Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

eBooks – what a mess


I bought a Sony eReader a while ago in the US (at the time the Amazon Kindle wasn’t available for the UK). I blogged before about it being a complete messy experience getting the content on the device. Getting iBooks running on the iPad on the other hand was a complete dream. As you’d expect, Apple have worked their magic (or is it just thought about how end users should be able to use something, rather than a bunch of Engineers technically innovating ?) and made the whole experience a dream to use. Trouble is the volume of books they have isn’t that great (though of course we know it will expand rapidly).

Now the challenge- I have 4 books (bought from Waterstones) ePub format for the Sony. Of course, I have had to spend 2hrs online completely researching the whole ePub landscape and DRM to understand why I can’t get them running on the iPad. In short, Sony (and most other readers) use Adobe’s DRM for ePub formats. Apple have their own format. Of course there are a few web pages that teach you how to remove DRM from the ePub books- but it looked bloody complicated (involving Python and various scripts). I decided I’d just pay the cash and buy the books in a new format.

Enter Kindle. Amazon have been clever here and realised that the world doesn’t revolve around their hardware (Kindle Reader) and that people might actually buy an alternative device (iPad, iPhone, read on PC/MAC). I’ve downloaded their Kindle app (free) for the Mac and iPad recently. Now to buying the content- I went online, bought the books on amazon.com (cheap !). When you buy them you have the option of delivering them to your devices. Buying experience simple (as Amazon have perfected).

I fire up the Kindle reader on the iPad and it synchs automatically the books. Actually, I prefer this to iBooks.

In short, Amazon have come up trumps here. I shall ditch Waterstones and Sony completely and standardise around Apple and Amazon for Books. However, I reckon I’ll still buy hardbacks of anything I’d like to keep as I’m still sceptical about which format will win !

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