Now firmly placed as a mainstream item, ebooks have grown in popularity enough for many libraries to have started making digital versions from their catalogue available for lending.
The only thing you’ll need, except your eReader and an appropriate library card, is an Adobe ID (see below).
Most libraries that do provide ebooks are using the Adobe DRM protection system, which also means that most dedicated eReaders (Sony, Kobo, etc) and several eReader apps (Bluefire, OverDrive) can be used to read these DRM protected library ebooks.
I’m going to write three very short tutorials on how to get your library ebook onto your eReader/App. One of these three options should give you enough information even if yours is not actually covered here. Continue reading
In a recent ZDNET article, Jason Perlow described his hesitations for buying one of the new Amazon Kindle’s, which was due to its lack of EPUB support. Many responses to the article noted that the “average user” doesn’t care about the format of an eBook, only for the buying experience. I’m not going to argue on that point because in essence, they are right; the average user doesn’t care. Yet there are two real reasons why having one eBook standard is important, and these reasons will certainly impact the end user.
Publishing Infrastructure and Costs
Although most publishers will use a XML Master Format for storing the original book content, they still have to spend a lot of time, effort and costs in producing and maintaining all the different output formats they need to get their books in to the buyer’s hands. There are also no guarantees that all these different output formats will support the same kinds of features, which will mean even more resources (costs) will be needed to support these alternate formats.
Now, if the publishers only had work one eBook standard then they could spend more resources on improving their own tools to produce better output, which will ultimately give the user an even more enjoyable reading experience. Publisher will also have more resources available to give input back to the IDPF on improving the EPUB standard; bringing more and better features to the eBook world. Certainly a win-win situation for consumers and publishers. Without universal support for EPUB though, everyone will be forced to maintain multiple tool sets, which do nothing but increase costs. Continue reading
Whether you call them categories, subjects or genres, how you label your book is vitally important, perhaps especially so in these times of the digital marketplace. Being placed correctly in ebook stores and libraries can help in both regular searches and with discovery techniques such as “Similar Titles”.
The EPUB format has been developed to allow your work to be properly tagged with as many subjects as is necessary to describe the title correctly, allowing any ebook reading system to categorise your books appropriately.
If you’re creating your EPUB files manually then you’ll need to open the .OPF in your favourite text editor. Then inside the
metadata tags you can add your
Here are some example entries;
You can add as many subjects as you like, though it’s probably best to keep things focused–adding 50 tags will be just as bad as adding none.
The arbitrary keyword or phrase used inside the
subject tag hasn’t been standardised by the IDPF, but I’d recommend using the BISAC, LoC (Library of Congress) or other standardised system.
At this point you probably think there’s nothing more to be said on the topic, however… Continue reading
Since EPUB became the industry standard eBook format there has been a lot of talk regarding the lack of an official logo, and this was actually an important point to make.
For almost any standard media in existence there is also an official logo, think DVD, CD, etc. This allows distributors and device manufacturers to display the logo and show that they are supporting that standard.
So in April this year the IDPF (those who created the standard) launched a logo competition, asking both members and non-members to submit their own design. In total 203 entries from 18 different countries were submitted and today the winner was finally announced.
Graphic designer and author, Ralph Burkhardt submitted the winning entry, summarising his entry with;
I wanted to create a sign and that is also recognizable as a possible file format graphic (e.g. icons). It should be easy understandable and recognizable.
You can read the full IDPF competition announcement on their website, where you can also find a link to the ZIP file which contains various different file formats, including an Illustrator EPS file.
My initial thoughts on the logo are that I like it. I guess the only complaint I would have is that the “ePUB” text might be better as bold face, as when the image is resized smaller, that text starts to fade away a little and becomes not so recognisable.
I truly hope all the eReader manufactures that fully support the EPUB format will now start to make use of the new logo. I’ll be implementing this into all the EPUB eBooks found here on epubBooks.com, which I hope to have live soon.
Apple have just released an updated iTunes 9.1 to make ready for iPad syncing and EPUB support for when the users receive their iPad and can access the iBooks store.
We here in Europe can’t even pre-order an iPad yet so I won’t be able to do a full test for some time yet but I thought I’d see what happens when a DRM-Free EPUB file is added to iTunes….which turns out to be not a lot.
As you can see from the screenshot below, the EPUB book does get recognised as a Book with the title and author details being taken from the file’s meta data. One thing that concerns me is with the book Info dialogue and how the book’s meta details are presented as though it is a song; Artist, Composer, Track Number, etc. Let’s hope this gets fixed soon to show an appropriate information page. Continue reading
It’s been a few weeks now since the Apple iPad announcement; a 9.7-inch multi-purpose tablet with native Book, Magazine and Newspaper options. Although Apple hasn’t released this as a dedicated eBook reader or as a direct competitor to popular eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, in essence, it is an eReader nonetheless.
