E-Books: A Question for Readers

by W.F. Price on September 23, 2011

I was up all night last night working on typesetting for both e-books and print, as one can now produce files that serve both purposes quite well. As I was doing so, I came across a program that allows for conversion of files to formats compatible with various e-book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, the Nook, etc.

As I was tinkering with the program, I wondered how many Spearhead readers use an e-book reader.

So, the question is, do any of the readers here use these devices? And if so, would it be more convenient for them if I offered texts in particular e-book reader files?

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Hercules September 23, 2011 at 12:37

Kindle.

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Rebel September 23, 2011 at 12:45

So far, I have been able to download a substantial number of books presented in PDF format.

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Anonymous September 23, 2011 at 12:51

In direct response, I use an iPad 2, and convert all eBook files to EPUB format prior to download.

More to the purpose, I recommend downloading a copy of Calibre (a free eBook format conversion program with automatic text reformatting functionality) and tinkering briefly with it; you may find that you are able to provide your text in all major formats at negligible cost of labor, effectively obviating this concern.

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L3nsman September 23, 2011 at 12:52

I have an iPhone and I read ebooks on a daily basis either by using the Kindle app, or by using the iBooks app and reading them in epub format. Kindle is really great and easy to use, but iBooks tends to be a bit slow and it’s a chore to get the books to synch (iTunes sucks major balls, and if someone has an alternative to tranfer books on iBooks, I am all ears).

That being said, nothing beats reading a book on paper. But, yeah, I read ebooks all the time.

Have someone test how your stuff appears on various screen (if you have an iSmug friend, have him have a look at his iPhone). I happen to know that software that makes ebooks isn’t very reliable as far as layout goes.

Looking forward to read some of your material.

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Things Are Bad September 23, 2011 at 13:03

I don’t use an e-book reader.

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Just1X September 23, 2011 at 13:04

I love my kindle, I won’t buy paper books (except for reference / technical ones) unless they are must-haves and only available on paper

BUT beware that the DRM (copy protection) is trivially broken with a kindle, it’s easy to find on the web.

If you’re doing free books, or a dollar a copy, I don’t see people will steal it. Amazon have a lot of cheap to buy kindle books, if they look interesting I just buy them (as opposed to a free download of a preview).

I think that they’re the future, but the weakness of DRM would worry me if I wanted to make a living from writing big hardbacks…

Best of luck, I’ll be interested in what you sell

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Just1X September 23, 2011 at 13:09

@L3nsman

have you looked at Calibre (it’s free)

http://calibre-ebook.com/

it doesn’t inherently do DRM cracking, it’s a good e-book library system that does format conversion and up/download from all sorts of devices.

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Dubliner September 23, 2011 at 13:29

Make ‘em available across the board–Kindle, Nook, EPUB, PDF.

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W.F. Price September 23, 2011 at 13:47

If you’re doing free books, or a dollar a copy, I don’t see people will steal it. Amazon have a lot of cheap to buy kindle books, if they look interesting I just buy them (as opposed to a free download of a preview).

Just1X

The first ones should be free, so I’m not worried about that (yet)

Just1X September 23, 2011 at 13:50

‘cheap’ in the UK doesn’t mean the same as in the USA, I don’t think.

I should have said ‘inexpensive’, cheap doesn’t equal crap in my local patois

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CorkyAgain September 23, 2011 at 14:05

I don’t use an e-book device, only my desktop PC and/or laptop. PDF would be fine with me, but since there is software available on Linux for almost every format, it’s really a “don’t care”. Just be careful about not getting into some proprietary format.

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Just Some Canadian September 23, 2011 at 14:12

Fundamentally, e-Pub files are a zip file containing the graphics, the HTML for text and the content directories. There are plenty of conversion middleware that do exactly the job of exporting your text into any variety of formats, be you publishing to PDF, e-Pub (supported by most E-Readers), or HTML.

The Adobe suite of products is very capable, and given your need to manage a web site, something you should consider.

E-Publisher by Webworks is very, very good. One you’ve set it up, it becomes invisible. Unfortunately, it comes with a cripplingly high fee and likely beyond your budget.

Ideally, you want to add to your revenues and not to your overhead so here’s my advice.

Use some basic tools to single source your content into a variety of formats. Open an Apple store account and upload your books. There will eventually be a tablet market, but until 2014 at least, there is basically an iPad market.

