection of different readers' market- that is economic more than customer-oriented.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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I'd worry less about Amazon than any other player in the ebook market.

I do, however, remove DRM from my books and maintain my library in ePub format as well as Mobi (I don't purchase books in the Topaz format).
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:44 PM   #4
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I have faith that Amazon will keep it up too, and keep in the same format. If anyone has staying power, it is Amazon.

You can get books in mobi format (what the Kindles use) from places other than Amazon. Read the sticky links at the top of this forum.

They have free books, and fee books. Most fee books are cheap enough to justify buying. I was looking for some Clive Cussler the other day and noticed that his ebooks at Amazon cost more than paperbacks, so I won't be buying them to support their greed. Remember, there are always paper books, when something is hard to find. Heck, when something is hard to find, Amazon supports used book sales too. My mom & sister have each bought some out-of-print books from Amazon from private sellers.

Another neat thing about Amazon is that they support making more books available electronically, by including a link to "let publisher know you want this in electronic format". I used that link just the other day when I discovered that a fantasy trilogy from the 80s is not available (legally) in electronic format. I don't know if they'll listen, but at least we have an easy way to let them know.

As you found out, there are ways to read electronically without buying into the mainstream. But it is always more hassle. Amazon is just so easy to use, and the Kindle is excellent from a hardware point of view.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by French View Post
So let's say I put it aside and say, "I resign myself to forever only buying books from Amazon (or free books from Amazon)". Does anyone ever worry about 3 or 4 or 5 years from now, if all the money they've spent on a "proprietary" format will just be wasted money because they will no longer be able to access those books?
1- You can buy DRM-free ebooks for Kindle. People do it all the time. They even get to transfer them wirelessly.

2- DRM'ed ePubs are as reliant on ADOBE as Kindle books are on Amazon. Neither is likely to vanish or anything but if that worries you, the odds are about the same. The issue is the use of DRM, not the *flavor* of DRM used.

3- If you *really* care about being (theoretically) locked-in, you can either learn to do deDRM (Google is your friend, there) or only buy DRM-free, or stick to paper-DRM.

4- Yes, there are books you can't get on Amazon. There are also books you can *only* get on Amazon. There are also regional restrictions. It's not a perfect world and the Big Publishing Houses are making it less perfect by the day by pursuing policies that make exclusive ebook publishing deals make perfect economic sense. Things will get worse before they get better.

5- You can buy reader devices that let you access any DRM'ed ebook from any vendor. Amazon, B&N, Sony, the independents, the national champions. Anything. They're called Tablet PCs. Smartphones. Android Webpads. Many more are coming.

It is early in the ebook industry.
Things will get better but not overnight. In the meantime we get to pick our poison and keep our fingers crossed that eventually a rational DRM regime will emerge. Just don't hold your breath.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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I'm worried, all right. I'm worried that Amazon will turn into Microsoft and rule the entire field. Right now, by the real sales estimates, Amazon is doing 80% plus, BN is doing about 15% and the rest are slurping on the last 5%. That means that since BN just put itself up for sale and might go out of biz entirely over the next few years, Amazon is eating everything.

This is a worry if they become like Ipods or Windows machines and barely have any real competition. I don't want them to rule the cosmos, they will dictate terms to authors and readers alike.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:45 PM   #7
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Thank you for these helpful responses.

Intrestingly enough, I'm not new to ebooks. I started reading them on my Palm Treo years ago. And my preferred format at that time was mobi. I thought mobi would be around forever and be the end all be all. I guess in a way that's not untrue. But I didn't realize those books would still work on Kindle (I didn't realize the standard mobi format would work in Kindle). So that's good to know.

I'm pretty familiar with removing DRM from ePubs and once upon a time I used to do it regularly with mobi as well. However I seem to recall that last I played with it for Mobi I had quite a bit of trouble (it wouldn't work). Not saying I can't refigure it out, but I do feel better with the thought that if I HAD to, I could convert my mobi format to ePub.

How is conversion back and forth? If an ePub is formatted nicely to begin with and DRM removed, then converted to mobi, does it still look good? Is the font changeable? I have calibre and do use it, but I don't begin to understand all the different settings that can be changed.

And how is mobi conversion to ePub?

I actually preordered the Kindle 3 as soon as I heard about it, knowing I could cancel it. And flat out "buyers remorse" didn't hit...but the logical stuff started coming to mind. The things posted here are good...good information, good thought provoking comments.

And I think I better pay attention to the stickies....
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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1- You can buy DRM-free ebooks for Kindle. People do it all the time. They even get to transfer them wirelessly.
You mean from a source other than Amazon?
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
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Hi

I do have faith that Amazon will keep something up: if they, in the end, abandon Kindle, they'll have some kind of backup plan like permitting re-download into other formats, simply because it would be bad press to make so many customers (and their attorneys) discontent. (And more than discontent, at that point).
If you read the license for ebooks -- not just Amazon's but including Amazon's -- any of these sellers could drop a format and not let you redownload into another format. The license is a lease agreement that is terminable at will by the ebook seller.

I wouldn't have much faith in any of the individual sellers; I have more faith in the product when it is usable now by more than one e-book dedicated device, that is, it is in ePub format without DRM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:05 PM   #10
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I'm worried, all right. I'm worried that Amazon will turn into Microsoft and rule the entire field. Right now, by the real sales estimates, Amazon is doing 80% plus, BN is doing about 15% and the rest are slurping on the last 5%. That means that since BN just put itself up for sale and might go out of biz entirely over the next few years, Amazon is eating everything.

This is a worry if they become like Ipods or Windows machines and barely have any real competition. I don't want them to rule the cosmos, they will dictate terms to authors and readers alike.
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YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

Exactly my worry and why I refuse to buy from Amazon.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:25 PM   #11
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I'm not worried about the Kindle's immediate future. There may be some point in the future when the Kindle will morph into something else (say a tablet-like device with a fast, power-sipping Mirasol-type display), but I'm betting it will still read the first book I ever bought.

Quote:
I thought mobi would be around forever and be the end all be all.
As you say, that may yet come true.

Last edited by carld; 08-19-2010 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:43 PM   #12
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If you read the license for ebooks -- not just Amazon's but including Amazon's -- any of these sellers could drop a format and not let you redownload into another format. The license is a lease agreement that is terminable at will by the ebook seller.

I wouldn't have much faith in any of the individual sellers; I have more faith in the product when it is usable now by more than one e-book dedicated device, that is, it is in ePub format without DRM.
Yes, I know they could drop and basically ignore you- it happened in a different way to me with Adobe DRMed ePubs. But there are other elements in the dynamics seller-buyer that could stop the former from behaving this way. One can rationally argue that, given the weight of the number of buyers and the presence of the same brand- the seller's, that's it- in other sectors (with possibility of boycott, amongst other options), a similar behaviour would do more harm than not.

It could also be mobi without DRM
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:46 PM   #13
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You mean from a source other than Amazon?
Yes it suffices to know the Mobi PID. Though I usually don't do that, I prefer ePub and then move from that.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:54 PM   #14
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there are many other sources besides Amazon to buy from. BAen, Smashwords, Kobo, just to name a few. yes, you have to run them through calibre (painless) and send them to your Kindle (equally painless). but this is not a monogamous marriage with Amazon once you put the Kindle ring on your finger
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Old 08-19-2010, 03:31 PM   #15
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I really don't predict anything happening to Amazon.
But I guess that my actions could be interpreted as worry in that every file I purchase is unlocked from DRM and then backed up into my own computer system.

But that's true no matter where I purchase the book - Amazon, Fictionwise, Kobo etc etc so my worry really isn't retailer or format specific.
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