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Old 12-11-2013, 04:37 PM   #1
tubemonkey
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Chrome OS vs eBooks & Audiobooks

Just how useful is Chrome OS for purchasing, borrowing, downloading, and reading ebooks and audiobooks? In other words, can it completely replace a Windows machine or only partially so? In this thread, I'll explore each of these functions and how well Chrome OS can handle them. The device I'll be using for this is an Acer C720, utilizing an Intel Haswell CPU.

Book-Related Programs not supported by Chrome OS
  • Adobe Digital Editions
  • Apple iTunes
  • AudibleManager
  • Calibre
  • OverDrive Media Console
  • Windows Media

Last edited by tubemonkey; 12-13-2013 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Library Books

Since most libraries use OverDrive for their collections, this post will only deal with that source. Borrowing isn't an issue, since it's web-based and easily accomplished on any Chrome OS device.

Problems arise when attempting to use Chrome OS devices for reading and listening; and when trying to transfer these titles to other devices. Two key pieces of software used for managing library books are incompatible with Chrome OS -- Adobe Digital Editions and OverDrive Media Console.


OverDrive Formats (8 total)

1- Kindle Book
  • Reading -- compatible -- via Kindle Cloud Reader
  • Transferring -- compatible -- requires an Amazon account. Since Amazon supplies the books for all Kindle titles, OverDrive and Adobe are completely bypassed. Once a Kindle title is checked out, it goes directly to your Amazon account and all registered Kindle devices and apps.

2- OverDrive Read
  • Reading -- compatible -- via OverDrive Read
  • Transferring --

3- EPUB eBook
  • Reading -- not compatible -- requires OverDrive
  • Transferring -- not compatible -- requires OverDrive

4- PDF eBook
  • Reading --
  • Transferring --

5- Open EPUB eBook
  • Reading -- file type not supported -- visit Chrome Store to find solution
  • Transferring -- file type not supported -- visit Chrome Store to find solution

6- Open PDF eBook
  • Reading -- compatible -- opens directly in Chrome OS devices
  • Transferring --

7- OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
  • Listening -- not compatible -- requires OverDrive
  • Transferring -- not compatible -- requires OverDrive

8- OverDrive WMA Audiobook
  • Listening -- not compatible -- requires OverDrive
  • Transferring -- not compatible -- requires OverDrive and Windows PC

-more to follow-

Last edited by tubemonkey; 03-05-2014 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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eBooks

Purchasing ebooks should pose no problem, since it's web-based. Downloading and reading however, may pose problems.


Amazon Kindle
  • Downloading -- file type not supported -- visit Chrome Store to find solution
  • Reading -- compatible -- via Kindle Cloud Reader

B&N Nook
  • Downloading -- file type not supported -- visit Chrome Store to find solution
  • Reading -- compatible -- via Nook for Web

Google Play
  • Downloading -- file type not supported -- visit Chrome Store to find solution
  • Reading -- compatible -- via Chrome Web Reader

Kobo Books
  • Downloading -- unknown -- I don't have a Kobo account
  • Reading -- compatible -- via Kobo Instant Reader


-more to follow-

Last edited by tubemonkey; 03-05-2014 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:05 PM   #4
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Audiobooks

Again, purchasing is not a problem. What may pose problems are downloading and listening to audiobooks on Chrome OS devices or transferring these audiobooks to mobile devices. To test transferability, I'm using a Sansa Clip Zip.


Audible
  • Downloading -- not compatible -- requires AudibleManager
  • Listening -- not compatible --requires AudibleManager
  • Transferring -- not compatible --requires AudibleManager

Downpour
  • Downloading -- compatible --
  • Listening -- compatible --
  • Transferring --

Tantor Audio
  • Downloading -- compatible --
  • Listening -- compatible --
  • Transferring -- compatible -- Clip Zip

-more to follow-

Last edited by tubemonkey; 12-13-2013 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:14 AM   #5
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The Open ePub and Open PDF download directly, without encryption of any sort. The encryption is the only thing stopping other formats from being read on Chrome -- isn't it kind of a given that they are compatible?
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
The Open ePub and Open PDF download directly, without encryption of any sort. The encryption is the only thing stopping other formats from being read on Chrome -- isn't it kind of a given that they are compatible?
I'm trying out each format on my Chromebook and I haven't reached the open formats yet.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:26 AM   #7
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This is going to be a very useful thread. Thanks, tubemonkey. :-)

I have Readium installed on my device for ePub, which may help with the 'not supported' error on the open ePub library book. Not sure.

