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Friday, 27 January 2012

The Ease and Pitfalls of Buying eBooks from Amazon

I've been meaning to do this post for a while and something that happened jogged my memory :). There seems to be much confusion around Amazon eBooks, so I thought I'd make a post about it to clear things up.

Firstly let me say this: YOU DO NOT NEED TO OWN A KINDLE to buy and read eBooks from Amazon.

Having a Kindle just makes it ridiculously easy.

There are many other ways to read Kindle books because there are reading aps for the following devices:
  • iPhone/iPod Touch
  • Windows PC
  • Mac
  • Blackberry (US only, god knows why)
  • iPad
  • Android
  • Windows Phone 7
You can download all of them here: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Pitfalls

There is only one problem with some Amazon books and that is DRM. This stands for Digital Rights Management and means that some books bought from Amazon can only be read on a Kindle or a Kindle ap. There are ways round this (which is what makes it so ridiculous in the first place), but they are technical and involve scripts and things, so if you really want to know I suggest you Google it.

Of course Amazon aren't going to stick it up there in neon that a book has DRM because they know it annoys people.

How to tell if an Amazon book is infested DRM or not.
Go to the "Product details" section. If you find this line:
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
it means the book is DRM FREE. If it doesn't have this line, the book has DRM.

Of course that is the major advantage of buying indie, most of us indie publishers want nothing to do with DRM because it just pisses off our customers. For the record all of my books and the other books from http://www.wittegenpress.com are DRM free (and if you find one that isn't please tell me because it means someone cocked up somewhere along the way).

If the book is DRM free, you are then free to convert the book to any device you like. Calibre is a fabulous free piece of software that allows you to manage your eBooks and convert them to whatever format you wish for whatever device you wish.

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