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Backing Up Your eBooks

Last week included April Fool’s Day and sometimes crazy things can happen on April Fool’s Day. To prevent crazy things from adversely impacting your ebook reading, make sure you are backing up your ebook files. There are three primary ways to backup for your ebooks.

Cloud storage

There are more than a dozen cloud storage options today with everyone from Amazon to Apple offering cloud storage capabilities and often for free.  Cloud storage is space on a computer hard drive operated by a company that specializes in storing data.

Cloud Storage Providers

dropbox

Dropbox
Free:
2 GB

Monthly Fee:

  • 50GB $9.99/mo
  • 100GB $19.99/mo

Features:

  • Auto sync
  • Saves multiple versions, restore deleted files

 

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry Playbook

box

Box
Free:
5 GB

Monthly Fee:

  • 50GB $19.99/mo

Features:

  • Share any file or folder w a link
  • Easy Collaboration

 

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry Playbook

iCloud

Apple
Free:
5 GBYearly Fee:

  • $59/yr per computer
  • $99/yr per computer
  • 50GB $50/yr

Features:

  • Share files
  • Recover deleted files

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS

Amazon
Free:
5 GB

Yearly Fee:

  • 20 GB $20/yr
  • 50GB $50/yr
  • 100 GB $100/yr
  • 200 GB $200/yr

Features:

  • Free storage for any mp3s purchased from Amazon
  • Limits access to 8 devices
  • Use proprietary software to upload/download files
  • Recover deleted files

Devices:

PC, Mac, Android (only viewing music/photos)

You Send It

YouSendIt
Free:
2GB

Monthly Fee:

  • 5GB $9.99/mo
  • Unlimited $14.99/mo

Features:

  • Autosyncing
  • Easy sharing of files/folders
  • E signed documents

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS, Android

carbonite

Carbonite
Free:
None

Yearly Fee:

$59/yr per computer (user generated files only)

$99/yr per computer (w external storage & program backup)

Features:

  • Complete Backup
  • Shareable links
  • Restore deleted files

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry

mozy icon

Mozy
Free:
2 GB

Monthly Fee:

  • 50 GB $5.99/mo
  • 125GB $9.99/mo

Features:

  • File synching across multiple computers via MozyStash
  • Automatic/Scheduled Backups
  • Restore deleted files

Devices:

PC, Mac, iPhone, Android

SugarSync

SugarSync
Free:
5GB

Monthly Fee:

  • 30GB $4.99/mo
  • 60GB $9.99/mo
  • 100GB $14.99/mo

Features:

  • Autosyncing
  • Easy sharing of files/folders

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Win Mobile

wuala icon

Wuala
Free:
2 GB

Yearly Fee:

10 GB $29/yr

25GB $49/yr

50GB $79/yr

Features:

  • Selective backup
  • Sync
  • Restore deleted files
  • Versions
  • Shareable links

Devices:

PC, Mac, iOS, Android

My preference is for the automatic syncing thus Dropbox, Mozy’s new  MozyStash, SugarSync. The nice thing about Dropbox is that because of its popularity, there are a number of mobile apps that are integrated with Dropbox.  Other cloud services don’t have this kind of developer support.

Portable media

There are currently two main sources of portable media types: USBs and Storage Cards.  The storage cards are a nice way to provide a backup for your ebooks because many of the ePub readers will read books from a storage card, usually a micro SD card.  The problem with micro SD cards is the propensity for losing them.  The microSD cards are tiny and they need a card reader to be accessible via most computers.

MicroSD Card

The advantage of a USB device is that does not need a separate card reader.  It uses the USB port, as the name implies. I particularly this LaCie keychain one but there are dozens of USB drives out there that would suffice.

LaCie Key SB

 

The disadvantage of the USB drive is that you can’t use it with your ereading device.  A compromise is to get a device like this. It’s a USB drive that is also a card reader.

Transcend

Time Capsule/External hard drive.

An external hard drive (or time capsule as the Mac world calls it) is a hard drive that you attach to your computer and with backup software automatically backups your hard drive.  You should buy a hard drive that is at least the size of your existing computer’s hard drive if you want to backup the programs as well as data.

