12 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2015 2:58 AM by kevintaylor

    Who's the most open eBook store?

    Exphio

      So, I've been wanting to get into ebooks lately, since the nearest comic store and large book store are about an hour away.

       

      I've already decided that I don't want to use amazon's kindle since they're being mean and restrictive with their monopoly. So, which is the most open, or has the least restrictive DRM of Kobo, Google, and Nook?

       

      And as a side question. Does anyone know if the Nook HD+ will ever get an update? It's software is way out of date.

        • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
          Byteguy

          B&N will appear the least restrictive on your Nook HD+; just buy what you want and it appears in the Nook Reading app.  However, they've recently made changes that are VERY restrictive; no more download button on the website and changes to DRM that keep side-loaded books from opening on other devices.

           

          Kobo has also added restrictions; removed the download button from their website for new books and many new books can ONLY be read on their tablets or in their app on your Nook.

           

          Google still allows downloading of the epub (so you can make a backup if you are worried) and still uses Adobe DRM that allows sideloading onto other devices.

           

          Personally, I've switched to Google for most of my book purchases.  Over the years, I've had companies go under (Kodak Easyshare, Yahoo Photo, Borders) and had to hurry to save my data and I've had other companies "forget" everything in my account and expect ME to have kept a copy of every order to send them so they can "look into it" at their own pace.  I'm paranoid; I like to have multiple backups of things that I buy or are important to me.

           

          As for the HD+ update... B&N doesn't announce if/when they will do updates and they haven't been doing anything that isn't a "must fix" in a long time.  You should probably assume that there will be no more updates and just use the app store to add functions that you want.

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            • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
              Froide

              I agree with Byteguy's post but am writing to add: it's worth reading the following Mobileread threads to learn how to download NOOK Books an some Kobo ebooks, which you can then strip DRM from and read/store on any device you choose:

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              • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                bobstro

                Byteguy wrote:

                [...] Kobo has also added restrictions; removed the download button from their website for new books and many new books can ONLY be read on their tablets or in their app on your Nook.

                A bit of clarification: Some new titles put out by publishers in epub3 cannot be downloaded from the Kobo site. In response to this issue, Kobo has recently added a handy "Read this on" feature on most, if not all, book pages clearly indicating what it can be read on:

                One of the blogs (goodereader, IIRC) made a splash a couple of months ago claiming Kobo was doing the same thing as B&N, specifically pointing out Sue Grafton's W is for Wasted. I went to the Kobo site and actually purchased that title and was able to download it without issue. Somebody on mobileread mentioned that they checked out 800+ titles and found one that could not be downloaded. I personally had a problem with one title purchased from Kobo. I sent Kobo a single email noting the problem and received a refund notification about a week later via email. Kobo has since made the labeling on affected tiles clear:

                 

                This is nowhere near the same thing as B&N withdrawing the ability to download both existing and new purchases. I am having no problems downloading prior Kobo purchases using the usual ADE .acsm process, the same as Google. On an actual Kobo device, of course, you can just download the files directly.

                Yeah, it was annoying, but they've fixed the issue. Kobo's hardly perfect, but there's some FUD going around about what they're actually doing.

                 

                I also frequent Google's ebook store, but I wouldn't exactly call any of them (Amazon, B&N, Google, Kobo) "open" by any stretch. It's a pain using any of them to one degree or another, largely due to DRM and all the associated baggage that comes with it.

                 

                By far, the most "open" store I've used is O'Reilly Press, though they focus on tech titles exclusively. I also appreciate that they have a meaningful, free membership program (as in, 50% discounts on most titles) and zero DRM. Baen gets high marks for being DRM-free, though I don't personally buy there often.

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                  • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                    Byteguy

                    The problem here is that Kobo's "read this on" doesn't always make sense or tell the truth.

                     

                    A book I bought said it was everything except Blackberry.  But it turned out to be Kobo Tablets and Apps only.  I get that "e-readers" and "tablets" means "KOBO e-readers" and "KOBO tablets" and that iOS, Android, and Windows means their APP for those platforms.  But, What is "Desktop" if it's not Adobe or unlocked?

                     

                    The Kobo rep told me to look for Blackberry and I would know it was a downloadable file for Adobe.  So, I tested it with a couple of BookBub free and 99c books.  Nope.  They didn't say Blackberry and still turned out to be either direct epub or Adobe downloads.

