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Cooling down about eBooks excitement

So I have written a few posts regarding eBooks in the past month or so, since I finally went to use my Sony eReader full time. Unfortunately, it failed for me yesterday, on the train back from Milan – where I was with a friend to show off his game – as I wanted to read The Salmon of Doubt which I bought from Kobo at the start of the month.

It failed me with a quite unimpressive “page error” so I thought the file was corrupted on the Memory Stick (or even the Memory Stick started to fail — they are not eternal, and this one has been passed down from a friend of mine to me for PSPs, and is now in the Reader, since digital distribution of PSP games called for something bigger than 1GB). I uploaded it to the Reader anew, and it still failed; I then decided to convert it with Calibre but it also failed (although, at least giving me an idea about what the problem was in the first place!).

The problem, as it turns out, is that the ePub specification is, like ODT, SVG and MP4/ISO Media, a specification that includes so much more than any single implementation will ever support. One issue that lately has been noted by many is that Apple’s iBooks application for the iPad, which supports ePub books, surprisingly does not support DRM’d files (well, at least not those DRM’d with Adobe Digital Editions), but it’s not the only one. In this case, while the Sony Reader supports Adobe Digital Editions files, it does not support DTBook files. And that is what my ePub file is, deep within.

Now, there are tools that supposedly convert one format to the other, yet they don’t seem to do that much of a good result out of it, so I wasn’t able to get it to appear properly just yet. And this also requires me to tinker quite a bit with the raw files I don’t know a thing about.

This starts to make me wary about eBooks… one out of fifteen up to now doesn’t spell trouble, but there are cases where it might not be so good to have them around. Add the fact that there is basically no content I could find in Italian as eBook, and I start to get afraid I can only partly replace dead-tree books for a long time still. Sucks!

Comments 1
  1. Since having my Kindle I’ve enjoyed quite a bunch of Ebooks, but I do wholeheartly agree: It’s a huge problem right now to get ebooks of a non-technical nature in languages other than English.

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