Frequently Asked Questions

Books

  • Are there any accessibility options for the vision impaired?
    • Many of these books can be downloaded in DAISY 3.0 and Braille Ready Format (BRF) formats directly from bookshare.org without any requirement of membership.
  • Which ebook format do I need?
    • The epub format works for most e-readers, such as Android, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Sony, Adobe Digital Editions, desktop and laptop computers, among others. But not Kindles! Kindles use either the azw3 or mobi format.
  • What’s the difference between the azw3 and mobi formats?
    • The azw3 and mobi are Amazon’s proprietary formats for Kindles. The azw3 is a big improvement over the mobi, and Kindles can finally benefit from the intended formatting and fonts. Amazon, however, does not (yet?) support the azw3 in the Kindle Personal Documents Service, so reportedly manual (usb) uploading to the Kindle device is still necessary. The mobi format will continue to be made available until Amazon fully supports the azw3.
  • What are the disadvantages of the pdf format?
    • The pdf format is the old standard and should be supported by all devices. The primary disadvantage of pdfs relative to epub, azw3 and mobi, however, is you cannot enlarge the font size without the text overflowing off the edge of the screen. That can make it quite challenging to read on small devices. Additionally, with the large ebooks, ones with 1,000 or 2,000 pages, your device might freeze or struggle to scroll through the pdf. Because of the way they’re constructed, that won’t happen with the other ebook formats.
  • I want to read the ebooks on my desktop or laptop computer. Which format should I get?
    • Epub. The epubs have the intended fonts and formatting because of the capabilities of the epub format itself and because the ebooks from this website were created originally as epubs. The mobis, on the other hand, are just push-button conversions from the epubs using the Calibre application. While the mobis are fully functional, no additional effort is put into correcting their formatting for the Kindle. It’s a credit to Calibre that they come out looking as well as they do. The original formatting and fonts are available on a Kindle by using the azw3 format, which is almost identical to the original epub version.
  • Is there any free software so I can read ebooks on my computer?
    • There are a number free reader apps. Purely for reading epubs, Adobe Digital Editions has a slick interface. Calibre is a more comprehensive option which allows for converting to other formats. There are also a Sony Reader app and a Nook-for-PC app. These might be of interest if you also have one of those devices for purposes of syncing. Kindle-for-PC reads mobis but is not recommended.
  • How can I get paperback versions of these books?
    • Please see the book request list for instructions. Please do not contact the website administrator via email to request books. Such requests will be disregarded.
  • I’m having trouble downloading mobi files.
    • Case 1: Instead of downloading the mobi file, the Safari browser tries to open it as web page. Answer: I was able to download the files on Safari by clicking on them while holding down the "option" button. Using Firefox instead of Safari also takes care of the problem. Based on a little research I did, it seems like the mobi as HTML problem on Safari is nothing new. Case 2: The mobi downloads as a .txt file using a Samsung Galaxy tablet running Android 4.2.2. Answer: I noticed the url contained the mobi extension, but when I download it, it gets changed to a .txt extension. Manually renaming the file from filename.txt to filename.mobi fixes the problem, and it opens up in Kindle just fine.