Facing a downward trend in the last few years, 2020 brought a surge of audio and eBooks as people looked for ways to pass the time during the Pandemic. The result was a 17% increase in sales. Leo also says it could signal a seed change back to people reading.
Public Libraries are seeing a dramatic rise in the use eBook checkouts, as more readers discover virtual libraries online. Check out of eBooks is up 52% over 2019.
Libby is a mobile app that enables you to check out a library book for free, and transfer it to your Kindle app to read it. It takes a few minutes to sign up for a library card, and it's built with Overdrive, the standard in online book lending. You can also listen to audio books. iOS and Android.
Larry's wife wants to back up her Kindle eBooks onto an SD card to read on another device. Leo says that Kindle uses MOBI as its file version, and it can only be read by Kindle. She'll need to convert the files to ePub, which is a standard format. Leo likes Calibre for that. If she uses the Kindle app, then it's no problem, and she can just install the MOBI files to that other device. She'll need the folder structure first, so she should download a new book on the new device with the Kindle app.
Robert is vision impaired and he's missed the mobile revolution. He knows that there are a lot of books available on Amazon in eBooks. How can he have them read back to him? Leo says that the Kindle will read back to him, and it's a decent robotic voice. But some publishers disable the feature, which is a shame.
Steve has several eBooks with a PDB file extension and wants to know how he can transfer them. Leo says that Calibre can likely do it. It converts from one eBook format to another, and it's free. It may be an odd file, but it's certainly a good place to start.
This week's gadget isn't a gadget ... it's an eBook! It's called "Inside MAD, An Ill-Conceived Collection of the Magazine’s High-Quality Stupidity from the “Usual Gang of Idiots” and Their Celebrity Fans." Dickie D is all over it, too! You can get the eBook for only $18.
Jim needs to get an audio book to another device from his iPod, which has broken. Leo says that the only way to do it is to download it to another Apple "iDevice." He should be able to go into iTunes, look for the little "cloud" next to the title, tap it, and it should download again. He can also download through the iTunes desktop client.
Jim is also interested in Ting. Leo says that TING is an MVNO that resells Sprint service on a month to month contract. Ting is also a sponsor of the Tech Guy podcast.
Tim agrees that eBooks are taking over, but he says that a lot of the new eBooks are filled with typos and are terrible PDF scans of real hard copy books. Leo says we saw the same thing in the early days of DVDs. That's why he suggests reading reviews of eBooks on Amazon before he buys. Leo also says that in today's wired and connected economy, customers talk to each other and it's really foolish to take the easy road when flirting with new technologies. If people see bad reviews that complain, people won't buy. That said, eBook sales were up 43% last year, with 457 million sold.
Chris has created a new website called Cruise Port Insider, which gives the inside track of what to do when you're "in port." Leo says that's a great idea and wonders if Chris crowd sources the data. He's also created eBooks for cruisers to download. On Amazon, it asks about digital rights management so he's wondering if DRM a good idea for eBooks. Leo says he doesn't like DRM. It doesn't protect the content creator from piracy, because the pirates can always defeat it. All DRM does is frustrate legitimate readers.