Author Topic: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???  (Read 5368 times)  

Ethan

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Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
« on: November 02, 2008, 06:38:14 am »
OK, call me stupid :P - when posters start talking Mobi this and Topaz that, my eyes glaze over and I wonder what the heck I am missing.  I've downloaded books from Amazon and transferred them via USB and never had any trouble and when people start in on this formatting stuff, I wonder if there is some other thing that I should be doing to enhance the K experience.  I have never texted once in my life (have never seen it done and don't know anyone that has either), have never been able to e-mail a photo successfully (am forced to mail CD's), never used an IPOD, a PDA or an XYZ, so I need this to be simple.

I did download the Mobipocket thing and tried to transfer my Amazon books over to it, but it was a no-go.  Is Mobi only for books purchased from their website?  Do I use it for Gutenberg books that are not in the amz format?  I don't need to format documents and just concerned with books.

For the simpletons amongst us, can someone provide a very simple, basic explanation on what this Mobi thing is for?  I did look at Wiki before posing this question, but it did not answer in a way that I could understand.  Or at least give me a link to someplace that provides the ABC's. 

Thanks much.




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    Offline Leslie

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008, 06:46:45 am »
    If you want to read something on your Kindle, it has to be in Kindle format.

    If you buy books from Amazon, they've done the work for you. Likewise with books from Fictionwise, or freebies from Feedbooks, etc.

    However, if you have something from another source, you have to convert it. There are two ways to do this:

    1) Email the file to your Kindle and let Amazon do the conversion.
    2) Use mobipocket creator and convert it yourself.

    Option 1 is the easiest and what I do 99% of the time. Many people use option 2, especially if they are in a whispernet-free area and can't email to their Kindle. I also know that lots of folks use mobipocket creator to convert PDFs because sending those to Amazon for conversion often fail. PDF is not a fully supported format but using mobipocket creator can be successful. I actually did this the other day for a book I needed to review for a publisher.

    If you're not converting documents, you may not have to worry about Mobipocket creator at all.

    Leslie

    Leslie Nicoll

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #2 on: November 02, 2008, 06:54:23 am »
    I'm with ya, Ethan.  The reason partly for my getting Kindle is that for it to do what it does basically (which is a lot) there's no reason to connect it to the computer via USB cable.  I don't think?  When instructions say connect . . . .  WHAT?  Oh, no.  As I was reading Leslie's FAQ book last night, I thought I had to connect to do somethng which I thought should basically be simple.  I got worried.  Then I read more of the User's Guide.  Don't need to connect.  What I was worried about is simple to accomplish.  K.I.S.S.
     
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    Ethan

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #3 on: November 02, 2008, 06:54:59 am »
    OK, this is a start.
    What is the Mobipocket Reader for?  I thought it was for organizing your reading materials.  I tried to import my Amazon books from my e-book file, but it would not take it.
    Tx.

    Offline Leslie

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008, 07:02:26 am »
    OK, this is a start.
    What is the Mobipocket Reader for?  I thought it was for organizing your reading materials.  I tried to import my Amazon books from my e-book file, but it would not take it.
    Tx.

    Mobipocket reader is to read books on your computer that are in the mobipocket format. If you buy a book from Mobipocket and don't have one of the devices they support, you can still read the book on your computer using the reader.

    Note: Secure mobipocket books are NOT compatible with the Kindle so don't buy one of their books thinking you can read it on your K. You can't.

    I think you are getting confused, Ethan, because there is a program called Mobi2Mobi which people use to change info about the titles and authors of books, as a way of keeping stuff organized. I've never used it...I think the titles are fine. But an example that was given to me: if there are many books in a series, someone might want to change the name to indicate where in the series it goes, viz:

    V1:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    V2: Harry Potter and... (book 2)
    V3: Harry Potter and... (book 3)

    If they are all listed this way, then when sorted alphabetically, they will all be grouped together on the home page, in the V section. The numbers indicate which book in the series it is.

