How download public domain books to e-readers like Kindle?

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Sue Anderson
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Post by Sue Anderson » December 10th, 2009, 6:22 pm

Hi people; I have been thinking about buying an e-reader like Kindle or Sony to use for reading public domain books from Gutenberg, archive.org and Google books. But it sounds to me like there might be compatability problems, especially with Kindle . . .Does anybody have any of these devices, who could give me some idea of their usefulness for public domain material? And does Librivox "play" at all through any of them. Thanks a lot. Sue

Shipley
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Post by Shipley » December 10th, 2009, 8:04 pm

I have a Kindle and have downloaded several Project Gutenberg (PG) texts. Most PG texts are now available in the Mobipocket format, which is the Kindle's native format, and in my experience they work smoothly on a Kindle. PG texts are also available as ePub documents, which I understand from people in my office work smoothly on the Sony Reader. [In the interests of full disclosure, I work for E Ink, the firm which makes the screens for both the Kindle and the Sony Reader.] Both the Kindle and the Sony Reader can also read TXT files, the unconverted ASCII files which are PG's basic texts.

For any other public domain files, there is a free program called Mobipocket Creator which will convert HTML, Word and most other types of files to the Kindle's Mobipocket format. Although I have not used them, I believe there are similar free programs available for converting most types of files to ePub format for the Sony Reader, Nook etc.

I have not used a Kindle with MP3 files since I prefer a cheap MP3 player which is more flexible than my Kindle when it comes to playing MP3's. However, a Kindle will definitely play MP3's, including LibriVox files.

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Post by gypsygirl » December 10th, 2009, 9:11 pm

I have a Sony e-reader and haven't had any problem with the epub versions of books on gutenberg. Just drag and drop. Text files are also fine, except you don't get a clickable table of contents. I've also played with converting the html files to epubs, but the software I've used is calibre which can convert to and from a variety of formats (Mobipocket Creator isn't much use to me with the Sony).

Main difference between the model of e-reader I have and the Kindle is that mine doesn't have wireless access. You have to plug it into the computer to add media to it.

I haven't tried playing mp3s on my reader, though it says it can.
Karen S.

Sue Anderson
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Post by Sue Anderson » December 11th, 2009, 7:22 am

Shipley and Gypsygirl, Thank you very much for your helpful answers! I can see I have some research to do!! Sue

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Post by ExEmGe » December 11th, 2009, 12:42 pm

I have a Sony reader and use it for PG books quite extensively. I usually download them as .TXT files, open them in 'Word' and then play about with the formatting a bit , taking out the paragraph breaks, putting page breaks at each new chapter etc. before finally saving them in .rtf which loads directly into the Sony. Illustrations have been a problem up to now but I've just aquired the latest model which I understand deals with .pdf better than the old one. We shall see.
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Andy Minter

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Post by Cori » December 11th, 2009, 1:13 pm

Sue wrote:Does anybody have any of these devices, who could give me some idea of their usefulness for public domain material? And does Librivox "play" at all through any of them. Thanks a lot. Sue
I've got an early reader, the Sony PRS-500, and really like it. I read mainly txt or lrf files through it, and find that a LOT of Gutenberg books have been beautifully formatted and put up at http://www.mobileread.com/ so that's where I get my lrfs from.

I HAVE used it for MP3s, but it doesn't have a stop button, only pause, so it's regrettably easy to leave the darn thing playing by accident. It's also a bit of a fiddle to get it to play and then read at the same time. Finally, I did do a calibration test to see how long the battery lasted just playing MP3s and of course, I've completely lost that file somewhere in the depths of my laptop's so-called filing-system. But it wasn't a lot ... I have a vague memory of it being 6-8 hours ... though someone in the MR forum says mebbe 15hrs. There are some reports of it munching up battery life overall, too, though that hasn't happened to mine.

I DO love it. It's so lovely to be able to put one "book" in my bag and then choose from about 150 different things depending on my exact mood when I'm out. I've also recorded from it, and apart from having to reach past the mic to push buttons, it's great. I did hack it somewhat, using the MR instructions again. It now has a clock, the joystick button advances pages, there's an overall page counter which is fun, you can type in a number to jump to that page, and I put a new font on there which is a tiny bit larger and clearer than the one provided. Scary doing it, but it worked like a dream. :D
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

Sue Anderson
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Post by Sue Anderson » December 11th, 2009, 3:38 pm

Andy and Cori, Many thanks for your imput!! I really appreciate your advice! Sue

Cori
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Post by Cori » December 11th, 2009, 3:47 pm

I might also note that I've not bought a single book for my reader ... it's all been Public Domain, Creative Commons or Let's-not-discuss-it. ;)
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

Sue Anderson
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Post by Sue Anderson » December 11th, 2009, 7:08 pm

Cori, I looked at (& registered) for the site you mentioned (mobileread) & by the time I looked up what "lrf" meant (not to mention Mobipocket and other terms my helpful respondents have been tossing at me!), I knew I had a learning curve ahead of me. :? But it can't be any worse than the day a few yrs back when I asked the young sales guy what an iPod did (& bought one and eventually discovered Librivox). At this point I'm leaning towards the Sony PRS-600 (w/a red cover :D). . . We'll see. Cheers to all who have been so helpful! Sue

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Post by ExEmGe » December 12th, 2009, 12:31 pm

It might be worth mentioning, for purchasing non PD books, fictionwise.com and booksonboard.com and also that (once you've got through a bit of the learning curve) that you can convert .lit books (for the Microsoft reader software) to other formats suitable for the Sony and. I imagine, the Kindle.
Regards
Andy Minter

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