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Really-Open eBook reader?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Crell, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Crell

    Crell Active Member
    Thread Starter

    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! :)


  2. lucky_lindy

    lucky_lindy New Member

    Jul 1, 2010
    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

    May 12, 2010
    Long Island
    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
    Thread Starter

    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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