As a writer of both technical documentation and fiction, the ebook reader has become crucial to my success. It's not just the writer that benefits from ebook reader. The IT administrator, engineering staff, and even end users stand to gain from these great tools. But when most people think about ebooks, they think of Kindles, NOOKS, and iPads. What most don't realize is there are desktop versions of ebook readers as well. Where are these ebook readers? You'd be surprised.
I have found five such tools. Let's take a look at each and see if one of them will suit your needs.
Calibre is probably the finest desktop ebook reader available. Calibre not only allows the reader to read ebooks, it also allows the writer to convert .html documents into beautiful ebooks that can be published through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for Techrepublic and Linux.com. As an avid promoter/user of the Linux OS, Jack tries to convert as many users to open source as possible. His current favorite flavor of Linux is Bodhi Linux (a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment). When Jack isn't writing about Linux he is hard at work on his other writing career -- writing about zombies, various killers, super heroes, and just about everything else he can manipulate between the folds of reality. You can find Jack's books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Outnumbered in his house one male to two females and three humans to six felines, Jack maintains his sanity by riding his mountain bike and working on his next books. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website Get Jack'd.
I used .lit format from Microsoft for ebook reading since my early Jornada days. Unfortunately, now that Microsoft is no longer supporting .lit I can't read any of the DRM protected .lit ebooks I had purchased with my hard-earned money. When I try to open one of the DRM books a message comes up saying that the Microsoft Reader program has encountered an error and must shut down. This is very frustrating. I tried using Calibre to change some of the .lit books to another format, and Calibre won't work on the books protected by DRM, which is virtually everything that is not in the pubic domain. I expect the same thing to happen soon with .mobi format ebooks that I purchased from Fictionwise (which is now in the process of ending its operations). I have no objection to authors and publishers protecting ownership of their works, but to protect the honest consumers we need formats that don't lock you out of the book if the publisher gets out of the ebook business. The same problem exists with certain software. Even though you own a legal copy of the software, if the publisher goes out of business, you can no longer reach the publisher to "activate" your software, so it becomes useless and your money is long gone. Does anyone have a proposed solution for these problems?
There is a Calibre plugin for removing DRM from MOBI & AZW files which, once you've configured it with your Kindle's serial number, will strip the DRM from a book simply by loading it into Calibre. You can the of course view it using Calibre or convert it to any other format.
At first glance, it looked comprehensive and feature-rich. I wasn't thinking about DRM, but have a ton of books in both eReader and Kindle format, bought and paid for. Can't read any of them, can't change formats. I understand the philosophy, but aside from going to Gutenberg or Sacred Texts, etc., it's just not worth having another program on my system. I use Mobipocket, which works well enough for me to create Kindle books. I can't, however, read any of my eReader books on my Kindle handheld, having to use my PC based eReader Pro app. You would think by now the industry would have provided a fair and legal way to handle this, but market share and greed rule, I suppose. To be fair, Calibre is the best of what I've seen, but limited in usefulness for me personally.
There are a few sources of DRM-free publications, including Baen Books (science fiction and fantasy), which even has a Baen Free Library to seduce you to further output by the same authors -- especially for long series. They even furnish a free CD for a few of their hard covers. They have found this to be very profitable for future sales. There is also Project Gutenberg (about 40,000 articles and novels, mostly old and free of copyright). All of these are available in most of the major e-reader formats. And bravo for Calibre!
Don't forget the DRM that they put on books. I downloaded a book onto my Kindle, and tried to port it to my tablet, but its the dreaded DRM, so I cannot access it - only on the Kindle. So its carting round the Kindle and a Tablet, plus smartphone!
This is a very poor commentary on Calibre. I've been a fan of Calibre since about version 6 ( now on v9) and it does a lot more than just convert books into a sellable format! With it you can:- - create a complete library, organising your books by author, series, tags, date published, etc - you can add your own columns such as 'Genre' - convert books from one format to another - it supports about 12 different input formats, .doc, .pdf, .azw,. epub, .lit, .mobi, etc., - add metadata (either automatically or allowing you to add your own) including cover image, synopsis, series, ISBN, publication date, tags - manage your books on your devices - it recognises most ebook readers and, with a little help from iTunes, can also help with iPads - share your collection over the web with it's a built in web server - there's also a portable version for when your IT department at work won't let you install software on the PC on your desk!!! - schedule news feeds from a couple of hundred different sources which are then formatted into ebooks - you can also create your own news feed - searching through the online bookstores for the best price on a particular book - oh - and you can read books on your desktop/pc with it too !!! Kovid Goyal - the author of Calibre - is very active with it's development plus, because of the 'plugin' nature of Calibre, there is a large community of writers creating plugins for extra functionality. This isn't just a 'Desktop ebook reader' as the articles headline might suggest. It's a complete management/organiser for your book library.
I like using Adobe Digital Editions because it allows me to put my Kobo purchases on all my family members' readers. (ADE supports up to six eReaders.) Just be careful: ADE doesn't support all eReaders. For example, it works fine with Kobo Touch and Kobo Glo but not Kobo Vox.
of them cared about the readers their devices would allow you to read stories made in basic html and use basic html for what they put out.
copyright owner. As an author I have the option of applying ADE to the PDF files I make, and thus the person reading it needs a certain program and code to read it, but they can then read it on any device they enter the code into - this is a form of DRM managed by the copyright owner. While the stopping of a Kindle book being read on a non-Kindle device is a restriction by the hardware seller, Nook, and Apple do the same.
... is going to come with DRM. This is simply a reality. Copyright owners have a right to control who publishes their work so they can insure that are being fairly compensated. Your solution is to get the free Kindle reader App for your tablet (or smartphone) and the corresponding free apps for your other content. This will reduce you dependence on devices down to the device of your choice, Mac/PC, tablet, or smartphone.
a DRM by using ADE or Kindle or iPad or Nook or to not apply DRM by using a plain PDF or html or txt file for their document. I can get the same result by using a locked PDF and providing a password before they can read it, but the reader can then use any device and not be restricted to just one device for that file, the way Nook etc do things.