Saturday, July 27, 2013

My eBook misadventures. Not ready yet?

After much thought, I decided to build my digital library on DRM-free EPUBs. That means buying from DRM-free sources like TidBITS, O'Reilly, and some science fiction books from Tor/Forge or buying from Adobe Adept DRMd Google Books and using DeDRM.

It was a relief to get that all sorted out. Now I just needed a handheld eBook Reader other than my too small iPhone 5 [2]. I gave up on the Nexus 7 last year, and I don't love the current crop of iPads [1], so I took the advice of some appnetizens and tried "freedom-friendly" Kobo. I really like the idea of moving EPUBs on and off the device with a simple SD card.

Alas, Kobo seems to have abandoned the US market. I found some dusty old Kobos at a local independent bookstore, but one was broken and the other was too small. I tried ordering the HD Aura but Kobo's webstore checkout failed repeatedly. Then I tried to order a Kobo Glo on NewEgg and found they were selling a $120 device for $150.

I finally decided Kobo has effectively exited the US marketplace.

Then I thought the Nook might be the closest thing to an American Kobo - never mind that B&N is at the edge of extinction. I ran off to my local B&N (once we thought these were scary, now, like Microsoft, they seem sad and vulnerable) to give an eInk Nook a try.

The page turn flicker killed me. I felt like someone was tapping my head with each page turn. Maybe there was something wrong with those floor models, the wee Kobo I tried didn't seem so bad.

That leaves the Amazon Paperwhite. I've already sold my soul to Apple, I don't need another closed shot wannabe monopoly owning my stuff.

Which brings me back to those iPads I don't like, or the new "retina" Nexus 7.

Or I could wait anther six months.


[1] The Mini seems small and isn't Retina. The iPad Retina is too heavy. In both cases I really miss the convenience of a simple SD card.

[2] The iPhone 5 has the right screen, but for technical book reading I need something bigger. 


Charlie Stross said...

You're right about the iPads. iPad Retina/iPad 4 is too heavy (and sharp-edged!), while the mini isn't retina.

Both of these defects should be fixed in the next 6-12 months, though.

I note that while Tor are aiming to sell their wares without DRM, some of the ebook storefronts add DRM back without the publisher's say-so. If notified, Tor do their best to get this sorted out -- but getting the message out is proving hard.

John Gordon said...

I'm THIS close to saying f*-it and buying an iPad 7" for eBook use then handing it off to a kid next year. I thought about new Nexus but my old N7 was disappointing. I think I could stand iPad screen for 6 months.

(I buy Google Play EPUB and strip DRM, don't buy DRMd material from iBook store.)

I do like Tor. I saw your comment yesterday about Hachette and DRM. I'm sure Tor would love to have you in the fold, but I appreciate your reasoning there.

I have hardcover Brood, so not an issue there :-).