Thursday, May 14, 2009

Amazon launches iPhone-optimized Kindle eBook store

Following on the release of Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone application, Amazon has launched an iPhone-optimized Kindle eBook webstore. The new Kindle website is now more iPhone friendly, offering users a slick interface and more than 280,000 eBook titles to flick through.

The new Kindle store site has a search box and several default ways to filter ebook content, including books by category, NY Times best sellers, Kindle top sellers, new & noteworthy, and recommendations for you. You can also access and change your 1-click settings and manage your account.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stanza iPhone ebook reader updated to version 1.8

Popular Apple iPhone ebook reader, Stanza has just been given an update according to justanotheriphoneblog. Stanza version 1.8 now gets a sexy new icon along with several other changes and upgrades:

  • Ability to adjust brightness by swiping the screen up and down

  • Page bookmarking - simply tap the corner to doggy-ear the page.

  • Themes support - no longer you need to read text on the white background.

  • Word definitions

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apple hit with lawsuit over iPhone as e-book reader

Apple appears to be getting hit with a suit over the exploding e-book market. Multiple sources are reporting that a Swiss communications firm, Monec Holding, has filed suit in a Virginia district court. Monec accuses the iPhone maker of "patent infringement, unfair trade practices, monopolization, and tortious interference for allegedly treading on its January 2002 patent No. 6,335,678 titled 'Electronic device, preferably an electronic book.'"

Apparently, last year Monec also sued HP for patent infringement.

Apple Insider says Monec's beef centers on "Apple's move to distribute digital book reading applications through the App Store, which it subsequently sees as an endorsement by the Cupertino-based company that its touch-screen handset can serve as a capable eBook reader."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amazon Unveils Kindle 2 founder Jeff Bezos displayed the Kindle 2 at a recent New York press conference. The device has a 6-inch, 600 x 800 pixel display that provides 16 shades of gray, an upgrade from its predecessor that only displayed four. The company claims that pages refresh 20 percent faster in the new version of the device, and the Kindle 2 is available for preorder and costs about $360.

The power charger is also smaller. What's more, you can charge the device using a micro USB cable. As before, you can shop for books directly from the wireless Kindle Store, using Amazon's Whispernet. With 2 gigabytes of internal memory, you can store more than 1,500 books. The original had 256 megabytes of internal storage (about 200 books). But the original also had an SD memory card slot. There's no such slot on Kindle 2.

Kindle 2 also can read out loud, even the voice is robotic and nowhere near the quality of a book recorded.

E-Book Formats: TomeRaider (.tr2 or .tr3)

The TomeRaider e-book format is a proprietary format. There are versions of TomeRaider for Windows, Windows Mobile (aka Pocket PC), Palm, Symbian and more. Several Wikipedias are available as TomeRaider files with all articles unabridged, some even with nearly all images.

Capabilities of the TomeRaider3 ebook reader vary considerably per platform: the Windows and Windows Mobile editions support full HTML and CSS. The Palm edition supports limited HTML (e.g. no tables, no fonts), and CSS support is missing. For Symbian there is only the older TomeRaider2 format, which does not render images or offer category search facilities. Despite these differences any TomeRaider ebook can be browsed on all platforms. Tomeraider is popular among readers because of its huge free document base. According to their records the Tomeraider Website has over 4000 free ebooks to read.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wall Street sees big sales for Amazon Kindle has steadfastly refused to disclose details on the sales of its popular e-book reader known as the Kindle, which hasn't stopped Wall Street analysts from trying to pinpoint the number anyway.

A pair of analysts issued reports late Monday with their estimates, which put Kindle sales for last year somewhere between 374,000 units and 500,000 units. Analyst Mark Mahaney of Citigroup says this would put the device ahead of the early sales of the popular iPod digital music player.

Amazon launched the Kindle in December 2007 and quickly sold out its initial production run. The device was also sold out in the recent holiday shopping season. The company has long refused to disclose specific sales figures for the Kindle, and a spokesman would not comment on the latest estimates for the device.

Monday, February 2, 2009

E-Book Devices: Plastic Logic's eReader (Dossier)

Plastic Logic is a spin-off company from Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory and specializes in polymer transistors and electronics. The principal product the company has developed is a flexible A4-size and robust plastic electronic display the thickness of a credit-card. It will be the core part of the upcoming eReader.

The headquarters of Plastic Logic is in Cambridge, United Kingdom. A factory for the mass-production of the display units was opened on September 17th 2008 in Dresden, Germany.

The release date of Plastic Logic's eReader is announced to be the second half of 2009 for selected partners only with general release in early 2010. It is intended as a replacement for paper, allowing electronic documents to be transported and read just like paper documents. It will have a thickness of less than 7 mm, a form factor of 8.5" x 11" and a weight of less than 16 oz. It will be capable of displaying MS Office documents (Excel, PowerPoint, Word), PDF files and others. The eReader has no official name until now, but on the homepage, you can find an image of the eReader displaying a fictitious market report from 2010, that refers to the eReader calling it Plastic Logic's Dossier.

Friday, January 30, 2009

E-Book Sources: AccessMyLibrary is a web based federated search product produced by Gale (Cengage), which prefers to market the product as a "search engine", although it is more similar in technology and results to a portal or metasearch engine. It is marketed as providing community-wide access to Thomson databases and encyclopedias licensed by public, school, or college libraries. Thomas Gale provides access to its plethora of databases via one portal interface which can be incorporated into a library's own OPAC, or remotely through a web mounted interface which uses library card holders to log-in to gain access.

Typically, the content is available directly from a library web page, or through the Internet that shows possible libraries in the user's area, and gives access if the user can enter a card number or other identifier from a participating library. Libraries may customize the menu of data sources which are available to its patrons, although this may not be explained to users.

The content available on AccessMyLibrary is also visible in major general-purpose search engines, and is similarly available to the user through patron identification. However, it does not provide access to records outside of Gale products, so only records from Thomson Gale sources that are already on the Internet will be found through AccessMyLibrary and other search engines, like Google, for example. Results that are available on the Internet may appear in a different format in AccessMyLibrary.

The site currently offers nearly 30 million articles from leading magazines like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Consumer Reports and daily newspapers at no cost.

Many librarians may consider this a valuable service, as it provides a convenient way of access control where control by internet address is not practical. Some may be put off by the description of this as a "free" service, since the library pays Gale directly for patron access.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

E-Book Formats: OEB (Open eBook)

Open eBook (or OEB) is the e-book format based on XML format and defined by Open Publication Structure (OPS) specification.

In its essence, it is a JAR package (a zip file plus a manifest). Inside the package a defined subset of XHTML may be used, along with other CSS and the Dublin Core metadata. The default file extension is .opf (OEB Package Format).

The Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS) is a specification for representing the content of electronic books. Specifically:

  • The specification is intended to give content providers (e.g. publishers, authors, and others who have content to be displayed) and tool providers minimal and common guidelines which ensure fidelity, accuracy, accessibility, and adequate presentation of electronic content over various electronic book platforms.

  • The specification seeks to reflect established content format standards.

  • The goal of this specification is to define a standard means of content description for use by purveyors of electronic books (publishers, agents, authors et al.) allowing such content to be provided to multiple Reading Systems.

OEBPS is based on XML because of its generality and simplicity, and because XML documents are likely to adapt well to future technologies and uses. XML also provides well-defined rules for the syntax of documents, which decreases the cost to implementers and reduces incompatibility across systems. Further, XML is extensible: it is not tied to any particular set of element types, it supports internationalization, and it encourages document markup that can represent a document's internal parts more directly, making them amenable to automated formatting and other types of computer processing.