Shamelessly Simple…

Okay. I always intended this site to be for people who are curious about eBooks and might be interested in reading or writing or selling them. I didn’t want to get too technical, (if you haven’t noticed) since I’ve always been more comfortable using machines than taking them apart. And I frankly never cared much about what goes on inside them.

E Ink Corporation

E Ink Corporation

I assumed that the tech-minded and mechanically inclined would be out there ripping these machines to pieces and comparing them on the molecular level. They are much better qualified for the job than I.

Then, the theory goes, these technicians and explorers would stumble on eBook Rumors read my attempts to scratch the surface of an intricate and mind-blowing new technology and then feel compelled to tell me how wrong I am. Slowly but surely, it’s starting to happen.

eBook Rumors was always going to be a place to discuss this new technology. A stock taker and witness for the eBook Revolution that’s underway, I wanted eBook Rumors to be the voice and ears of the common person. For those who are interested in eBooks and eReaders, but don’t want to know much more about them than price, availability and basic operations.

If exposing ignorance and partial knowledge can expedite the process of educating all about the eBook Revolution, I believe my readers will be quick to acknowledge that I am the person ideally suited for the job. Yah!

I want people to talk shop here, please do. Just don’t expect me to understand everything you’re saying. (Unless you speak real slow…)

Now that I’ve said that, I’m going to direct you to homebase for the whole e-ink thing. I’ve seen this stuff in action, and it’s truly remarkable. The screens look exactly like the printed page. You even need illumination to read it. Here’s the link to the E Ink Corporation. Any of you computer guys or gals have a look and want to explain things, you better before I take a crack at it.

You see, I’ve always believed that technology is one of the things standing in the way of the eBook’s adoption. People know how to read books already and they face plenty of learning curves at the office. People are concerned that eBooks will complicate and grossly overprice a rather sublime and fairly inexpensive passtime: reading books. I hope we can clear that up at eBook Rumors.

I’ll go back to my mantra. Cheap eReaders. Cheap eBooks. Make them easy to use.


An apology to Kindle…

Sorry for dissing you Kindle

Author Boy, Brendan Halpin, straightened me out on Kindle’s format reading capabilities. They go beyond the Kindle format alone, and you are not limited to Whispernet for downloads. You can access other eBooks via a USB cable. Also, Amazon converts Word files and structured html files for a small fee.

Kindle supports Mobipocket books (MOBI, .PRC), plain text files, and their own proprietary DRM-restricted format (AZW). Not completely supportive of PDF but they’re working on it. Third party software can correct this PDF thing more easily.

A full description of Kindle’s superpowers at Wikipedia here.

Many thanks… Author Boy.

p.s. Kindle’s eBooks are still too expensive…


Hanlin eReader V3 from Jinke

Hanlin eReader V3

Hanlin eReader V3

Say hello to the Hanlin eReader V3 with Vizplex. (Vizplex is the latest generation of E Ink’s microencapsulated ink imaging film. More on that here.)   

The Hanlin eReader uses a 6 inch e-ink display, has familiar lines, function buttons and retails for $299.

Seems to me that the Hanlin designers have tricked out a nice piece of tech with multilanguage support that is just born to read. Larger image here.

It’s marketed as a low power handheld device designed specifically for reading, boasting indoor and outdoor variability.  They claim you can go a month between battery recharges. (Based on an average of 300 pages per day.)  More details about that here. Anybody know if that’s true out there?

The Hanlin eReader runs on a Linux OS and supports the following formats:  PDF, DOC, WOLF, MP3, HTML, TXT, CHM, FB2, Djvu, PNG, TIF, GIF, BMP, JPG, PPT, EPUB, LIT, PRC, MOBI.

It comes equipped with 32 MB onboard storage, making the SD card slot for optional 4GB memory extension a must. It’s USB ready and the Jinke company that makes it says nothing about selling you eBooks. I like that. Just give us an omnivorous machine we can feed our favorite eBooks to, yah? When eReader designers stay out of the bookstore business it means there’ll be no conflict of interest in eBook pricing or supply.

