Really-Open eBook reader?


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  1. Crell

    Crell Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hi folks.

    My mother recently indicated that she's considering being in the market for an ebook reader. However she is, bless her soul, firmly insistent on open format, DRM-free, and the ability to "really own" a book she's downloaded. She doesn't even want the potential for a Kindle-1984-type remote-wipe or an inability to move a book to another device later. (Yes, my mother has grown up to be a Free Software evangelist. I'm so proud of her. *sniff*)

    Of course, she doesn't know the ebook market all that well, and frankly neither do I. She's considering the B&N Nook, but from what little I know it has the same lock-in problems as the Kindle.

    So my question is, I suppose, two-fold:

    1) Are there any ebook stores or services available for any device that don't treat customers are criminals waiting to happen, and use a DRM-free format without revocation ability? Are they bound to a given device, or are there any that work on an arbitrary Android device? A good ebook reader app or use of the open ePub format (for which I understand there are several readers available) is a plus here.

    2) Of the various devices out there (both phone and non-phone), which make particularly good ebook readers? She has a decently large purse but it still wouldn't hold an iPad-sized device comfortably, but at the same time a 3-inch screen is not going to work for her eyes. (It barely works for mine.) What's a good device if that's your main interest? Any good/bad experiences here, or at least things to look for?

    Help a freedom-loving lady out! :)
     

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  2. lucky_lindy

    lucky_lindy New Member

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    My husband and I are avid ebook readers. Here's how it came about... I installed mobipocket (free reader) on both our blackberries. I converted any files with mobipocket creator (free). We read tons of books on our blackberries, but I recently upgraded to an Evo. I now use Wordplayer (free app) and hubby now has a sony ereader that I picked up on sale at Wal-mart last week for 139.00.

    I use the superb Calibre book manager program (again...free) on my computer to sync to both of our devices. It is a super-simple interface, and I have yet to come across any DRM issues whatsoever. Calibre converts whatever you give it to countless ebook formats. Say I put in a .pdf and want a .prc. for him, but a .lit for me, not an issue. I almost forgot, I also use the Stanza app (pretty sure that was free. I do enjoy free) on my Ipod touch and Calibre sends wirelessly to that as well. The other two have to be plugged in the usb ports.

    If your mom wants a larger screen, the sony reader is very nice. Only issue is no backlight, so if she likes to read in the dark, she will have to opt for a more expensive one. Also it is not a touchscreen, but this also eliminates accidental page turns.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. wayrad

    wayrad Well-Known Member

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    Baen Books doesn't use DRM (their editor opposes it vociferously). Their books are available in several formats, including .epub, via Webscriptions. Most are science fiction or fantasy though; I hope your mom likes those! (Edited to add: I think Bewrite Books is also DRM-free, but I'm not familiar with them.)

    I'm enjoying reading on my Droid Incredible (3.7" screen), but I am not sure whether the SD card can be remotely accessed. If this is a concern you might be safer with a non-Internet-connected (or intermittently connected) device. How about the Nokia Internet Tablet series? My n800 had a decent sized screen but would still fit in a (large) pocket. It could connect to wifi but didn't require it for all its functions. Had a more advanced FBReader version than the Android one, so epubs were no problem. And AFAIK Nokia had not the slightest interest in accessing or monetizing user information - the devices were almost more like a testbed/developers' toy than a fullblown consumer product.

    If your mom wants e-ink, I'd suggest checking the wiki over at Mobileread; they have exhaustive comparisons of various devices on the market.
     
  4. Crell

    Crell Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    Mom is mostly a Sci-Fi and Romance person. I'm familiar with Baen, and props to them.

    So the higher-end phones (3.7" and up screens) work as ebook readers? That's good to know, especially as I plan to be buying one myself in the near future. I'll check out Mobileread as well.

    Thanks! Any others with input, please share!
     

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