I’ve got a history research project that I’m working on, and I don’t want to rely on Wikipedia and other sometimes iffy sources. So I’m turning to books <gasp>. A few of them I am buying as normal books (some are even out of print). But I decided to save some money on a couple of them and buy them as eBooks. I found one that I wanted on Amazon and another at Barnes and Noble. The iTunes store had some of them as well, but they were all about 50% more expensive. Also, I wanted to be able to read them on my Mac – and for some odd reason, Apple doesn’t think anyone wants to do that, as there’s no app for reading your iTunes book purchases on your computer, just your iOS devices.
Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have eReaders for iOS and for the Mac (as well as Windows and I am assuming for Android devices – that’s not really my focus). So with the books cheaper than from Apple and with more reader options, I figured I’d stay away from iBooks.
Well, one out of two isn’t great (at least I got the books cheaper). It appears, despite what they’d have you believe, that Amazon and Barnes and Noble don’t think you should read your eBooks on a Mac either.
The Kindle app from Amazon has been terrible for me. I have a few books in my library, including one I recently bought for this project. They come up fine on my iPad. But the Kindle app on my Mac has decided that I haven’t registered about 2/3rds of the time I start it up. It keeps popping up a dialog to log into the app (which you need to do to read the protected content ). I fill it it, and then it tells me that the content I downloaded can’t be read – I need to delete it and re-download it. So I do – and it works. At least, it does until the next time I open the app – then it’s another crap shoot as to whether it has me registered or not. If not, I get to play the register/delete/download game all over again.
The Nook app from Barnes and Noble for the Mac has a different, but just as annoying, set of problems. First off, when you start it up, 9 times out of 10 it hangs. It’s supposed to come up and show you your library or your last book – but instead, it hangs on an animation of the Nook icon. Fortunately, searching teh interwebs got me past that (although looking at B&N’s so called “support” pages was basically a joke). If you wait for the animation to hang, then right-click in the large grey area around the logo and select “Back,” then right-click again and select “Forward,” often your library will appear (if not, try again; if that still fails, force quit and try again). You’ll then be fine until you want to leave the program. In my case, the only way to exit is to force quit. Trying to quit normally is simply ignored – the program doesn’t hang, but just keeps working, as though the “Quit” code just isn’t there.
At least the experience on my iPad has been normal – open a book, page though, close, etc. Everything just works for both these apps. But as for reading protected books on your Mac – we ain’t got nothin’ yet that’s worth doing it with.