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Greetings everyone.  I love ebooks, but...have been burned several times by formats, companies going out of business and not supporting their customers anymore, and bad hardware.  And DRM wedding an ebook purchase to a specific hardware unit peeves me to no end.

I thought I had a solution:  iRex's Iliad, which reads all different file formats, has e-ink, and--most importantly--supports .prc or "mobipocket" format natively.  I bought my Iliad when Kindle was just a rumor.  I loved my Iliad, and with it I could purchase ebooks anywhere, with or without DRM protections, and read them.  I could also read those same titles on my laptop, which was great as well.

Alas, my Iliad proved fragile.  It broke, and I'm about done with trying to get the European manufacturer to fix it.  So many problems with the hardware itself, I'm ready to give up.  But in the meantime I've kept reading and buying ebooks on my laptop, downloading things in Mobipocket (.prc) format and using the Mobipocket Reader to read and organize my library.

a.  My concern is, if I buy a Kindle, can I drag and drop these .prc titles onto it with no issues?  Read them without restrictions?  Because if I have to convert 300 plus titles one by one it's kind of a dealbreaker.  I only keep books I like, and so I don't want to get rid of these ones...and I own a legal copy already, so I refuse to buy another.

b.  I don't want to be tied to Amazon's kindle store.  It's great, and I'm very happy that they have so many titles.  But I enjoy small e-presses, crazy little sci-fi and romance publishers, and so forth--most if not all of these offer .prc or Mobipocket files for purchase.  Will these work on Kindle?  How do you go through the mechanics of buying them?  Right now I buy, download, and save them to the folder that my Mobipocket reader knows to check whenever I open it, so all my recent purchases are there waiting when I boot up the reader.  How would these non-Amazon purchases get to my Kindle?  And what about this protection or "encoding" that ensures that files can only be read on a particular kindle machine?  These little e-presses don't do that, they are selling non-DRM'd formats of .prc files. 

c.  Lack of coherent formatting in file names and author/title/etc. metadata makes it almost impossible for me to keep things straight--I often have trouble telling if I've already bought a title (as opposed to just looked at it and added it to my mental wishlist).  This was true on my Iliad and on my PC-based Mobipocket Reader.  Looks like it's true for Kindle, as well--what are the ways around this?  How do you organize things, especially if you're visually based as I am (I can see a cover and know if I own a book when I'm at a bookstore, but computer files not so much).

There are other potential issues for me to acquire a Kindle, but these are the biggies.  Any suggestions?

HM
 

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Hi HM,

I wouldn't presume to tell you definitively that you will be able to load your books without a problem. If they have no DRM on them, they should work fine. If they have DRM, it won't be so easy.

I have two suggestions: (1) Order one and see how it works for you, you have 30 days to return it for a refund. (2) Find someone in your vicinity that has a Kindle and see if they will let you load a sampling of your books on it.
 

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HM -

The Kindle can read non-protected mobipocket books natively. If they are protected (DRMed) then that is a bit more difficult, but possibly not insurmountable.

I found myself in the same situation as you. I had several books in mobipocket form, some protected and some not. Luckily I had purchased them from Fictionwise (more about why that was lucky in the links below) and found a method to convert the protected books so that they could be read. Of course, those not protected were just drag and drop.

These 2 links will explain more:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19649
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18310

Good luck on your decision. And pidgeon92's suggestion to do a 30 day trial is a good one. ;)
 
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