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Old 08-04-2010, 12:36 PM   #1
kaireece
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Canadian - Kindle or Sony? and Library books!

Hi all
So I am trying to figure out which device to get and being that I am in Canada I am thinking I have it narrowed down to either the Kindle or the Sony (the touch one).

I have decided against the nook because it sounds complicated to get books from Canada - I don't have a US address and I am not particularly tech savvy. I want something pretty straightforward. But please let me know if this is not true.......should I be researching this one too?

I love the kindle (played with a friends) and I like the new version out - like the text to speech, like the highlighter and dictionary, I usually use amazon to 'find' books - like the reviews that readers leave and how it prompts other recommendations based on title/genre etc (I usually see if my library has them before deciding to buy). and I love the 3G and wifi.

I like the touch screen on the sony (I'm used to my iphone I think), like the idea of the stylus and notes using it. and I like that it's compatible with the library. I really like this fact. I am a heavy library user and feel that this is probably the reason I should go with the Sony. sigh. But I think I like the Kindle more.

What is the process for getting a library book (is this called ePub format?) onto a kindle? Is it difficult? Possible? What would the drawbacks be?

If I usually use the library should I just get the Sony?
Does anyone know if Sony will be releasing a newer version of the 600 anytime soon? I have heard that the glare on screen is a problem. I did see the entry level sony, but it left me cold

help
I would love to hear from anyone (and if you are in Canada and have actually bought books that would be great) who has some guidance for me!

ps - i usually just read novels. although with this device I guess more is possible. the newspaper and magazines might enter my life and I like the idea of the blogs on the kindle too......gah.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:13 PM   #2
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I am in Canada so I know how you feel. I ended up getting the Nook, but I do have a US address and I am familiar with some light rooting/hacking. Otherwise I would have definitely gotten the Kindle.

The Kindle 3 looks amazing. As long as you want to buy your books from amazon, you would beset. You can buy from other places and convert them to kindle format (it's pretty easy) if you want since we pay extra $ to get kindle ebooks.

Have you thought of the Kobo? I ask because although it doesn't do as much as the Kindle or Nook (no wifi, mp3 player, notes, etc...), it is on sale at Walmart here for $128. I like how light it is, and you can use any epub or pdf on it. It would be good for library books, while the kindle could only use books that don't have any DRM on them, and I think most library books do. If your library offers mobi files then they would work (mine doesn't).

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Old 08-04-2010, 01:16 PM   #3
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If you are okay with he concept of liberating the books by removing the DRM then it is very possible (and easy) to get library books onto the Kindle.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:38 PM   #4
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She wants something straightforward though. So removing DRM and converting might be a hassle for her. Or maybe not.

With the Kindle, Sony, and Kobo you would be able to download books via your readers store. With the Nook, here in Canada we can't buy Barnes & Noble books. It works for me because I use Kobo and fictionwise a lot. The difference is that your ebooks will show up in your My Documents folder instead of you B&N Books. Also, the books in your My Docs section doesn't allow the covers to show up in the cover flow, but they show up when you open the book (like a Kindle), and you can't do collections in your My Docs section. You can do these things if you soft root it, but I am not sure you would want to do that. It is pretty easy and you would only have to do it once (not like removing drm and converting every book).

If you want the ease of use with library books I would go with the Nook or Kobo (sorry, I'm not a fan of Sony's screen and no sd card). If you think you will be buying most of your books and want to download them directly to your reader, I would get the Kindle.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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What is the process for getting a library book (is this called ePub format?) onto a kindle? Is it difficult? Possible? What would the drawbacks be?
You've got two options for library books on the Kindle.

For Mobipocket format books, which the Kindle would read natively if it weren't for Amazon not supporting the original DRM of the file format they bought and paid for, you can read them after using two computer scripts that give you

a) a valid Mobipocket PID for the Overdrive servers to generate a properly encoded book file

b) which the second script then "fixes" so that the Kindle recognizes it as a readable file

This does not break the DRM, not that that's currently a concern in Canada, unless our Heritage Minister gets his way with his corporate-pandering copy-protection bill (C-32, if you want to write your MP to vote against it).