While it’s still too expensive for my liking (but you know this, yah?) the Hanlin eReader V3 is one of the first machines I’ve seen that’s built to read what you want.


Smartphone learns to Read

Palm Pre

Palm Pre

Rumor has it that in an effort to stay relevant Palm’s Pre is being reissued with onboard apps, games and eBook software. Its broader hardware profile that people love is being tested for mulitformat reading.

Palm is reeling from an $80 million loss last quarter and plans to jump back into the fray with a refit for the webOS operating system that will including the reading software.

Makes sense to me. We’re still waiting for similar surprises from Blackberry.


Cybook available from Bookeen

Okay. I had no idea! They’re coming out of the woodwork now.

Cybook New Edition is available from Bookeen. It uses e-ink, has 512 MB internal memory storage. For full product specifications, images and price just click here here.

It will cost you $350 dollars for Cybook Model: CYBGEN310BS – non-deluxe model. Still too much for wide adoption, but the growing competition will begin to force the price down. Yah!

Cybook

Cybook

They offer a battery guaranteed for 8,000 page flips–roughly 80 pages per day. Also say that Cybook e-ink display does not consume power as long as it displays the same page. Others make the same claim, so we’ll find out if it’s a myth one day.

Read full hardware specifications here:

You can find a detailed list of software specifications here. Cybook will read mobipocket PRC, Palm Doc, html, txt and pdf.

And this is really the tip of the iceberg. eReaders have been put on the top five things you “must have” in 2009. Can you believe it? It’s an Invasion!

The jetBook from Ectaco.

The jetBook is a charming little machine from Ectaco.

These guys suggest the jetBook is the newest generation of handhelds and is an example of eBooks finally coming of age. While I think it’s still a little early to call that one, it is a sharp looking device.

jetBook eBook Reader

jetBook Reader

First of all, the price is similar at $299.00 and is in the range of most devices on the market. Still pricey, though I have to say I do like the available color/shades and its got fun, stylish lines.

Mac and Windows-based PC compliant, the jetBook e-Book Reader supports .txt, .pdf and .jpg file formats. The jetBook also supports books in the new and popular Linux-based .fb2 format. Click here for an overview  or here to visit the fb2 site.

It comes with translating dictionaries installed, which I think is a cool development. I mean, what’s next? That little whirring do-hickey that Dr. McCoy used to check your blood alcohol level?

With USB hookup for eBook file transfer, and 112MB internal memory expandable to 2GB SD card for “thousands more books” the jetBook looks like it answers most of the questions I’ve ever had about eBooks Readers.

They boast its high contrast TFT (5-INCH VGA MONOCHROME REFLECTIVE-TYPE TFT LCD) display runs at a much faster refresh rate than screens using e-ink. They also provide a fairly detailed comparison chart between the jetBook, Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle right here. (I’d like to see more of this, yah? Especially if these Readers are taking so long to get into the shops for us to play with… (I’m telling you guys, these things sell themselves!)

There doesn’t appear to be any exclusive jetBook eBook library deal you have to make with Ectaco (ala Kindle or Sony) and they say they’ve got 500,000 titles that are available for FREE. Either they’ve discovered the Library at Alexandria or they’ve got some complicated copyright deals going on–perhaps through an offshore account. That remains to be investigated, but they claim all titles are free.

They’ve built an Mp3 player in for audio files, etc. and I’m starting to think that this is the fly in the ointment for eBook Reader designers. How much do we want an eBook Reader to do? Do we want it to receive email, telephone calls and play video too? They’re trying to invent the next iPod, and that’s tough. Especially when you know the winning design will become the standard–and make someone millions of dollars.

And you can see why it’s a tough job. When you consider that with the onset of new devices on the market, iPods, phones, cameras, etc. we’ll soon need a utility belt like Batman’s to lug the gear around. Likewise, if they’re going to keep loading up the individual devices with crossover functions, i.e. it’s a phone, music player, camera and moustache trimmer, we’re going to need advanced degrees in engineering to operate the damn things.

It’s an exciting time in eBook development, yah!


Adobe eBook Reader on the way?

