PDA

View Full Version : Where's the most universal place to buy eBooks?


turtle
2010-06-25, 10:33
Sure I can buy from Amazon and read them on the Touch/iPhone (eventually iPad) but since I don't own a Kindle this seems like the wrong place to put my library. I've found a few publishers that sell eBooks in various formats directly so I wouldn't be going with the iBook Store or any other distributor but direct instead.

So what's the best format to get these books since the one I'm looking at right now comes in more formats than I knew existed. See them listed here (http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.97803102474 56&QueryStringSite=Zondervan). I'd like the eBooks the be portable from one reader to another. While right now my plan is to use Apple devices I also might want to use a PC or Mac to read them too.

So what is a good format to use? What's your method of getting eBooks and reading through them? Do you only use one device?

Capella
2010-06-25, 12:07
What format you're going to want depends pretty much entirely on what you're reading them on. There's advantages and disadvantages to everything.

Since I have a Kindle, if I'm restricted just to choosing one format (which really pisses me off, btw), I buy things in .mobi format. For one, if I get them from Amazon, I have the advantage of Whispersync, which means if I start a book on Kindle, I can sync it to my Mac and finish there, or my iPod Touch; this also works if you do NOT have a Kindle, because you can start a book on Kindle for Mac, read more on Kindle for iPad, and then finish it on Kindle for PC. If you need to read a book in several different settings, I think Whispersync is nice.

If I don't get it from Amazon, I lose that ability- Kindle apps don't let you take a "regular" mobi book (one you've converted from another format via something like Calibre, or one you've bought from another publisher like Fictionwise or Baen) and Whispersync it everywhere. This is VERY annoying, but I deal, because I still have the choice of putting the file on my Kindle or my computer. I haven't figured out how to add non-Amazon eBooks to an iOS device yet, but since I'm always with either my Kindle or my laptop, I don't really care.

I'm not exclusively loyal to one place to buy. Sometimes, I get books from Amazon, because then I have Whispersync and things will be on all my devices at once, but given I don't really need that, as I said above, that's only an occasional. I also really adore Fictionwise, because- depending on what you're getting- some books are available only in one format, where you have to pick what format you want, and some books come in MultiFormat where you just buy it and you can download it in several formats. So I kind of jump around and source from several different places.

I think for other people who read in different environments, that Whispersync is a good idea, so for newbies to eReading I would always recommend sourcing your books directly from Amazon if possible so you can keep books on your iOS device and your regular machine.

Personally, however...I read your average 300ish page novel in 90 minutes or less. I don't really need to access a book on 2 devices in one day because I'll be done with it. I still like getting things in .mobi so that when I wake up in the morning I can decide if I feel like Kindle or like laptop; I have a choice of what device to read my files on, I'm not locked into just one. But I don't really need things to be on two devices at the exact same time because I'm never going to start a book on one and finish it on another, so the standard advantages of Whispersync don't apply to me.

The end point is, I've told you what I do, but what you'll do depends on your use; if you're going to be using "Apple devices" (i.e. iPad or iPhone) and a PC/Mac, check to make sure Amazon's got what you're gonna be using, then go with the Kindle app family. If you're gonna be getting books in PDF, which not all places offer- and some only offer encrypted- then storing your books in Dropbox and reading them in Preview on a Mac and the Dropbox app or whatever in an iOS environment might work for you.

Robo
2010-06-25, 12:42
To be honest...mine are all over the place.

I'd probably start with Amazon. ZOMG proprietary? Yes, because they're nonetheless available for many devices (iPod/iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, PC, Mac, with Android support soon), and tend to have a very broad selection and lower prices. And Whispersync, which is a bigger deal if you don't finish a novel in 90 minutes. A Kindle isn't at all required for Kindle books; they work on Macs and iPhones just fine. :)

Of course, if you're into a particular paperback niche (like sci-fi or romance) the publishers of those books often make books available through their own stores, in either ePUB or PDF, for startlingly low prices. ePUB books can be synced right into iBooks, and PDF support is supposed to be coming soon...?

I mainly read on my iPad. Before that, I read on my Sony Reader. Sony's store and format sucks. Do not buy things from them, though now they're backing ePUB like most everybody else. Apple's store is nice but selection (of both books and devices) is more limited, and they're usually more expensive, so...

I use them for public domain books, though. And Winnie the Pooh. :D

Robo
2010-06-25, 14:01
Oh, and if you want a Kindle, SpecMode is trying to sell his in the Bazaar! It's going for a really good price.

turtle
2010-06-25, 15:03
Thanks for the input so far guys. Very helpful. I don't mind giving Amazon my money, I just want to be sure it's the best for it. I don't like DRM and that's one problem I have with Amazon's books.

