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eBook Store
#1  pwalker8 02-04-2020, 12:40 PM
I looked at the Kobo forum, but it seems to be mostly focused on the Kobo devices, the software associated with those devices and hacks for those devices rather than the Kobo eBook Store, so I decided to put this here, please don't consign the thread to the oblivion of the Kobo forum simply because it discusses the Kobo eBook Store. It's about more than just Kobo. Plenty of Kindle only threads are in this forum.

This morning I got a survey request from kobo-research, aka Rakuten Kobo. Hum, maybe they are finally serious about providing some competition to the Kindle store here in the US.

It was actually a fairly well done survey. In the first free text field in the survey I told them - "give me a reason to buy from you rather than from the Kindle Store". They asked for some features that I would like, and I gave them a nice list -
- sync between the Kobo app and Kobo devices. Not syncing is simply annoying.
- improve the discoverability and searching on the store.
- increase your book catalog.

Another thing that I didn't put down, but is strong from me is DRM. I won't buy books where I can't remove the DRM. Apparently if you want to remove DRM from ADE, then you need to use 2.0.1 rather than the current version, but 2.0.1 no longer works with the current version of Mac OS. I might consider buying some stuff from them if this wasn't the case.

I also tried a little experiment this morning. I've got the first 6 Witch World novels by Andre Norton in two omnibus books (Gates of Witch World and Lost Lands of Witch World). It would be kind of nice to have some of the others. So I decided to see which of the three eBook stores (Kindle, Kobo, Apple) made it easiest to find the books I wanted to buy.

To be honest, none really did a very good job. Apple probably did the best, at least when I typed in the search norton witch world, I got various witch world books by Andre Norton, not books by unrelated authors (Amazon gave the same books, but mixed in with other authors. No idea why Tree of Ages was included, other than Amazon was charging the author for placement for the ad) Kobo was kind of like Apple. In a way, it's like looking up the spelling of a word in the dictionary. You have to know most of the spelling to look it up. I find myself with two browser windows open, one to the book store and one to google to look up the information that the book store should be giving me.
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#2  PeterT 02-04-2020, 01:31 PM
For DRM have you tried using the combination of Kobo Desktop and OBOK (part of the standard Apprentice Alf/Harper download)?

Yes this will result in a book that contains the kepub formatting as opposed to the Epub variety, but calibre can help there.
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#3  j.p.s 02-04-2020, 01:39 PM
I've mostly ignored complaints about discoverability because my problem is reading a significant fraction of the books I've "discovered" (by hearing about). Most people read faster than me and haven't lost decades of only reading a very few books so I haven't commented.

However, I frequently encounter a big problem of findability or searchability, where tiny errors in the title do not result in the correct book showing up in the results although dozens of unrelated and apparently unsponsored books do. This also happens for general catalog searches at my local library, where the catalog search provider has changed several times in recent years. The first such change was much worse overall, but search results were much better. Every change since then has made the search results worse.

On amazon, when the title is way too long or I am not sure about some of the words because of homophones or lack of enunciation or rapid/quiet speaking on the radio, I search on author. That
usually helps, although getting the author right can also be difficult. But even then, amazon manages to fail to come up with the on sale edition or the book is multiple pages down after many books by other authors.
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#4  stumped 02-04-2020, 02:41 PM
Search on Google, then click the shopping tab to filter results? That way, Google should find the book store URLs for you
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#5  John F 02-04-2020, 02:58 PM
Quote pwalker8
...
Another thing that I didn't put down, but is strong from me is DRM. I won't buy books where I can't remove the DRM. Apparently if you want to remove DRM from ADE, then you need to use 2.0.1 rather than the current version, but 2.0.1 no longer works with the current version of Mac OS. I might consider buying some stuff from them if this wasn't the case.