Acrobat Tablet? Adobe is making it’s own reader. Mark S. informed us that eBook Reader designers are not in a hurry to make their readers PDF compatible because Adobe is quietly partnering with Apple on a wide-format “tablet” device designed to do just that. Industry insiders say Apple is coming up the middle capitalizing on Adobe’s net cred and the eBook interest encouraged by the still pricey Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle. Such a partnering would dominate.


Holy Free eBooks!

I can’t believe my luck ! Googling around, looking for content to offer Ebook Rumor visitors to read on their new eReaders and I found this.

Go to Free Online Novels hosted by Jennifer L. Armstrong. She’s posted an impressive list of free online novels by an incredible variety of authors.

She’s also written an armload of novels you’ll be able to test drive as free download or to purchase as paperbacks.

This is a treasure trove of free e-Books, yah? Looks like a fair bit of promotional Author-direct material free as PDF files available from various author sites or through Lulu.com. Others are available for reading as html–or as serial blog entries. A few audio books too. Wow…

Just passing this along. I’m slowly wading into it myself and I’ve already bookmarked a couple to peruse.


iLiad – Haven’t we met somewhere before?

iLiad from iRex Technologies
They call its display “Stunningly, Paper-like,” I call it “Stunningly Kindle-like…” I’m kind of kidding, but come on. They’ve got to let us know when this machine was developed. It looks like one of you guys was looking over someone’s shoulder. Having said that, it is a nice looking machine. I’ve heard its related to Kindle but only through marriage. Ok, seriously, I’ve got to let this go but for $599.00 maybe I want a bit of originality…

The iLiad is a comfortable looking piece of tech with an 8.1-inch display using electronic paper technology. You can read its specs at home base here.

Stunningly Paper-like

Stunningly Paper-like

They make the claim that their high constrast, hi-resolution display reduces eyestrain when reading but that remains to be seen.

With an internal memory expandable up to 8 GB you can keep your entire library of eBooks on it, with a storage capacity for up to 10,000 eBooks. (At $9.99 per eBook…don’t let your iLiad out of your sight.)

It connects to your PC by USB cable. That’s something I like because you’re not dependent on Whispernet or wireless technology to get your eBooks. I don’t have a problem with wireless tech, but eReaders should have a USB or memory card option.

Regarding the actual eBooks, it looks like they’ve got a deal worked out with mobipocket.com right down to using eBooks in their format. “The Mobipocket Reader software works seamlessly with the iLiad.”

Mobipocket’s software also lets you convert from other formats so that’s an excellent feature. (Don’t worry, I’ll be paying a little visit to Mobipocket for eBook price check, etc.)

The iLiad supports the following eBook formats: PDF, PRC (Mobipocket), HTML and TXT. They’re promising support for additional eBook formats in the near future.

The machine itself looks cool. I would love to play with that “intuitive” flip bar for turning pages. That sounds right, but again we’ll need to play with it to know.

I wish these companies would start sending out their eReaders for us to play with. It all “looks” fine until you get it in your hands. I know they’ll be handing these things to focus groups but there’s nothing like the public to field test a device for positives and negative.

We’ve all seen it work with digital cameras. Once those started showing up at parties and on vacations, people started playing with them and everybody had to have one…

The fact that I’ve only seen a couple eReaders in the ‘real’ world shows how new the technology is–or the early adopters are being protective. Pictures alone won’t do it. I saw the Sony eReader sell itself to five people when they got their sweaty little hands on it. Everyone who touched the device did not perceive themselves as eBook readers before they saw it, and everyone of them felt they could be an eBook reader after they’d handled it.

It’s as simple as that.


More Free eBooks

It’s worth visiting Free-eBooks.net, especially if you’re curious about author-direct releases or you’re building up an eLibrary of your own. The PDF eBooks I downloaded are clean, simple layouts.

Free-eBooks.net: “Download unlimited eBooks for FREE – anytime! Welcome to Free-eBooks.net. Find the help you need, the information you seek, or fun reading to enjoy.”

Looks like they’ve got a backlist of public domain works submitted from various sources, old classics, i.e. Carmilla, and various author-direct releases. Yah. Also a variety of advertorial and how-to books…