Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Google goes epub

Starting today, google is making over one million public domain titles available in epub format. From the booksearch blog:

By adding support for EPUB downloads, we’re hoping to make these books more accessible by helping people around the world to find and read them in more places. More people are turning to new reading devices to access digital books, and many such phones, netbooks, and e-ink readers have smaller screens that don’t readily render image-based PDF versions of the books we’ve scanned. EPUB is a lightweight text-based digital book format that allows the text to automatically conform (or “reflow”) to these smaller screens. And because EPUB is a free, open standard supported by a growing ecosystem of digital reading devices, works you download from Google Books as EPUBs won’t be tied to or locked into a particular device. 

It looks like epub is rapidly becoming the mp3 equivalent for ebooks.

(via engadget)


Connected Sony

Sony today announced a new ‘Daily Edition’ reader with 3G connectivity, giving it a feature-for-feature rival with Amazon’s kindle. Finally. From I4U news:

Like the Amazon Kindle Sony does not charge a service fee. The 3G connectivity is delivered by AT&T.
Other features of the Sony Reader Daily Edition include a 7-inch wide, touch screen display. 2GB of internal memory to hold thousands of eBooks, and expansion slots for memory cards.

(via Daring Fireball)

Another one for epub

According to the New York Times, Sony has announced that it will now be selling e-books only in ePub format – seems like ePub is now the mp3 of reading:

On Thursday, Sony Electronics, which sells e-book devices under the Reader brand, plans to announce that by the end of the year it will sell digital books only in the ePub format, an open standard created by a group including publishers like Random House and HarperCollins.

Sony will also scrap its proprietary anticopying software in favor of technology from the software maker Adobe that restricts how often e-books can be shared or copied.

Pretty well only leaves Amazon not supporting ePub (apart from via Stanza which it owns, of course). Of course Amazon is the elephant in the room and will no doubt be hoping that its kindle/amazon ecosystem for books works as well as Apple’s ipod/itunes ecosystem for music. The difference is, of course, that the ipod could play mp3 format files without any problems – kindle needs workarounds to deal with ePub…

iphone textbooks

Quick link to a WSJ article which informs us that an American e-tectbook company is now offering an iphone app which allows students to access their (rented) textbooks on their phones:

The new applications, free for subscribers to CourseSmart LLC, will let students access their full electronic textbooks, read their digital notes and search for specific words and phrases.

“Nobody is going to use their iPhone to do their homework, but this does provide real mobile learning,” said Frank Lyman, CourseSmart’s executive vice president. “If you’re in a study group and you have a question, you can immediately access your text.”

Of course, it’s not really about reading the text on the phone, but about raising awareness:

“Textbooks are the missing link in the e-reader content base,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, Inc. “The problem so far is that college students haven’t really been interested in reading on their laptops. The iPhone will help create excitement and generate awareness of e-textbooks.”

(via Macrumors)

Nick Cave’s iphone app

The blurring of media forms continues with news in the Guardian that Nick Cave’s new novel will be released as an iphone app first – before its print edition:

Later this month, Nick Cave’s new novel The Death of Bunny Munro – the story of a sex-maniac travelling salesman taking his last road trip – goes to market through the iPhone App Store, in an enhanced edition that is being launched before the print version.

With some interesting ‘enhancements’:

… it also includes enhancements that could have a noticeable effect on the experience of reading. Instead of paginating the book conventionally, it’s presented as a continuous vertical scroll (one geek-pleasing trick is that you can adjust the scrolling speed with the angle of tilt of the phone), and the App includes an audiobook that syncs with the written text. Pop on the headphones, thumb the screen and Cave’s voice picks up where you left off.

(thanks Graham)

They say that competition is good…

As Amazon’s kindle does its best to attract all the attention, Sony has announced that it is matching Amazon’s ebook prices and introducing new, cheaper ereaders. As tidbits reports:

For a product category that has long had no legs, competition is finally heating up for electronic book readers. The latest salvo is from Sony, which had an early well-liked device called the Sony ReaderThe company said it would match Amazon’s $9.99 price in the bookseller’s Kindle store for bestselling books sold in electronic form.

Sony also said that in late August, it would release the Reader Pocket Edition ($199) and Reader Touch Edition ($299).