There are two reasons to stop relying on DRM-guarded cloud libraries, and start thinking about alternatives:
Sure, all clouds powered by major ebookstores offer an essential advantage – sync. But on the other side they offer an essential disadvantage – mess.
So, there is no better time to think about moving the ebook collection to a cloud owned by the most important guy in all this game: you.
The choice is between:
- bigger convenience, smaller control (Kindle, Kobo, Sony, Google Play Books, Nook),
- smaller convenience, bigger control (Dropbox, Google Drive).
Why not ebookstore-powered cloud?
Plus, if the company dedicated to guard the content, like Adobe with their DRM, is not capable of guarding users’ passwords, that only makes things more ironic.
Syncing book data between devices is at stake, but nowadays there are apps that can do that via Dropbox, naming only Marvin for iOS.
What else do you lose, besides sync, anyway? Safety? Control? You mean control over the files Amazon can remove at any time?
What you will have to do is to bring all the books from a cloud library to one, DRM-free, format. Luckily, there are platforms like calibre, that can do that in bulk. And the less books are there to convert the better.
I’m lucky. I buy ebooks in a Polish ebookstore Virtualo, in mobi format, unprotected. Then I use calibre to convert them to epub, using my own preferences. Thanks to that, no matter which app I’ll use to open the books, I can always use “publisher’s setting” to get the same look.
There are a couple of cloud storage services. Google Drive comes to mind, but it’s Dropbox that offers a real cross-device experience.
There are apps for most of popular platforms. Once you have the app installed on your computer or tablet or smartphone, you can use it to open an ebook file in a preferred book reading application.
But there is one more thing, much more important than that. Files can be synced between devices via Dropbox. A good example: note-taking apps, actually lots of them, that are powered by Dropbox.
This feature comes to book-reading apps as well. Marvin comes as an example for iOS. Moon+ Reader is the best Dropbox-integrated book-reading app on Android.
It’s just a matter of time when a cross-platform book app, backed by Dropbox will emerge.
Another reason to pick up Dropbox is that it’s integrated in many book reading apps. You can link the app to a folder in Dropbox where you store your ebooks, making them accessible from inside the app.
A fully fledged sync is not possible, yet. But the most important word here is “yet”.
User-owned synced ebook libraries are definitely an area with a huge potential. There is a lot to do here, but ebookstores with their arbitrary decisions only speed things up.
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