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Old 12-12-2013, 04:53 AM   #8
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How about Calibre? Would it be easy to port it to ChromeOS?
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
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How about Calibre? Would it be easy to port it to ChromeOS?
Hard, I would expect, but we'd need to ask one of the Calibre devs. Calibre's largely written in Python, and there is a Python shell for ChromeOS, but I expect it would be a major rewrite.

Calibre would probably run on a Chromebook running Linux via Chrubuntu or Chrouton, but Kovid notes that it needs an Intel chip, so that would rule out the ARM Chromebooks.

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Old 12-12-2013, 05:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham View Post
This is going to be a very useful thread. Thanks, tubemonkey. :-)

I have Readium installed on my device for ePub, which may help with the 'not supported' error on the open ePub library book. Not sure.

Graham
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This thread is in its infancy, so major revisions are to be expected until I get the basics in order and the content streamlined.

Thanks for the tip on Readium. I haven't had a chance to check the Chrome Store for apps yet, but this one will be first on my list. The stumbling block will be the DRM slapped on OverDrive content.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:48 AM   #11
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Hard, I would expect, but we'd need to ask one of the Calibre devs. Calibre's largely written in Python, and there is a Python shell for ChromeOS, but I expect it would be a major rewrite.

Calibre would probably run on a Chromebook running Linux via Chrubuntu or Chrouton, but Kovid notes that it needs an Intel chip, so that would rule out the ARM Chromebooks.

Graham
This is one of the reasons why it's so difficult to break through. New users who aren't invested in different software solutions have no problem adapting to something like a Chromebook, but those of us invested in things like Calibre have a much harder conversion process to deal with.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:58 AM   #12
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This is one of the reasons why it's so difficult to break through. New users who aren't invested in different software solutions have no problem adapting to something like a Chromebook, but those of us invested in things like Calibre have a much harder conversion process to deal with.
Yes. I've been saying on the 'pundits' thread that ChromeOS is still only capable as a second device, and that anyone with a need for specific software solutions will have to return to a traditional machine for those.

However, I've been using the word 'secondary' and this isn't quite right now. For me, the Chromebox and Chromebook are undoubtedly my primary devices. I only boot up Windows now when I have to, so, for me, Windows is now 'secondary'.

I should probably install Chrouton on my Chromebox, giving me the option to run things like Calibre without having to start my Windows machine, but I really like the "no hassle, switch on and use" nature of the ChromeOS devices at the moment, and adding Linux to the Chromebox might dispel that for me.

Graham

Last edited by Graham; 12-12-2013 at 08:01 AM. Reason: sorry, thought I was replying in the 'pundits' thread.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:59 AM   #13
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This is one of the reasons why it's so difficult to break through. New users who aren't invested in different software solutions have no problem adapting to something like a Chromebook, but those of us invested in things like Calibre have a much harder conversion process to deal with.
For me, it's audiobooks. I can't cut the Windows cord completely because of them.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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There is no virtual machine available that will run Windows under ChromeOS?
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:33 AM   #15
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There is no virtual machine available that will run Windows under ChromeOS?
I think you'd be getting down to the do-it-because-you-can level rather than a practical reason, as it would be compromising the ease and simplicity of the Chromebook for tasks which would be more quickly and easily served by having a second device (or just having a Windows device and running Chrome on it....)

Having an easy, officially-supported ChromeOS Windows VM is not likely to happen.

That all being said, I run Linux on my Chromebook, and in Linux I can run VM software and run Windows in that. I did in fact run an XP vm on it when I first got it. It was not exactly a snappy performer, and I deleted it before getting as far as trying Overdrive or any DRM-related activities.

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