Cheap e-book readers discussion

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  • Badger_Lady
    Badger_Lady Posts: 6,264 Forumite
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    Just checked when my Library service will offer e-books and they have clearly stipulated the system will not work with Kindles.

    They probably don't know enough to be able to say that. I say 'probably' because there's a slim chance they've genuinely found some technical way to lock the books down and prevent Calibre from converting them. But it seems unlikely.
    Mortgage | £145,000Unsecured Debt | [strike]£7,000[/strike] £0 Lodgers | |
  • Mrs_Arcanum
    Mrs_Arcanum Posts: 23,976 Forumite
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    They probably don't know enough to be able to say that. I say 'probably' because there's a slim chance they've genuinely found some technical way to lock the books down and prevent Calibre from converting them. But it seems unlikely.

    The quote from the Library Service: -
    Our eBook service will be compatible with PCs, Macs. iPad, iPhone, iPod
    Touch Android, Blackberry, Sony eReader, Kobo, and other eBook readers,
    but currently not Kindles. This is because Kindles are proprietary
    devices for eBooks purchased from Amazon. However, our supplier has
    recently made an agreement with Amazon.com in the United States so that
    eBooks from public libraries can be read on Kindles in the USA only.
    Although we hope that this will be extended to the UK in due course, we
    don't know if this will definitely happen.
    Truth always poses doubts & questions. Only lies are 100% believable, because they don't need to justify reality. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Labyrinth of the Spirits
  • Badger_Lady
    Badger_Lady Posts: 6,264 Forumite
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    Our eBook service will be compatible with PCs, Macs. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch Android, Blackberry, Sony eReader, Kobo, and other eBook readers, but currently not Kindles. This is because Kindles are proprietary devices for eBooks purchased from Amazon. However, our supplier has recently made an agreement with Amazon.com in the United States so that eBooks from public libraries can be read on Kindles in the USA only. Although we hope that this will be extended to the UK in due course, we don't know if this will definitely happen.-

    Yep. So that could be translated as "Our eBooks are provided in ePub format, which only works on a Kindle by converting it through Calibre". Without knowing the exact details of their service, though, it's impossible to be sure. The above does not tell us that it won't work on a Kindle, just that it doesn't by default work on Kindle.
    Mortgage | £145,000Unsecured Debt | [strike]£7,000[/strike] £0 Lodgers | |
  • Yep. So that could be translated as "Our eBooks are provided in ePub format, which only works on a Kindle by converting it through Calibre". Without knowing the exact details of their service, though, it's impossible to be sure. The above does not tell us that it won't work on a Kindle, just that it doesn't by default work on Kindle.

    Hi Badger_Lady and others, I have been looking into the issue of whether library books in ePub format can be converted with Calibre into MOBI files to put on the Kindle.

    Speaking to the Intellectual Property Office, "copying an e-book from one format to another without the permission of the copyright owner will infringe the copyright in that book, unless the terms of use associated with the e-book say that you can copy it."

    So, it's my understanding that its not actually legal to convert a borrowed library ePub book to a MOBI format. I am looking into it in a bit more detail though, and will update the guide when we have a definite answer.

    Thanks,
    MSE Becca
  • brownfrog
    brownfrog Posts: 189 Forumite
    Brownfrog - you are so against Kindles BUT you really should get your facts right.

    I bought a 3G Keyboard Kindle like Badger Lady - the 3G comes in EXTREMELY useful - FAR more than I thought it ever would be. I too use quite a bit when away from home. It's a bit of a no brainer paying the extra for 3G and probably is why the Kindle has gained such a following.
    The Kindle Keyboard has a battery life of 120hrs or 2hrs a day for 2 months if you just use for reading. If you have Wi-Fi or 3G on then this obviously cuts the time it can be used for reading down - as with ALL readers.
    File conversion takes no time using calibre. If you can't use calibre then I doubt you'd be able to use a computer - it's not rocket science just push a button on calibre and it's done for you.
    You can buy books from anywhere and just download into calibre within a minute or so the book can be on your Kindle in the correct format.
    Personally I think the Kindle 3G keyboard DOES knock the socks off any competition BUT that's just my humble opinion. :)

    I'm not against Kindles, per se - I'm against articles that are so obviously biased in favour of one product over another when the facts don't bear this out, and I'm against big corporations in general, because it usually ends up in a worse deal for the consumer. Which is why I just can't understand why MSE is so busy blowing Amazon's trumpet. Include the Kindle, by all means, stick it up at the top of the list if there's a particularly good deal at the time, but don't make out that it's the only one worth buying! As I said in my last post, the only one of those reasons that holds water is the point about 3G; all the rest either are incorrect or aren't unique to the Kindle.

    I agree that as the Kindle does seem to have open 3G, it will be useful for some people (and thanks to Badger_Lady for pointing that out, and it's clearly an important point for you) - I don't agree that this is enough to justify such a skewing of the article. Neither, IMO, do the other points yiou mention above. Having 20 hours extra battery life isn't enough to justify not mentioning the Sony Reader, for instance. Re file conversion, I've used Calibre for years, way back when I bought my first ereader and yes, it's very quick, but I still don't see how using a closed-source file format can possibly be deemed a reason to make a product a 'top pick'. And even though Calibre is indeed a very easy program to use, the fact is that there are plenty of people out there who can use a Kindle, but can't use a PC and can't do those conversions, which again, means they're stuck with Amazon - again, how can this be good for those consumers? And yes, you can buy books elsewhere, but if they're DRM-protected , the DRM will have to be stripped before you can convert it, and that's illegal. In fact, Calibre won't even open a DRM-protected book, presumably because the writer doesn't want to run the risk of being accused of aiding criminal activity.

