Stanza: Over One Million Downloads!

January 9, 2009

Interview with Lexcycle cofounder Neelan Choksi

Think about how staggering that is.

There has never before been any eBook hardware or software to even approach one million — yet Stanza has passed that.

1) Can you imagine the eBooks sales that would generate if all eBooks were standardized on ePub as well as being DRM-free?

2) Can you imagine how absolutely gigantic this will get when the iPod Air/iPod Touchbook is released in late 2009?

The dying dinosaurs of print had better wake up to this ASAP.

Barnes & Noble, Borders? You guys will look like this in 2010.

Generation D (For Dinosaur)

January 9, 2009

Here is the lesson for today: Very few ever changed their minds

Plastic Logic eReader To Do ePub

January 9, 2009

Even though I got this tweet:

I couldn’t see the mention of ePub. It was then pointed out to me here, at 31 seconds into the video:


That means DRMed ePub. Like loans from public libraries. (Do you see that, ECTACO? ePub, not MobiPocket!)

ECTACO Needs To Change Course!

January 9, 2009

I sent Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary to do my filthy bidding at CES, to specifically visit the ECTACO booth and get the word on developments for their jetBook eBook reader.

This is from her encrypted Top Secret email:

1) There will be an upgrade to the software within two months to support ePub, HTML, and MobiPocket.

2) DRMed MobiPocket is uncertain at this time.

3) ePub support will not permit DRMed public library loans.

4) But if they do DRMed MobiPocket, public library loans for that will work.

5) No WiFi for this year. That’s planned for 2010.

6) No reduction of current price ($299.00, which is already down from $399.00 and then $349.00).

7) They intend to stay in the eBook game despite Amazon and the Sony Reader due to buyer response. Also, they believe the pocketability factor gives them a niche.

One thing I’m unclear about. Judie says ECTACO stated they’re using FBReader. That’s odd. The betting was that ECTACO was using Coolreader. I wonder if this is actually an announcement of them switching from Coolreader to FBReader when the firmware upgrade is released?

I’ll be emailing ECTACO the link for this post, so I hope they’ll be reading this.

ECTACO, don’t go with DRMed MobiPocket! Go with DRMed ePub instead!

MobiPocket is a legacy format. The majority of print publishers have adopted ePub. Most of these ePub books will no doubt have DRM wrapped around them — from Adobe.

It’s leaked out that MobiPocket demands DRM exclusivity for licensing their format. This is clearly Restraint of Trade. MobiPocket and eReader have both worked on the same hardware — on Palm PDAs and Pocket PCs. MobiPocket’s exclusivity demands are nothing more than monopolistic bullying. It’s a bet they can’t win because the tide of the future is against them.

MobiPocket format eBooks are often more expensive than any others too. Why do you want to lock your customers into a format that is costly?

ePub is what public libraries will be buying. ePub is what most publishers and eBookstores will be selling. This will be a very competitive market and thus there will be pricing bargains for eBook buyers. jetBook owners can benefit greatly from that.

Think about this too: If you offer DRMed MobiPocket, you will always have to offer it. You’ll have customers who will have built libraries of DRMed MobiPocket eBooks and they’ll want future models of the jetBook to support that investment. You’ll be painting yourself into a corner with that. It’s better not to create a set of customers you’ll someday have to alienate!

ePub is the format that will get the Big Push. It will be what people will look for when buying eBooks.

Look at what Sony has done in England! Instead of setting up another UK-only eBook Store, they partnered with bookseller Waterstone’s. And Waterstone’s is selling ePub eBooks — not Sony’s own BroadBand eBook (BBeB) format.

Please, please consider dropping plans for MobiPocket. Go instead with ePub, even if it means getting a DRM license from Adobe.

Full ePub support will signal the jetBook is embracing the future. It will indicate to people a jetBook purchase is a safe investment. It will also make the jetBook an instant alternative to the Sony Reader.

OK, that ends my pleading.

Now some photos from CES courtesy of Kevin from Gear Diary.

Most photos are click = big.

Promotional poster. Eh. Not entirely compelling.

Store demo display. I haven’t seen one of these anywhere yet.

High-contrast non-backlit LCD screen. None of the refresh of eInk. And can be mistaken for eInk in direct lighting.

The range of four color: black, tan, white, red. The case is textured plastic so it lacks sex appeal but provides a good grip.

The top, where mini-USB port and SD Card slot reside.

Cover for mini-USB and card slot open. The jetBook only accepts SD cards as large as 2GB. I hope an OS update can increase that.

The right side: combo numeric and letter buttons. T9 is used to enter Search terms.

The left side: that silver ribbed thing is a slider to change pages. It can really be ignored and the jetBook can be held without accidentally using it.

In the center of the bottom is a wee power button, which is pushed in. Varying press duration for either total Off or simply Sleep/Standby. At the right is an standard-sized earphone jack. At the front surface left are page turn buttons. The cluster at front surface right provide access to Library, Find, Rotation (90-degrees), and Back; with 4-directional and OK center button.

The entire jetBook design would be very familiar to any Sony Reader 505 owner.

Thanks again to Judie and Kevin for the intelligence gathering!

Plastic Logic eReader: Three Videos

January 9, 2009

Plastic Logic e-book prototype

Plastic Logic e-book prototype video 2

plasticlogic demo

They clearly say it won’t be out for another year: 2010.

Leaving aside my predilection for economic Doom, just from a tech timescale perspective, that’s very strange. A lot can happen in a year. I’m still waiting for Pixel Qi and their new screens. Who’s to say that a color screen for eBooks won’t happen between now and then?

Samsung eBook Reader: More Info

January 9, 2009

More on the Samsung Papyrus E-Ink Device

It’s a short item.

Look at this enlarged photo.

It has PDA applications on it!

I don’t see any buttons on the front, either.

No word on eBook formats yet.

This is a very strange duck.

Buying eBooks Via Stanza-Fictionwise

January 9, 2009

Buying an ebook from the Stanza-Fictionwise store

I while ago I wanted to read Nam Le’s, ‘The Boat’. It’s currently only available in trade hardback. I haven’t bought a hardback for ages. I don’t like carrying them around and they are comparatively expensive. Anyway, I wanted an ebook version.

At the moment there aren’t that many options, the Kindle is only available in the US and frankly I’m not sure I’d want one. I do, however, have an iPod Touch which makes my commute into and out of London almost fun. It has music, video, games, ebooks and I even write on it.

Then I discovered that Fictionwise stocked ‘The Boat’ and their catalogue was being made available on my favourite iPod Touch ereader – Stanza.

This post is about my experience buying though the Stanza-Fictionwise store directly within the Stanza app itself.

It’s a detailed step-by-step with screensnaps.

New iPhone eBook Reading App: Shortcovers

January 9, 2009

Welcome to Shortcovers!

Shortcovers is a new digital destination for people to discover and experience their next great read. Both an online and mobile service, it gives readers instant access to the newest books, hottest authors, and most popular magazines and blogs – as well as new content formats and user-inspired writings such as subway novels and fan fiction. It’s not just for avid readers, it’s for anyone who wants the convenience of accessing and reading their favorite content, anytime, anywhere, on the mobile devices they already own.

The INDEX // mb blog has extensive coverage of this with a video.

Samsung Doing An eInk eBook Reader?

January 9, 2009

The merry mobile madmen over at GottaBeMobile have unearthed a lonely eInk eBook reader from Samsung.

And it looks like freehand notes can be scribbled on the screen and it also contains applications of some kind.

Click here to see the brief item and picture.

I’ve looked all over the Net and can’t find additional information yet.