The iPad has an excellent screen and it renders well. In other words, it’s an easier place for you to start rather than a finicky Mobi or Amazaon e-Reader where you really need to spend a bit more time learning the quirks of the slower processor, and low-end graphics that these devices employ.

Both iPad and, say, the Kindle use the e-Pub format but the former is a lot more fault tolerant.

May I suggest Colobri as your authoring tool. You can use it to set up a style sheet per device.

Best of luck.

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Just Some Canadian September 23, 2011 at 14:13

What a doofus I am. I meant Calibre.

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Natalia September 23, 2011 at 14:19

I use my laptop for ebooks, so I’d prefer them in a pdf :)

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CorkyAgain September 23, 2011 at 14:26

OTOH, I followed up on Just1X’s recommendation of Calibre, and they make a cogent argument against PDF:

http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/conversion.html#pdfconversion

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Uncle Elmer September 23, 2011 at 14:37

I bought a “BeBook” a couple years ago but was disappointed by the slow response and small size (hey, I’m old).

Took it overseas packed full of ebooks but read only one, Fiasco by Thomas Ricks.

I was under the mistaken impression that the “Kindle” did not handle pdf when in fact it does.

Since then bought a “Kindle DX”, the large format version for about $400. The smaller one may be suitable for you younger chaps.

I read a lot of technical documents on it. What I like is the e-ink technology so that you are not staring into a light source as you would on a computer or tablet. So I try to read documents on it instead of the PC. Definitely easier on the eyes, about the same as a printed page.

Still a little slow and you can’t page through pdfs as fast as on a computer but that should improve in newer versions.

Also I like being away from the computer OS.

Speaking of which, if you are writing, definitely check out the Alphasmart NEO.

Turn it on. Start writing. Turn it off. Repeat. No friggin OS, just a crude word-processor. Runs 700 hours on 3 AA batteries. Also no backlight staring you in the face.

When you are ready to upload your genius to the Spearhead, just plug in the USB cable and hit “send”, or use their file app.

Only $169. With your goatee, beret, and NEO, you will be a chick magnet at the coffeeshop, while other guys lamely try to attract them with their prissy laptops and “netbooks”, or worse, a “smart phone”.

http://www.neo-direct.com/default.aspx

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Herbal Essence September 23, 2011 at 14:39

I have a kindle reader on my iphone. Occasionally it displays text in very strange ways, due to poor formatting, but if I change the font size that typically alleviates the problem.

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W.F. Price September 23, 2011 at 14:40

OTOH, I followed up on Just1X’s recommendation of Calibre, and they make a cogent argument against PDF:

http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/conversion.html#pdfconversion

-CorkyAgain

Yeah, that might be an issue, but I’m sure there are workarounds. Pdfs are probably going to be hard to avoid, unless postscript will do the trick.

Uncle Elmer September 23, 2011 at 14:47

Regarding your question on formatting. The books that seem to read easiest on an e-reader are the ones formatted to about the “paperback novel” or other popular non-fiction book size.

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Roland3337 September 23, 2011 at 14:48

I have thought about getting some sort of Kindle, since the price has dropped to below $120. But used books from Amazon often go for pennies, while ebooks are always $9.99 and up. Being the tight-wad that I am, and considering I read almost constantly, I don’t see myself changing over to an eReader anytime soon.

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Rocco September 23, 2011 at 14:58

I’m old, I can’t read e books, I like paper.

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Just1X September 23, 2011 at 14:59

The next generation Kindle is out for preview. It’s like a amazon tied ipad, no e-ink, battery life down to 10 hours or so…

Personnally, I’d stick with the Kindle 3 (the current one) for reading books. Maybe a next gen as a lower cost iPad as well – but then I lurv gadgets

But the good news is that there’s talk of a down-pricing of the kindle current generation. If you can wait, you should give it a few months before buying

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/219076/20110923/amazon-tablet-apple-ipad-event-september-28.htm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/advice/8752503/Should-I-wait-for-the-Kindle-4.html
http://www.reghardware.com/2011/08/30/amazon_kindle_tablet_only_real_threat_to_apple_ipad/

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Just1X September 23, 2011 at 15:02

Rocco –

the kindle _is_ like reading a book, it is not the same as an ipad. E-ink looks like the printed page.

You can carry a few thousand books around in your pocket, and charge it once a week. The 3G will let you read quality sites (like the Spearhead) free, even when abroad.

