Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy discussion

General Discussion > Give Me the Breakdown on the ebook experience

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message 1: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments Hey! I have just hit a wall regarding my paranormal romance experience. All the books that I am interested in reading are currently published as ebooks. What is the deal? The majority of my day is sitting in front of a computer thus reading is an outlet for me. I would like to step away from the computer during an outlet experience. I am willing to try the ebook thing on however I would prefer not downloading on a computer. So, here are my question(s):

1. Can I just down any ebook (from various publishers and etc)on a one electric device (thinking about purchasing itouch device for this purpose)? I am not sure if I need to get separate applications for each publisher.

2. If the book is available on Kindle, do I have to have a Kindle device to down the book?

3. After I finish the book, can I share the ebook with a friend like I would with a paperback?

4. Is it possible to select the print size? I am really concerned about eye strain and headaches from using this media form.

I guess that is all for now. Please provide any information that you think may be helpful.


message 2: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 177 comments 1. Most e-books are available in PDF, HTML, DOC or RTF...which can all be read on the home computer or on almost all devices. Many other formats can be converted to use on the individual device you own. Some won't convert...for instance, PDF. Check on the individual reading device. Everything you need to read these books is already on your computer or available for free. There are very few proprietary formats these days, and you read the books on their own proprietary device, so software is not an issue. Since you're starting out as an e-book newbie, you don't have to worry about whether what you own can be converted for use on something new. You're starting with a clean slate here.

2. Since Amazon bought Stanza, you can probably get Kindle titles to work on i-devices like the iTouch you want...or will be able to soon. Personally, I'd get a device that would let me buy from a variety of places. iTouch is a good choice, since you can also download the B&N reader for it. So, Stanza will open Amazon to you...AND B&N (which owns ereader and Fictionwise) will open the rest. Sony has gone completely non-proprietary, so you've got them too. Unfortunately, Kindle has yet to make a desktop/laptop reader, though I've suggested it.

3. NO! Absolutely not. It is illegal to share e-books, because (secured/DRMd formats or not) you make copies to share them, which is against copyright. Now, you can certainly let someone read your copy of the book (i.e. on your machine), but don't pass e-books on...ever.

4. On many readers, yes. You'll want to check with the individual reader to see if you can increase text size. I can on all of mine, because I choose that feature.

Just so you know, handhelds, in general, are much easier on the eyes than the old CRT screens. The one caveat is NOT to read them in a dark room with the backlighting. That's very bad on the eyes.


message 3: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 177 comments A little qualification on #3... If the book is a free read offered by an author/publisher, you can feel free to pass it. NEVER try to resell an e-book. I can offer dozens of articles on the subject of piracy, if you'd like to read them. If problem.


message 4: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments Brenna,

Thanks for the rapid reply to my questions. The ebook is starting to look a bit better. I actually got your point about the piracy issue. I am still weighting out the options available to me. Sharing the books with others is definitely an advantage to paperback; however, I get the point about piracy.

Again, thanks for the infomation.


message 5: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 177 comments Pros for readers-

Backup… With off-site storage, on a server or bookshelf on a reseller site like Fictionwise, you don’t even lose your e-books in the case of fire, flood or other natural disaster. Some people do things like storing them in their gmail for off-site storage.

You can purchase backlist titles in e-book that are OOP (out of print) in NY mass market/hard bound for $6 or $7, compared to $80 or more for a popular OOP print title.

You can purchase books, from the comfort of your own home, any time, day or night. You don’t have to drive to the store or wait for delivery. You download titles instantly.

You can read any books you want in public, without comments about your choice of reading material, since only you see the cover art. The rest of the world sees a PDA or other reading device. *Please note that the literary reading crowd has termed this a “down side” to reading e-books, since they can’t be “seen” with the latest hot literary title in hand.

PDAs and e-ink screens are actually better for your eyes than a computer screen or a paper book. Ophthalmologists SUGGEST these readers for their vision-impaired patients. CAVEAT: Reading a backlit device in a completely darkened room is bad for your eyes. Backlit in low light is fine.

