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View Full Version : E-books for a lifetime



jamesabrown
2015-Oct-10, 01:56 AM
Despite my preference to read from dead-tree books, I'm slowly veering toward converting my library to e-books. The older I get, the less room I want to take up in the world.

On the other hand, if I purchase an e-book, I might as well own it for the rest of my life. If it's stored in the cloud or on a small thumb drive, I see no reason not to keep it indefinitely.

But then I don't want to be dependent on one company's ecosystem. I own several Barnes & Noble e-books, but will that company be around in ten years? I could ask he same about Amazon or any other proprietary e-book vendor.

In other words, how do I obtain e-books that will last my lifetime the way a well-cared-for dead-tree book will? Is there a particular format I should look for?

KaiYeves
2015-Oct-10, 02:49 AM
I kind of wish they had something like a blank magazine with plastic pages where a subscription meant you could take it to a bookstore, show a card, and have them take it to a machine in back and print that month's issue on the pages, and then the next month you come back and they wipe the pages clean and print next month's, etc. And if you want the issue as a keepsake, you just never get it wiped and buy another blank for next month. All the space- and tree-saving of electronic versions plus all the physicality of paper ones.

Maybe that's too impractical, but I think it would be at least a nice element in a slice-of-life SF story.

DonM435
2015-Oct-10, 02:53 AM
If I could magically convert every book, magazine, comic book and so on in my place into a computer file, I'd do it without hesitation. Some folks say they'd miss the feel of the paper and the smell of the ink, but I'd appreciate the space saving and convenience a great deal more.

DaveC426913
2015-Oct-10, 03:24 AM
But then I don't want to be dependent on one company's ecosystem. I own several Barnes & Noble e-books, but will that company be around in ten years? I could ask he same about Amazon or any other proprietary e-book vendor.

In other words, how do I obtain e-books that will last my lifetime the way a well-cared-for dead-tree book will? Is there a particular format I should look for?

The formats will probably become obsolete faster than the stores will.

grant hutchison
2015-Oct-10, 12:05 PM
There will probably always be software around like Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) that will allow you to look at books in multiple formats, and convert them between formats.
The problem is Digital Rights Management, attached to some ebooks, which prevents them being opened by a different device from the one intended. So if Kindle dies, all my DRMed Kindle books potentially die with it, like vinyl discs in a world without record players.
There's at least one occasion on which this happened when an ebook company went bankrupt. However, the company gave their customers information on how to circumvent the DRM system on the books they had already distributed. They were then sued by the publishers for encouraging copyright infringement. The courts found (http://www.engadget.com/2014/12/11/drm-stripping-software-not-illegal/) (so far) that it was not illegal to tell people how to remove DRM, so long as you didn't encourage them to infringe copyright.
Strict private use of a DRM-stripped book that you have legally purchased seems to adhere to copyright law. But large companies have a vested interest in suppressing DRM-stripping, in order to protect their copyright against illegal distribution of their material. Watch this space, I think.

Grant Hutchison

Drummer62
2015-Oct-10, 12:29 PM
There is a plug-in available for calibre that allows you to automatically remove DRM from any ebook purchased on amazon.
Simply import it into calibre and you don't need to worry about the survival of amazon any longer as you can convert it into the common mobi format for example, which a kindle (and many other readers) can read.

If you don't distribute the converted mobi ebook there should be no legal issues.
If companies get greedy or are able to get the "law" on their side by even making that rightful usage illegal you can still do it without anybody knowing about it.

ETA:
I am only familiar with a plug-in that works on a PC.
In order for it to work you need to have the official amazon PC reader software installed and import the ebook into it first before importing it into calibre.
Since the official amazon PC reader won't allow you to import illegally obtained ebooks you can only use the plug-in for ebooks that you purchased yourself on amazon.
In other words, according to current laws (as I understand them) the process is entirely legal.

Jetlack
2015-Oct-10, 03:23 PM
Despite my preference to read from dead-tree books, I'm slowly veering toward converting my library to e-books. The older I get, the less room I want to take up in the world.

On the other hand, if I purchase an e-book, I might as well own it for the rest of my life. If it's stored in the cloud or on a small thumb drive, I see no reason not to keep it indefinitely.

But then I don't want to be dependent on one company's ecosystem. I own several Barnes & Noble e-books, but will that company be around in ten years? I could ask he same about Amazon or any other proprietary e-book vendor.

In other words, how do I obtain e-books that will last my lifetime the way a well-cared-for dead-tree book will? Is there a particular format I should look for?

Personally I prefer audiobooks to e-books, but the storage problem is similar. However dead tree books disintegrate over long periods of time, or fall apart one way or another. So the longevity of storage problem effects all data whatever the platform. Still I think digital format storage will be more effective in the long run.

DaveC426913
2015-Oct-11, 06:53 PM
... if Kindle dies, all my DRMed Kindle books potentially die with it,
Presumably, another company will acquire the rights to that still-lucrative customer-base.

That said, I was really irritated when my favorite online radio station just stopped. Never bothered to sell my perfectly-willing subscription to another company. So maybe not.



like vinyl discs in a world without record players...
Nice thing about software is that you can always just re-program something to take advantage of an old filetype, as long as someone is willing to venture it.

jamesabrown
2015-Oct-12, 12:59 PM
Thanks, grant. I think Calibre (which I've heard of but never explored, and just now learned that I've been pronouncing it wrong) will do the trick.

LookingSkyward
2015-Oct-12, 09:26 PM
I've been reading e-books since about 2000 - I can't really remember how many I've lost in format and device changes :(

grant hutchison
2015-Oct-12, 09:51 PM
I've been reading e-books since about 2000 - I can't really remember how many I've lost in format and device changes :("Guess I'll have to buy the White Album again!"

Grant Hutchison

ToSeek
2015-Oct-22, 09:06 PM
If I could magically convert every book, magazine, comic book and so on in my place into a computer file, I'd do it without hesitation. Some folks say they'd miss the feel of the paper and the smell of the ink, but I'd appreciate the space saving and convenience a great deal more.

I've switched my magazines subscriptions over whenever possible for just that reason. The digest-sized science fiction magazines (Analog, Asimov's, F&SF) are particularly convenient to read on my iPad.