However, Mobipocket is rapidly becoming a minority format in most library systems (I think I might have read somewhere that either Overdrive is not renewing the licenses, or Amazon is not allowing the licenses to be renewed).

For ePub and PDF formats, you'll have to strip the DRM and convert at least the ePubs to Mobipocket format before you can read them on the Kindle. It's not hard, but it helps if you're comfortable doing computer stuff.

I suggest checking your library's ebook catalogue to make sure it's got a decent selection, and if you live near the border, see if there's a reciprocal lending agreement in place between your regional district and the neighbouring state's county library systems.

In theory, I could get access to both BC and Washington's province/state-wide ebook catalogues on the strength of my FVRL card, provided I crossed the border and filled out some paperwork at one of the Whatcom branches.

For heavy library use, I think I might recommend the Sony, unless you're willing and able to do the hoop-jumping.

While Amazon does have the widest selection of books available currently, it also currently charges an extra $2 Whispernet fee to Canadians on non-freebie purchases (only skipped on those $0.00 promotional or public domain titles), which the Sony and Kobo stores don't (usually the same price as the US customers pay, except in cases where different publishers sell the same book).

It is possible to get around that, but not without resorting to the same US address/IP proxy hoop-jumping that you'd use for a B&N account, and which one may not feel ethically comfortable with anyway.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ATDrake View Post
While Amazon does have the widest selection of books available currently, it also currently charges an extra $2 Whispernet fee to Canadians on non-freebie purchases (only skipped on those $0.00 promotional or public domain titles), which the Sony and Kobo stores don't (usually the same price as the US customers pay, except in cases where different publishers sell the same book).
My understanding is that with the new Kindle you can get around the fee if you use WiFi (and sideloading of course). Not as convenient as the 3G but it can save you a few bucks here and there.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:27 PM   #7
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My understanding is that with the new Kindle you can get around the fee if you use WiFi (and sideloading of course). Not as convenient as the 3G but it can save you a few bucks here and there.
I'd heard that about the document delivery charges, but not about the Whispernet surcharge, which is incorporated directly into the price of every Canadian Kindle store non-freebie, regardless of whether one has an actual Kindle which can take advantage of it or merely uses Kindle for PC/Mac.

I certainly hope so. I might even begin buying ebooks from Amazon if that's the case.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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The easiest way to know if you are being charged the extra $2 is to go to amazon and see how much the ebook is listed for. I seem to get US prices since I have always shipped my books to my Dads in the US. I am told normally the Canadian price is higher.

Last edited by Care; 08-04-2010 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:15 PM   #9
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With the Kindle, do books (epub) you manually convert to mobi and side load show up in the 'main library' or whatever Kindle calls it? Or do they too end up in a my documents equivalent of the nook.

Just wondering if side loaded books and kindle bought books can be integrated into a single library.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:35 PM   #10
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Yes. On the Kindle there's just the single Home screen where all the books are listed (until you start sorting them into Collections) and there's just the one "documents" folder for all your stuff when the Kindle's mounted as a removable drive.

You can, however, create sub-folders within the documents folder to sort your physical files. It won't auto-arrange your books into Collections, but can be useful for when you want later to back up just your personal docs, or your non-Amazon books, or whatever and don't want to have to sift through the lot.

