Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The necessity of backing up your purchased Nook Books

Since the shutting down of FictionWise sounded the alarm to eBook buyers, now the Barnes & Noble ring the alarm bell again.

An article on Consumerist reports a terrible case caused by Barnes & Noble eBook DRM. She purchased Nook eBooks months ago, and maybe lost the file by accident. Yesterday when she tried download the book from her Nook Library agian, she got an error message saying that she is not allowed to download the book again because the credit card she used to buy the book is expired.

This is the quote of her words:
I already paid for it. Who cares if the credit card is expired? It has long since been paid for, so the status of the card on file has nothing to do with my ability to download said book.
This is just one more proof that DRM is not just protect the publisher's benefit, but also do harm to the buyers like her, maybe you and me in the future. And I do believe there will be more cases like this.

Don't forget Kindle also removed their customer's books directly from the cloud library just a couple of days ago.

I know strip the DRM from eBooks is againt the publisher's terms, but why we should tolerate their unfair (or even rude) action on our purchased books? So if you do not want to lose your purchased contents someday, I advise you back up your eBooks before suffering a loss. You can learn how to back up your Nook and Adobe protected books at the last paragraph of this post. In addition, refer to this article to learn how to back up Kindle books as it is not included in the post above.

Why you can not download your purchased Nook books any more after the credit card is expired?

The reason why you cannot get the book from Barnes & Noble's content server any more is because of the Nook DRM. Unlike other DRM protections, Nook DRM is generated upon your purchasing credit card number and the billing name, while Kindle and Adobe DRM are generated upon your website account.

If your credit card is expired, then the Nook's content server is not able to recognize your identification which suits your book's DRM protection. As a result, you can't prove that you are the owner of this book in Nook's content server any more (This is extremely stupid, you can see your order information in the B&N website, but the content server refuses to admit you have purchased the book ).

Why you must input the credit card information to strip DRM from Nook books?

Similarly, if you want to remove the DRM from Nook books, you must input the correct credit card number and the billing name (maybe it's not your real name), then the decryption program can generate the correct key to unlock your book's protection.

Remove DRM from iTunes 1080p HD video with Requiem 4.1

If you always purchase contents from Apple iTunes, you must be familiar with a tool called "Requiem".

I used to be excited with the Requiem 3.3.5 as it is able to remove DRM from iBooks. But the author of this tool didn't go on supporting iBooks decryption in later versions for unknown reasons.

Days ago, the author issued a declaration that he is retiring from Requiem and won't release any new version of this amazing tool. This is really a huge blow to all the fans of iTunes decryption.

And before he completely quit the job, he launched the final version of Requiem, V 4.1. Which is perfectly suit for iTunes 10.6&10.7. 

And as the previous versions, the V 4.1 doesn't support iBooks decryption while it is really capable for removing DRM from iTunes videos.

So how to remove DRM from iTunes 1080P HD Video?

All you need to do is downloading the video to your computer from iTunes, then run the Requiem 4.1. The tool will scan your library automatically and find the protected stuff and decrypt them. It is pretty easy to use.

And to get the tool, you may need a bit trick as the website is hidden behind the Tor Proxy. But sometimes you can also directly visit the site.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Convert your PDF files to Kindle using PDF2LRF

As a former Sony Reader, I frequently used a program called PDF2LRF which I found to be the best PDF converter too because it specifically increased the contrast for text/ images to make them more readable on our eReader screens (which default converters don't do).

I came up with a straightforward workflow to convert PDFs to Kindle format which also bypasses Amazon's service. Note: this works best for image based/ or text + image based pdfs or if you want to preserve PDF formats.

PDF to Kindle Workflow:

1) Use PDF2LRF to input a PDF and output to a .ZIP file filled with PNG files. (I have to use PDF2LRF in command line format to accomplish this).

Link: (download the command line program). Use command:

" pdf2lrf -i INPUT_PDF_FILENAME.pdf -o " (which generates a zip file of PNG images from PDF)

2) Then use the program that jbenny posted (PNG2PDF) to generate a PDF file in commandline from the Zip files.

