DiigoNotes - The ABCs of e-book format conversion

Fantastic tutorial on doing ebook conversions using Calibre! Well-worth reading if you use a Kindle, Nook or Sony eReader. At the bottom, you'll find some practical remarks from the comment section.


The ABCs of e-book format conversion: Easy Calibre tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home

    • The ABCs of e-book format conversion: Easy Calibre tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook By John Schember
      • E-book readers are becoming more and more common.
        • different brands don't read the same kinds of e-books. This mess is like the one in the music world where you might find such formats as WMA, MP3, and AAC. In e-books, the same confusion exists—the Tower of eBabel, as some call it.
          • there are a very good reasons why you should know about the major formats, what you reader supports and how to convert between formats.
            • Many Web sites offer legal and often free books. Everything from public domain books to well known and less known authors. Also, you can shop for the best prices at a number of small independent e-book stores.
              • Often you can download these e-books in a variety of formats, but you won't always find them in the format your e-book reader supports. Here is where conversion comes in.
                • The Nook, the new reader from Barnes and Noble, can read EPUB, the same format as the Sony although there are now some catches with DRMed books.
                  • Many vendors like to have and control their own formats so they are not dependent on outside companies. They also have the benefit of being able to license their format for use by others. This also allows them to lock users into their platform.
                    • The EPUB format, from the International Digital Publishing Forum, is an industry standard intended to reduce these problems.
                      • Many easy-to-use tools exist for converting e-books. For Kindle users, the Mobipocket Desktop is a good choice. Amazon also provides a conversion service that allow you to email them e-books which they will convert and send directly to your Kindle.
                        • there is a more general tool that can convert between a large number of formats. Calibre supports the Kinde, the Sony PRS line, the Nook and a large number of other devices. It is is a full e-book management application that can organize your e-book library, handle automated news downloads from a number of sources, and convert between a large number of e-book formats. It is a one stop, all in one tool.
                          • The PRS line from Sony supports EPUB, LRF, LRX, RTF, PDF, TXT.
                            • The Kindle supports AZW, MOBI, PRC, AZW1, TPZ, TXT.
                              • for the Kindle, you really only need to worry about Mobipocket (MOBI)
                                • you only need to worry about EPUB (same for the Nook
                                  • Downloading Calibre You can download Calibre here with your Firefox, Internet Explorer or other browser. Versions exist for Windows, OS X and Linux. Calibre has an easy-to-use Welcome Wizard to help new comers get up to speed. Just answer the Wizard's questions.
                                    • Using Calibre to convert is very easy. Plug in your e-book reader. Open Calibre and click the "Add books" button on the top left. Select your book. Click open. Select your book in the library list. By now Calibe should have detected your e-book reader. Click "Send to device" in middle of the top toolbar. Calibre is smart enough to know if the book is in a format supported by your reader. If it's not, it will ask you if you want to auto convert it. Say yes, and it will take care of the conversion and put the book on your reader.
                                      • Calibre worries about the formats and converting for you.
                                        • Auto conversion is the easiest way to go and in most cases will be all you need to do.
                                          • After adding a book click the "Edit meta information" button. Fill in the title and author or the ISBN (it is better to use the ISBN for the paper or hard back version than the e-book's ISBN). Then click "Fetch metadata from server". This will pull in all kinds of information about the book. If there is no convert image next to the metadata entry or if it is a generic image it is a good idea to click "Download cover".
                                            • Now that the metadata is all correct, click the "Convert E-books" button. This screen looks very complicated but realize that the majority of options here are best left alone. Most of the options only need to be changed on a are per book and in special cases basis. There is one option that is very important and may need to be changed. At the top right there is a drop down for "Output format." This control what format the conversion will result in. Kindle owners will want to select MOBI and Sony and Nook owners will want to use EPUB.
                                              • One limitation using a tool like Calibre is the inability to edit the book before conversion. Calibre simply moves the content and formatting from one format to another. It is not a editing tool.
                                                • Not all e-book formats support the same formatting. It can be lost when converting to a format that supports limited or no formatting.
                                                  • MOBI and EPUB both support complex formatting so you won't have to worry about this when using these formats.
                                                    • Barnes and Noble sells books in the PDB format (along with EPUB) and as you might expect it is supported by the Nook.
                                                      • PDB is not really an e-book format. It is a container for e-book formats. Think of it like a zip file. You put other files into a zip file so you only have to worry about having one file instead of many. That is what PDB essentially does for e-books. There are 28 e-book formats that can be put into the PDB container that I know of.
                                                        • The two most common formats found in PDB files are PalmDoc (also known as textread and Aportis) and eReader.
                                                          • The PDB files sold by Barnes and Noble are in the eReader format.
                                                            • DRM, as noted, stands for Digital Rights Management.
                                                              • DRM restricts what you can do with an e-book.
                                                                • Any e-book with DRM cannot be converted to a different format.
                                                                  • Mobi, PRC, and AZW are the same format. If a reader reads one of those format, it can read the others. It's the same case with LRF/LRX and AZW1/TPZ.
                                                                    • Mobi and ePub DRM is easy to remove and there has never been a case in the United States of someone getting fined for removing DRM for personal use.
                                                                      • Barnes and Noble, it looks like ebooks purchase at their website and downloaded directly to a Nook are usually in the ePub format, and they use the B&N social engineering DRM (key is name and credit card number), but if they are downloaded from their website to a computer, it is usually downloaded in the eReader format. Currently, only the Nook is able to read the B&N style DRM ePub format
                                                                        • if your friend is computer savvy, and willing to install python and the scripts to strip DRM and convert it from Ereader format to ePub
                                                                          • I recently got a Nook and I have some older Baen CD rom libraries that only have these formats on them .doc, .lit, .prc, .rb, .rtf and of course many html pages. DRM is not an issue with these disk. What I want to know is which format would be the best to convert to epub using Calibre?
                                                                            • The large variation in size is because some formats are compressed and others are not. From the Calibre FAQ: What are the best source formats to convert?¶ In order of decreasing preference: LIT, MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, TXT, PDF

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