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anonymous September 23, 2011 at 15:03

“I have thought about getting some sort of Kindle, since the price has dropped to below $120. But used books from Amazon often go for pennies, while ebooks are always $9.99 and up. Being the tight-wad that I am, and considering I read almost constantly, I don’t see myself changing over to an eReader anytime soon.”

http://freebookspot.es/

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Just1X September 23, 2011 at 15:05

Welmer,

converting to pdf should be no problem.

I haven’t had many problems converting from pdf either (but Corky makes a good point).

Calibre is free, give it a spin. The default conversion settings are what I’ve been using, though maybe I should have a play.

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Mike43 September 23, 2011 at 15:05

Got a nook for Father’s Day. Right now, I have 80 books on it, read about 40 of them.

I have the Nook Color, which acts as a tablet in a wifi environment. So I can even read websites. It’s pretty great. I can also download books from the library.

Hasn’t changed my reading habits much, I’ve always liked junk novels. But with the thousands of free books available, I always have something eclectic to read.

I’m a fan.

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PeterTheGreat September 23, 2011 at 15:44

You can always download Open Office from openoffice.org and automatically save your work in pdf format. Open Office is a free alternative to MS Word.

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David F. September 23, 2011 at 16:05

I use my Kindle a lot for reading anything that is mostly text based. Putting out free or low-cost ebooks is a great idea. Just be sure to test each format to make sure that the TOC works and the layout is right.

PDF’s are a real pain on mobile devices. They often render slowly and the pages are not quite the right size for the screen. They also convert very poorly to other formats. Offering them in addition to an ebook format would be a good idea, though.

The best starting point for outputing text to multiple platforms is HTML. If you are using Word or Openoffice you can easily output to that format (or ODT for Openoffice). Others have mentioned the best ebook software.

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Rocco September 23, 2011 at 16:27

OT

The laws of physics have been debunked.

See you yesterday.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2094665,00.html

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AfOR September 23, 2011 at 17:16

Please… dotTXT

just do it

anyone can convert from text to anything they use in moments

anyone can search and replace CRLF to BR in moments

.txt is also eminently compressible

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Anonymous September 23, 2011 at 18:44

Sigil
http://code.google.com/p/sigil/
Directly edit / create an epub

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livingwell September 23, 2011 at 19:19

Kindle App for ipad and kindle…no more books.

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greenlander September 23, 2011 at 19:52

I own a kindle and I’d definitely read whatever you wrote if you put it in that format.

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Darkstar September 23, 2011 at 21:00

I buy Kindle ebooks and usually read them on my iPod Touch. I used to have an ePub reader on my Windows Mobile phone, but the phone broke. Getting ePub books on the Touch is too much trouble for me to deal with anymore, and I was never able to get a large PDF to work on the Touch.

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bruno September 24, 2011 at 01:29

Keep it simple.
Use .txt format, or .rtf
Everybody can read it, and the file is very small.

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Kyo September 24, 2011 at 01:49

E-books have to be cheap, because digital distribution means that you can never sell what you own if you get tired of it.

Amazon really needs to rethink their e-book prices, which are typically just a few dollars less than the paper version. Not only that, but e-books are far behind when it comes to illustrations, colors, and non-Roman alphabets.

Bill, I recommend selling your e-books at 99¢ to $2.99 and no more, with “real” prices only for the paper versions. If it’s not cheap enough to be an impulse buy, people will turn to the vast amount of free content on the internet. The paper books you can afford to charge more for, since buyers know they can sell them to someone else if they no longer need them.

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W.F. Price September 24, 2011 at 02:18

Bill, I recommend selling your e-books at 99¢ to $2.99 and no more, with “real” prices only for the paper versions. If it’s not cheap enough to be an impulse buy, people will turn to the vast amount of free content on the internet. The paper books you can afford to charge more for, since buyers know they can sell them to someone else if they no longer need them.

-Kyo

I’m going to start out with some free e-books compiled from open source. I need the practice producing them, and I’d like to give something back to all the supporters. Furthermore, I’ll hyperlink back to the site from the books, so if they are well distributed it should increase traffic.

Once I start producing copyrighted material, I’ll sell print books, and possibly some monthly e-books/reports for a low price. I think if you’re going to sell electronic material it should be fresh, so that people will feel like they are getting some extra value through the speed and convenience of accessing new content online.

Peter-Andrew: Nolan (c) September 24, 2011 at 03:45

OT…

Get ready gents. The shit is about to hit the fan.

