Brueghel-tower-of-babelTeleRead made its mark, among other things, as an early booster of e-book standards at the consumer level. Our OpenReader initative jogged the main e-book industry trade group into giving the world ePub.

But the battle isn’t over. Warring proprietary DRM schemes gummed up the works, and just earlier this month, reports surfaced of Nook GlowLight Plus owners not being able even to read ePub library books or those from other stores. Let’s hope B&N can successfully fix its botched handling of Adobe Digital Editions DRM if it hasn’t already.

Worse, Amazon is stubbornly sticking to its own proprietary formats and may be getting even worse.

So how are you coping with this disgraceful mess, by way of the Calibre format conversion program and otherwise? Here’s what one MobileRead community member does.

As for the issue of proprietary DRM, we have our beloved Digital Millennium Copyright Act here in the U.S. (sarcasm alert), so, alas, you can’t share tips on circumvention of this toxic technology.

Related: Cracking e-book DRM still forbidden as Librarian of Congress announces DMCA exemption decisions, by Chris Meadows.

Copy of note just sent to B&N’s PR people about the Adobe Digital Editions DRM issue: “What’s the latest? Is the glitch fixed? If not, what’s the ETA? Until the glitch is fixed, will B&N ads and promo warn prospective B&N buyers of the delay? Might there be FTC issues if you don’t, or, for now, are you simply not claiming an ability to read library books or those from other stores? Why does your spec sheet not even mention the ability to read ePub?”

Image information: Here.


  1. Calibre has been invaluable for making my old Palm useful again as an e-reader. But on Android, I simply use an app called CoolReader, which supports an impressive number of formats, is very configurable and open source too. And while it doesn’t do PDF, that’s just one extra format to deal with.

  2. How do I deal with the Tower of eBabel? Well, the thing is, I’m not really sure I can say. I do deal with it, but when it comes to how, I’m afraid I might have to cite the Fifth Amendment. 🙂

    That being said, I keep all my e-books in Calibre, and keep my Calibre library in my Dropbox, so that even if I should lose all my files on my computer, I won’t lose all my e-books.

  3. One of the things that IDPF is working on in connection with version three of the ePub standard, is Lightweight Content Protection (LCP) which is discussed and described here: The goal is to guarantee “interoperability among encryption solutions.”
    Success in this will require the cooperation of publishers and distributors. While LCP might allay fears of infringing use, it may do little to reduce the attractiveness of customer lock-in, especially among the more successful vendors.
    It would appear that most consumers of trade books choose the lock-in that appears to offer the best mix of low price and wide selection and, right now, that favors Amazon. Either these consumers don’t know what they are missing or they know but don’t care.
    The few people who do find these constraints unacceptable are forced to exert greater effort and risk heightened feelings of guilt and even legal opprobrium. It would seem that they are not significant enough to persue so that is somewhat liberating.
    OTOH, non-fiction may be an entirely different story requiring a separate analysis that comes to completely different conclusions.

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