The only real distinction between Amazon-bought books and your sideloaded stuff on the Kindle itself is that only the former can be pulled wirelessly from your archives or have the notes/highlights/bookmarks backed up to their server.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:49 PM   #11
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That is one of the reasons I like the Kindle. The organization on it is great. Although, the Nook does basically the same thing if you root it. Hopefully B&N will come out with a software update that will automatically do what the NookDevs My Library does.
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:10 PM   #12
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^Thanks. That is awesome. I had just pre-ordered a K3. Was thinking about the kobo, but K3 seems so much better. Granted it does cost a bit more after you ship to canada, but worth it imo.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:23 AM   #13
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Wow! Thanks so much for all the information My mind is a bit boggled

I'm not opposed to learning how to strip DRM (what IS that?! lol) to get the books onto the kindle. I just wonder if it's too difficult for a rookie

I guess I do 'have' a US address. My stepmom has a place in AZ, so I could use that as an addy.......if I was looking at the Nook........would I need a US credit card? Or could they tell that my IP address was Canadian and then not send the book? (I thought I read that somewhere).

How would I know if the library has mobi files? I have emailed the library to see what information that they can share about using this system but so far haven't heard back. My library is great for books, and if I see something I want to read and ask them to bring it in they do (have never been turned down)! But I don't know if this will extend to e books too.

Does stripping the DRM and converting a book take a long time? Is it a few minutes kind of process or a few hours or a day?? Is is like a 'program' you run on the file? (sorry if these are questions don't make sense - I have no clue about these things)

I think I want the kindle, but worried that I'll be buying a ton more books than before instead of borrowing therefore feel like I should get one that is better supported by the library. sigh.

thanks if anyone can answer these few more questions! I really appreciate it! I'm glad to know that library books could be read (i need to research why this is a 'sketchy' practice though) if I strip and convert
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:58 AM   #14
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I'm not opposed to learning how to strip DRM (what IS that?! lol) to get the books onto the kindle. I just wonder if it's too difficult for a rookie.
1) DRM means "Digital Rights Management". It's a kind of copy-protection which is meant to restrict what you can do with a digital file.

For most file formats, it's not hard to remove (and still legal in Canada, because despite the best efforts of our current government, we do not yet have a US-style Digital Millenium Copyright Act which basically makes it illegal to use your legally obtained files on any compatible device you wish to use it upon, instead locking you in to whatever the vendor who sold it dictates).

2) You don't need a US credit card for the B&N store. You could get by with paying using gift certificates. You do need your own credit card for their DRM scheme, which unlocks your files using your name and CC number. But it can be a Canadian one as long as you enter a US billing address.

You should probably use a US IP VPN proxy when going through their checkout. Sometimes they block sales that way, especially if your geo-location is well outside the US borders. There are a couple of decent free ones listed in the international users thread in the nook forum.

3) To check on the availability of Mobipocket files, see if your library's website has a link to their ebook catalogue. If not, you could always try the Overdrive search for your area.

When you find the relevant webpage, there should be a search box with a dropdown which you should be able to switch from All Formats to Mobipocket eBook. Leave the box blank, and click the button to pull up all the Mobipocket format books; if there's no option for that, but they list Adobe ePub/PDF, then you can assume they don't have any.

4) Stripping and converting doesn't take long. You do have to install some stuff and set things up first, but once that's done, it's a matter of minutes per book. There may be a bit of a learning curve if you're not used to using command-line scripts, but if you happen to be on Windows, some people have very kindly packaged them up as GUI programs for easier use.

I'm afraid we can't discuss these things in detail on the MR forums, both out of courtesy for the rules and to protect the site from possible legal action, but it's pretty easy to find the relevant info via Google.

5) If you're worried about overspending, there's plenty of free books available, both public domain classics (some even hand-formatted right here by our very own MobileRead members) and time-limited promotional books the publishers offer, especially at Amazon, B&N, and the Sony Reader and Kobo stores.

Amazon gets the most freebies every month, but they're mostly evangelical Christian fiction and fairly steamy romance (though occasionally a few other genres), so if you're not interested in those categories, that may not be much of a value-add consideration.

Hope this answers your questions. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any more.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:17 PM   #15
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Thank you all so much. This site is just a wealth of information!
I think I've decided on the Kindle for now - and realize that as these get better and better I'll likely need to upgrade in a year or two
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