    I'm glad you're enjoying your Kindle. I'm enjoying my (current) Sony (and BTW, I don't work for Sony, or any other manufacturer, and I've owned quite a few different ereaders). All I'm saying is that when an article is written for a website such as MSE that it should take pains not to be biased towards particular products, and I believe that one very clearly is.
  • brownfrog
    brownfrog Posts: 189 Forumite
    Night_Fury wrote: »
    I tend to read as many reference books as I do fiction, so I expect annotation would be very handy there.

    I also had a look at the Sony PRS-T1 as an alternative to the Kindle. I quite like the ability to handwrite notes etc and it has audio like the 3g. Anyone have anything to say on this device? The reviews tend to be either 3/5 or 5/5 which doesn't really help! (More down to reviewers preference I guess).

    This is the latest one I've acquired, and I love it. :happyloveIt's a beautiful object (much more stylish than the Kindle), and although I miss the build quality of my old 600, I'm more than happy with the T1 - the screen's far better, for a start. Annotation is excellent and it doesn't need a special stylus (I bought a pack of cheap ones from the pound shop to avoid losing the 'real' one). It also seems to be one of the best for displaying PDFs (although not as good as 950 was - that had a larger screen), although you might want to look further into it if you want to use very diagram-heavy reference books. The quality of photos is very good, though. The audio's fine - won't satisfy a music lover, but perfectly adequate. I agree some of the reviews haven't been great, but I believe there was a problem with the firmware in some of the earlier ones, sot that could have been ther reason. If you want more info, check out https://www.mobileread.com - there are people there who've been using ereaders since they first came out and own loads of different types.
  • brownfrog
    brownfrog Posts: 189 Forumite
    edited 10 January 2012 at 7:12PM
    Yep. So that could be translated as "Our eBooks are provided in ePub format, which only works on a Kindle by converting it through Calibre". Without knowing the exact details of their service, though, it's impossible to be sure. The above does not tell us that it won't work on a Kindle, just that it doesn't by default work on Kindle.

    No, the reason is because the UK libraries so far offering ebooks use Overdrive and/or Adobe Digital Editions. Overdrive doesn't work with Kindle in the UK, only in the US (see here for a list of supported devices: http://www.overdrive.com/resources/drc/Default.aspx?type=ebook); there are some sort of legal machinations going on with the EU that means Overdrive has currently abandoned working with the Kindle in Europe, so it's unknown if this will ever happen. ADE doesn't work with the Kindle at all (in fact, on the ADE site, it states 'Digital Editions supports the Sony® Reader', and that's it!). So no, unless you strip off the DRM, which is illegal,* you can't use the Kindle with a library that provides its books in either of these two formats. There's a brand new article on the Computeractive site discussing this issue: http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ca/news/2125772/borrow-ebook-library

    Some libraries do subscribe to the Public Library Online service (see here for a list:
    http://publiclibraryonline.wordpress.com/uk/participating-libraries/), which enables the reader to read without needing to use any of this software, but only by 'u[FONT=&quot]sing your existing computer or internet and flash enabled mobile device in the library', and I use the computer enough without wanting to read on it! Hence, this was one of my absolute essentials for an ereader - I didn't want the library service, which has served me long and faithfully, to become yet another sacrifice on the Amazon altar, as the local bookshops already have.


    *And yes, there are other methods, such as changing the PIN, but they're just as illegal, and harder to do!
    [/FONT]
  • Just noticed this thread actually.

    For what it's worth, the shop "The Works", which is a bargain book retailer, currently has the Binatone Readme e-ink reader model 2281 on sale for £25 quid.

    The re-sale value on ebay is around £40 quid, so I bought two and sold each one for £35 quid. Took the £20 quid profit and bought a third one for myself effectively reducing the cost to £5 quid.

    The drawback with this model though is that it only supports TXT format.

    However, having played around with the conversion settings in calibre, i've managed to get a near-spot on conversion of the MOBI format and page-to-page, while reading, it's really no different to a few of the other higher priced readers i've used.

    And for a fiver, I can certainly put up with the limitations :)
  • aubie
    aubie Posts: 10 Forumite
    Sorry if this was posted before: I'm planning on buying a tablet for reading (Kindle, iPad, Nook... don't know yet). I don't know if all ebooks work on all types? Is the Calibre converter free?

    "Most ebook retailers will allow you to sort by format and you can check which your ebook reader supports. A useful site developed by helpful techies is Calibre, which will convert formats to the one supported by your e-reader." (from moneysavingexperts site)

    And where can I find the cheapest ebooks?
  • jasonwatkins
    jasonwatkins Posts: 2,420 Forumite
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    Calibre is indeed free and does offer fairly comprehensive conversion between formats.

    If you're getting a tablet though, you can use the free Kindle app for it that will pretty much turn it into a Kindle anyway.
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