Read E-Books On Multiple Devices – Wired


Read E-Books On Multiple Devices
Read E-Books On Multiple Devices From Wired How-To Wiki Revision as of 01:18, 8 March 2012 by amyzimmerman (Talk | contribs) (diff) ←Older revision | Current revision (diff) | Newer revision→ (diff) Jump to: navigation, search

Photo by Brad Moon,

Why can’t we all just get along?

When the ePub file format was created for e-books, it was meant to be an open standard, meaning that ePub e-books could be opened and read on any compatible device. Amazon went its own way with the Kindle and its proprietary AZW e-book format, but a wide range of competitors adopted ePub and did their part to make it a fair, ubiquitous format for all. Devices from Sony, Barnes & Noble and Kobo all support ePub, and when Apple released iBooks for iOS along with the iBookstore, it was announced that it would adopt ePub as its standard e-book format as well.

In theory, ePub is perfect; people shop around, buy some e-books from Barnes & Noble, maybe pick up a good deal on one through Kobo, and then read them all on their Nook, iPad, Sony Reader, or any supporting device they choose.

Unfortunately, who’s ever heard of a standard that’s perfect in practice? Cue the evil intro music and enter DRM, the stick in the mud that’s wrecking this whole open ePub e-book love-fest.
This how-to was written by Brad Moon, who spends his days playing with gadgets, complaining about the music his kids listen to, dispensing tech industry advice to tech-wary investors, writing How-Tos, blogging for GeekDad — and slipping in Canadianisms whenever he can.

The Basics of DRMDigital Rights
Management is what happens when various publishers and e-book merchants are worried that you’re going to buy an e-book from them and proceed to splash it all over the Internet. Frankly, e-reader manufacturers wouldn’t be that upset if you bought a whack of e-books from their e-bookstore, avoided the painstaking process of transferring their library to another device, and decided that the path of least resistance would be to keep buying their hardware instead of switching to a competitor. Oh, and that would mean that everyone who has access to your e-book library — your spouse, kids or whomever — would also need to use a compatible device.

To make matters even more complicated, e-books in the ePub standard don’t necessarily use the same DRM standard, and only some methods cooperate. For example, Kobo e-books can generally be read on Sony devices since they both use an Adobe DRM scheme, but Apple uses its own proprietary DRM and doesn’t recognize any of the others. The easiest way to deal with DRM shenanigans is to take the e-book file you’ve legitimately purchased and strip the DRM altogether, problem solved; no worries about e-book library portability or compatibility. Take DRM out of the equation and you’re free to shop at any ePub e-bookstore for the best price, with no worries about hardware lock-in.

Apple and iBooks
Not that anyone else is innocent in this game, but Apple gets an extra load of shaming because of the way the company marketed iBooks and misleadingly promoted its adoption of the ePub open standard (presumably as a shot at Amazon). For example, this is a direct quote from Apple’s website:

“And because the iBooks app uses ePub, the most popular open book format in the world, you can also use it to read ePub books you get from other sources with your computer. Just drag the ePub files into your iTunes Library (or select Add to Library from the iTunes File menu), then sync your iPad with your computer (iTunes 9.1 required). The books will appear on your shelf in iBooks right alongside the ones you get through iBookstore.”

Sounds pretty sweet, except this only works with unprotected ePub titles and there aren’t a whole lot of websites or publishers lining up to sell those. Additionally, with Apple moving gazillions of iPads — many of them to people who aren’t necessarily inclined to read the fine print — there’s been a real undercurrent of frustration with iBooks. What’s particularly galling is that DRM-protected ePub e-books can be synced without any protest by iTunes or the iPad; the fail doesn’t occur until an attempt is made to read the offending title.

Screenshot by Brad Moon,

What About Apps?
Yes, for a multipurpose tablet like an iPad, you can download apps that let your read protected e-books purchased from other sources. Kobo has an app on the iTunes App Store, and so does Amazon for that matter. However, dedicated e-readers don’t have this option, and keeping track of multiple apps and managing multiple libraries is a hassle. Apple supplies iBooks and it looks good, so why shouldn’t you be able to access your entire library from there without having to go the app route?

Removing DRMBe aware that it is technically illegal to strip DRM from an e-book. It just so happens that with the right tools, it’s remarkably easy. In any case, you bought the book, and if you feel that doing so entitles you to read it on the device of your choice, then here’s what to do:

1.Download an ePub DRM removal tool. Make sure you find one that runs on your operating system. There are free versions out there, but one of the more popular paid products (available for Mac and Windows) is the aptly named ePub DRM Removal, which costs $29.95 and offers one-button ease of use.
2.Drop your purchased ePub file into the converter and let it do its thing.
3.Drag a copy of the resulting DRM-free version into iTunes (or import it/drag it to the ePub compatible e-reader of choice).
4.Synchronize the iPad or e-reader.
5.Enjoy reading your e-book!

Screenshot by Brad Moon,

What About The Pretty iBook Covers?
Many iPad users have grown fond of the colorful book cover icon that appears on their iBooks bookshelf. When an unsupported ePub file is loaded into iBooks, the cover image is replaced with an ugly generic version which totally destroys the visual aesthetic of the bookshelf — a not-so-subtle visual reminder from Apple that you have polluted the iBooks environment with a file you bought elsewhere. No to worry, though; if an iOS device and iBooks combo is your e-reading method of choice, you can apply the same trick that’s used for adding album art to non-iTunes music. Just select the eBook from iTunes, click the ‘Get Info’ option, and paste any image you want (presumably an image cover you’ve snagged off the web) into the ‘Artwork’ section and presto! Goodbye, generic cover.

New York Times Best Sellers

How does the New York Times come up with the list of Best Sellers? Here is how: About the Best Sellers A version of this Best Sellers report appears in the March 11, 2012 issue of The New York Times Book Review. Rankings on weekly lists reflect sales for the week ending February 25, 2012. Rankings reflect sales reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles. The sales venues for print books include independent book retailers; national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; supermarkets, university, gift and discount department stores; and newsstands. E-book rankings reflect sales from leading online vendors of e-books in a variety of popular e-reader formats. E-book sales are tracked for fiction and general nonfiction titles. E-book sales for advice & how-to books, children’s books and graphic books will be tracked at a future date. Titles are included regardless of whether they are published in both print and electronic formats or just one format. E-books available exclusively from a single vendor will be tracked at a future date. The universe of print book dealers is well established, and sales of print titles are statistically weighted to represent all outlets nationwide. The universe of e-book publishers and vendors is rapidly emerging, and until the industry is settled sales of e-books will not be weighted. Among the categories not actively tracked at this time are: perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, comics, crossword puzzles and self-published books. The appearance of a ranked title reflects the fact that sales data from reporting vendors has been provided to The Times and has satisfied commonly accepted industry standards of universal identification (such as ISBN13 and EISBN13 codes). Publishers and vendors of all ranked titles conformed in timely fashion to The New York Times Best Seller Lists requirement to allow for independent corroboration of sales for that week. Publisher credits for e-books are listed under the corporate publishing name instead of by publisher’s division. Sales of both print books and e-books are reported confidentially to The New York Times. The Best Seller Lists are prepared by the News Surveys and Election Analysis Department of The New York Times. Royalty Share, a firm that provides accounting services to publishers, is assisting The Times in its corroboration of e-book sales. An asterisk (*) indicates that a book’s sales are barely distinguishable from those of the book above it. A dagger (†) indicates that some retailers report receiving bulk orders. Click here for an explanation of the difference between trade and mass-market paperbacks.Source: the New York Times