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Best Source for Chinese Ebooks?

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realmayo

Imron I was just kidding, about the possibility of cracking software to make individual tweaks.

 

Luxi, Duokan is no good for me without actual text files: conceivably with Duokan installed on my kindle, books will be stored there as files which could then be played with, but I've found it a real hassle trying to put duokan on my kindle, any more time on it would be better spent reading Chinese.

 

I'm still holding out hope for Dangdang.com and if its ebooks can be DRM free(d), but I can't actually buy one to find out until I'm in PRC.

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Luxi

Sorry Realmayo, I hope you can collect a huge pile of Chinese ebooks while in China. It's absurd having to spend so much time and effort to get Chinese ebooks legally. If you know any Chinese overseas students, it might be worth asking them for suggestions.

 

Not sure it's possible to extract the book files from the Duokan reader. I looked into it today, the files I have are in epub format and when I tried to extract one into my PC, the whole thing froze. That was a clear "stop meddling" signal.

 

I have tried the Duokan / Ipad combination further. No way to copy even full pages of text, let alone a whole book. Fortunately, all the Duokan devices are synchronized automatically thanks to the Xiaomi account that I had to open to use Duokan. I can read ebooks bought through Apple in the Duokan Kindle and in the PC (this works in a browser, no special app needed). The dictionary works really well in the PC and can take me into internet pages with more examples and information on the words I search. The PC reader allows copying small bits of text, it's still possible to make lists of characters for Pleco and Skritter, small consolation but useful. Unfortunately, I can't extract enough text for TTS any more, rats!

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imron
Imron I was just kidding, about the possibility of cracking software to make individual tweaks.

I realise, but I was not kidding.

 

I don't think there is anything morally wrong with you making personal modifications to things you have purchased (software or otherwise).  If CTA ever makes in revenue what it cost to develop, it's highly likely that I will open source it and you'll be free to make your own modifications as you see fit.

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realmayo

Another option with Amazon is its Kindle Unlimited subscription: 12 RMB for one month and you can have up to 10 'borrowed' books outstanding. Unlike for actual purchases, I haven't run into any limits caused by my being currently outside China.

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feihong

This is more for programmers and power users, but I made an open source tool for creating ebooks by scraping pages from the thousands of bootleg book sites on the web: https://github.com/feihong/shu

 

I didn't spend any time on the interface, so it's rather hard to use if you don't know Python, but the tool produces pretty decent results, provided you do most of your Chinese reading inside of Pleco. However, because you are not getting the official electronic versions of books, you will encounter a lot of OCR errors. Still, if your Chinese is pretty strong then you can pretty much always figure out what it's supposed to mean.

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roddy

I notice Amazon.cn now has Kindle Unlimited - 12Y a month and then any book covered is free, get a week's trial for 10 fen. Not sure what it includes, but Wang Xiaobo is on there and that's worth Y12. 

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realmayo

Ah, yes, I should have made clear in my #124 that it was indeed the amazon.CN site, and lots of books are available, with no 'outside-China' limit.

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Luxi

Are things about to change in Amazon.cn?

 

I just looked into the site to compare e-book prices with Duokan and noticed restrictions for purchases from outside China are still the same but a little different in a positive way. For a start, clicking on the Kindle Unlimited subscription from UK gives this answer:

 

We're sorry. Kindle Unlimited is not available in your country. Please stay tuned.

 

That's better than a straight "no, go away, back to your Amazon!" that I used to see before. And another thing, one can now browse into the e-books even look at book prevews  from a UK IP address.  The one-click box for the e-books now says: "This title is not currently available for purchase" 

 

Currently...Is Amazon about to follow Duokan's example and sell Chinese ebooks to customers outside China?  :clap  

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realmayo

I can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, via amazon.cn, while using a computer in the UK, on an amazon.cn account that is registered to a postal address in China.

You could try changing your postal address to a China one?

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Luxi

Unfortunately, Amazon knows me better than my mother. You did well to open an account with Amazon.cn from China, Realmayo, I opened mine from the UK - Amazon was little more than a twinkle in Jeff Bezos' eyes last time I was in China.

 

Anyway, looks like things may be about to change. I can't see any reason why the Chinese government would stop Amazon selling Chinese books to a handful of overseas people, after all, it's good for China's image.

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realmayo

Well, I didn't open it from China, I opened it from the UK. I just used a Chinese postal address. Not necessarily a particularly genuine one if I remember right.

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Luxi

Go on, rub it in  :mrgreen:  I used my full Amazon UK credentials...

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realmayo

Haha! But what's to stop you opening a second amazon.cn account, with a different email address? Give a Chinese postal address. In my experience, when it comes to registering a credit/debit card, there's been no problem using a UK address for that, despite having a Chinese address as my postal address. An alternative way of adding funds would be to use your existing amazon.cn account to send the new one a gift certificate.

 

In fact if to really rub it in, I've (not completely intentionally) got two different amazon.cn accounts, both China-registered (but both set up from the UK).

 

 

However I agree that the "please stay tuned" is very promising.