By the way? Notice WOMEN are protesting about wall street but they are NOT protesting about women criminals who steal mens children and houses.

Personally. I think a total economic meltdown and anarchy for a couple of years would be a pretty good thing. It would shut the women up for the next few hundred years when they find out just how “equal” they are in the face of gangs of maurading hungry men and there are no cops to call!! LOL!!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041096/Wall-Street-protest-hots-George-Soros-warns-US-recession.html

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Peter-Andrew: Nolan (c) September 24, 2011 at 03:50

OT….
Lads….here is a typical “strong” and “empowered” grrrrrrrrll.

She writes to ME first and then threatens to CALL THE POLICE because I write back!! LOL!! Hysterical.

I collect these things for you lads so that you can see how psychotic women are now. This is what you risk being MARRIED to. And far from NAWALT? I am keeping LOTS of such email threads to show you that MOST western women are EXACTLY like that.

http://www.crimesagainstfathers.com/australia/Forums/tabid/82/forumid/109/postid/728/scope/posts/Default.aspx#728

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Opus September 24, 2011 at 03:53

I use things called Books, a bit radical I know, but am considering branching into Papyrus, or even Clay tablets. Do any readers have experience of this?

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Peter-Andrew: Nolan (c) September 24, 2011 at 03:57

I am a PDF reader….read on my laptop….This is mainly because I am in front of it often enough to read there…..for reading “books” I still prefer hard copy. I tend to dog ear the pages and write on the pages as well…..I have two large bookshelves in my place and have quite a collection….even though I did not bring a single book from Australia and also lost all my large picture books (as in photography of cities) in the divorce. Apparently women get custody of books they never opened up as well.

As part of the MBA we will be creating a system to transfer “money” between people that will be run on a cost plus small margin basis. The idea is to stop paying the thieves in the banks. And since it is a MENS association it will act based on an honour system. You get something from someone? You pay their asking price.

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Ray Manta September 24, 2011 at 04:04

I own several ebook readers, and my newest one is a Kindle DX. It accepts pdfs, but the mobi format looks better on it. To manage multiple formats, I recommend Calibre. http://calibre-ebook.com/. There’s also MobiPocket Creator.

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Peter-Andrew: Nolan (c) September 24, 2011 at 04:23

Just on the topic of books. When I was in Frankfurt the other day I bought What Would Google Do? By Jeff Jarvis.

Although Jeff seems to be something of an arrogant prick the book is well worth reading. He is also very poorly informed about the Illuminati, which I propose to fix.

http://www.buzzmachine.com/what-would-google-do/

I am also reading a book at the moment called “50 Big Ideas”. This has some really quotable quotes in it like.

“Democracy means the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people.” Oscar Wilde 1891.

Democracy is “the pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” Humorist H.L. Menchen.

Writing in 1787, John Adams, future second president of the USA, reflected the deep concerns of the Founding (criminal) Fathers at the prospect of all branches of government coming under the control of the majority:

“Debts would be abolished first: taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on others; and at last a downright equal division of everything be demanded and voted”.

The fourth president, James Madison, wrote disapprovingly in 1833 of “the sweeping denunciation of majority governments as the most tyrannical and intolerable of all governments”, but limiting the powers of majorities was a prime motivation behind the separation of powers and the elaborate system of checks and balances that are so prominent in the constitution for which he was largely responsible.

“For over the last two and a half millennia almost every political theorist has been energetically opposed to democracy, in principal and in practice.”

“John Locke argued that the bestowal of such authority on the government by the governed, and the concomitant limitation of their own liberties, mist only be done with the consent of the governed. Debate on the proper relationship between people and the state this resolved itself into an argument on the appropriate balance between might and right; between the claims of the state on the one side and the rights of the individual on the other.”

Gentlemen.
I have made great efforts to educate and yet you remain wilfully ignorant. You choose to believe liars and criminals over an honest man who has come to you with the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom of the “primitive” people as to how to establish a peaceful society. You are brainwashed, deluded, and woefully ignorant. Just like I WAS 4 years ago.

Few men have the resources to spent the better part of 4 YEARS learning and reading and presenting a remedy back to other men without being paid along the way and therefore being somewhat possibly compromised. Even David Icke, who has called Family Courts “truly evil” has NEVER mentioned that the only way anyone ever ends up in one of these “truly evil” places is because a woman breaks her marriage oath and tells lies to get in there. Nope. Not even the “fearless” David Icke is willing to go near THAT little bit of truth.