    L
    « Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 07:20:46 am by Leslie »

    Leslie Nicoll

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #5 on: November 02, 2008, 08:42:53 am »
    Let's talk about formatting in terms of file type, and take something that is common on a computer as an example: pictures.

    Pictures (or graphics files) come in literally dozens of files types, which can usually be determined by the file name extension; e.g., .jpg, .gif, .bmp, etc. Nowadays, most applications where you would view pictures can handle any of these file types, but ten years ago that was NOT the case. I remember owning graphic converting software that I had to use all the time. Word wouldn't take .jpg, only .gif, that kind of thing.

    So, when you download an e-book from somewhere besides Amazon, there is a good likelihood that the file type extension will not be .azw or .azw1, which the Kindle can read natively. From our collective experience, the .azw files are always formatted in a way that throughout the book the fonts appear consistent and the line spacing is consistent and the widths of the paragraphs are consistent. The .azw1 files do not appear to be formatted properly, sometimes the fonts are skewed, and the paragraphs widths change all over the place, making it difficult to read. At this time, there is nowhere on the Amazon descriptions of the Kindle e-books that says whether the file is in format .azw or .azw1, so I recommend downloading a sample before actually purchasing any book.

    As for free books from other websites, the file type is usually indicated on the webpage you download it from. If not, you can usually determine the file type after download by right-clicking on the file and choosing Properties. From there you may need to convert the file to a file type that the Kindle can read prior to transferring it to the Kindle via the USB connection. We will definitely get a definitive guide to converting file types posted soon.
       my e-readers: Kindle 2 Kindle 3 nook iPad Sony-950

    Ethan

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #6 on: November 02, 2008, 09:33:24 am »
    We will definitely get a definitive guide to converting file types posted soon.

    Thank you for this information and I am definitely looking forward to comprehensive "how-to" procedures.  This will be a valuable addition to the ongoing discussions.


    Offline cush

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #7 on: November 02, 2008, 11:35:03 am »
    Ethan-

    It's been my experience that you do not need anything special if you want to download ebooks to your computer and then transfer them to your computer, rather than using Whispernet.

    Pidegon and Leslie's explanations above of file types compatible with the Kindle are about the only thing to keep in mind before downloading an ebook.Most file downloaded from sources other than Amazon are .prc or .mobi files which are fine on a Kindle.
    *cush*  

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    Offline Khabita

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 12:10:22 pm »
    Ethan, don't know how long you've had your Kindle, but things will become more clear over time. I, too, was confused about Mobipocket Reader and pdf conversion and all that in the beginning, too, and I am a computer professional who is pretty good with all things technical.

    I think others have pretty much said this, but I'll repeat: You don't need any special software to read Kindle-formatted books. Those books will ONLY work on the Kindle, though, and there is no (legal) way to convert Kindle-formatted books to any other format. But you don't need to, because you have a Kindle!

    So shop at Amazon, and you are cool. No special software, no conversion.

    However, there are lots of other sites out there that offer books, either for free or for sale. Depending on the format of those books, you may need Mobipocket Reader to either convert them (from pdf, usually, to Kindle-readable mobi format), or you may just want to use the Reader to organize your free-book library. But your Kindle books won't show up in your Mobipocket Reader inventory. And if you do convert a pdf, and want to put it on your Kindle, you have to use the USB cable.

    Hope this helps.
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    Offline Ann in Arlington

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 12:19:23 pm »

    However, there are lots of other sites out there that offer books, either for free or for sale. Depending on the format of those books, you may need Mobipocket Reader to either convert them (from pdf, usually, to Kindle-readable mobi format), or you may just want to use the Reader to organize your free-book library. . . . .And if you do convert a pdf, and want to put it on your Kindle, you have to use the USB cable.

    Hope this helps.

