November 20, 2008

Dual display eBook reader research

On the UK's PocketLint gadget web they have recently posted a video on research from Maryland and Berkeley Universities into more advanced document navigation.

As part of that research they developed further the concept of a dual-display eReader and how it can be used to ease certain types of reading, and some of the more complex navigational tasks.

This would be most useful beyond your standard "linear reading" of a book, in such tasks as document reading, cross-referencing and production by a knowledge worker, student, professor or other.

I have long advocated the two screen approach. In the future I hope technology will evolve so that in fact it can be one large flexible screen that can be used as one large screen in portrait or landscape, or as two smaller portrait pages side by side. This is my 200% goal for the "screen space to device size (closed) ratio".

The video is well done, and three and a half minutes long, so just go ahead and watch it.

November 19, 2008

eReader eBook reading software for iPhone and iPod Touch

eReader is another eBook reading application for the iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

You can see a 10minute demo video of their v1.0 release (from July 2008) here, or embedded below:

Getting the application
The application is downloaded to the iPhone from the Apple AppStore as for other applications.

Getting Content
eBooks can be purchased from major publishers (at the moment eReader themselves and Fictionwise), although they say they will be adding more sources shortly.

Books are kept on your eReader web account, even if you have deleted your local copy from your iPhone or you have not yet downloaded it to your device.

From the UI you can go to your eReader account (with a username and password login) and then select books from there to (re-)download into the device memory.

You can request multiple downloads in parallel, and it advises you when they are completed.

Premium content requires an unlock code on download, although they do "cache" them to save re-entry.

For purchases done via the device the credit card number configured on your eReader account is used.

At the time of the video (July) they state they have more than fifty thousand titles available, which is more than some eBook reader platforms.

The app has a "bookshelf" inside which is nothing more than the books on the device itself, as opposed to the books you own or available from the web.

Page turning is the intuitive, and rapidly becoming ubiquitous on the iPhone, "swipe to turn".
I didn't see demo-ed a simple "tap to turn" option that exists in Stanza or "Classics", the previous iPhone readers I've covered, but I hope they have included it.

Good features included are:-
  • supports landscape format
  • dictionary integration. A downloaded dictionary (of which there can be multiple) works across different books. Just press and hold to see dictionary entry for a word.
  • font size control.
and they state they are planning improvements in the number of sources of content and user interface and collection browsing/filtering, some of which maybe already in the 1.3 release now available

eReader seems like another well done eReading application for the iPhone platform, with more than some others have in back-end systems and available content.

These eReading applications for iPhone are following Apple guidelines and UI styles and doing a nice job of user interaction and graphics.

As a result they are already trending to convergence, with not a lot of difference between them!

The difference will be in the availability of books from the internet, pricing and integration with other possible reading devices and services.

November 18, 2008

Half a million downloads Stanza eReading software for eBooks on Apple iPhone

Apparently, the Stanze eReading software from Lexcycle for the iPhone has been very successful, with already over 500,000 downloads.

The iPhone reader application is available on the Apple iPhone AppStore and the desktop/laptop eBook software for PC or Mac is available from this section of the Lexcycle web.

The fact it is free is obviously a factor, but it does indicate the level of interest or intrigue there is about being able to read books (and other material) on the iPhone/iPod Touch platforms.

If you want to see it working in a demo, you can do so in a number of movie formats at the Lexcycle web site, here.

Among other features it does seem to have a lot of configurations options for the reading appearance, allowing you finicky readers to see your contents just as you like it.

It's available in twelve different languages and has users in more than 50 countries, aparently.
Any users out there amongst you who can give a hands-on assessment.

The Stanza Online Catalog includes over 40,000 book and other items, “in more than 20 languages.”

It can display files in the standard ePub format, and have integrated a number of web sources for books, such as Feedbooks and others.

November 17, 2008

Are you glad you have an eBook reader? How many times?

TeleRead forums post an explanation here by Ficbot of how she was pleased, 10 times over of having an eBook reader.

I have long shared her belief that the eBook discussion shouldn't be a print OR eBook discussion.

The two have different strengths and can complement each other, and that sometimes you may even want both formats of the SAME book and even buy them together.

I'm not sure when I've been "most glad" to have an eBook reader. I think it would have to be either:-
  • Travelling: when trying to travel light and not knowing which books to take. Forgetting to take any books at all. Finishing the book I was reading shortly after starting the trip!
  • Away from Home: Being at the beach house for spells in summer or weekends and not having anything with me to read in paper form.
What about eBook reader owners amongst you out there?
When were/are you most glad to have an eBook reader with you?