If you use an external hard drive with a program and software called PogoPlug.  PogoPlug turns your external hard drive (or your computer) into a cloud accessible hard drive so you can create your own cloud without uploading information to a third party service. Over time, the PogoPlug is also much less expensive.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

19 Comments

  1. Mireya
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 08:21:41

    I couldn’t agree more with this advice. When I first started reading ebooks and interacting with authors and readers online in forums/groups (this was before blogs became the thing) several people (including authors) that I chatted with lost whole libraries of ebooks due to hard drive crashes of the nightmarish kind. Some were able to recover some of their data, but most was lost.

    I like to use more than one option for backups, not only to minimize the chance of losing my collection (which after 9 years is pretty substantial) but also because files do sometimes get corrupted. If you use more than two options, there is a good chance at least one of your copies will still be good. I know this because it did happen to me with some ebooks several years ago. I have a 1TB external hard drive, which I found on sale at Micro Center, for less than $80. It’s fantastic for general backups of the contents of my HD as well. I use Dropbox as cloud storage. My tablet’s MicroSD card is 24G so I have a LOT of ebooks in it as well. My original backups were done on flash drives, which was not very efficient because the collection grew so big, that the 8G flash drives were not enough, plus it made it a hassle because I had to “label” them so that I would be able to know where something was before plugging it to my PC. I have like 10 flash drives lying around now, that used to be my back up system. Affordable, but not very efficient.

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  2. Nadia Lee
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 09:36:15

    Great info!

    BTW — CrashPlan is also very good. I use it & I find their plan very reasonable & I love their auto-sync & the ability to sync many computers.

    ReplyReply

  3. T
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 09:47:08

    I might be being thick, but just to make it clear, there is not much use backing up files with DRM, right? I have lost devices before and even when I could recover the file from disk, it was useless because autorization was lost. So only bother backing files without DRM, no point wasting dropbox or icloud space in drm files.

    ( I hate DRM, I do. Not just backups, I particularly hate buying a DRM ebook and it having a format I loathe, as for example lines between paragraphs. That is just cruelty)

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  4. Mireya
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 11:05:02

    @T: I backup everything, even ebooks I was unable to strip. The fact that the ebook may not be “strippable” at this time, doesn’t mean that in the future it will still be “unstrippable”. I have had books that at one time I couldn’t strip of DRM, yet in a matter of months, when I tried again, I was able to do so via some sort of update. Additionally, I don’t trust that my ebook purchases will be forever available to me, so I’d rather have my own copy that I have 100% control over, even with DRM attached. I don’t leave my purchases in other people’s hands, not even the ebook seller I got ebooks from.

    Mireya

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  5. Sunita
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 11:54:37

    @T: @Mireya: Same here. There was no DRM-stripping program for certain Kindle books (Topaz) for a long time, but now there is.

    Another reason to back up all your books, even if you have a reliable etailer, is that a file may become available unavailable. I bought a Maggie Osborne ebook seven or eight years ago and wanted to reread it a while back. I couldn’t find my copy. It was supposedly still on my bookshelf where I bought it, but the file didn’t work. When I contacted them, they said they didn’t have a replacement file (I think copyright had reverted, or something had changed) and they couldn’t provide one. Luckily I found a copy in a buried backup folder from at least three computers ago.

    I use Dropbox (because so many people do and it’s easy for newbies) as well as box.net/box.com (we got a free-for-life 50G account when I bought an HP TouchPad during that nanosecond they were on sale). Plus I use TimeMachine. All of those systems have come in handy at various points.

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  6. RachelT
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 11:55:21

    I have had a Dropbox account for several years now where I keep my ebooks. It was great to be travelling abroad last year, have a sudden urge to read a book I hadn’t loaded onto my reader and be able to access it via Dropbox.
    You might be interested to know that Dropbox are currently offering an additional free 500mb when you sign up for a new free account using an introductory link from another user. If you would like to use this Dropbox link we will both get an additional 500mb free space Dropbox!