    A technical clarification if I may:  The software (for Windows) that converts to a Kindle readable format is Mobipocket Creator.  Also, once you've done the conversion, you can send the Mobi book you made to your Kindle as an attachment via e-mail.  Amazon's policy is anything sent directly to the Kindle will cost 10 cents per, but I've done it several times and never gotten charged.

    Ann
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    Offline Khabita

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #10 on: November 02, 2008, 12:23:45 pm »
    Well, ya learn something new every day -- me, I often learn a whole buncha things.

    I use Mobipocket Reader to import pdf's. Ann -- are you saying that I can't read the books that I import until I then do a second conversion to Kindle format? After I read your post, I went and checked my books, and I realized that I haven't actually tried to READ any of them on my Kindle. (Been too busy with free books from Amazon!)

    But if that's true, then Ethan, ignore me. I'm stupid. :-)
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    Offline Ann in Arlington

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #11 on: November 02, 2008, 12:30:24 pm »
    Well, I've played with it a couple of times.  Reader seems to be just that.  I think you need Creator to make a Mobi readable book from a .doc or .pdf file.  You can then move those to your Kindle via the usb cable and as can read them on Kindle.  The only time this won't work is if it's a book with DRM - -essentially copy protection.  What I discovered, however, is that while you can do it with the cable, it's easier and quicker to send it via e-mail directly to the Kindle.  Especailly since they're not charging the 10 cents.

    See, I usually don't have the cable handy -- it lives on a shelf in my office upstairs.  But if I'm on my laptop downstairs, I can just send directly to Kindle without having to go find the thing.

    O.K.  I'm lazy.  :-)

    Ann
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    Offline Khabita

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #12 on: November 02, 2008, 12:35:46 pm »
    Thanks for the info, Ann. Now I'll have to go figure out which books need more conversion!

    Darn -- and here I thought I had that whole free-book-conversion thing all figgered out!
    Last Kindle Book read: The Iliad (Homer)
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    Offline cush

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #13 on: November 02, 2008, 12:50:59 pm »
    A reminder to Mac users who may read this thread.  Mobipocket Creator and MobitoMobi and also Mobipocket Reader (I think) only work on a Windows computer.  Could be made to work on our Macs under Parallels or Bootcamp (I think) but that means putting Windows on our Macs.
    *cush*  

    My life is an open book...errr...Kindle.


    Offline Leslie

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #14 on: November 02, 2008, 02:02:51 pm »
    Hopefully I won't make this more confusing for everyone!

    There are 4 different software programs being discussed:

    1. Mobipocket Reader, which is a free reader for a PC/laptop. This allows someone to buy books from Mobipocket.com and read them on their computer. No other ereader device is needed.

    When you open books in reader, it creates a library for you. Khabita, is that what you are referring to when you say that Reader will organize your free e-book library?

    2. Mobipocket Creator which comes in both a) home and b) professional versions. Both are free downloads. These programs can convert PDFs (and other file types) to ebook files that can be read on the Kindle. The professional version has more bells and whistles.

    3. Mobi2Mobi which is a program that people use to edit the metadata (title, author) on a book file. Like I said earlier, I've never used it but people tell me they change things so books can be sorted in certain ways, such as in series order.

    L
    « Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 05:10:19 am by Leslie »

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #15 on: November 02, 2008, 03:51:58 pm »
    I would like to add that for people on a Mac, the best app for converting so far is Stanza, from Lexcycle.... http://www.lexcycle.com/download-stanza
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    Offline Khabita

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #16 on: November 02, 2008, 03:59:19 pm »
    LHN -- to answer your question -- Yes, I use Mobipocket Reader to organize my free e-book collection. And I also use it to import pdf's, which I thought were being converted to Kindle-readable format, but now I think that's not happening. I have been too busy today to test it out, but I'll play with it a bit.

    By far, most of the free books I've downloaded are classics that are free and in .prc format. I have only converted a couple of pdf's.