You can often increase font of e-books to a comfortable level. You can’t do that with a paper book. If it’s not large type, it’s not.

Many programs, like ReadPlease and Adobe Reader, can turn your e-books into audio books, meaning that (simply by using a computer or other similarly-equipped electronic device), people who enjoy or require audio books can have a wider range of “reading” choices.

No allergens! For people who are allergic to dust/book dust, this is a wonder. Also, less dusting. Silly but true and a concern for some readers.

There is a wide array of devices you can read e-books on: desktop computers, laptop/notebook, PDAs or Pocket PCs, tablet PCs, Smart Phones, iPod/iPhone and dedicated readers. In fact, you may already own these devices and not realize you can read e-books on them.

Though we admittedly need an affordable, durable reader, we’re nearly there. You don’t have to pay $350 and up for a handheld reader.

e-Books are perfect for the business traveler or ex-pat worker…or foreign readers searching for English-language books. Unless the internet is blocked where you are, you can purchase and download English-language e-books, instead of looking for somewhere that sells English paper books. You can burn them to CD to make more room on your hard drive, if necessary, and carry home hundreds of new books with you, rather than shipping books home or losing that investment.

Some readers, like eBookwise and Kindle, do not have to synch to a computer to download books. Others can be synched to a laptop, and many business travelers carry laptops.

Most handheld-sized readers/PDA/Pocket PC/Smart Phones automatically power down, if you fall asleep with them on…and bookmark your place for you.

Some e-readers/PDAs, like eBookwise, will allow you to read either portrait or landscape view. In portrait, it’s like reading from a sheet of paper. In landscape, it feels to the hands more like reading a book (especially on a large reader like eBookwise or the newer Kindle releasing this summer.

The search features allow you to find the information you need quickly and without much fuss, as long as you can remember key words of the phrase you need.

Cons for readers-

Some people find even PDA screens hard on the eyes.

Some people prefer the feel of a book…and the smell of one.

Print books never run out of battery time, in the middle of a book.

You rarely have to worry about someone stealing a print book.

Though I’ve found handhelds to be incredibly durable, some people fear breaking it and losing their investment. A valid concern, I admit.

Most of the other “cons” aren’t really cons.

People will say you can’t read a PDA at the pool or in the tub. Well, of course you can. You simply have to utilize a few cents of Ziploc bag to do it safely.

People will complain that their teens are not permitted to take them to school. Of course, they are. My oldest takes her eBookwise to school. They can’t take a do-it-all into the classroom, but eBookwise is a simple reader. It does nothing BUT read books, so she’s allowed it.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

This is a really helpful discussion. I've been thinking about getting an e-reader, and this has helped my decision.

message 7: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments Brenna,

Yes the Pros & Cons list was quite helpful. I think I am going go for it. I am really excited now.


message 8: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 177 comments Glad I could help! I actually teach classes in this, so I have all the information at my fingertips. Good luck!


message 9: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 21 comments Brenna wrote: "NEVER try to resell an e-book. I can offer dozens of articles on the subject..."

See, this strikes me as another problem with e-books. I'm going to go down to Powell's in October to re-sell a lot of my books and pick up new ones which I can't do with e-books.

message 10: by Pamela, Moderatrix (new)

Pamela (teacupfangirl) | 614 comments Mod
There is a Kindle app in the App Store; you can definitely use it on the iPhone, but I'm assuming you can use it on the iPod Touch, too.

I personally use Stanza when I read ebooks (which admittedly isn't that often), because they link to free ebook sites as well as small publishers and indie book"stores" for content.

message 11: by Vicci (new)

Vicci (theibookemporium) | 193 comments I have an iPod Touch with 1450 ebooks on it. I use Stanza, because it provides the best features for customization and connects to a lot of internet ebook sellers. I use Calibre (Free) software to convert any books that I have that are not DRM to epub and use it's server to connect to Stanza and put my books on my touch. I have tried the Kindle for the iPhone, I don't really like it because you can not get the book physically onto your desktop and read it from there if you want to. The ereader application for the iPod touch.iPhone is ok, but it lacks the customization that Stanza has.

message 12: by Starling (new)

Starling Schnaucl, basically I trade books at a used book store, or give them away to library sales to get them out of the house so I have bookcase room for new books. Although I do get to use the "trade" value to pay for part of the price for books that I buy at the used book store, the money isn't my main reason for trading there.

