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Contributor
Henk_C
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎10-30-2009
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File formats and eReader compatibility

In what format does B&N sell its eBooks?  I saw .pdb and .prc listed on the eReader software site.  I am currently looking at both the Nook and the Sony Reader.  I assume that the Nook will handle these files along with the ePub and PDF formats.  The Sony Reader will not read the .pdb and .prc formats. 

 

Suppose I have purchased some eBooks from B&N (using the eReader software) and eventually wish to read them on, perhaps, the Sony Reader.  Am I stuck? Will they even be transferrable to the Nook? Are my books then limited to reading on my PC

 

Can I download the ebooks in ePub format or convert them in the PC software?  It would seem that B&N (the bookseller) would want to have the widest distribution possible, but B&N (the hardware seller) would like to lock you into their proprietary world (ala Kindle). 

 

Before I start buying a bunch of eBooks from B&N I would like to know what flexibility I have in terms of the reader.  I would like to buy a reader on the merits of the reader rather than on being locked into one particular bookstore.

 

Cheers,

Henk

Correspondent
athenagwis
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: File formats and eReader compatibility

It is my understanding that the books you buy from the Barnes & Noble store will be DRM'd ePub files.  These will only work in the Barnes & Noble reader program, which you can load on the computer or your phone.  I do not think the Sony reader supports the B&N reader, so your B&N purchased files would not work there.

 

I hope that helps!

Rachel

Correspondent
ps56k
Posts: 658
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
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Re: File formats and eReader compatibility

BTW - I was curious and actually installed Adobe Digital Editions on my laptop, and then went to our Overdrive virtual library, and found an epub format book - went to checkout - downloaded and opened it via Adobe Digital Editions...

 

After reading more and more about DRM & PDF ebooks - I went back to my Overdrive library and using the advanced search feature, looked for any ebooks with the PDF format.... implying DRM-PDF.

 

I again went thru checkout and downloaded the PDF ebook into Adobe Digital Editions.

On my XP laptop - there is a new folder under My Documents,

created by Adobe Digital Editions, called My Digital Editions....

this is where the downloaded files are located.

 

So - now that I have a DRM-PDF, I clicked on it to see what Adobe Reader would do with it.... it failed to open.  An error message was displayed indicated that this PDF had Digital Rights, and that it needed to be opened with Adobe Digital Editions.

 

In summary - it would appear that any DRM protected file needs the assigned encryption key (PID) for that specific device.   Using this DRM-PDF as an example, this is exactly what would probably happen on the Nook (or Kindle) with any DRM files downloaded or copied from a library...

 

It's unfortunate that the DRM acronym is not "added" to the various Nook feature lists of supported formats and those not supported, so you can tell the difference between epub vs epub/drm and pdf vs pdf/drm.

 

Correspondent
ps56k
Posts: 658
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0 Kudos

Re: File formats and eReader compatibility

BTW - I was curious and actually installed Adobe Digital Editions on my laptop, and then went to our Overdrive virtual library, and found an epub format book - went to checkout - downloaded and opened it via Adobe Digital Editions...

 

After reading more and more about DRM & PDF ebooks - I went back to my Overdrive library and using the advanced search feature, looked for any ebooks with the PDF format.... implying DRM-PDF.

 

I again went thru checkout and downloaded the PDF ebook into Adobe Digital Editions.

On my XP laptop - there is a new folder under My Documents,

created by Adobe Digital Editions, called My Digital Editions....

this is where the downloaded files are located.

 

So - now that I have a DRM-PDF, I clicked on it to see what Adobe Reader would do with it.... it failed to open.  An error message was displayed indicated that this PDF had Digital Rights, and that it needed to be opened with Adobe Digital Editions.

 

In summary - it would appear that any DRM protected file needs the assigned encryption key (PID) for that specific reader device (or software).   Using my DRM-PDF as an example, this is exactly what would probably happen on the Nook (or Kindle) with any DRM files downloaded or copied from a library...

 

It's unfortunate that the DRM acronym is not "added" to the various Nook feature lists of supported formats and those not supported, so you can tell the difference between epub vs epub/drm and pdf vs pdf/drm.

 

Frequent Contributor
KevinCK
Posts: 72
Registered: ‎10-26-2009
0 Kudos

Re: File formats and eReader compatibility

HenkC,

 

I think the answer to your questions are "no." At this point in the ebookstore game, all the companies are about being proprietary so that the only way you can buy their ebooks is to buy their machines. Like the early mp3 player market, the ebook market has not realized yet that it will be to companies' mutual benefit to accept standard file formats so that x's ebooks are compatible with y and z's machine and vice versa. But until that day, we are quite stuck in proprietary-ville.

 

But if you are considering the Sony, I would urge you to consider it more. They are taking a big step away from this mentality by recognizing that the .epub file format seems to be the winner (in the way that "blu ray" was the winner of the "next dvd" war.) I think they, better than any other company, are seeing where the market is going. (Then again, I've also heard rumors that BN is going to start dealing in epub, but those rumors are completely unsubstantiated and vague.)