    One thing I do like about the Kindle is that it allows me to drag and drop just the books I want onto my Kindle, so even if I have 100 books on my PC, I can put just one or two on my Kindle.

    I have all 3 programs on my PC (Reader, Creator, and Mobi2Mobi), and I think Reader and Creator are the two I keep mixing up. I have used Mobi2Mobi to change metadata (yay! I know what that is now). I have not tried emailing docs to myself yet -- but I think I'll test that out soon.
    Last Kindle Book read: The Iliad (Homer)
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    Offline Leslie

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #17 on: November 02, 2008, 04:10:58 pm »
    Quote
    I have not tried emailing docs to myself yet -- but I think I'll test that out soon.

    I have a feeling you'll say..."Why exactly didn't I try this sooner?"

    especially since the 10 cent charge seems to be an urban legend at this point.

    L

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    LuckyRainbow

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #18 on: November 02, 2008, 06:01:36 pm »
    And, remember you can send multiple files in one e-mail. I tried it, worked perfectly and no $.10 charge.

    Offline Mike D. aka jmiked

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #19 on: November 02, 2008, 07:42:40 pm »
    A reminder to Mac users who may read this thread.  Mobipocket Creator and MobitoMobi and also Mobipocket Reader (I think) only work on a Windows computer.  Could be made to work on our Macs under Parallels or Bootcamp (I think) but that means putting Windows on our Macs.

    Works fine in Win 2K under Parallels. To convert .doc files, you need MS Word on the machine.

    Mobi2mobiGUI doesn't, though. I think it's the .NET stuff you need. That may be specific to Win 2K.

    Offline kjanz

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #20 on: November 02, 2008, 09:57:17 pm »
    No one has reported being charged the $.10 fee for e-mailed documents?  Amazon still says "Individual charges include e-mailed document charges to cover wireless delivery ($.10 per e-mailed document attachment). Your credit card will be charged when you have accrued at least $3.00 in total charges, or 30 e-mailed documents."  I personally haven't hit the 30 document limit to find out, but it's good to know before the charges start hitting the credit card!   ;D

    Offline Leslie

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #21 on: November 03, 2008, 03:56:16 am »
    No one has reported being charged the $.10 fee for e-mailed documents?  Amazon still says "Individual charges include e-mailed document charges to cover wireless delivery ($.10 per e-mailed document attachment). Your credit card will be charged when you have accrued at least $3.00 in total charges, or 30 e-mailed documents."  I personally haven't hit the 30 document limit to find out, but it's good to know before the charges start hitting the credit card!   ;D

    Many people have reported sending dozens of documents to their Kindles and have never gotten charged, either individually or in a $3.00 block for 30 documents. I personally have never been charged. I've lost track of how many things I've sent but I'd guess it's more than 30.

    L

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    Ethan

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #22 on: November 03, 2008, 04:24:36 am »
    Thanks guys.  This is very helpful as the Creator and Reader distinctions were not making it through my medula oblongata (I do brain surgery on the side! :P)

    Offline cush

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    Re: Formatting is a mystery to me.... why do I need this???
    « Reply #23 on: November 03, 2008, 12:35:15 pm »
    A reminder to Mac users who may read this thread.  Mobipocket Creator and MobitoMobi and also Mobipocket Reader (I think) only work on a Windows computer.  Could be made to work on our Macs under Parallels or Bootcamp (I think) but that means putting Windows on our Macs.

    Works fine in Win 2K under Parallels. To convert .doc files, you need MS Word on the machine.

    Mobi2mobiGUI doesn't, though. I think it's the .NET stuff you need. That may be specific to Win 2K.

    Thanks for the info, jmiked.  What I really would like to do is fix metadata once in a while.  I guess I'll just have to live with ebooks with no author and strange sorting.  Haven't tried Parallels because I would just try to play more games on my iMac (reprehensible behavior for someone 69 years old!) and I worry about opening up to viruses and other malicious executables.
    *cush*  

    My life is an open book...errr...Kindle.


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