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  7. RachelT
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 11:58:47

    Sorry – that link should be http://db.tt/v0tryMp
    I was having my first unsuccessful go at coding a hyperlink.

    ReplyReply

  8. Lada
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 12:04:45

    I thank Jane for starting me off on the right foot about how best to save my ebooks from the start of building my library. Her calibre/dropbox instructions were clear and easy enough for me to follow. I don’t know what I’d do without automatic cloud back-up and love that my ebooks are then available from any device except a dedicated ereader (which isn’t a big deal to side-load books into). I also use external HD back-up because at this point, I don’t trust any company to be around forever and it’s an easy way to store my music, books, pictures, etc. all in one place.

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  9. Wahoo Suze
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 13:30:52

    Somewhere in the depths of the swiss cheese I call my brain, there’s a little niggle about cloud-based storage companies claiming copyright of anything you store there, but I can’t seem to find where I read that. Unless I dreamed it. Does anybody else remember something like that?

    I don’t suppose it would affect e-book storage, but if you’re a mobile writer and store your stuff in the cloud, that might be an issue.

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  10. Nicole
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 13:59:23

    I’m really thinking about getting a Pro Dropbox account. I’d cry for years if my ebooks were lost.

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  11. Courtney Milan
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 14:29:15

    @Wahoo Suze:

    I don’t suppose it would affect e-book storage, but if you’re a mobile writer and store your stuff in the cloud, that might be an issue.

    I’m a mobile writer, and my thought is: yeah, just let them try to enforce that one.

    For those who worry about it, these are Dropbox’s terms (and by the way, their T&C are proof that you can write terms and conditions that are reasonably readable): https://www.dropbox.com/terms

    By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.

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  12. Jane Davitt
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 16:05:08

    I’m so clueless about this. If they’re on Calibre, are they saved there no matter what happens to my computer? Or am I misunderstanding the way Calibre works?

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  13. Aleksandr Voinov
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 16:57:29

    I swear by Carbonite. Switching/upgrading computers is easy – when I bought a new computer, I just set it up, logged into Carbonite, put in my password, and Carbonite transferred EVERY file I had on my old machine to the new machine. Hey, presto, full back-up. No more fear and horror of losing even a single file.

    I share projects for my publishing house via Dropbox with the whole team. The others I have no experience with.

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  14. RachelT
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 18:16:31

    @Jane Davitt
    By default your Calibre library is on the hard drive of your computer, and therefore your ebooks need backing up like any other important file .
    When you set up a Dropbox account it places a directory on your computer. You point Calibre to this directory using the library icon and then switch/create library in Calibre. The dialogue box asks you for the new location – you browse to the Dropbox folder and then click on the option to move your existing library to the new location. Bob’s your Uncle, your booms are stored in Dropbox. Your books will be automatically stored and backed up when you add them to Calibre. Good luck.

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  15. Jane Davitt
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 18:23:09

    @RachelT:

    That helps a lot; thank you!

    ReplyReply

  16. Statch
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 19:29:35

    I use Sugarsync just because they’re the ones I happened to have heard about when I decided I wanted to try cloud storage (and I think I heard about it here). I especially like being able to download a book to my phone anywhere I am.

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  17. Loosheesh
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 20:41:13

    I use Mozy as my main backup solution (I have the 50GB plan) and it’s saved the day more than a few times. I have free Dropbox and Box accounts from way back when but I hardly store anything there anymore. SugarSync I tried more recently for only my ebook files but I no longer use it as my ebooks have surpassed the free storage limit.

    I have quite a few audiobooks and I store these at Adrive.com; if I kept them on my computer, I’d have to buy a Mozy plan with more storage. Adrive.com has a free 50GB plan but I don’t know if they do syncing and all that other fancy stuff. I want, no, need to get an external harddrive so I can have local access to my audiobooks.

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  18. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity lurches along
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 02:19:59

    [...] Dear Author on options for backing up your ebooks. [...]

  19. An iOS App Update
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 11:02:11

    [...] this is really a must have app.  Dropbox is a cloud storage and sync application. I use it for my ebooks, but you should be aware that there have been privacy concerns raised about Dropbox and there are [...]

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