So your "con" isn't a con for me. At some point I'm not going to have room for the bookcases currently in my home, and I'd like to be able to keep at least some of the books I buy. An e-book reader is one way to do that.

A real "con" is that it is likely that the files that I buy now won't be usable in 10 or 15 years. Some of the books on my shelves are already that old.

Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (sparklyblueyes) | 1718 comments I can't read an entire book off of the hurts my eyes after a while.

message 14: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 21 comments Starling wrote: "A real "con" is that it is likely that the files that I buy now won't be usable in 10 or 15 years. Some of the books on my shelves are already that old."

That's true. Though you'd think if you stayed with one system, the Kindle or the Sony Reader they'd make a point to make sure that older formats could be read.

message 15: by Starling (new)

Starling Sam, I agree about reading whole books of the computer, but it isn't my eyes that hurt, it is my back. And I just plain get tired of not being able to sit really comfortably. One of the advantages to the Sony/Kindle/whatever else is out there is that you can sit in a normal chair/couch/recliner and just read.

I agree that if you stick to one system you are probably OK. However, I've already lived through the 78/45/33.3 deal and the record/CD deal and the VHS/Beta deal and the CD/mp3 deal and Commodores and PC and 8 inch floppies/ 5 inch floppies/3 inch floppies/NO floppies. Etc. Etc.

I already use multiple methods of backup to take care of my photos and moved one set of photo backups from floppy to CD, and am considering moving the CD backups to DVD, and off line storage, and...

Been there - done that!

Current ebook readers are at the Commodore 64 stage. You can do useful things with them, but sooner or later you are going to want to upgrade to a PC with Windows 3.0 and a hard drive and then you are going to realize that the rest of the world is using 3.1 and it is sooo much more stable and then you will want 95, only Y2K is right over the horizon and ...

Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (sparklyblueyes) | 1718 comments Yeah my back as well!

Yeah I don't want to have to upgrade everything just to read a book, I like the old fashioned can lay in bed every which way and read type of books. Yeah it may not help the envrionment, but using recycled papers and books that like schools throw away, and textbooks can help out a lot. I know I have some text books I wouldn't mind recycling.

message 17: by Starling (new)

Starling But Samantha, I WANT a Kindle.

I'm an early adapter. I had the Internet in 1992, and broadband by 1994. I owned a Commodore 64 BEFORE they had worked the kinks out of the slowest floppy drive in creation. I thought my 25mh PC was the fastest thing on earth, and then Windows showed up.

I just know what I'm getting myself into.

Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe) (sparklyblueyes) | 1718 comments right on those are so expensive though OMG

message 19: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments I agree the Kindle is very expensive. I hear that they are constantly being upgraded as well. I also feel Kindle will limit me to Amazon format whereas I would like the opportunity to down load other works from different publishers.


message 20: by Starling (new)

Starling Kindle's work with more than just the one file format, and it looks like most publishers are doing books in that format.

At this point I don't have an ereader, but I'm not seeing complaints about books being available for Sony but not for the Kindle or visa versa, so I don't think that is a con for ereaders.

message 21: by Emoore0916 (new)

Emoore0916 | 28 comments I have had my Kindle since Feb, I was one of the people who had to wait 3 mths becasue they were backordered. I LOVE MY KINDLE. My reasoning behind buying it was becasue I bought so many books and felt I was not getting my money back when trading into the buy back bookstore. I use to easily go into a bookstore and buy $50 worth of books ( i love to buy same day they come out) and only get maybe $15 on those books, very frustrating. Now with the prices just a little cheapter and I can read them more than once. I have approximately 60 books waiting to be read, LOVES IT. Just my 2cents.

message 22: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments Thanks for the testimony.

