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The future of the Microsoft Reader

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  • User profile image
    giovanni

    If there is one good thing about the Kindle, is that is made eBooks popular (or at least eNewspapers). That made me wonder if the Microsoft Reader has made any advance recently. I visited the revamped website: really cool, but the latest version of the reader dates of 2005!

    Epaper is easier to read than LCD screens, no question about it, but a small reader for laptops and tablet PCs would be a great (read: cheap and versatile) alternative if it could access the Kindle's library.

    Just a thought.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    My main problem with Microsoft Reader is its DRM system. Books purchased with Microsoft Reader are linked to your Live ID, and in order to be able to read them a device with Reader must be activated. A single Live ID can only be activated 6 times, and there's no way to deactivate old devices. In addition, because you cannot purchase books using a Windows Mobile device, and purchasing requires an activated copy of Microsoft Reader on your PC, you must always activate your PC, even if you don't actually read on your PC.

    Between reinstalling Windows and upgrading my device's ROM, I managed to reach that 6 activation limit. There is an option to request additional activations, but this is not an automated process so it takes a long time, and can only be done once every 180 days. I discovered this when I tried to activate my laptop to purchase a new book (again, I had no intention of actually reading on the laptop); I had exceeded the number of activations and couldn't activate, and therefore couldn't purchase the book. I requested new activations, but in the mean time I was stuck without a way to get new books (I was also never informed of when exactly I got new activations; I only found out that I had gotten them by accident much later when I tried to reactivate my desktop PC).

    At that time, I wanted to buy a book, and couldn't with Microsoft Reader. So I switched to eReader, fictionwise.com's perferred format. This format password-protects your books, and they can be read on as many devices as you like as long as you unlock them using the password (and the password is your credit card number, so it's really unlikely that you would share it with others Smiley ). No software is needed on the PC where you buy the books. With eReader, you also gain the ability to download the books directly from your online Fictionwise bookshelf. And eReader is multiplatform, so I can now keep my entire library of e-Books (except for the few that are not from Fictionwise and I only have in .lit format) both on my Axim and on my iPhone.

    For me, any future version of Microsoft Reader must use a different activation method if I am to seriously consider switching back to it. Reader was also designed in an era when portable devices weren't typically connected to the Internet very often. In today's 3G and wi-fi world, it also desperately needs a way to purchase books directly from a device.

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    Sven Groot said:
    My main problem with Microsoft Reader is its DRM system. Books purchased with Microsoft Reader are linked to your Live ID, and in order to be able to read them a device with Reader must be activated. A single Live ID can only be activated 6 times, and there's no way to deactivate old devices. In addition, because you cannot purchase books using a Windows Mobile device, and purchasing requires an activated copy of Microsoft Reader on your PC, you must always activate your PC, even if you don't actually read on your PC.

    Between reinstalling Windows and upgrading my device's ROM, I managed to reach that 6 activation limit. There is an option to request additional activations, but this is not an automated process so it takes a long time, and can only be done once every 180 days. I discovered this when I tried to activate my laptop to purchase a new book (again, I had no intention of actually reading on the laptop); I had exceeded the number of activations and couldn't activate, and therefore couldn't purchase the book. I requested new activations, but in the mean time I was stuck without a way to get new books (I was also never informed of when exactly I got new activations; I only found out that I had gotten them by accident much later when I tried to reactivate my desktop PC).

    At that time, I wanted to buy a book, and couldn't with Microsoft Reader. So I switched to eReader, fictionwise.com's perferred format. This format password-protects your books, and they can be read on as many devices as you like as long as you unlock them using the password (and the password is your credit card number, so it's really unlikely that you would share it with others Smiley ). No software is needed on the PC where you buy the books. With eReader, you also gain the ability to download the books directly from your online Fictionwise bookshelf. And eReader is multiplatform, so I can now keep my entire library of e-Books (except for the few that are not from Fictionwise and I only have in .lit format) both on my Axim and on my iPhone.

    For me, any future version of Microsoft Reader must use a different activation method if I am to seriously consider switching back to it. Reader was also designed in an era when portable devices weren't typically connected to the Internet very often. In today's 3G and wi-fi world, it also desperately needs a way to purchase books directly from a device.
    Good point, but I have a feeling that this might go the way of DRM with music (free).

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    giovanni said:
    Sven Groot said:
    *snip*
    Good point, but I have a feeling that this might go the way of DRM with music (free).
    I'm not sure... Publishers are even more paranoid than the RIAA and MPAA combined. That's why so many books aren't available as e-books, because even with DRM they're afraid of people copying the books.

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    Sven Groot said:
    giovanni said:
    *snip*
    I'm not sure... Publishers are even more paranoid than the RIAA and MPAA combined. That's why so many books aren't available as e-books, because even with DRM they're afraid of people copying the books.
    I guess I will stick to my paper books for a while then: no license, no drm, no batteries, and they can be re-sold and exchanged for a very long time. A little outdates nowdays, but hey...

  • User profile image
    intelman

    DRM ruins anything fun. I like streaming to my TV through the Xbox, converting to other formats so they can be used on other devices....

    I would like to use an ebook on whatever device I want seamlessly. If that is not possible.....

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    giovanni said:
    Sven Groot said:
    *snip*
    I guess I will stick to my paper books for a while then: no license, no drm, no batteries, and they can be re-sold and exchanged for a very long time. A little outdates nowdays, but hey...
    you hit on the real problem with e-books...

    the "analog" book is cheap, portable, low power and has a long shelf life and resale value.

    Bill ??  ( as in where are you bill we need some help here ....)

  • User profile image
    Alex Covic

    giovanni said:
    Sven Groot said:
    *snip*
    I guess I will stick to my paper books for a while then: no license, no drm, no batteries, and they can be re-sold and exchanged for a very long time. A little outdates nowdays, but hey...
    yeah - agree.

    a device that needs to connect to anything - drm or otherwise - is a pain by nature.

    books and newspapers - as in paper - are great, unless you cannot get what you want (old stuff - overseas-papers... and a Corto Maltese - Hugo Pratt comic that is still black&white as it was supposed to be... Wink

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    figuerres said:
    giovanni said:
    *snip*
    you hit on the real problem with e-books...

    the "analog" book is cheap, portable, low power and has a long shelf life and resale value.

    Bill ??  ( as in where are you bill we need some help here ....)

    I would disagree on the portable thing. How many paper books can I carry in my pocket? The answer would be none. To read in the train, I would have to carry the book around in my laptop bag, which is also not ideally suited to thick books and heavy enough as it is.

    The Japanese, who've made reading in the train an art, understand this. A large portion of the books for the Japanese market are specifically made so they're small enough so you can easily carry them with you, and hold them with only one hand while you're standing in the train. Western books tend to be too cumbersome, even pocket books.

    That's why I use e-books. I read almost exclusively in the train; if I'm not in the train, I'm usually near a computer and therefore have something better to do. Tongue Out E-books are far easier to take with me and to use in that scenario.

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