The jetBook: A Real eBook Contender?

April 26, 2009

Look at this:

Click = big

These are two eBook reading programs on my desktop.

I have sized the windows identically.

On the right is the gorgeous LIT in Microsoft Reader.

On the left is ePub in FBReader.

How eerie is that?

If, like me, you’re used to seeing fugly fugly fugly ePub in both Adobe Digital Editions and the Sony eLibrary software, the above should be a real eye-opener.

It was for me.

As you’ll also notice, the fonts on the left are rather lighter than the MS Reader program. I don’t know what I can do about that aside from increasing font size and ruining the look-alike.

But: look! Margins! Fonts that aren’t fugly. A book-like presentation!

Why is this important?

FBReader is the display software for ePub files on the ECTACO jetBook.

You’ll notice my text extract at top isn’t centered — this is my alpha of The People of the Abyss. This continues throughout the alpha version. I suspect the fault is mine: I’m probably not using the proper tag for it.

But this really makes me wonder if the jetBook does ePub eBook display better than the Sony Reader.

One other glorious thing: FBReader will hyphenate words when the font size is changed. Unlike, say, the Sony Reader, which won’t break words and therefore leaves huge gaps between words when the font size is increased.

Alas, the ePub the jetBook can handle is of the no-DRM flavor, meaning no borrowing eBooks from public libraries and no buying of most ePub eBooks. And yet, for those who are philosophically/politically opposed to DRM, this is the first eBook reading device out there to offer something other than the fugliness of Adobe’s rendering engine.