watervole: (books)
 Sony just sent me a free book offer to publicise their reader store. So, I bought Una Mccormack's 'Never Ending Sacrifice' which I've been meaning to read for some time.

Colour me unimpressed:

First, I had to give them my credit card details, even though I was paying with a voucher.

Second, the book, which was supposed to be in EPUB
  format, downloaded in some format I can't read (acsm)

Actually, it turns out that this is because the book has DRM - it's the first time I've bought (mainly because it was free) a book with DRM -the other books I've paid for were DRM-free.

The software that handles the DRM and downloads the real EPUB
 file is the bit that I'm missing.  Sony customer service tell me that installing their 'Reader for PC' will solve the problem, but 'Reader for PC' which was the software that came with my ebook is one of the most klutzy, cobbled-together pieces of garbage that I have ever used in my life.

I'm lazy.  I
 tend to stick with software that I have unless it really is unfit for purpose.

'Reader for PC' made me go away and donate money to Calibre - which is a much better programme.

I'm not reloading that piece of crap and then going through all the hassle of cleaning it off the computer again just to read one book.

I'm sure there must be an alternative solution.



watervole: (Default)
 I love my e-book reader. It's a Sony PRS T1 and it works very well for me. However the software that comes with it for using on your computer is atrocious. It works well enough when you only have 10 or 20 books, but when you have more than 100 it simply can't cope.
It's alphabetical sorting is flawed. It has no search facility. It has no way of correcting faulty data. I can't change the covers on books. There is no way of checking whether I have the same books on the reader as I have on the computer. It also has a bug in the software that means it tries to autosync everytime I plug in my e-book reader to charge. In short, it's a horrible piece of software and quite stressful to use.

I decided to try using Calibre instead. I hit some initial problems. If you use Chrome, you can't get Calibre to function properly after downloading it, you just get an error message. This can be resolved by using Internet Explorer to download Calibre – that's the only thing I've used Internet Explorer for this whole year.
Getting it to work with the Sony e-book reader presented some initial problems as well. Fortunately, there's a good forum for Calibre and people there are very helpful.
The solution is firstly to disable the Sony e-book reader software for the computer by changing the name of it to something else – this stops it automatically loading when an e-book reader is connected.
Secondly, always connect the ebook reader BEFORE starting Calibre.  Give it about a minute to convince it that it really can't find the Sony computer programme, and then it will work happily with Calibre.

This may sound like effort, but it's worth it. Calibre does everything that the Sony software cannot.  It's also easy to use and has a wonderfully clear and short user manual.  It's helping me to enjoy all my ebooks all over again. I don't have lots of books with a blank cover any more (and no text to say what the title is...).  I can sort and easily find books.  I can get metadata from Amazon and Google books.  'Alfre' the author of Idylls of the King has now been corrected to 'Alfred, Lord Tennyson'.  Robert A. Heinlein is now one author instead of three.  I have covers for my fan novels. I can delete books I don't want.  I can compare what I have on my reader and computer without writing out a list by hand...

Try Calibre - you'll love it!

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Judith Proctor

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