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Best Source for Chinese Ebooks?

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AdamD

You can also use calibre to convert free ebooks from other sources to a compatible Kindle format, but you practically need a licence to use calibre. It's not a pleasant experience.

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laurenth

What do you mean? Calibre itself is free software, placed under the GNU  General Public License. It's as free as can be.

 

[Edit]: Oops, sorry, now I understand that you probably mean "difficult to use". Hm... I'm not  an expert but, in my experience, you just click on "Add book", then you select a file (I use HTML), then click on "Convert Book"; Select format (epub, mobi...); click OK; and you're done. Of course, I don't do any fancy things...

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AdamD

Yeah, but it feels like a hobby application from the '90s. Anyone who isn't used to ageing apps and old-timey design accidents will balk at using this thing.

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icebear

I wonder if it is possible to transfer foreign credits to a domestic third party payment platform (e.g. Alipay, WeChat) and then use those credits on amazon.cn, for our comrades abroad? Do they accept PayPal (some Chinese sites do)?

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Luxi
Hi! first post here.

 

I've been buying books from Duokan and using their reader for some months, maybe this information interests some of the posters here.

 

Last year I was able to open a Duokan account linked to Xiaomi (Mi.com now) from the UK, using my UK address and credit card, all legally and openly. 

 

This allows me to purchase e-books at Duokan prices in RMB, the card's currency conversion fee is a small % of the Chinese price, a few pennies. Payment goes via a secured page using "Alipay" - so far I've had no problems at all. 

 

I can't see an English version of the Duokan site, but Google's "Translate this Page" does a fairly good job there. The Xiaomi registration pages with the sensitive information have an English version. 

 

E-books are stored in the Cloud to be read with the Duokan reader app in the Windows browser (I use it in Chrome. Perapera and other popup dictionaries work perfectly. I can also copy, highlight, add notes and share). The reader is available as apps for Android or iOS. The "Read" option in the Duokan site seems to bring many pages (?all) of the book into the reader without one buying it, certainly enough to know whether one can read the book or not. There are also free books.

 

The ebooks can be downloaded to a Kindle by installing the Duokan operating software, which functions alongside the Kindle's native OS from Amazon. Some webpages advice using KUAL in order to install the Duokan reader but I never installed KUAL or rooted/jailbroke my Kindle, am not sure what difference, if any, that would make. Switching from Duokan to Amazon takes 1 click and a reboot. I can read my Duokan ebooks offline.

 

The software can be downloaded from the "Kindle" link in the Duokan website. It leads to this page:  

http://www.miui.com/thread-1991341-1-1.html    ("Translate this Page" proved invaluable there!)

 

At the end of the install and reboot one has a dual-OS Kindle that works very much as a normal Kindle but with many more capabilities. More about the software in these pages:


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walking_short

HI, 

 

I am learning now for about 5 months chinese and so far I think I build already a good vocublary of simple characters. My problem is that I am now in the situation that I am mixing up some of the similiar looking characters and thought that maybe reading chinese books could help me. 

 

Since I bought the kindle some time ago I was wondering if there are books in simple written chinese out there. Maybe books for children or beginners. I found already the "chinese breeze" series which looks ideal but they don´t offer digital versions. At least as far as I know. However the books offered on http://blah.me/ are way to complex for me right now. 

 

Maybe somebody was or is in a similar position as I am and found already a solution. Thanks for the help. 

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roddy

Have you looked at Mandarin Companion? They're on Kindle. Maybe some others from here

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ZhangKaiRong

Hello guys,

 

Finally I bought a Kindle Paperwhite 3 as a Christmas present for my girlfriend - she's Chinese, and although she is fluent in English, she prefers to read novels and other books in Chinese rather than in English, as it's obviously faster and more convenient for her. When she's on a business trip to China (mostly once every year), she always comes home with a lot of books, but I thought it is much better to have a Kindle and have access to the Chinese Amazon's selection of e-books.

 

First we set up an account for her - as the kindle was from Europe, we accidentally registered a US account. After a while I remembered that I already had an account at amazon.cn, as I regularly ordered things from there when I was a student in China. So we delinked her new US account and linked my original Chinese account to the Kindle, bought a 100 RMB amazon 充值卡, and already bought some e-books yesterday (the prices are ridiculous, most books are under 5 to 10 RMB...). According to my Amazon account, I'm living in Hebei and have a Chinese phone number. My concern is whether it will be a problem as my current IP address is not from China. I read a lot of stories that accounts with non-Chinese IP address have been suspended after a certain number of e-books purchased, and I'm wondering whether we will end up like this as well, even though I have a physical order track record from 2012 and 2013). Any experience with handling the problem with Amazon's customer support?

 

Another thing: any good and stable khm.. alternative sources for Chinese/Taiwanese e-books? I checked the zhtoolkit blog about Chinese e-book pages, but some of them are not working anymore (HiFiWiKi, du8, shucang). Any tip for Taiwanese e-books?

 

Thank you very much in advance!

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xiaokaka

I bought a Kindle paperwhite while I lived in China, that I brought back to Europe this summer. I haven't had any problems to use it or to buy new books from amazon.cn so far.

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ZhangKaiRong

@xiaokaka

 

Thanks for the reply! It seems you were lucky - or this problem might not be persistent with Kindles bought in mainland China, but happens with international editions.

Today, after buying our seventh e-book, the Chinese amazon blocked my account as purchases happened from an "unconfirmed country's IP". We have just contacted the amazon support, as it seems they can elevate the ban for the next 7 or 8 books. I don't know whether this is pathetic or ridiculous - there is a significant Chinese community in the world outside China, who obiviously want to read ebooks in Chinese, and non-Chinese amazon shops have a very limited selection of Chinese language books (and with a horror price tag, but that's only a minor issue). Honestly I can't really understand it from the business point of view either - I know that ebooks are not the most popular among Chinese people, but if you don't give the oversea Chinese community a chance to buy without a hassle.

 

Edit: well, at least the customer support is excellent, they responded within an hour and released the ban over my account for the next 5 book purchases. However, I still think the Chinese Amazon's sales methods are very annoying.

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Luxi

@kairong

 

It isn't Amazon's doing, they are forced to impose those restrictions by existing copyright and licensing regulations. It is stupid and very annoying. I can buy paper books from the US Amazon.com that I cannot buy as kindle books from Amazon.com. I suspect it's the same with Amazon China.

 

Have you tried Duokan? See my post above for details. I have been buying regularly from them without any problems, their selection isn't the best - especially for modern fiction but it is good enough for me. There are also many good freebies.

 

I pay website Chinese prices and use a Xiaomi account which I opened from the UK with my UK credit card, real name, address etc. Xiaomi uses the same safeguards (strong passwords requests, double verification, security questions, etc.) as any serious western setup and in 2 years I haven't had a single problem. 

 

The Duokan software for the Amazon Kindle is very good and works alongside Amazon's native kindle software. If concerned, you can buy a cheap spare Kindle and use it as a dedicated Duokan reader. Alternatively, the PC, Android and IOS Duokan apps are also very good.

 

The only thing I fault the Duokan reader with is the lack of a Chinese-English dictionary, I have to go via web search from the Kindle/Duokan and it isn't at all user-friendly. If anyone knows how to solve this, please post the information!

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ZhangKaiRong

@Luxi

 

Thanks for the duokan recommendation! The lack of Chinese-English dictionary is not a problem, as mostly my gf uses the Kindle, and she has no issues understanding Chinese texts.

 

It seems the the Chinese amazon is an issue only with Kindles bought outside of China, as my gf's colleagues all bought their Kindles in the mainland, and they haven't encountered the non-Chinese IP problem so far.

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realmayo

Just a note on amazon.cn: I just bought five books in a row, then tried for a sixth but that was it, unable to buy any more because I'm not in China. I'll try again in a few weeks and see if the five-limit is temporary or not.

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ZhangKaiRong

I suppose you bought your Kindle outside of China (factory/geographic market number of the Kindle is non-mainland). You have to contact amazon support in order to lift the ban from your account. The ban will not be lifted by itself, unless you buy another e-book from China with a valid Chinese IP.

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realmayo

Yes, bought outside China. Presumably it'd work if I was using a PC in China? I hope so, I'll be visiting shortly.

 

You mention lifting the ban. Are they actually likely to do that if I'm outside China?

 

Edit: I missed part of your post or you made a ninja edit... :)

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realmayo

I can see why they're doing it too: the UK amazon store has little in the way of Chinese ebooks, for instance, but the US one has loads.

However they're charging much more, naturally, than on the Chinese site: on the US site the first book I saw for comparison was 15x more expensive than on .cn.

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ZhangKaiRong

@realmayo

Yes, it should be a licensing issue as Luxi stated above. My problem is that the Chinese book selection is quite limited even in the US amazon, compared to the Chinese one. We bought in total 15 books, and only 2 of it was available in the US amazon - a significantly higher price, of course. This ban lifting thing worked quite well for us, we used it twice and support helped us in an hour or so.

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realmayo

I don't quite understand: why did support lift your ban?

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ZhangKaiRong

Because we kindly asked them to do so via the amazon site. If your account is with the Chinese amazon, and you're on a business trip abroad, studying overseas or simply travelling (or for any reason you're not in China), but would want to buy e-books, amazon support can lift the ban for your next 5 purchases. If you reach the limit again, you can try contacting support to help you.

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realmayo

I just kindly asked them, I'll see what they say. I suppose an alternative would be to ask someone in China to go into my account and buy them that way.

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