The other thing I should point out is that everything needs to be able to be accessed under one account. My wife is going to use my account for her access of the books. This way I don't have to buy more than one copy for my house like I would a normal book.

We do this for her iTunes account. All of the iPhones/Touches and AppleTVs have my iTunes account on them. This way we share apps etc. I want the books to be the same way. You know, like I have a hardcopy to pass around the house. Whispersync would work for us in most cases because it's rare we'd read the same book at the same time.

In my case, it takes a while to get through a book. I'm not a fast reader right now to say the least. When I did read all the time I could read a book in one night, but I had to really love the book.

Robo
2010-06-25, 15:18
Thanks for the input so far guys. Very helpful. I don't mind giving Amazon my money, I just want to be sure it's the best for it. I don't like DRM and that's one problem I have with Amazon's books.

There's DRM on the other major stores too, though. Just because it's not part of the ePUB standard doesn't mean that other stores don't use DRM wrappers.

And you can have multiple Kindle apps/devices on one account, of course. Otherwise there'd be no point in Whispersync :)

And I'm not a super-fast reader, either. It took me about eight hours to get through the 759 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, though I did start reading it at about 12:30 a.m. and I imagine I slowed down a bit as the fatigue set in. :D

Capella
2010-06-25, 15:21
Yeah, my Amazon account has 1 Kindle, 1 Touch, and 1 computer all synced to it. :)

turtle
2010-06-25, 17:43
Well, I guess that's part of why I'm asking. If I can just get an ePUB version from a publisher it won't be tied to one DRM either.

I do like the fact that I can have the Kindle App on my wife's iPhone, my Touch and I could have it on my PC/Macs even though I haven't done that yet. This is a big positive to me going with Kindle. Buuuuut....if I can get the same book from a non-DRM source for about the same price what would a good format be?

Is ePUB the best or PDF or some other one?

And I'm not a super-fast reader, either. It took me about eight hours to get through the 759 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, though I did start reading it at about 12:30 a.m. and I imagine I slowed down a bit as the fatigue set in.
:eek:

Not a super-fast reader!? I won't even venture to guess how long it would take me to read that book.

torifile
2010-06-25, 19:05
You know, there are ways to take the DRM off Kindle books. Not that I've tried or am recommending or anything.

turtle
2010-06-25, 19:34
I had no idea. I've never looked into it but I'm sure Google will bring me some great info!

The other thing I don't like about Amazon was how they pulled the book via their servers. I don't want someone being able to do that if I buy it. You can't come in my house and take a book I have on my bookshelf so I expect the same for my digital content.

If the publisher goes out of business I don't lose the ability to open my book but if the DRM holder closes it's doors (like PlayForSure) I lose my ability to open that book. I don't like that so I'd rather buy all my media with a non-DRM flavor so I won't have that issue.

turtle
2010-06-25, 19:59
So it looks like breaking Amazon's DRM shell is amazingly easy. If I buy from Amazon and give AN the credit I'm pretty happy with that. My question would then be wondering if Amazon would be able to pull it like they did in the past. Sure it isn't likely the books I'll get will fall under that circumstance, I just don't like someone stealing from me for any reason.

torifile
2010-06-25, 20:14
I doubt that if you've stripped the DRM, they'd be able to yank the rights away from you. Not 100% sure, mind you, but how could they? I can't imagine what mechanism they'd use to pull it.

Robo
2010-06-25, 20:17
So it looks like breaking Amazon's DRM shell is amazingly easy. If I buy from Amazon and give AN the credit I'm pretty happy with that. My question would then be wondering if Amazon would be able to pull it like they did in the past. Sure it isn't likely the books I'll get will fall under that circumstance, I just don't like someone stealing from me for any reason.

IIRC, they gave purchasers their money back plus twenty dollars. Amazon can "steal" from me like that any day ;) (they won't, because it was still a massive PR nightmare).

AFIACT, all the other major bookstores have killswitches too, and would have probably used them in that instance as well (Amazon was accidentally selling the book illegally). So.

It's not something I'd worry about, and if I were to, I'd actually worry about B&N or someone else doing it before I worried about Amazon doing it again. They got a huge black eye for that (I mean, it was Nighteen Eighty-Four,* for pete's sake).

*Not that there's anything about DRM in Nineteen Eighty-Four, but Big Brother is now pretty much the catch-all image for anything draconian, in the same way that suburban would-be-hipsters usually don't know a thing about "that Che dude" on their t-shirts.