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Luxi

Thanks for mentioning the gifts certificates! Sending gift vouchers from me to my Chinese ghost would be the best way of paying in an Amazon.cn account without using a credit card. I'll wait to see what happens over the next months with Amazon.cn's ebook sales outside China. 

 

Not that I don't have stuff to read with 72 volumes of Gu Long and various other box sets from Duokan! 

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laurenth

There's an interesting post  on Fluentu's blog about "9 Awesome Websites to Find and Download Chinese E-books". There are also interesting reading suggestions, including about a scientist working on an experiment to resurrect people from the dead or an orphan girl able to foresee who will die in the near future and wandering the city in search of those people.

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大块头

I've found an easy way for people without Chinese bank accounts to buy ebooks.

 

Douban Reader (豆瓣阅读) allows you to use Paypal to recharge your account balance if you add 100 or more RMB. They charge a small fee (~3 RMB) for this service.

 

They have an Android and iPhone app too.

 

Happy reading!

 

JLwDMYi.png

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Luxi

Thanks for the tip 大块头!,

 

I was able to find several e-books that Duokan (my other source) doesn't have yet, and they were at very good prices. At first glance, it looks like Duokan has more in non-fiction, at least in history & classical literature, and more and better free books, but Douban's fiction selection seems better.

 

I was amused to see several volumes of the Fu Manchu novels translated from English in Douban - and they even had some good reviews from Chinese readers :lol:

 

The PayPal option wasn't at all easy to find, it may vary for different countries, I am in the UK and maybe PayPal has more restrictions here than in the US. 

 

Going directly from the shopping cart to payment, the PayPal option is nowhere to be seen - I get only Alipay (which needs opening yet another account) or a Chinese bank account. There's a banner right at the top of the page saying I can pay with PayPal but it doesn't have a link, not even an explanation! After a while of tearing hairs off, I found a PayPal link by going into the option to buy a pre-payment voucher. Makes sense, it's the same way I can buy from Duokan and paper books in Amazon.cn, except that neither uses PayPal yet. 

 

Another thing with using PayPal from here is that the minimum voucher is 100 RMB - not a problem except that one tends to pile up the books... most of which I'll have to take away to read in my next 25 lives.

 

The reader is quite similar to the Duokan reader (surprise, surprise!), but with Duokan I can still read the books in a Kindle with the Duokan software installed. Using either Reader in Windows, I can use the Zhongwen pop-up dictionary (in Chrome) or Chinese Reader 8 (in all browsers, including Edge). I use Pleco for reading in the Ipad (same in Android). 

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Luxi

More good news for eBooks'readers, Dang Dang is in too. I'm not sure when it started but 2 Dang Dang apps have appeared in the Apple Apps store (search for Dang Dang), I think one is for the iPhone and the HD one is for  the iPad, should be the same in Android but I don't have a device to check it up. Perhaps someone here can confirm.

 

E-book prices via the Apple store are higher than on the Dang Dang website, but not bad at all. It also offers a VIP membership - same as Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, for 12Y per month. Purchases from outside China are taken from pre-paid credit bought via the Apple apps store, making things very easy --- much too easy!

 

The ebooks selection seems very good for contemporary Chinese literature. As good as, if not better than Amazon.cn's. And there are good offers, I just bought the complete works of Wang Xiaobo - all 8 Volumes of fiction and essays - for less than 20Y.

 

The reader included in the app is good. I found a setting that gives a light grey background with fairly good contrast for reading outside, though I haven't been able to try reading in the sun, we haven't had much of that here. The Chinese fonts are really nice and I think there must be an option somewhere to choose between simplified and traditional characters (as in the Duokan reader). This Reader also includes embedded dictionaries. It uses the 现代汉语规范词典 and the Oxford C-E dictionary, but I think they're both 'pocket versions', fine for quick reading but quite basic, lots missing. I like keeping Pleco in the background for more firepower.

 

BTW, Dang Dang are now selling their own reading e-paper device for 499Y, which I'd expect to be quite similar to a Kindle.

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Luxi

Today Dang Dang has the full 72 volumes set of Gu Long's novels at 9.99Y.  Search for 古龙作品集套装72册(大陆正版合法授权)(电子书) in your app. Here's the web page:

http://detail.dangdang.com/1900573900.html

I bought mine when it came up at the same price in Duokan. All these ebook sellers have these crazy offers from time to time, it's worth keeping an eye and maybe posting a notice here!

If buying through Apple in the UK, don't be surprised for a higher price, it's not an error, they add sales tax and a currency exchange fee. t's still very cheap.

I've got quite a collection by now. Please note: I want to be buried with my iPad Mini and the Kindle to read in the Underworld. 

 

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LiMo

@Luxi

How are you making payments through "Alipay?" I've followed what you did so far, signing up to Xiaomi and then moving on to Duokan. I was automatically signed in on Duokan which was a good sign but once I tried to pay for anything I got stuck. All the payment options require a Chinese bank card or a functioning Alipay account as far as I can see. I've recently made an Alipay account but despite all the FAQ advice about how to use a 国际信用卡 I've been unable to make any headway. Is it possible that this is a feature that they've recently removed? 

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