Enough eInk/ePaper/eCrap eBook Devices!

December 29, 2009

One of several new videos at YouTube had this frightening image in it:

Mustek might jump in?

The world really does not need yet another damned eCrap eBook device.

Barnes & Noble’s Incompatible Non-Universal ePub

December 21, 2009

I don’t know why this should shock anybody.

Still, it makes the PDF press release [PDF link] title all the more ironic:

Adobe and Barnes & Noble Join Forces to Standardize eBook Technology

By standardizing on EPUB and collaborating with Adobe on a content protection standard based on Adobe technology, Barnes & Noble is delivering the richest range of content available, across a broader array of devices than anybody else,” said William J. Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.com. “Consumers can feel confident that when they buy their digital content from BN.com, they can read it on more devices than any other bookstore.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Let me parse this.

By standardizing on EPUB — ah, good! Everyone except Kindle is on the same page now. ePub for everybody! You can buy ePub here, there, and even everywhere — at Barnes & Noble and all other ePub-pusher storefronts — and it will run on anything that uses ePub.

Um, no.

Because of this:

they can read it on more devices than any other bookstore — the key words are devices and bookstore. Meaning, those devices must run the software of the bookstore, meaning Barnes & Noble.

Which then makes the next sentence in that press release an outright lie:

This collaboration with Adobe further delivers on our commitment to provide the digital content our customers want, anytime, anywhere and on whatever device they choose.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

What if I choose a Sony Reader? Or a Cooler? Or Astak?

Out of luck.

Because of this:

Adobe is integrating Barnes & Noble’s eReader social content protection technology into Adobe Content Server, Adobe Reader Mobile SDK and, eventually, into Adobe Digital Editions.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Barnes & Noble’s eReader social content protection technology — this is the eReader DRM feature, which places the eBook buyer’s name and credit card number in the eBook file. So, if you pass that file on, there’s your name and credit card number for everyone to see.

No other device aside from the Nook and those running the Barnes & Noble eReader software can deal with this form of DRM.

ePubs purchased at Barnes & Noble will “stay in Barnes & Noble.”

The only hope is that as other manufacturers — Sony, et al — update their device firmware, they will add this method of DRM to it.

It’s not just device firmware, either: Adobe Digital Editions and Sony Library will both require updating too to handle this.

In summary: The Nook can read ePub with the special (for now) Barnes & Noble “social DRM” as well as all other Adobe DRM ePub files (from public libraries or bought even from Sony’s Reader Store). The reverse is not true: No device other than the Nook right now can process the new “social DRM” scheme the Nook uses.

When will ePub again be “universal?” Adobe says by the end of 2010.

How’s that for a hell of a wait?


Customer FAQ: Adobe and Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Nook: LCD Trueview

December 21, 2009

A major selling point of the Barnes & Noble Nook is that color LCD screen.

Look at how sharp those cover thumbnails look!

In person, it’s less than fantastic.

This is a reduction of a large JPEG provided by Barnes & Noble, to make it just about the same size as the Nook’s true-life LCD display:

Even that would be pretty good.

However, this is what that Nook LCD really displays:

So, even if you can get color cover thumbnails, don’t expect them to be all sharp and pretty as the simulated pictures have been leading everyone to believe!

Quote: Shannon Stacey

December 20, 2009

Judging a publisher by formatting?

You can work your ass off writing the best book you can, but if you place it with a company who can’t present it worth a damn, nobody’s going to read it.

Multi eInk eBook Device Fondle Report

December 19, 2009

Note: Crappy graphic for illustrative purposes only. Devices are not to relative sizes.

Last weekend I was frustrated in my attempt to fondle a live Barnes & Noble Nook. The only working unit was still locked away in an office and the person with the key wouldn’t arrive until 2PM that day (I was there at 10AM!).

This weekend, I went back to the same Barnes & Noble. What the hell, let’s see.

And they had two live Nooks.

