23 July 2010

eBooks on Android

by Anton Piatek

Since buying an Android phone I have been starting to think about using it to read books. The screen isn’t bad, and it turns out that there is some good software out there

Aldiko is a fantastic program for reading free ePub books, so I am working my way through a few H. G. Wells books as they are now public domain and available directly through the program (along with many other free books). The software has good options for font styling, line spacing, page turning, black on white vs. white on black as well as quick shortcuts for changing the brightness.

One thing I have yet to figure out though, is buying eBooks.

Sure, there are loads of places out there that sell them, many including their own software (available for Android) for reading the books with DRM. However it is almost impossible to work out which ones use which DRM systems, and what the restrictions are on them (some may even be per-book)

Why am I worried about DRM? Well, what if I want to read the book on a train on a laptop, or what if my phone dies and I get a different phone? Can I transfer it to another device? What if I decide to buy a hardware eBook reader? Will I be able to copy my books to it and read them there?

I haven’t even addressed the idea of lending the book to my wife without giving her my phone.

DRM worries me greatly, and so I doubt I will buy an eBook anytime soon unless it comes without DRM (but no sites make it very clear that they are DRM-free). Why can’t they come to the same conclusions as online music distributors and realise that DRM-free means more sales?

I guess it is paper books for the forseeeable future

tags: Android - books - drm - Reading - Rights - software - Technology