Sony PRS-T1: Crashing E-books

Sony reader PRS-T1 by Hideya Hamano

Lately, my somewhat dated Sony PRS-T1 e-book reader has been crashing on newer ePub format e-books. I can read a few chapters, and then out of the blue, the device will stall, eventually booting me back to the device home screen. Resuming the e-book and trying to navigate past the crash point creates a reproducible issue.

In terms of buying a new e-book reader, I can’t really make a good case for it. Sure, the device is five years old, but in general, it still gets the job done. You may have noticed this trend, where technology and I are concerned. Why throw out a mostly usable though slightly imperfect piece of technology when you can fix it? Challenge accepted!

Long story short, I’ve since found a really simple way to get around the issue by converting the ePub file.

The Problem

It’s unclear to me if the crash relates to formatting in specific ePub files themselves, certain characters, book length or a result of newer versions of the ePub file format. This issue has really only come up in two e-book files over the past six months or so. A minor nuisance, but a nuisance never the less.

The Solution

I’ve talked about the Calibre e-book manager on my blog before. It serves a number of purposes including allowing you to transfer e-books to your reader.

A lesser used feature allows you to convert e-books directly in Calibre, by right clicking on a title and selecting “convert books”. You’ll end up with another copy of the ePub title, however, it will be reformatted by Calibre. Converted ePub files seems to fix this problem for me. Simply remove the old ePub file from your e-book reader and transfer over the new file created by Calibre. Much cheaper than buying a new e-book reader! The only caveat with all this is that your e-book file must be DRM free for conversion to work. The joys of technology.

Header image by Hideya Hamano – Sony Reader “PRS-T1” // CC by 2.0

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Bibliotheca E-boook CloudLibrary, DRM and Failed Downloads

Failed e-book downloads from Bibliotheca’s CloudLibrary? Read here how to solve it.

drm-frustrationFor the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to borrow e-books from my public library through Bibliotheca CloudLibrary, so I can transfer them to my e-book reader. Unfortunately, because of the way their service seems to interact with Adobe Digital Editions DRM, the books have been failing to download, stalling at 10%, regardless of which book I borrow. I’ve gone back and forth with the library, to little avail, before figuring out how to get around the issue. I can read the books through the provided web interface, but that does little to help me read the books on my e-reader.

Overview:

1) When you install CloudLibrary for the first time, make sure to allow it to configure itself with the default / recommended Adobe Digital Editions DRM settings from your library. If you tell it to associate with any other ADE configuration already on your computer, say from a previous e-book reader configuration, your downloads will fail without explanation.

2) If CloudLibrary is already installed and you’re stuck, as I was, you can navigate to %appdata%\Bibliotheca in Windows, and delete the CloudLibrary folder. This will delete the program’s cache/settings, allowing you to reconfigure all settings. When you next start the application, it will walk you through the configuration process again. Be sure to select the default library DRM configuration.

This is, quite simply, poor application design. If this is expected behaviour, the user should at least be notified why downloads are not working. In any case, this should get you around the issue.

Not to harp on issues with DRM, but this is a very good example of poorly implemented DRM providing for a poor user experience. This should be entirely transparent to the user, which quite clearly is not the case. Now if only Adobe Digital Editions would actually recognize my no longer supported Sony PRS-T1 e-reader. Oh technology.

Header image by Charles Knowles // CC BY 2.0