I was looking at both the Kindle versus the ipod touch. I think the Kindle is still a bit bulky for my use at the moment. I am going for the ipod touch because I can toss it in a bag for ease.


message 23: by Amanda (last edited Sep 08, 2009 04:29PM) (new)

Amanda Orlich Ahern (kittymeowxcore) | 97 comments 1. I have an Amazon Kindle 2 (kind of expensive, but SO worth the bucks) and the way it works, is that you purchase the book in its digital format, and it's sent to your device within 60 seconds. (Awesome if you don't want to trudge to the bookstore.) What's AWESOME about this, is that it works off of the Sprint network, so you have internet access wherever there is 3g. This is FREE. You don't have to pay any monthly fees. You can access the Kindle Store through the device, and you can do some other web browsing as well. Also keep in mind that most books are under $9.99. (I bought Dreamfever for $14 on my Kindle.) Books that are a bit older are even cheaper. Most of the books I've bought have been around $5. I know a lot of people trade books, but the price of a simple paperback is ridiculous now! I've paid $7 or $8 for a paperback.

2. If the book is available on Kindle, do I have to have a Kindle device to down the book?

Not necessarily. iPod Touch or iPhone has an app for that! You can download the Kindle reader for FREE on your ipod device. I have the Kindle and the app on my iPod touch. To be honest, it's not the BEST reading experience. It is kind of a pain to read a book on the screen. But if you're in a pinch, the ipod will sync with your Kindle, so it'll keep track of where you were in your book.

3. After I finish the book, can I share the ebook with a friend like I would with a paperback?

Not unless you are a brave soul and want to lend your actual Kindle to someone. Amazon does protect against that. :(

4. Is it possible to select the print size? I am really concerned about eye strain and headaches from using this media form.

Yuuuup. I like reading with a small font size (I think I use the second from the smallest), but it goes to an incredibly large text size. It's very easy to change, so it's not a pain and doesn't interrupt your reading.

Other awesome things:
*You can make notes in the books you're reading. (I'm doing that with the Darkfever series right now. You can highlight and make comments and footnotes. On the homescreen of your Kindle, there is a folder for your clippings and such, and that is where you find it.)
*Excellent battery life
*Text to speech. It's not the most amazing thing, certainly not as good as an audio book, but it'll give the eyes a rest if you want to listen to the text for a while.
*Space for about 1500 books on the Kindle 2. Yup. 1500. Having your whole library with you at all times is a plus.
*On-board dictionary

I take mine everywhere. I think my biggest concern before I bought it was that I'd miss the feeling of holding a book. I got over it real quick! I bought a "practice" book that was an easy read, so I would have a chance to get used to it. And I got sucked in just like I did with paperbacks. I even got a case for it that opens like a book, so if you prefer a case that opens, they are also available on Amazon.

**Also, I'd like to add that it's so easy to read on a Kindle. There is no glare and the e-ink is like looking at a page. I can read for hours with no eye strain, which is a big concern for me, since I get headaches pretty easily. :)

message 24: by Vicci (new)

Vicci (theibookemporium) | 193 comments I have tried all of the top ebook reader apps for the iPod Touch and I find Stanza to be the best for customizations and getting content on the unit. Far warning backups will take a while if you put 1700 books on the Touch. Using either Stanza for the desktop to transfer the books(except ereader) or Calibre to convert non-DRM formats to (Epub)and transfer to the Touch.

Once the books are epub you can put them on any unit that supports epub format. So I can put epub books on my Touch using Calibre or onto my Sony PRS-300 using the ebook library that comes with the sony PRS-300 . This make it easier for me to expand the number of books that I would normally buy, with discounts from various ebook stores.

Ultimately, in the distant future even these technologies will become obsolete.

message 25: by Sally (new)

Sally (larwos) | 258 comments All this really interests me. I recently bought a used palm tungsten PDA from a friend and is going to let me have the software so I can download ebooks to that. I just hope it's a system that is commonly used.
I have a library where I can download audio books and ebooks and the ebook thing really interests me because the ebooks available are often ones which aren't available by book.

message 26: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 75 comments Sally wrote: "All this really interests me. I recently bought a used palm tungsten PDA from a friend and is going to let me have the software so I can download ebooks to that. I just hope it's a system that is ..."