LINK: (scroll down and download the file Type this command in command line prompt:

" png2pdf "

This generates a file called: OUTPUT_PDF_FILENAME_png.PDF

3) Afterwards, run Mobipocket Creator to import PDF file and output to .PRC format which is readable on Kindle.

Download link:

Use option: Import PDF file: OUTPUT_PDF_FILENAME_png.PDF in Mobipocket Creator program (free), then after setting the Metadata, click Publish, to generate PRC file.

4) Move the generated .PRC file to your Kindle and enjoy it.
Note: you can fiddle with the PDF2LRF settings although the default settings worked pretty well.

Note: The advantage of this is I don't have to email the file to Amazon at all to get it converted and readable on kindle! (Since Gmail's 20 meg limit which I find quite limiting). And best of all the output is split nicely with high contrast, 2 pages/ landscape rotated which makes it as readable as on my Sony device compared to Amazon's default PDF conversion.

Summary: PDF -> PDF2LRF -> PNG2PDF -> MobiPocket Creator -> Kindle.

PDF2LRF download link is unavailable at present, but the best eBook converter and manager, Calibre, can help you. Calibre is a freeware which can convert e-books from format to format. It supports following input formats: CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, LRF, MOBI, ODT, PDF, PRC, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT. The output formats: EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, SNB, TCR, TXT.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kindle Vs Apple in the Tablet Wars

Image Credit:

The Amazon Kindle Fire is hot on the heels of Apple’s iPad in customer satisfaction, according to the first Tablet Satisfaction Study by J.D. Power and Associates. Hot, in this case, means breathing down Apple’s neck. The tablets were ranked on a 1,000-point scale that measured price, ease of operation, design, features and performance.

 After the scores were tallied, Apple garnered 848 points while the Kindle pulled in behind with 841 points. By anyone’s measurement, the race for the tablet gold standard is neck and neck.
In its press release, J.D. Power stated that it surveyed 1,985 tablet users.

The primary factor that helped Kindle earn its high ranking was low price, Power stated. Here is how the tablet users ranked the five criteria in importance from most important to least:

* Performance, 26 percent.
* Ease of operation, 22 percent.
* Design, 19 percent.
* Features, 17 percent.
* Price, 16 percent.

Only the Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle beat the Power tablet average of 832 points. Hewlett-Packard, Barnes and Noble, Acer and Samsung all fell below the average bar. Here are the Power scores for the other tablets:

* Samsung, 827.
* Acer, 811.
* Barnes and Noble, 803.
* HP, 790.

The Kindle Fire is indeed catching fire with consumers. According to a comScore report released in April, Amazon’s Kindle then commanded a greater than 50 percent share of the Android tablet market. Back in December, 2011, the Kindle held a 29.4 percent share. That number nearly doubled by this past February to 54.4 percent. The Samsung Galaxy Tab had a 15.4 percent share, and the Asus Transformer came in with a 6.3 percent share. No other Android-based tablet besides Kindle and the Galaxy have a 10 percent or greater share.

The Kindle has a reputation as a fast runner that immediately challenged Apple for tablet market share. A week after the Kindle was released in November, 2011, it jumped to the No. 2 tablet in the market. In its first month, the Kindle Fire out-performed Apple’s iPad launch in 2010. Consumers bought four million Kindle Fires during the last holiday season.

These numbers indicate a giant battle for tablet dominance this coming holiday season. Analysts are already raising the possibility that 2013 may be the year when Apple loses its dominant position in the tablet market.
At Apple’s recent cattle call in San Francisco to announce the launch of the iPhone 5, many people voiced disappointment that Apple didn’t roll out a new mini-tablet. It was rumored that this new device would directly target the minipad market. No such luck.

The Power study also found that tablet owners use their devices 7.5 hours per week. Tablet owners who also own smartphones use tablets 40 percent more. Nearly 40 percent of tablet users said they plan to buy another tablet within a year. One-quarter of tablet owners use them for business.
Apple announced a mini-tablet in October, just in time for the holiday season. Add to this the new Kindle Fires announced this week, and the contest to capture the gold standard for tablets should turn out to be the season’s most exciting high-tech race to watch.

Sam Jones, the author, has a passion for the latest mobile phones, tablets and gadgets and can't wait to get his hands on the best new offerings from Apple and Amazon.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kobo Glow: Amazon Kindle cuts price to counter its peers in Japan

Amazon Kindle has stepped into Japanese market after its success in the US, UK and other countries. To counter local eReader providers like Kobo and Sony, Amazon has decided to lower the price of Kindle titles for its first battle.

Kindle Paparwhite sells at $119 in the US market while the ad-free version comes at $20 more. In all probability, the model for Japan market will be the ad-free version while we cannot yet make sure of that. The latest price of Kindle is parallel to that of Kobo line, which also delivered a model with backlight, Koko Glo, even earlier than Kindle Paperwhite this year. Compared to the gloom of Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, Kobo Glo seems to have received more lauds from customers.

One thing Amazon has done right is that people who have preordered Kindle Paperwhite at a higher price have been informed of the price change. As a customer remarked, Amazon didn’t make the status confused.

Amazon announced last month to launch Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire in Japan whereas Sony and Rakuten Kobo have stepped forward in Japanese eReader market. It’s likely that Amazon try to win the popularity from the new market by its competitive price. The US’s eReader tycoon, Amazon Kindle, has dominated American eBook market with its abundant resources at budget prices. Will it stand out again in the new land as a newcomer with its reportedly 50,000 novels?

Well, here is a video comparison between Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo. Just pay attention to it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fictionwise is shutting down, back up your purchased books soon!

The old and famous eBook store Ficionwise is shutting down since last Friday.

This site can be dated back to early 2000s, it is one of the most ancient eBook stores in the world and has brought eBooks to many people's world. At that times, it is the most popular eBook store and absolutely ahead of that time.

Then Barnes&Noble bought it in 2009, unlike Facebook bought Instagram and Google bought Sparrow, Fictionwise didn't meet its another peak after purchased by B&N. On the contrary, it fell down with a surprisingly rapid speed.

I can remember the site didn't change its design since 2003 or even earlier, and the customer service is becoming more and more dumb, sometimes even reply customer's email after tens of days.

Finally, in the end of 2012, Fictionwise (or B&N) declared the cease operations.

Okay, let's finish the mourning. R.I.P Fictionwise.

fictionwise shutting down

Now the trouble is coming.

As Fitionwise is not going to offer the service anymore, for those purchased books, if you lost the copy, then you will not be able to download them to your computer any longer. What's worse, which is also I most worry about, will those DRM protected books become not readable?

Barnes&Noble allows users to transfer most of their purchased books to Nook library, but there is a list of Fictionwise titles which are not transferrable. (This list is so long..)

So if you happend to buy some of those books in the list, or you just don't want to have a Nook library, you'd better back up your purchased Fictionwise books before December 21, 2012.

Don't know how to back up?

If your purchased books are marked as "MultiFormat", then you need not to worry about them as they are not encrypted books. You can read them freely no matter Fitionwise is alive or dead.

If you purchased books are marked as "Secure *** Format", then you should keep an eye on them.
For "Secure Adobe Format", this post can help you.
For "Secure eReader Format", please refer to this post.
These two guides require a bit coding skills, if you want to back up your books easily and quickly, please ask a favor to this software, and you can back up all thest two kinds of secure formats with this software.

Nook HD VS Kindle Fire HD

After Google and Amazon both rolled out their new tablets, Barnes & Noble certainly refuses to admit being inferior and unveiled their new generation tablet, the Nook HD and Nook HD+.
In the 10-inch tablet niche, iPad is the King beyond dispute, but in the 7-inch area, the battle is bloody fierce. Therefore we mainly discuss the 7-inch size tablet in this article, namely Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD.
Let's have a horizontal evaluation between these two gadgets first.

Pros and Cons of Kindle Fire HD


No doubt Kindle Fire HD has the advantage on price, you only need to pay $199 to get a Dual-core, 1G RAM, 16G ROM, and a Built-in Camera tablet.
Let alone the AppMarket which contains more than 51,000 apps, and the Amazon Prime account allows you to read thousands of books for free.
Another huge advantage of Kindle Fire HD is that its vast Ecosystem, imagine every people in your social circle uses Kindle Fire HD, but you are the exception, you can't lend book with your friends, can't share the joy or tricks of using the gadget, that will be definitely pretty boring for having such a gadget.
By the way, there are many third-party websites offering variety kinds of services for Kindle, such as Lendle (a community which allows you to lend books for free), and those tons of websites which introduces you free Kindle books everyday.


The customized Android system is a bit closed than native Android, the interface may make you a little indisposed, it may make a skillful Android geek lost if it is the first time he hands on a Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon forces to show the advertisement when in the lock screen and home page, you need to pay $15 to call it off. And it doesn't support SD card slot, although 16 GB is enough for most users, but for some video lovers it is obviously not enough.
The size of Kindle Fire HD is a bit awkward as its width is slightly bigger than a single hand, sometimes you have to hold it with two hands. And the material of the back cover is kinda a "fingerprint collector".
Then turns to the processor, Kindle Fire HD's processor ranks at the bottom in the 3 popular 7-inch tablets, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, and Nook HD. And for the battery, Amazon said the battery can supply 11 hours reading, video and surfing on internet. But the actual test show that it can only support 7 hours video watching.
Finally the principal shortcoming of Kindle Fire HD for eBook lovers, the eBook format and DRM protection. We all know that ePUB is one of the standards in eBook industry, but Amazon tookover .mobi and turned it into AZW and protected with its own Kindle DRM, which forces us to read the Amazon books with Kindle device and programs.

Pros and Cons of Nook HD


The largest traditional U.S. bookseller has invested heavily in their new generation tablet, it equips an amazing screen which has 1440 x 900 resolution and 243 ppi, which is the best among Nook HD, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD. And the 1.3 GHz processor is also better than the 1.2 GHz in Kindle Fire HD, it is able to handle intensive games fine.
Nook HD is also the only one among those 7-inch tablets which offers you a SD Card slot, this will attract lots of video collectomanias.
It's width suits a single hand to a hair, you can hold it easily and comfortably. And it also weights 20% less than the already-extremely-light Kindle Fire HD, what's more, it won't show the lock-screen ads like Amazon's tablets, this gives us a pure and sheer user experience.
For eBook readers, the majority of Barnes & Noble books are in ePub format protected by Adobe DRM, which is supported by many third-pary reading apps like Aldiko, Bluefire Reader, DL Reader. We can have more choices to read Barnes & Noble books freely.


Nook HD is lack of a camera while its rivals are all equipped with a front camera to handle Facetime or Skype video calls. And the worst disadvantage on hardware is the proprietary plug, which used to be a typical symbol of Apple devices, if you need a HDMI output signal from it, you will have to pay $40 for a adapter.
Then it's the price, with $199 you can buy a Kindle Fire HD with 16G ROM or Nexus 7 with a Quad-Core processor. As either ROM or processor is the most important spec which influences a client's purchase decision, therefore I have to say this is a huge shortcoming for Nook HD.
In the aspect of soft power, Nook is also at a disadvantage, neither the App Store nor Book Store is able to compete with Amazon's huge capacity. Nook's video service is not rolled out yet while Amazon's Instant Video has gathered a plenty number of clients. What's more, Amazon's appstore is going to open the door to Europe while we didn't hear any similar plan of Barnes & Noble.


Before opening your wallet and swiping your credit card, you need to make clever decision, and this is the reason why we compile this comparison for you.
This article doesn't want to tell you which one is definitely better than the other, the better one is the tablet which suits most.
In my private opinion, if you are deeply engaged with the stuff (videos, apps and eBooks) provided by the native content market, the Kindle Fire HD will be your choice for its huge capacity of resources.
While if you want a tablet which is friendly to hand on and carry out, and prefer to get the contents from variety of sources and is not restricted to Barnes & Noble store, Nook HD is prior to Kindle HD. The higher processor performs better when you play games, the excellent screen will satisfy your eyes when you watch HD videos and the built-in reader app accepting ePub and PDF allows you easily read most of books downloaded from computer.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Important update for our softwares

After months of hard working, we have updated the version for all of our softwares. Here are the details:

eBook Converter V1.40.5:

  • Solve the utf-8 encode problem;
  • Add the feature of fixing file structure error;
  • Improve the stability;
  • Add the support of HTMLZ format;
  • Add the license authorization information;
  • Improve the conversion quality;
  • Auto send the log file to our technical support team once error occurs;
  • More bugs fixed.

Adobe DRM Removal V1.8.3:

  • Update the decryption core, remove DRM from your eBooks faster and more stable;
  • Fix the bugs which lead to program boot failure;
  • Add drag & drop feature in the registered version;
  • Add right click menu in the registered version, which enable you to delete the item.

Kindle DRM Removal V2.5.6:

  • Update the decryption core, remove DRM from your eBooks faster and more stable;
  • Fix the error “out of string table limits”, and the error “out of list range” ;
  • Fix the bugs which lead to program boot failure;
  • Add drag & drop feature in the registered version;
  • Add right click menu in the registered version, which enable you to delete the item.

Visit our official site to get all the latest version:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to get started with eBook-reading

With the booming of internet as well as information technology, more and more people have jumped on the digital bandwagon. Some people are currently familiar with e-books whereas there are still a huge amount of people who are strange to these invisible titles. This guide aims to help fresh men to get started with eBooks, thought it might be sort of easy for veterans. You will be shown how to get free eBooks on the internet and then read on a handy device.

1. Fetch eBooks
You do not have to pay for eBooks as there are a lot of sites offering free eBooks of various genres like Gutenberg, Free-Ebooks and so forth. Refer to this guide to download your first eBook from Tuebl. Or you can download a free eBook here.
More sites for free eBooks (Registration may be required).

2. Read eBooks on different devices

Reading eBooks can be achieved on different devices. You do not have to buy a dedicated eReader if you are not an avid reader. Just try to read eBooks on your computer or other portable devices with compatible reading apps installed. Note that all applications covered below are free of charge.

Read eBooks on computer
Most eBooks are EPUB & PDF, which are not supported on PC/Mac as default. With Adobe Digital Editions installed on our computer, we will be able to read EPUB and PDF books effortlessly.

1. Download and install Adobe Digital Editions (ADE).

2. Authorize your computer with your Adobe ID (recommended). Register an Adobe ID if you haven’t got one. Free eBooks from torrent are generally DRM free while $0 books from e-Book stores are often DRM-restricted. Adobe ID works when you read Adobe DRM protected eBooks. Books from public domains are not always to your taste, I am afraid.

3. Open your EPUB/PDF book with Adobe Digital Editions. Right click one book, select “Open with” and then “Adobe Digital Editions”.

Now it’s time to read your books on ADE.

If you are also interested in the famous Amazon Kindle books, you will need to download & install free Kindle for PC / Mac reading software. Register an Amazon account is another requirement, which enables you to purchase free Kindle books and authorize your Kindle software.
Get free Kindle books.

Read eBooks on smartphone / tablet
Reading on android tablets is parallel to reading on android smartphones as they are based on the same OS. iPhone / iTouch / iPad users can use built-in iBooks to read eBooks. Here I mainly talk about how to read eBooks on android devices (at least Android 2.1).

There is a collection of free reading apps especially for Android OS, such as Aldiko and Moon + Reader. We take Aldiko for example.

1. Download and install Aldiko app (.APK) on android device (I use my HTC smartphone). Download Aldiko APK file here and copy to your device with the USB cable connected to your computer. Or search for “Aldiko apk” on the browser of your phone / tablet and download & install.
How to install an app on an android device (android mobile).

2. Transfer books to your phone / tablet. Connect your Android device to computer via the USB cable and your mobile will be recognized as a removable disc. Create a folder like “eBook” on your smartphone. Copy downloaded eBooks to that folder.

3. Import books to Aldiko. Tap “Files” -> “eBook”, select books and tap “Import to Aldiko (*)”.

Minutes later, your eBooks will be listed under “Library”.

4. Tap the cover of a book and read.

If you have Kindle for Android app installed, make sure to copy your Kindle MOBI books to the “Kindle” folder.

These books will be listed under the “On Device” column.

How to use Aldiko on android tablet (Kindle Fire).

How to install an app on an android device (android mobile).
1. Tap “all apps” icon on homescreen and scroll to “File Manager”. Tap “File Manager”.

2. Scroll to Aldiko APK and tap it to install.

3. Tap "Install".

4. After installation, select “Open”.

5. Done.

If this is the first time for you to install apps on your android device, you may need to go to "Settings" and do some change to allow external applications to be installed on your device.

Monday, November 12, 2012

TotalBoox: Pay per Book? No, Pay per Page!

Have you ever meet such a situation? Attracted by an eBook's cover and summary then happily bought it, but the main story did disappoint you, then you stopped reading it with just several chapters read. But did you realize that you had paid for the entire book and it seems that most of the money are wasted in this situation?

An Israeli company Total Boox comes up with a solution for this situation.

According to The Next Web's news, if you are using Total Boox, you only need to pay for the pages you have read instead of pay for the entire book before reading. You can even add all your favorite eBooks to your own bookshelf for free, and the company will only charge you for the pages have been read through.

In fact the entire process is similar with using a cellphone, before we starting reading the books, we need to prepay a sum of cash, then the company will charge for the finished pages from your prepaid money.

Total Boox thinks the "Pay and Read" chargement mode is narrowing reader's reading range and reducing their reading amount because readers are becoming more and more cautious in choosing which book to buy. On the contrary, "Read and Pay" is more friendly to readers, because all the chargement are the result of the value which enjoyed by readers. They need not to spend any money wasted.

Total Boox has launched the beta version app on Google Play, and the official version is planned to release at the beginning next year. And we can't get a accurate number of their library capacity so far, but the company said there will be at least tens of thousands of eBooks for sold.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Are eReaders The Key To A More Literate Future?

Reading is a vital part of education, but in recent years with the influx of computer technology, video games and television available, there have been concerns that not enough of us are reading for pleasure.

There is evidence suggesting that children who read for pleasure every day achieve better results in reading skills tests than those who don’t. Experts claim that due to the lack of reading for pleasure in daily life, children are failing to achieve the results expected of them by certain key milestones in their early education.

An ability to read is vital for success during school years and crucial in the world of work. According to, two thirds of students who can’t read proficiently by the time they have reached the end of the fourth grade end up either in prison or claiming welfare. There is a 78 percent chance that if a child reaches this stage without being able to read they will not be able to catch up with their peers.

In the United States of America, a quarter of children grow up without knowing how to read. This is costly for the country, as 90 percent of people who receive welfare from the state dropped out of high school and those who can’t read are far more likely to have poor health. In fact, low literacy rates cost $73 million in direct health care costs every year.

Developments in reading technology

It isn’t all bad news for books though, as the advent of e-reader technology is said to be an encouragement for children to read, according to a recent survey. The Reading Agency questioned 500 parents, around half of whom said they thought e-reader technology was an encouragement for their offspring to pick up a book and start reading.

However, the popularity of e-readers seems to come at the detriment of investing in traditional books, as 61 percent of the parents questioned said they had never enrolled their child at the local library or borrowed books for them. According to the Reading Agency, children who use libraries double their chances of being above average readers.

The benefits of e-readers

When it comes to literature, e-reader technology boasts a wealth of benefits. Using the device, you can access libraries of books without having to leave your own home, and download the book of your choice within seconds. There are also storage benefits – you don’t require a library of bookshelves in your own home if you like to read. Additionally, this is a much more environmentally friendly way to access literature than printing words on paper.

With an e-reader you can access both children’s books and adult literature – either by sharing your device with your children, or investing in a child-friendly version so your kids don’t accidentally come across inappropriate titles.

Children’s e-readers include the LeapPad Explorer and Vtech Animated E-Book System – devices designed for young children, with their colourful graphics and robust, enduring design. For older children, there is the Nook – again with a coloured screen, as well as good quality graphics. This has the benefit of looking more like an adult e-reader so it feels more grown up.

E-readers in the developing world

The benefits of e-reader technology can be witnessed far and wide, with schools across the world investing in the technology to encourage children to read. In Kilgoris, South West Kenya, local schools are overcoming the shortage of textbooks by using e-reader technology which has been donated and is charged up using small generators and solar power packs.

One school has 150 of the e-readers, donated by the Kilgoris Project to share between 200 pupils, and the standard of reading at this educational establishment far outweighs that of other schools who are struggling for resources.

The school has found the technology inherently valuable, as the e-readers are robust, so they don’t get worn out quickly like traditional paper textbooks. They are also easy to update (being taken regularly to Nairobi where the internet is more accessible), so students can benefit from the latest textbooks, rather than using outdated versions.

Reading is a vital part of education right around the globe, which has suffered at the hands of new technology. However, e-readers have the potential to bring reading into the 21st Century, boosting literacy rates across the world – from the USA to Kenya – and providing a better level of education and improvements to life overall.

This article is written by Evelyn Robinson, an enthusiastic reader of our blog.

Friday, November 2, 2012

eBook vs. printed book: 5 pros & cons of eBooks

eBook vs print book
eBook is booming at an increasingly rapid rate taking the region and sales into account. In several countries, such as in the US, eBooks have played a more and more important role in people’s daily life. Amazon has added a new feature, Whispercast, primarily for schoolteachers as well as office staff to share documents, which perfects the whole eReading system to some extent.

In the meantime, however, there are still a huge amount of people who are used to traditional paper books and eager to figure out how it makes sense to swing to eBooks. Here are 5 pros and cons of eBooks to help you understand this issue better.


1. Portability. 
Apparently, eBooks do not physically exist thus we can easily put hundreds of eBooks on any handy device with storage function, such as smartphones or tablets. Carrying a couple of books is quite heavy while an iPhone with thousands of eBooks is just nothing.

2. Conserve resources. 
Printing Traditional paper books consume a lot of resources: professional printing equipment, ink, paper (trees and other materials), workforce, etc. On the contrary, eBooks consume few resources except several computers (sometimes one is enough) with editing tools. In that respect, the transfer from printed books to electronic books may well be called a milestone.

3. Save money.
Besides Gutenberg, there are heaps of websites offering eBooks for free such as Tuebl and Free E-books. We can never get free paper books although second-hand books generally sell at good prices. Well, this is not always the fact. Some eBooks are actually more expensive than printed books, but not many.

4. Share with your friends.
We have access to sharing our reading experience and feelings with friends on Facebook, Twitter or even Google + when we read eBooks on devices with internet connected. Tell your friends what is touching you is a nice thing, isn't it? We need reading and we need communicating even more.

5. Other reasons:
#1 More and more authors are turning up
Technology and development of eBooks have brought more and more people to the eBook field. This is a good challenge for people who are fond of reading and writing as they can simply write a document, convert into EPUB with free eBook tools and basically send to their family and friends for the first glimpse.

#2 Trend
Nowadays we frequently deal with digital content such as World, Excel amd Power Point. eBooks deliver a direct way for us to combine the great words from authors with our own content with simple "select" and "copy" whereas paper books give people a remote feeling.

#3 Reading attachment
eBooks often come with specified reading software, which remarkably facilitates our reading-related operations: annotate, bookmark, Dictionary, Text-to-Speech (supported by some reading apps such as iBooks and Mantano), change reading mode (Day/Night) and the like.


1. DRM (Digital Rights Management)

Nearly all eBook companies, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony, enforce DRM restrictions on their eBooks so as to limit eBook copying, printing and sharing. We are exclusively allowed to read eBooks (from certain store) on corresponding readers or reading apps.

For black-and-white eReader users, reading eBooks from other stores seems to be fairly tough as these readers are mostly based on Linux OS, which is unable to install external reading applications as Android OS does. For instance, there is nearly no legal way to read a Kindle book on Nook Simple Touch since this book has been protected by Kindle DRM. The only solution might be remove Kindle DRM (AZW) and then convert the DMR-free Kindle MOBI book into Nook supported EPUB format. This is the same to reading Nook/Sony/Kobo books on E-INK kindle.

Well, things are much easier if we read on iPad or android tablet such as Kindle Fire as we can download and install various reading apps from different providers to read eBooks delivered by them. Just install Kindle for Android app on your Nook HD or anything else (root may be required), and then you are able to read books purchased from Amazon on your Nook tablet.

A recent case, which greatly maddens me, is that Amazon took back all the books and the account of its customer, Linn, who has potentially violated Amazon’s rule. Without any notice or detailed explanation! Poor Linn sent several emails to Amazon Executive Customer Relations, Michael Murphy but kept receiving vague reply. Linn totally lost all her purchased Kindle books and has no chance to apply for a new Amazon account!

Likewise, Kobo has announced that registered users are not allowed to share their account – not with a spouse, kids, anyone. Ridiculously, we are prohibited from commanding the books we've purchased within reason. It appears that we can share our account in private whereas this behavior is illegal!

2. Reading devices required. 
Reading eBooks on laptop seems sort of clunky, not to mention desktop, when carrying an eBook from one place to another is a need, like from your dormitory to classroom. As a result, we'd better invest extra money on dedicated reading devices for the real “portable and convenient" reading. What's more, different eReaders support different eBook formats, especially Amazon Kindle. Books from Amazon store are mostly AZW whereas eBooks from other stores, as with Barnes & Noble and Sony store, are popular EPUB, which are supported on all non-Kindle eReaders. This is a headache for general readers, however, it appears that Amazon will not sacrifice its interests to combine EPUB with Kindle. Of course, you can choose to read eBooks on smartphones or tablets while color glass screen is not as good as E ink one from the angle of eye-protection.

3. Cross-reference. 
When we have to consult several books at the same time, paper books are apparently more convenient. When it comes to eBooks on our reading devices, we have to close one book and open another to switch. It would be better if we cross-reference eBooks on our computer.

4. Inconvenience for Professional technical books. 
Technical books often contain formatting tables, diagrams, equations, etc, which are mostly eventually integrated into PDF eBooks. In fact, we have found that PDF are not friendly format for setting fonts or zooming. We can certainly convert PDF to EPUB OR MOBI for more comfortable reading, but the conversion is sometimes not so fluent out of those PDFs' odd structure.

5. Other cases
#1 Fail to download a purchased eBook due to the connection problem.
#2 Unaccustomed to reading eBooks on a device, such as turning the pages.
#3 Misoperations such as deleting a purchased book permanently by mistake.

On the whole, eBook is something we love and hate at the same time. I personally prefer to eBook as it is more convenient to me. We have every reason to believe that eBook will become a natural tendency exclusively from the angle of resource-conserving and environmental protection. Well, DRM might be the key impediment for quite a long time although there are a handful of stores offering DRM-free eBooks.