5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 1, 2010 8:26 PM by BrandieC

    .epub Format No Longer Available for Many Books at Borders?

      Strange happenings!  On July 25, I created a spreadsheet of all the books on my "to be read" list that weren't available at the library (can't justify spending money if it's free there), along with their prices at Borders and B&N.  The motivation was FrogAlum's listing of the frequent Borders discount codes which, unlike B&N discounts, could be used on non-Agency 5 eBooks.  I listed the Borders price and current discount, so that when I got a new discount code, I could see which books were not already discounted to the coupon's level (since the coupon only works if the book is not already discounted that much).


      I got all excited today because there is a new Borders code (BXA8062F) for 33% off.  I opened my spreadsheet, found a couple of books which had previously been discounted less than 33%, and went off to decide what to buy.  What I discovered is that virtually all of the books I had found on Borders on July 25 are now not only discounted less than they were then (OK, so prices fluctuate, I can understand that), BUT now virtually all of the books that were available in .epub format are only available in .pdf format!  What's up with that?


      So I called Borders.  They kept trying to tell me it was the publisher's decision, but I pointed out that I was looking at books from 5 different publishers.  Then, they suggested that Kobo had just mistakenly listed them all as .epub originally but had now fixed the description.  That, I find hard to believe.  The next suggestion was that the publishers will only make eBooks available in the best-selling format; that didn't fly with me, since my understanding is that .epub is the industry standard.  I would think that publishers would be moving more eBooks from .pdf to .epub, not the other way around.  Their final suggestion was that I buy the .pdf and then just use Calibre to convert it to .epub.  Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to download Calibre onto the computer I use because it's owned by my employer.




      1.  Does anyone have any idea why all of the .epubs would be disappearing from Borders?

      2.  Has anyone downloaded a .pdf from Borders and then sideloaded it to their nook and, if so, how did it work out?  The one time I purchased and sideloaded a .pdf from Fictionwise, the formatting on screen was so bad that I ended up buying the book again in .epub from B&N, so I'm a little antsy about buying anything in .pdf, even though I REALLY want to use the Borders discount code!




      A representative from Borders just called me (wonder of wonders!).  He was so intrigued by my question that he called Kobo.  According to him, Kobo said that they had "pulled back" many of the .epub files to minimize the number of formats they download into the Borders system.  As I understand what he said, Kobo knows that a user who wants an .epub can buy the .pdf and convert it into .epub using Calibre, whereas a user who wants a .pdf can't buy the .epub and convert it into .pdf.  This way, they make both users happy and only have to download one file to Borders.


      Putting aside the fact that this answer doesn't help me (since I can't use Calibre), does it make sense?  Is there really a large population of .pdf users out there who were up in arms because they could only get the .epub from Borders/Kobo?  It's not like they had actually downloaded to Borders both the .pdf and the .epub formats before; on July 25, all of these books were available as .epub and not as .pdf.


      And, in any event, I still need an answer to my second question - if I buy these in .pdf format, how are they going to do on my nook?

        • Re: .epub Format No Longer Available for Many Books at Borders?

          Really interesting ..


          From Border's own FAQ

          "What file types are available?

          Most of the eBooks we offer are in the ePub format, but there are also PDFs and mobile-specific versions available for some titles. When shopping for Borders eBooks, look on the title detail page of the book you're interested in: The About the Book section shows all available file types for that eBook."


          I checked a few books on the site, the first one I came across in pdf was Lisa Gardner's The Neighbor ... then I looked at price

          Borders -- 19.49 (pdf)

          Barnes and Noble -- 5.99 (epub)

          Sony -- 7.59 (epub)

          Bantam Books website -- 7.99 with links to all above retailers.


          I might really check around for prices. I've found that checking the publisher's website it valuable too! Otherwise I might ask my tech people if I can install Calibre. Many times you can install freeware on a company computer. They are mostly concerned with software licensing. Or, I might find a friend's computer I can use or buy one of the really cheap new laptops (some are like $200.)

          • Re: .epub Format No Longer Available for Many Books at Borders?

            By-and-large, converting from PDF to anything is a frustrating experience. PDF is a page-layout format that just works with lines of characters, and doesn't respect things like paragraphs, sentences, etc. It also doesn't (usually) distinguish between headers, footers, and real text.


            It's possible to make PDFs that are fairly friendly to e-readers. One way is to simply specify that the output "page" size is 90x120mm, which just happens to be the size of the 6" E-Ink screen. Another thing that can be done is to specify that the PDF is to be a "tagged" PDF with no page labels.


            But since you're not making the PDFs, you have no way of knowing how "e-reader friendly" they are.


            • Borders .epub's Are Back!

              Curiouser and curiouser.  When I went on the Borders site tonight to finish updating my spreadsheet with the new, higher .pdf prices, I discovered that all of the .epub versions are back, and at the same lower price they had on July 25.  I guess I and Borders just fell into a black hole on Friday:smileysurprised:.