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Notes and Highlights in Ebooks
Asked by Patrick Jerome
Posted Aug 06 2010 04:48 PM
This is my first post here, so I will apologize in advance for the naivete of the following questions. We all have to start some where!
I am interested in developing a website and was drawn to O'Reilly for a number of reasons, including the ability to purchase DRM-free ebooks. I wish to keep all of my purchased reference material in electronic format, if possible, for accessibility, archiving, and the ability to make digital notes and highlights in the text.
Unfortunately not all of the books I am interested in acquiring can be purchased on the O'Reilly site; some are available on Amazon, yet not all are available in electronic format. At least not yet.
1) I want to purchase ebooks to read on a laptop, with the ability to make notes, highlight portions of the ebook, and cut-and-paste code examples (which this site already states is possible).
Can this be done with all the DRM-free formats supported by O'Reilly?
Case in point. I downloaded a sample of a particular book to determine if these tasks could be accomplished.
In a pdf file format, using a standard Adobe Reader 9, the highlighting of text and the ability to make notes is not permissible.
Is this simply a limitation of Adobe Reader 9? Would these tasks be doable in higher-level Adobe Acrobat Standard, Pro or Pro Extended versions?
2) Is there any way to do the same tasks (i.e., notes, highlights and cut-and paste) with Amazon-based Kindle books? Can the Kindle format be saved as a non-DRM pdf or other type of format that would allow the aforementioned tasks?
3) If not Amazon, are there other sites that offer technical DRM-free ebooks that would support the tasks outlines above?
Your consideration is very much appreciated.
Comment by Adam Witwer : Aug 11 2010 05:06 AM
Thanks for your questions, and welcome to the wild west of ebooks.
You can copy and paste from our ebooks, but how that happens depends on which format you are reading and which reading sorftware or hardware you favor. For example, you can copy excerpts of text using just about any PDF reader. But if you try and copy from one of our Mobi files using the Kindle Previewer, you won't be able to simply because that functionality is lacking in the software (or it was the last time I checked! ereading platforms/devices/programs are under rapid development and new features are being added [or sometimes taken away] all of the time).
More generally, if you are looking for excerpts of code, you might check the book's catalog page at oreilly.com. Many books include code that you can download. For example, check out this Python book, which includes an Examples link under the cover image, and that link includes code from the book.
As for annotations, highlighting, and note-taking, again, it depends largely on the reader. For PDFs in particular, you won't normally be able to add annotations with Acrobat Reader, although you could enable commenting/annotations with the full version of Acrobat Professional. Other PDF readers, such as Preview in Mac OS X and Foxit for Windows, allow annotations right out of the box.
Have you looked at Kindle for Mac? It includes some of the features you are looking for (but it seems to be Mac-only, at least for now).
On the EPUB side, Adobe Digital Editions is supposed to include some bookmarking, highlighting, and annotation functionality, but I've not used those features, so I can't speak to their effectiveness.
I hope that helps get you started. Good luck!
Answered by Alanle [MS}
Posted Aug 17 2010 05:49 AM
In Adobe Digitial Editions you can add book marks and annotation into ePub and PDF files. I've added notes and bookmarks to both MS Press PDF and eBooks from O'Reilly.
I've copied text from some PDF files that I've opened in ADE too, but that is dependant on the rights. For example, PDF files from the MS Press training kit CD does not allow copying, but the ePub versions does.