After fondling the Nook, I went on to fondle three other eInk eBook devices and have drawn some conclusions some of you will find surprising.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sony’s Howard Stringer’s Ongoing Delusions

December 17, 2009

News Corp. to Sell Subscriptions on Sony Reader

Oh my god. Howard Stringer, blithely leading Sony to its destruction, actually said this:

We feel we’re riding to the rescue of news.

I sit here stunned, wondering what words my fingers will conjure up as my brain tries to parse the absolute imbecility and naivete of that statement.

Read the rest of this entry »

IDPF Screws Up ePub eBook Covers For Everyone!

December 16, 2009

In an earlier post, Barnes & Noble Nook Vs. Archos 5 Internet Tablet: Round Two, I closed with this:

One flaw in that video: Aldiko did not create a thumbnail of the cover; it’s using a generic placeholder. I will ask about that and report back.

I doubt anyone but me would have even noticed that. But I did and it bugged me.

I had to know what was going on here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet

December 11, 2009

Liza Daly is prominent in the eBook community as someone who knows the IDPF ePub spec inside and out.

She bought a Nook for testing purposes, afflicting it with ePub eBooks that are totally-compliant to the spec and which anyone is bound to encounter at some point.

The results were not good at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oh Give It Up. Steve Jobs Wins.

December 8, 2009

New Digital Publishing Venture Boasts Access To 144 Million-Plus Audience; Squires Talks

Four key goals: The venture has four key goals initially:

—Be ready for full-color devices with an application that renders publications “in beautiful form” and in “recognizable” form.

—Develop a platform that can enable that across multiple devices, operating systems and screens.

—Develop a common digital storefront where consumers can easily make purchases and get universal access on any device as they buy digital products from their publisher.

—Work with advertisers to co-develop new advertising forms that Squires expects will be more immersive with the power of digital delivery. “This has the potential to be a new and vastly important branding medium for advertisers, particularly with larger screen devices.”

Um…. this bit?

—Develop a platform that can enable that across multiple devices, operating systems and screens.

That bit is called The Internet.

Baker & Taylor has the next big thing in ebooks. Really!

If the ebook rendering and toolkit put to shame everything that has been done so far (and they do), the same is true of the retailing presentation. The virtual books look look like physical books on a shelf. They have spines. You click on one and pull it down, rotate it, open it, and flip through the pages. Unless you’re on a PC and want to look at 50 pages at once, that is.

If what I saw on Gagnon’s computer is matched in the actual platform launch, I’ll be shopping and reading on this platform on my iPhone starting immediately.

This is strangely sparse of, you know, actual technical details.

And this:

B&T’s Blio system is raising the bar for all of them by combining simple authoring tools with a delivery platform that enables enhanced editions.

What he has just described is iTunes, the iTablet, and Pages.

And this:

It won’t take long before many books, and, one would assume, all books that have large audiences will be available in something far more interesting than just a digital rendering of what appeared in print.

Yeah, well, welcome to several months ago. Glad you caught up.

But neither of these matter.

The only thing that matters is what Apple does. Period.

There are over sixty million of the iPhone and iPod Touch out there. The iTablet will sell over a million in its first year, even if it’s a whopping US$800.00.

That is the digital book platform. Nothing else.

Aside from asking, What will Apple do? The other question is, Will Apple provide a Windows-compatible digital book reading program?

Do you see how long it took Amazon to provide its desktop reader?

Apple will have iTablets to sell — just as Amazon had Kindles to sell.

Steve Jobs, again, knows how to win:

Do any of you?

Previously here:

One Step Closer To Apple Digital Books
The 7 Principles Of Apple
The Fine Print = Apple iTablet WIN!
Hybrid iPhone/Print Book Glimpse Of The Future
Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates
Why Digital Books Will Win
ePub For Seniors
Vook Debuts Digital Books
Disney + Pixar + Marvel + Apple + iTablet
Smart Digital Books Vs. The ePub FAIL Model
He Understands Something Is Missing
English-Subtitled Editis Smart Digital Book Video
Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail