My next title for the Sizzling Summer Book Club is going to be a digital book from a digital press. What does that mean? No print copies, basically. (*cue rage-waving of arms and gnashing of teeth!*) Don’t worry, I’m going to do print books, too, but I wanted to do at least one excellent digital book.
Plus, and this’ll narrow the guessing down, the book I’ve chosen comes from a small press that does not use DRM (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU) so there won’t be any pesky registering and proving you are who you say you are and surrendering a kidney as collateral and crap like that.
What if you’ve never read a digital book before? Well, no problem. Here’s a basic primer of your options.
First: if you buy the book from all Romance eBooks, you have a choice of formats. The format you pick will determine where/how you read it.
What if I buy one format and want another one?
Because the book I’ve selected has no DRM, you can use Calibre, which is FREE CHEEZY BREAD FREE, to convert it to another format. The details on how to convert a file format to another are bone easy: you click one button, select the format you want, and move on. So if you buy one format and decide you want to convert it, it’s no problem… because there’s no DRM. *Snoopy dance commences… NOW!*
You can download Calibre – it’s a wonderful tool. If you read ebooks, you should totally have a copy.
The easiest way to determine which format you want, or which format you want to convert to, is to ask:
Where Do You Want to Read?
If you want to buy the book and read it on a laptop or desktop computer:
Your easiest bet is to download an Adobe PDF and read it using Adobe software. PDFs can be hella big, so if you’re on dial up, another option may work better, but PDFs are pretty straightforward. They’re like the Hulk of digital books: big, simple, not a lot of bells and whistles, but they get the job done.
You’ll need Adobe Reader – which you probably already have installed – and be warned, Adobe LOVES to update itself. It’s like Lady Gaga and Madonna all mixed up with Garth Brooks when he did that Chris Rockstar something-or-other. Constantly with the updates. So annoying.
If you use Linux, however, first, whoa, that’s kind of cool. I’m still struggling to figure out customization of my Asus EEE running Linux. Anyway, HTML files work nicely on the Linux/Unix computers. Feel free to correct me on that one.
If you want to buy the book and read it on a PALM Handheld:
You have so many options. It’s kind of awesome.
You can use Mobipocket on a slew of other devices, including Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and Windows desktops. Most likely you’d buy an ePub (more on ePub in a moment) and convert it.
I rather like Mobipocket, generally. It was easier for me to figure out in terms of how to load the book and where to read it or transfer it. Plus, if you happened to be on a work computer (*ahem*), I never had a problem installing Mobipocket.
Keeping with the “If they were people” motif, I think Mobipocket is Reba McEntire. Accessible, looks good, friendly, diverse, happy to collaborate, and flexible across multiple forms of media/platforms.
Blackberry users can also use Mobipocket, and I did a LOT of reading on the BBerry when I had one. I am pondering replacing my iPhone with a Blackberry, in fact, but that’s a whole other rant/whinefest.
If you want to buy the book and read it on a Windows Mobile device:
Are you a Pocket PC user? I used to notice Pocket PC users everywhere in the bus station in New York City, and now it’s Blackberry as far as the eye can see. Anyway, if you’re rocking a Pocket PC, you can opt to use .LIT format, and you can read that book both on the Pocket PC and on your Windows PC using MS Reader.
Personally I loathe MS Reader as it is a pokey slow thing, but if you want to give it a whirl and read on it, you can download it here. I think .LIT is awfully limited in what it can do and not very accessible, even though it’s everywhere. Kind of like Misha Barton.
(What, you didn’t know about the work-the-metaphor-until-it’s-limp-and-gasping thing around here? Oh, yesssssss.)
You can also use Mobipocket, above, instead of MS Reader. You have choices, man, choices. WOOT.
If you want to read the book on an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad:
I think your best bet is buying the ever-sexy .epub format. ePub is like Hugh Jackman: exceptionally talented in any number of locations/devices, and DEAD SEXXXY
If you’re using ePub books, you might like using the Stanza app, because you can do so much with it. From the ARe FAQ, here are the steps for two different methods to move books onto an iPhone or iPod Touch:
“There are 2 ways to get books onto your iPhone or iPod Touch Stanza library.
(1) Direct download – First access your on-line library at http://www.allromanceebooks.com via Stanza. You will need to go to the home page, login, then click on the library link in the top navigation bar.
Scroll down the page until you find the title you want to read.
Select the ePub link to the right of the title. The book will automatically open in Stanza.
Note: If you previously selected an alternate file format, that format will show to the right of the title. In that case you either (a) need to send in a report request to have the link changed to ePub, or (b) use the method below to transfer the title onto your iPhone.
(2) Wireless transfer – Sharing using Stanza Desktop
The dedicated Stanza iPhone application, which can be downloaded onto the iPhone via the Apple App Store, can synchronize with Stanza Desktop. The Stanza Desktop application is currently available for Apple Macintosh and Windows computers from http://download.lexcycle.com.
(a) Launch Stanza Desktop.
(b) Go to File->Open, and open a book or document in one of Stanza’s supported formats. Note: The text of eReader books will not be displayed, but you can still use this interface to share books with Stanza iPhone.
(c) Go to the “Tools” menu, and ensure that the “Enable Sharing” menu item is checked.
(d) Ensure that your iPhone is connected to the same wireless network that your PC is on.
(e) Launch Stanza on your iPhone.
(f) From the top-level library menu, select “Shared Books”. You should see your computer name. Select it.
(g) Stanza Desktop will then notify you that your iPhone is attempting to connect to your shared library, and request your permission to allow the connection.
(h) Once you have granted permission, Stanza iPhone will display a list of books that are open in Stanza Desktop.
(i) Tap on the book to download it Stanza on your iPhone. It will appear in Titles and Recent Downloads.
If you run into problems with sharing, please refer to http://www.lexcycle.com/faq/troubleshooting_sharing for common solutions to issues that users may encounter.
You can also try this method outlined by Jane at DA if you have problems.
If you want, you can use iTunes to add books to your iPod/iPhone/iPad’s Stanza documents folder. Check out the instructions on the Lexcycle FAQ.
If you want to read the book on an Android device:
Android is a pretty new operating system but there are ways to read on the device. One is Aldiko (how do you say that? AL-dih-ko? Al-DEE-ko?) and ARe has instructions on how to buy and read through the Aldiko app.
Aldiko is not a software I’ve tried, though other folks have nice things to say about it.
But what about Amazon and BN? They have apps!
I’d like to say that Amazon’s Kindle format is Justin Bieber but I think it’s has greater longevity potential than He Of Odd Hairdo. Perhaps it’s some other celebrity who has eternal popularity in that, “You’re still around? Go away! Oh, crap I kinda like that new song of yours” kind of way.
So why aren’t I linking the hellacrap out of this section to the Amazon and BN downloads?
If you buy the book through Amazon or BN.com, you are electing to add the DRM from those two vendors to the book, limiting your options to read it on other devices and using other apps. You would be able to read the book on the Amazon iPhone app then pick up where you left off on the Kindle and do the same at your desktop computer through the wireless syncing, but you are locking yourself into Amazon-only apps and programs. The book in question is DRM-free, and part of the reason I chose it was that it would enable folks to try a digital book with as few restrictions as possible. Plus, you can purchase the DRM-free file as a PDF and put it on the Kindle or Nook if you want, though you will not be able to read it and have your progress sync across devices.
My final and most important reason: the Summer Book Club is being produced in partnership with All Romance eBooks, and ARe is a romance-friendly independent digital bookstore – the kind I like to frequent as often as possible! – that doesn’t add DRM to their files. Plus they’re offering a 50% rebate on the purchases of the book club selections.
That said, you can buy the book wherever you want, including the publisher’s website.
(Moment of zen: “desktop” was just autocorrected to “despot” – which is kind of funny considering what I was just writing about Amazon.)
So stay tuned for the next book club pick announcement, and if you have questions or you think I missed a very obvious method of reading an ebook, please send up a flare. The difficult thing about ebooks is that there are SO many formats and so many options and devices, but if you start with the question of, “Where am I going to want to read, and on what device?” it becomes a little easier to make your selection. It’s all about you, right? ABSOLUTELY!