The complete madness on E-books

By Peter, October 9, 2009 20:58


A few weeks ago I already explained the immature market of electronic newspapers, magazines and books. And especially books. But now it seems that there is a breakthrough as one of the biggest on line book resellers in the Netherlands has started to sell e-books and the matching reader. But what to do if you already had bought in the past a few e-books here and there? Let me tell you.

ernie_ereader Last weekend I placed my order at and  on Tuesday I received my new reader, the Sony PRS-600R (review here). And you will not be surprised that I bought not the elegant silver or black model, but the red one (fits well with my furniture) together with the nice leather cover. I had the package delivered at the office, so after lunch I unpacked it and already charged the battery so I could play with it at home from the time I got there.sonyreaderred

But I found out, that time had not stood still after my last publication on the subject. There was already a new format: ePub from Adobe. You could say, nothing wrong with that, but the funny thing is, that the hardware, the readers, are only capable to read one or two formats. On the other hand the online sellers are only selling also one or two of the formats. And Amazon is really making things worse. They are selling there own Kindle E-reader, using the Mobipocket format, and have enforced that on every e-reader with Mobipocket software, no other software may be present to display other e-book formats. Barnes & Noble has his own software.

Given this information and also knowing that I was one of the early-adopters of the electronic book, you can imagine that I have some different books on my various electronic bookshelf’s. Earlier this year I bought the iRex 1000Sirex-digital-reader-1000s to read some books on, but for reading books it was a little bit too big, but it is very suitable for having all my business data available at a fingertip without carrying piles of paper with me. I have Mobipocket books (.prc files for my iRex 100s), eReader books (.pdb files for my iPhone and MacBook Air) and now also ePub files (.epub files for my new Sony e-reader). All of them legally bought but therefor also all protected with some DRM (Digital Right Management) piece of software.


More or less naive I tried to convert the existing books on my harddrive to the ePub format using the great program Calibre. But this program said it could not transfer copyright protected books. I was very disappointed, having a few books in an “old” format that I had to read on my old hardware. And I had bought the Sony E-reader to have a perfect sized gadget for my flight to Hong Kong in a few weeks time. The question was not when but how I could convert those old books.

sonyeradersThe question is of course: is it legal to remove the DRM, the copy protection from an electronic book. Normally it is not, but if you do not have the plan to redistribute the unprotected books and you have paid the rights, I think no one will argue on this matter. So I spent Tuesday (till 02:00 am) to unlock my old books and to transfer them (with the help of Calibre) to the ePub format. Happy to have all my electronic books now on one reader. And Amazon, eReader and Barnes & Noble lost a customer as I am now only buying books at and I finished God’s Gym by Leon de Winter on my Sony E-Reader earlier today, started to read it on my iRex 1000s. It’s a weird world out there. I wonder what I will discover in Hong Kong in a few weeks time. Maybe even a newer format? I hope not.

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