I have a Palm Tungsten. The best format seems to be eReader (.pdb), but Mobipocket (.prc) also works. In both cases, you can get free software to read the books.

message 27: by Sally (new)

Sally (larwos) | 258 comments Thanks milady Rebecca (cool name). I cant wait to get it all. He keeps telling me the time is getting closer and that he has lots of books with it. Cant imagine they are Supernatural romance though.

message 28: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 75 comments Thanks!

Just so you know, the Secured eReader titles I have can't be transferred. They use your credit card as an unlock key.

message 29: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments How do I locate and get the application called "Stanza"? I am to purchase the ipod touch for the sole purpose of doing some ebook reading.


message 30: by Laura (new)

Laura | 59 comments First off, here is the link for Stanza:

Secondly, I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this or not, but if anyone is considering the Kindle, you should be aware that it read's .mobi format as well as the official .azw Amazon format.

.Mobi format is available almost anywhere eBooks are sold.

There is also a free converter called Calbri that will convert any other file format (.lit, .pdf, etc) into the .mobi format that Kindle can read. I have done this with literally hundreds of books.

Of course, there are several other readers available, and some will read anything anyhow, so this is not an issue. But this is just for anyone interested in the Kindle.

Although you can not share the .azw Amazon book format without breaking the coding (which I have no idea how to do, nor do I have any interest in doing so), all other formats are easily shared with your friends.

message 31: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina I have a Kindle (2nd generation) and I really like reading books on it. However, I have found that you really have to be careful about the book prices. There are times that I've wanted a book and it ended up being cheaper in paperback than for my Kindle. It isn't often, but its happened enough times that I now make sure I check both prices before I make a purchase.

The reading experience on the Kindle is great. I thought I would miss the feel of books, but really, I don't. I also have the Kindle app for my IPhone and I have found that I don't like it much. It's really just too small. I only use it when I'm out of the house and idle (sitting in the carpool line at my son's school).

message 32: by Sally (new)

Sally (larwos) | 258 comments I heard a talk this morning on the radio about the Kindle and they spoke about a situation that happened. Evidently Amazon sold "1984" as an eBook for Kindle, then found out they didn't have the rights for eBooks. They then removed the books they'd sold from everyone's Kindle without their knowledge or permission. Some people who were reading it for study lost all the notes they'd put in the margins. There was a law suit which has been settled, but it is something to think about isn't it? Rather worrying to think they have the ability to access your Kindle without your knowledge or permission.

message 33: by Starling (new)

Starling I recently read that all of the copies of 1984 that had been pulled have been returned with a legal copy and that any notes that had been on the Kindle automatically reappeared after the upload.

I also understand that Amazon has decided never to handle this kind of problem in this way again.

This is new technology and with any new technology you learn "on the job" and make mistakes and learn what ought to happen and what should not.

message 34: by Tonya (new)

Tonya | 179 comments I am interested in buying a Kindle as well, but I am also interested in the new Sony one coming out. Anyone have any ideas which one is better? Or what the differences might be? I am going to ask for one for Christmas so I have to figure out which one I want to ask for. I am a bit concerned about the Kindle as I have read reviews about them being dropped, even from a couple of inches and the screen going black.

message 35: by Steph (new)

Steph (angel4492) | 177 comments Ana,
Just curious - Did you get your iTouch? If so, how are you liking it? Stanza's great, isn't it? Still can't believe such a gem is freeware.

message 36: by Ana (new)

Ana (smackdownqueen) | 22 comments Steph,

I am placing the order online this weekend. I am really excited about the purchase. I will keep you posted once it has arrived.

message 37: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 22 comments Brenna wrote: "1. Most e-books are available in PDF, HTML, DOC or RTF...which can all be read on the home computer or on almost all devices. Many other formats can be converted to use on the individual device you..."

I read e-books on my PALM TX which has a clear backlit screen about the size of an iphone or maybe a bit larger.