...
Just curious, can't you remove DRM using later versions of ADE on Mac OS, but some people say not to use later versions (4.X) in case new DRM is implemented?
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#6  DNSB 02-04-2020, 04:26 PM
Quote pwalker8
Another thing that I didn't put down, but is strong from me is DRM. I won't buy books where I can't remove the DRM. Apparently if you want to remove DRM from ADE, then you need to use 2.0.1 rather than the current version, but 2.0.1 no longer works with the current version of Mac OS. I might consider buying some stuff from them if this wasn't the case.
Quote John F
Just curious, can't you remove DRM using later versions of ADE on Mac OS, but some people say not to use later versions (4.X) in case new DRM is implemented?
The newer ACS servers can be configured to fall back to the older DRM or to refuse the transaction. In my testing, I have only found 1 site that implemented the hardened DRM without fallback. The next test delivered the older DRM. So while using a later version of Adobe's DRM does expose you to some risk of not being able to remove DRM at an unknown point in the future, I suspect that at the same time support for the older Adobe DRM is likely to be disabled so you lose either way.

My last test a couple of months back on Kobo using ADE 4.5.10 delivered an epub with the older DRM.
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#7  fjtorres 02-04-2020, 05:32 PM
Quote j.p.s

On amazon, when the title is way too long or I am not sure about some of the words because of homophones or lack of enunciation or rapid/quiet speaking on the radio, I search on author. That
usually helps, although getting the author right can also be difficult. But even then, amazon manages to fail to come up with the on sale edition or the book is multiple pages down after many books by other authors.
When I search for content on Amazon I put the author first and as much of the title as possible. The target always shows up...somewhere...

Amazon is never going to deliver what you want and only what you want because their job is to sell as many books as possible so they'll always cough up similar books, for different values of similar: title, genre, subject, metadata, etc.

Being perfectly precise wouldn't be good for busines$$.
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#8  John F 02-04-2020, 05:46 PM
Quote DNSB
The newer ACS servers can be configured to fall back to the older DRM or to refuse the transaction. In my testing, I have only found 1 site that implemented the hardened DRM without fallback. The next test delivered the older DRM. So while using a later version of Adobe's DRM does expose you to some risk of not being able to remove DRM at an unknown point in the future, I suspect that at the same time support for the older Adobe DRM is likely to be disabled so you lose either way.

My last test a couple of months back on Kobo using ADE 4.5.10 delivered an epub with the older DRM.
Which is what I thought, but "ADE for Mac OS" was specifically mentioned, so I take it you can use the current version ofADE on the latest version of Mac OS to remove DRM (with the appropriate DRM tools).

Again, just curious.
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#9  DNSB 02-04-2020, 06:27 PM
Quote John F
Which is what I thought, but "ADE for Mac OS" was specifically mentioned, so I take it you can use the current version of ADE on the latest version of Mac OS to remove DRM (with the appropriate DRM tools).

Again, just curious.
Basically, it depends on how the ACS 5/6 server end is configured. If the ebook you download uses the hardened DRM, it will not be removable. The configuration for ACS can range from forcing the hardened DRM for certain books only (ACS 6), new DRM only or old DRM.

There is a quick FAQ on Adobe's site for Adobe Content Server and RMSDK which may do a bit better job of showing the options.

AFAIK, the OS does not matter. The ADE versions for Mac OS or Windows support the same DRM models.

Edit: Just brought up a Mac VM, installed ADE 4.5, registered it to my account and a book downloaded from Kobo and imported to calibre had the DRM removed. Ditto for the latest freebie from the University of Chicago.
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#10  j.p.s 02-04-2020, 06:27 PM
Quote fjtorres
When I search for content on Amazon I put the author first and as much of the title as possible. The target always shows up...somewhere...

Amazon is never going to deliver what you want and only what you want because their job is to sell as many books as possible so they'll always cough up similar books, for different values of similar: title, genre, subject, metadata, etc.

Being perfectly precise wouldn't be good for busines$$.
It's been semi-amusing the past several years on amazon and youtube to see suggested search completions where people looking for the same thing I am have typed longer and longer phrases that don't do any good when I click on them.

I avoid annoyance by searching on youtube almost never and buying less and less at amazon.
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