And the Fight is On!

So the fancy footwork before they get up in each other’s grills…

In May 2008 Mobipocket president and CEO Martin Gorner said Mobipocket would release updated readers for the various platforms, as well as release a new reader for the Apple iPhone by the end of the year. iPhone and iPod Touch owners cannot read DRM-locked Mobipocket books without bypassing the encryption and breaking the law.

Amazon’s new Kindle 2 uses Mobipocket file format. (I know, Kindle 2 won’t be available until 4-6 weeks after Feb. 9 when it’s released.)

Amazon owns Kindle 2 and Mobipocket.

So far the updated Mobipocket Reader for iPhone and iPod Touch has not appeared. Is Amazon holding it back until after the release of their Kindle 2? Or are they holding back their competition for the sake of, well, competition. All’s fair in love and war, type of thing, yah?

You’d think these companies would understand the rules of the free market economy as it applies to the Internet. Competition is good for everyone. If you don’t play fair the Internet Consumer will punish you by Googling your competition or by pirating your digital goods and making them available for free.

For Amazon to overlook this reality is unbelievable when considering the competition is one in which they will win both ways.  That means they can’t lose.

They can’t lose by giving iPhone users a Mobipocket Reader capable of unlocking DRM eBooks because that will encourage the happy iPhone users to buy said eBooks from Mobipocket instead of sharing cracked versions illegally. (I repeat, Amazon owns Mobipocket.) And reading eBooks on the smaller iPhone screen will not be for everyone. Since, iPhone users are comfortable buying expensive handheld gadgets doesn’t it stand to reason that iPhone users who are interested in reading eBooks on bigger viewing screens would be more likely to put out the cash for an item like Kindle 2?


Amazon’s Kindle 2 February 9!

I almost feel like a newspaper reporter. I mean, did anybody see that, I mentioned this two days ago!

Anyway, Kindle 2 is coming. The complete New York Times article is here.

And Amazon’s got the lowdown here.

As mentioned in the New York Times story, the Boy Genius Report has spy photos of it here.

Ugh! There’s still a 4-6 weeks wait to ship… What is it with the wait times?

Anyway, enjoy this new Kindle2  fans, and steam quietly, those of you who just bought the original Kindle.


Is Foxit eSlick Reader the CHOSEN ONE?

A Real Contender

A Real Contender

Ok… why aren’t we hearing more about this little gem?
The Foxit eSlick Reader is calling itself: “this generation’s way of reading textbooks, favorite novels, magazines and pretty much any…etc.”

 With an introductory price of $229.99 (MSRP) $259.99 they might be right.

Like I said, why  haven’t we heard more about this? While it’s still a good hop, skip and stagger away from my $100 line in the sand, it is a giant leap ahead of the competing eBook readers that are pushing and passing the $400 mark. And it’s doing everything the other guys are doing.

It is 0.4″ thick, 6.4 ounces, and is said to fit the hand like a palm desktop. With a 128MB internal memory and coming equipped with a 2 GB SD card (supporting up to 4 GB) this thing is ready to rock your eLibrary.

eSlick uses the electronic paper we’re coming to know and love, and boasts industry leading low-power consumption.

Check here for the Foxit eSlick Reader overview.

For the business person, lawyer or writer, eSlick also claims to give the best PDF reflow capability on the market. Dig this, it doesn’t just read these formats: TXT, PPT, DOC, XLS, and HTML, it will convert them to PDF files for printing. WOW!

If that isn’t enough, it arrives equipped with built-in MP3 player, free Foxit Reader Pro Pack, Foxit PDF Creator and earphones.

Click here to see video of this super-reader in action. I think the gloves are coming off, yah?

*This just in: An upgrade to higher quality screen will make the eSlick available in early March now. Pre-order with a $50 deposit and lock in the introductory price of $229.99 plus shipping and applicable taxes.


Watch out Kindle!

A five to seven week wait for Amazon’s Kindle eBook Reader might be hurting the leader of the pack. Resupply and availability issues have opened the door to Kindle’s competitors.

And after they went to the trouble of creating such a buzz about eBooks. Yah? The frontrunner in late 2007, Amazon claims they’re gearing up for the next generation Kindle due for release early this year.

In the meantime competitors like Sony’s eBook Reader and Apple’s iPhone are rushing to fill the gap. Another cause for concern is the recent increase in the number of eBooks available at iTunes.

It’s dangerous enough going toe-to-to with the iPhone–you definitely do not want them getting ahead of you. Be careful Kindle!


Planetpdf.com

Free eBooks

Free eBooks

Having gone to such lengths to spread my love for Adobe Digital Editions, I thought it might be helpful to point you to some free PDF’s to try on it.

Planetpdf.com, brought to you by Nitro PDF Software, offers free eBooks, PDF software trial downloads and tips to visitors. Sweet of them, yah!

The eBooks are nicely formatted and download smoothly. They’ll play in Adobe Digital Editions, so might be great to add to your library and they read in Acrobat if browser reading is your thing. Familiar public domain titles, but excellent for advanced or novice eReaders.

Planetpdf.com is the place to go for PDF news and tips, advances and free PDF creator software.


Adobe Digital Editions

We’ve all seen Adobe Acrobat in action. Do we have a choice? We’ve all dealt with its foibles, and its bigger and bigger upgrades. Yah…

I’ve got to say though, if you’re a serious or novice eBook reader, take a look at their Adobe Digital Editions. I know that lots of people are uncomfortable with Adobe’s PDF files, probably because they’re all-pervasive and represent a lack of choice that the net is designed to prevent; however, Adobe Digital Editions is the cat’s meow for people who like to read PDF’s on their computer. It offers  platform support  for reading digital documents on laptops as well, in addition to allowing support for the Sony® Reader.

Digital Edition Screen Capture

Digital Edition Screen Capture

I found it easy to work with, and presented formatted eBooks, documents and magazines beautifully.

You can page through eBooks and docs with a real-world feel and look. I do take my hat off to the designers, they’ve done a hell of a job with this. There’s a ‘feel’ to it that somehow resonates with that old-world, Gutenberg part of me that would prefer it if we could just go back to reading regular old-fashioned books. Yah? This program crosses over nicely and depending on your monitor does an excellent job of emulating the color and ‘look’ of a printed page.

Perfect for PDF fans, and for newbies who want to try the eBook thing but want to do it one step at a time. There are variable viewing options–single or multipage, zoom–depending on preference and reader eyesight.

You’re also able to build your own PDF library from eBooks you can download for free from their collection of samples and public domain works. And you can read any PDF you want. Adobe Digital Editions will open up any PDF document formatted the way the publisher wanted it.

Read the full lowdown on its features here.


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.