When I got the PALM TX (it's out-dated now) Mobipocket made the e-reader software for it, and I absolutely LOVE the Mobipocket format (there's even a Mobipocket download for iphone now). It's tame and it works, BUT...

Mobipocket doesn't support my old PALM, and they never fixed the glitch that prevents my Palm from reading PDF files correctly. *sigh* So whatever hardware you buy now may not be supported later when you need to upgrade to read newest ebooks.

I have just put my DUSHAU TRILOGY up on amazon Kindle as an experiment (what a hassle!), but I don't own a Kindle so I can't see what the formatting looks like.

When a publisher put 2 of my books on fictionwise, I had to buy an e-reader and chose the PALM TX and at fictionwise's recommendation, Mobipocket software.

Apparently, Amazon is moving to make Kindle files readable on other devices but I haven't explored those options to see if I can download Dushau's Kindle version to my Palm without scrambling the formatting.

I would recommend anyone exploring the e-book world to start with and read their tutorials. Fictionwise offers almost all formats, and Mobipocket, and STORE your ebooks for you (and there are lots of free book offers, too).

Then if you later get a new reading device and need a different software format, you don't have to pay for the book over again. You go to and download your books from your own library in the new format you need. I don't know if Kindle offers that, but it sounds like they might.

The confusing thing about e-readers is that it isn't the hardware that does it -- it's the software you download, install, and configure for your device. So pick your software first, then find hardware that it can run on.

Also, with Mobipocket, you need a PC and the Mobipocket PC client installed and configured (maybe not with the newest versions though). You connect your PC to the internet, download the e-book you want, then open that e-book file with Mobipocket on your PC, THEN plug in your reading device to your PC and upload the transformed file to your reader.

Amazon eliminated all that hassle with Kindle, which is why Kindle editions are reaching more people, and why I now (after the price drops etc) want to make even some new titles of mine available on Kindle.

E-books are still an experiment in how to reach the most readers and make it easy for them. But you are right that the BEST Paranormal Romance is moving to E-book, and I expect the best of almost everything else to be exclusively e-book before long.

I've been writing about that on for some months now as I have been watching the e-book field evolve via EPIC's various discussion lists.

One caveat for writers though, Kindle is really easy to hack and really easy to grab whole runs of titles and put them out on torrent and similar peer-to-peer sharing. Just google Kindle torrent e-books.

As noted on this thread, that is totally illegal.

message 38: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments Just got an email about B&N's new device, the nook! I'm liking the look of it. One reason I didn't go for a Kindle was the fact that I couldn't play with it in person before buying. I don't know anyone who owns one, so I was unsure how much I'd like it. You can try out the nook in-store. Also, eBook prices seem very reasonable. I found on Amazon that many books were more expensive than I'd pay for the physical item. At B&N, they're the same price or significantly less than the print version. Plus, I imagine I'll still be getting my membership discount.

And for those asking about "lending" books, the nook allows you to loan ebooks to friends for 14 day periods!

Also, they're going to set it up so that you can read any eBook in its entirety for free while in a B&N store! Considering they all have cafes, I foresee lots of coffee sales.

message 39: by new_user (new)

new_user | 1389 comments I just heard about it! The lending and in-store reading are the most significant differences, I think. Pretty impressive, I'd say.

message 40: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments Me too! I just never took to amazon for book buying. I like my discounts, extra coupons, and free shipping too much. I think I know now what to ask the parentals for Christmas, but I want to head to a store and try it in person to be sure.

Hell, I even like the name better. Nook!

message 41: by Starling (new)

Starling The B&N reader is getting good reviews all over the net. The big advantage is going to be being able to actually hold one in your hand and try it out.

message 42: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Danner (kindlevixen) | 1 comments I will be interesting to see if Barnes and Nobles drops their ebook prices with their own device coming out. In the past they have always been higher than amazon (and they have to add sales tax in every state I think? ).

I actually wrote about the nook on my blog today (link is in my profile) and when I was googling came across this comparison of ebook stores/prices.

The nook interests me, but so far not enough to drop my kindle 1.

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