                     

                    Bobstro is right.  I worded it poorly.  Yes, PAST purchases have not changed so you can still download them exactly as before.  But NEW purchases are a guess and gamble.  I just don't want to have to keep calling and asking for a refund.  How long before they get fed-up and either shut-down my account or refuse to refund me anymore?

                     

                    Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed with Kobo's hardware and their reps were very friendly to me on the phone.  I know they aren't doing this on purpose.  I just don't think they have a good way to tell me what I need to know and I don't want to gamble.

                      • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                        bobstro

                        What specific book title are you having trouble with? I read the panicked blog post on goodereader (IIRC) screaming that Kobo was doing the same as B&N (it was the same week). He cited only one example: Sue Grafton's W. I went on the Kobo site, purchased it and downloaded it without issue. I suspect his account just had aproblem with that title. So much for investigative reporting! 

                         

                        I think the Kobo site does get tripped up now and then, and specific users have a problem with some purchases, regardless of format. It might just be you! Let me check out that title and I'll let you know. An email to support might fix your problem, or at least get you a refund if it is a problem. In my case, I'd purchased the title months before, and was surprised to get it refunded, no questions asked.

                         

                        For me, this was one of about 40 purchases.  Someone at mobileread went through 800 with none that wouldn't download. It certainly isn't a pervasive issue yet.

                          • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                            Byteguy

                            Blood of Olympus was the one that tripped me up.  I was able to finally get a refund so I'm fine; it just took a long call and then another call when they emailed two days later to tell me they had changed their mind about the refund and were only going to give me store credit.

                             

                            City of Blaze and Out of Time were two of the free BookBub ones I tested.  Both titles shows the exact same "read on" device list as Blood (no blackberry) but both turned out to be DRM-free epub downloads.

                             

                            I'm not trying to say the sky-is-falling over at Kobo, just that they need a better "read on" system or they need to ALWAYS list the download options in the Product Info.  Sometimes, like with these two free books they list that the files are "epub (drm free)" or they list "epub (adobe drm)" like some of my older orders.  But, then they don't list anything at all as a download option for Blood.  I guess I have to assume I can't use the book unless I see a format under "download options" that I can use.  That's just a bit more work and risk than I want to deal with when I know I can use everything from Google Books.

                             

                            Of course, this could all become academic if the publishers are putting the same pressure on Google.

                    • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                      DeanGibson

                      Exphio wrote:

                       

                      ... Does anyone know if the Nook HD+ will ever get an update? It's software is way out of date.

                       

                      Once B&N stops selling an eReader, they generally stop updates.  At this point, almost everyone here would be astounded to see any of the B&N-manufactured Nooks get any updates, unless it was for the purpose of adding restrictions to the device, or compatibility with a new format.  Most of B&N's software division no longer exists.

                       

                      I'm not sure what you mean by "software is way out of date".  Does it not work with newer eBooks, or is it simply not the latest and greatest, or does it just have bugs that you would like fixed?  Is your car out of date?  (grin)

                       

                      If you do want the latest version of Android on it (and get rid of a few B&N bugs as well), do what I've done:  Go to Barnes & Noble Nook HD, HD+ - XDA Forums and install CyanogenMod v11 (Android 4.4.4) on a bootable microSD card.  Or, install CM-11 on the Nook's internal storage, and then install B&N's OS on a bootable microSD card.  Note:  you will not be able to install the Android Nook app on the HD+ running CM through Google Play, but you can sideload it (links on the Barnes & Noble Nook HD, HD+ - XDA Forums ).

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                        • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                          Froide

                          Or, as an alternative that I'd prefer, buy an AndroidForNook card - you'll get excellent customer support, all the kinks are worked out, and you can communicate with the developer and other users in a very informative forum.

                            • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                              DeanGibson

                              Yes, that works very well for those that don't want the technical hassle.  However, installing CM on the internal storage gives a very noticeable increase in performance, with the downside of making it more difficult to "return to factory original" in case of warranty issues.

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                            • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                              DeanGibson

                              DeanGibson wrote:

                               

                              Exphio wrote:

                               

                              ... Does anyone know if the Nook HD+ will ever get an update? It's software is way out of date.

                               

                              Once B&N stops selling an eReader, they generally stop updates.  At this point, almost everyone here would be astounded to see any of the B&N-manufactured Nooks get any updates, unless it was for the purpose of adding restrictions to the device, or compatibility with a new format.  Most of B&N's software division no longer exists.

                               

                              Color me astounded.

                            • Re: Who's the most open eBook store?
                              keriflur

                              The most open ebook vendor is Google.

                               

                              You all seem to be making this more complicated than it needs to be.

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