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Old 01-31-2006, 04:13 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Adobe blogger on Sony's BBeB format

It's not as if any of us need any more proprietary formats in our lives, but Sony is hitting us up with their new Sony Reader that will be based on its own e-book format (Broad Band eBook aka BBeB). Although the device will also display Adobe PDFs, these will have to be first converted to BBeB on a PC using the software provided with the reader. Adobe blogger Bill McCoy, a firm believer in interoperable XML-based formats, has a nifty little blurb on this topic arguing that BBeB "is simply one of the best of a number of what I would call "compiled from XML" derivative formats". It's also supposed to turn into an open format, but we'll believe that when we see it.

More over at Adobe Blogs.

Related: Structure of BBeB (PDF), Sony's new e-book reader officially announced, Sony Reader vs. iRex Iliad e-book reader
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Old 01-31-2006, 04:53 AM   #2
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Does anyone actually seen some more concrete example of Sony promising to release the format? Was it on their presentation? Has anyone else seen it on 'paper' somewhere perhaps? A fairly official paper that is, coming from sony?

I would be considerably less happy about the Sony Reader if they did not open their format. I am not going to trust their ability to keep utilities operational to make your own books, let alone in good condition.

The reason I am so happy with Microsoft Lit files is that I am assured of their continuity.
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:05 AM   #3
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Same format has been in use for the Sony Librie. You can purchase BBeB-based books from here: http://www.timebooktown.jp/Service/
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaapjan
The reason I am so happy with Microsoft Lit files is that I am assured of their continuity.
But you aren't assured of any continuty in Lit. Lit is a closed, proprietary format. If Microsoft decides that Lit is out and Lit.Net (making up an example) is in (and is incompatible with old Lit), you are screwed.

The only way to assure that your eBooks are readable - or at least convertable to something else - in the future is to have them in an open format. More and more groups (the state of Mass., for example) has recognized this and are abandoning the proprietary Microsoft formats in favor of open document formats.
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MrSaint
Same format has been in use for the Sony Librie. You can purchase BBeB-based books from here: http://www.timebooktown.jp/Service/
Yes, but what open source tools are available to make your own BBeB-format eBooks?

So far, I see.... 1 - and it's kludgy.

I'm not repurchasing all my eBooks just to get them in what should be an open format. Unless there is a way to convert open formats to BBeB (preferably easy and free), the format simply won't take off - just like another failed Sony format: the Memory Stick.

Sony does not have a good track record in this market so far. They have innovation, but - like Microsoft - they are trying the Embrace/Extend/Usurp method. Too many people (especially early adopters) know that this is a BAD thing for consumers.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:36 AM   #6
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I beg to differ. The reason I buy LIT files is because they do offer continuity. Should they ever no longer support the format, there's a perfectly available tool to change it into perfect HTML. It is available right now, somewhere on the internet. I would not know where, naturally.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
these will have to be first converted to BBeB on a PC using the software provided with the reader.
Do we know this for sure? What's frustrating is that I keep hearing it both ways - sometimes it is native, sometimes it requires conversion. I guess we won't know 100% until someone actually buys one and tries it out.

Quote:
But you aren't assured of any continuty in Lit.
Sure you are. All you need to is unseal the file as soon as you buy it. Once you've done that you can convert the file or move it around as you like.

What he is talking about is having his *existing* files future-proofed. You can do that with lit and a little, and I do mean a little, bit of work. I haven't found an equiv for encrypted pdf or palm reader files.

To say that Mass. is abandoning proprietary formats is overstating what is going on. Since the CIO quit due to lack of support, don't be holding your breath that they will become a model of open source goodness. A lot of companies have played that card in the past simply to get better pricing. Just yell 'linux' at MS and the sales people come out in force.
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Old 01-31-2006, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaapjan
I beg to differ. The reason I buy LIT files is because they do offer continuity. Should they ever no longer support the format, there's a perfectly available tool to change it into perfect HTML. It is available right now, somewhere on the internet. I would not know where, naturally.
Only for unprotected lit files. If you bought a protected lit file (which was the reason lit was created in the first place), the tool will NOT convert it.
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
Sure you are. All you need to is unseal the file as soon as you buy it. Once you've done that you can convert the file or move it around as you like.
You are allowed to do that? Granted, I don't buy DRMed eBooks, so my experience with lit is low. Just what I get for free and convert to a useful format.

My understanding is that like protected PDF and eReader files, protected lit files were locked up tight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
What he is talking about is having his *existing* files future-proofed. You can do that with lit and a little, and I do mean a little, bit of work. I haven't found an equiv for encrypted pdf or palm reader files.
It's more than a little work. The convert lit program is not batch-friently and many of the files it contains are not in a good format (usually because MS Word does such a bad job converting to HTML).

But I stand by my statements: lit is a closed, proprietary format that offers nothing over the more open formats available and has very limited support on non-Microsoft products.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:05 PM   #10
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Stand by them all you want. Comparing them to open formats will certainly not put them in a favorable light.

The point is that once you unseal the file, you can move it around onto any device you want and DRM is no longer an issue.

The state of the html you get out of a lit file is exactly the state they were put into by the publisher. If they author a correct OEBP file, conversion will not be an issue. If they put in crappy html with poor tagging practices, it is going to be a crappy html file with poor tagging practices. But that is not the LIT format's fault.

LIT is still a better choice than Palm, Acrobat, Rocket or IMP if the point is to be able to move content out of the format you choose.
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Old 02-01-2006, 02:47 AM   #11
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True. And you're certainly not limited to converting unprotected files alone. And there's a perfectly available gui which does entire batches for you just as you like.

However, I would appriciate it if you'd check into the capabilities of the program when you're unsure. It is like screaming that rmeister0's car does not even have a clutch compared to mine...and I have never seen his car.
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Old 02-01-2006, 02:48 AM   #12
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Uhm. Depending on country, rmeister may technically not even -have- a clutch indeed.

Well. Point remains though.
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:25 PM   #13
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Hello from Alabama

I just got my Sony e-book reader for Christmas and I love it. I can download all kinds of sf books and read them on it now.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaapjan View Post
I beg to differ. The reason I buy LIT files is because they do offer continuity. Should they ever no longer support the format, there's a perfectly available tool to change it into perfect HTML. It is available right now, somewhere on the internet. I would not know where, naturally.
I have ABC Amber Lit to convert MS Format and also I have BBeB Binder to convert HTML to rtf format. But I cant seem to find a free Pdf converter to rtf or even text. Can anyone help me?
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by cmkerr View Post
I have ABC Amber Lit to convert MS Format and also I have BBeB Binder to convert HTML to rtf format. But I cant seem to find a free Pdf converter to rtf or even text. Can anyone help me?
ABC Amber LIT converter is not good. It's based on rather buggy code. The best program to use to convert MS Reader format to HTML is Calibre's lit2oeb.

BBeBinder is not the best solution to go HTML to RTF. Best to use MS Word or Open Office.

As for PDF, there are converters, but none do a perfect job and the only way to make sure the conversion is good is to compare the PDF to the converted copy and fix and problems you see.

If you are converting to RTF to use on your Reader, you'll find sometimes the reading experience won't be as good as it could be. You won't have a table of contents nor any graphics. If you have DRM free MS Reader files, use lit2lrf to convert them. That will do a rather good job of converting and you will get a ToC and any graphics.
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