Indeed, I was BANNED BY A WOMAN on Davids site for telling the truth. And this is a man who wrote in his latest book “no persons voice should be silenced”.

Those who refuse to listen to what I say and then find out for themselves whether what I say is true or not? You deserve everything that is coming your way.

Those who do their own reading, their own research, and come to the conclusion that, in fact, I am honest and I have gifted MEN knowledge that was very hard won and very expensive to put into a single package being the book? You will be welcome in the Mens Business Association. We shall take work and money off the stupid and the ignorant. Let them fall into poverty due to their ignorance. And when they come knocking at my door? They will be told to go back to their masters and beg for the soup.

I have truly had enough of men who will not read. I truly have.

Democracy is the worst form of government there is. This was well known for 2,500 years. That men are so stupid as to believe those who push “democracy” as a proposed form of government really is quite amazing. They seem to not have read thing one about what happens to “democracies”.

Majority rule is tyranny. End of story.

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Peter-Andrew: Nolan (c) September 24, 2011 at 05:43

OT….
In case you dont know what is coming next.

But I am sure that all you men who are totally committed to never doing anything “violent” to those who would barcode you or give you vaccinations against your will will be able to take the state to court to gain remedy!! LOL!!!

On the Irish Free Man site I asked what the manginas would do if they were given a forced vaccination at a police stop. Some idiot actually said “I would take them to court, surely that can not be legal”.

Get ready boys and girls. The only reason they are planning to bar code people after a “disaster” is that they already know the disaster is coming. Of course, they only want to bar code you for your safety and protection. Just like they tattooed Jews in Nazi Germany. Wouldnt like those forgetful Jews to forget who they were now would they.

http://wellnessuncovered.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1585:aussies-to-be-barcoded&catid=51:big-brother&Itemid=54

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Just some Canadian September 24, 2011 at 07:01

Don’t overestimate the value of both E-Pub and PDF, or underestimate them. They just do different things.

E-Readers are designed to be low power, low processor HTML readers operating at fixed width resolution graphics so it’s important that text reflows.

PDFs do a lot of things — they even support rotating 3D images and you can plan movies inside them — but they don’t do text reflows. (Not completely true but for practical purposes they don’t.)

Know the job and then pick the tool.

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anonymous September 24, 2011 at 07:22

“I’m going to start out with some free e-books compiled from open source. ”

You can start with The Best of Elmer, a “Manthology” if you will.

Use this photo for the cover :

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkl45edee/avoid-dating-your-supervisor-or-supervisee

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keyster September 24, 2011 at 07:46

I use Kindle for PC.

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Migu September 24, 2011 at 07:47

I use my phone. It converts all the e-reader formats.

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Migu September 24, 2011 at 07:52

I use things called Books, a bit radical I know, but am considering branching into Papyrus, or even Clay tablets. Do any readers have experience of this?

And here I thought you simply used legal briefs to leech off everyone else. Silly me.

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Meyer September 24, 2011 at 10:28

I use a Nook Color. ePub is my preferred format, PDF is second choice.

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only known as Joshua September 24, 2011 at 11:59

I would also recommend including PDF along with other formats. Still not many men are not attached to e-Book reader.

Personally I prefer reading something the old way. besides staring into a screen too long can strain your eyes.

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Lovekraft September 24, 2011 at 14:26

I prefer to have a true book in my hands, feel the texture of the binding and paper, instead of a cold screen staring back at me. Sure, technology can try to mimic this, but I prefer the traditional media.

Currently about halfway through Thomas Mann’s “Magic Mountain” that I got from Abebooks. Excellent prices overall.

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tom47 September 24, 2011 at 19:30

This might be interesting
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

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tom47 September 24, 2011 at 21:36

From what I understand you can take a public domain work, add an introduction or comments to it, and then copyright the result as a new work. This is probably why the Kindle Store has so many versions of books like “Alice in Wonderland, ranging from free, to $.99, to $9.99.
You could re copyright relevant or revealing works, comment on them, and distribute them cheap. At $.99 you’d get something back for your efforts.
You could also use the works as promotional items, since they would have a value.

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Roy September 24, 2011 at 21:37

I use both Kindle and Acrobat, and find that I much prefer the Acrobat PDF format. PDF is also my medium of choice when transferring files to colleagues, vendors, suppliers et al. At the end of the day though, like Lovekraft, I still return to my first love – an actual book I can hold in my hands. I am presently reading “The Dumbest Generation”.

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HeligKo September 24, 2011 at 22:16

I use I-Reader to read epub files on my android phone.

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Izzey September 25, 2011 at 09:18

I have to admit that I have had a Kindle in my hands, cash in pocket, many times and did not purchase it. I pretty much have every kind of electronic gadget around here..several phones, portable scanners, printers, a couple of laptops (which took me years to finally give in to buying, as I still type on a real typewriter, and take a pen to paper as often as possible) I bought the Dragon to maybe dictate material in case something happened to my hands at work. (and has, many times)

Nothing beats a book.

I have a nice library, and a decent collection of leather-bound gems. I love to ‘turn the page’. I also buy books at yard sales and thrift shops. Sometimes I will buy a book for a dollar, read it, and then donate it back.

I’m currently reading “Measuring the Immeasurable” I am at Part 2-
Biology, Psychology, the Brain, and Quantum Physics.
A $25.00 hardcover book that is brand new, and I bought it for two bucks.

Interesting read… A very challenging read.
Izzey

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Rusty September 26, 2011 at 05:35

Being older, my most important consideration, outside of content, is large clear type. HTML is good for those slow times at work because I can increase the font size for easy reading and can print out large type for reading later in the evening. I don’t have a Kindle. I have the Kindle software on my desktop and have downloaded a few books but I haven’t read any of them yet. I prefer paper to electronic reading but I might like reading on a Kindle, I don’t really know. I’d have to have several ’cause I usually have several books open at one time for studying and comparison.

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BeijaFlor September 26, 2011 at 05:36

Last year I got a Sony Reader; I downloaded some good classics from Project Gutenberg, and also bought some e-books that are hard to find in print. But I don’t give it as much use as I thought I might.

My major gripe with it is that it won’t charge from a USB “wall-wart” charger like the one with my phone; I’ve tried every different brand and model I could find, and in every case the Reader dumped its battery-charge into the charging circuit. It has to be plugged into a computer, or it won’t charge up. Since I want to carry it instead of a computer, this is a major flaw. (Maybe that’s why Sony dumped them, cheap, at WalMart?)

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BeijaFlor September 26, 2011 at 05:59

The September 10 Economist had a lead article, “Disappearing Ink,” was about the way the Kindle and its ilk were eroding the market for paper books – look at the death of Borders Books for an example.

They also suggested that paper-book publishers ought to bundle e-books with paper books – when you buy a book, you get a code to download the e-version from the internet. Then you could have the print book for home use, but read it on your e-reader when you’re on the Metro headed for work.

I have some gripes with my Sony Reader (see above), but I really like the idea of having a sizable library on such a portable device. I may look into an iPad yet – or maybe an Android pad, if those shape up better.

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Anonymous September 26, 2011 at 06:22

I love my kindle. I also use Calibre. Please don’t do PDF only. Calibre will convert anything else so if you offer PDF please offer some vein of ebook file format too. epub might be the most common denominator.

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Rex September 29, 2011 at 16:14

Have you considered DocBook? WTF is Docbook, you say?

Docbook is a markup language, not WYSIWYG.
To write a Docbook book, you write stuff like:

some title
silly subtitle
Me!</author

Now is the time
A paragraph …

You get the point. The markup language is XML with a DTD.
The markup requires a long learning curve.
It has 400+ tags (commands).

The good news is that it can be rendered into a number of formats, including: HTML, chunked HTML, PDF, ebooks, …

See this: http://radar.oreilly.com/2008/06/open-source-docbook-xsl-experimental-epub-support-released.html

Definitive on Docbook:
http://www.docbook.org/docs/

Did I mention that Docbook is Free?

contact me if you want a little more info.

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Rex September 29, 2011 at 16:15

Oops … that didn’t work.
The display converted my tags to spaces.
drat

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John David Galt October 1, 2011 at 17:50

E-books have a small but dedicated following — probably fewer people have them than carry a Blackberry or iPhone/iPad (which also support e-books in formats of their own, for what it’s worth). I don’t have any of them, partly for cost and partly because I’ve seen what companies do once they have a group of customers “locked in” to their hardware.

So I wouldn’t suggest that anything be published *only* as an e-book, but if you’re going to publish a book, supporting e-book formats also would be a nice touch.

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