So, the iPad is an eReader, and one that reads not only books and newspapers but web pages, emails and numerous other electronic documents. It can also do the stuff that an iPhone and iPod Touch can do – running thousands of third party applications from the iTunes App store. For this article though I’d like to focus on the book aspects, especially in relation to the EPUB eBook format. Continue reading
Today, Nicolas Gary from the French website www.actualitte.com contacted me about their exclusive first look at the next generation Bookeen eReader, the ORIZON. As the article is in French, Nicolas has kindly written a short overview in English.
Bookeen is introducing a new eBook Reader called ORIZON, supporting ePub files (with or without DRM) of course. It comes with a 6 inch touchscreen display, WiFi and Bluetooth (Have fun! This is the first Reader in France with a wireless connection!) What else? An accelerometer, so you can read in landscape or portrait mode.
Weight : 226g for 12.25 x 18.5 x 0.75 cm and we know a few specifications like the resolution, 167 dpi and 16 levels of grey.
Bookeen says there will also be a new version of the Boo Reader software.
And about the Opus…just few new colours…
If your French is up to scratch you can read the full exclusive over at actualitte.com.
When I was at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair, Michaël Dahan from Bookeen did mention there would be a new 6 inch reader this year. I was very impressed with the Bookeen Opus when I reviewed it in November and said to myself at the time that if they had a 6 inch version this would be my choice of eReader.
For the last few months I’ve been using the Sony Reader Touch Edition and although I think there are many amazing features, that dark shiny touch screen really does bug me. The shininess I could live with, but I really do hope the Orizon’s screen brightness doesn’t suffer from the addition of the touch screen like the Sony does.
At the moment there are a multitude of eReaders coming onto the market (all supporting EPUB it seems :- ) but I get the feeling the Bookeen might be one step ahead of most of them.
If you’ve ever been visiting a site that’s offering free .epub files and wished you could just click the link and immediately start reading – with none of that “open with… ” or “download to you computer first” nonsense – then I’ve found exactly what you want. An eReading app that allows quick and easy EPUB reading, right there in your web browser.
EPUBReader is one of the more recent software only EPUB readers and has grown into a very stable and good looking ebook reader since it’s release. The eReader itself is actually an add-on for the very popular Firefox web browser – for those still using Internet Exploer (IE) this is yet another good reason to change over to Firefox.
Once installed all you have to do is visit any website with DRM free EPUB files (why not try some Charles Dickens or Edgar Allen Poe from my own catalogue) and click on the download button. The book will open right there in the browser/reader for immediate enjoyment.
Reading from a computer monitor is not a comfortable practice for everyone, but for those who don’t mind this it’s certainly a great solution.
Please note: you won’t be able to read any DRM encumbered EPUBs with this eReader – I don’t expect that to ever change while it remains a web browser plugin – so let’s hope more publishers release DRM free ebooks in the future.
The software is in constant development and there’s always new features being added so it’s worth keeping it up-to-date. For more information visit the official website (epubread.com) or to install now jump right over to the EPUBReader Add-on page at Mozilla.
There are a number of people in the eBook world who really know their ePub format – luckily for us they enjoy sharing this knowledge among the community. One of these such people is Bookworm developer, Liza Daly.
There’s a lot of a misconception around the ePub format with the belief that it is not a very advance format to work with, this is certainly not the case. Being based on several web standards, ePub can do pretty much whatever those standards can do themselves.
In a recent blog post, Liza conducted an experiment to include a HTML5 <video> in an ePub file, which she accomplished by using out-of-island XML mark-up. Okay, so this is something of a hack, and very few ePub readers will render the content (although Bookworm does), but this just goes to show there’s some power in the ePub standard.
All you ePub developers out there might want to keep an eye on Lizas blog as she will be sharing lots of ePub tips throughout this month.
The private education sector in the UK is being forced to become more competitive in the current economic climate. We are not talking about the Etons and Harrows who will always have waiting lists but the lesser know schools which take in pupils with average ability and learning difficulties with the aim to have them leave with the best exam results possible. This is the sector that needs to attract more pupils.
So how do you attract more pupils? One of the key ways is to use Value Added Scores which compare the pupil’s ability when they enter the school to that of when they leave. If a school is taking pupils with predicted C or D grades at GCSE and sending them out with A or B grades then that school becomes an attractive proposition for parents. The problem is how to achieve such a rise in grades.
One of the best methods is to offer more courses that cater to a pupil’s strengths. However this does lead to the problems of providing staff to teach them and a classroom to teach them in. The staff problem is relatively easy to overcome as most good teachers can teach most subjects to GCSE level.
The second problem of where to teach them is a challenging one. No school achieves one hundred percent utilization of their classrooms. At the same time no teacher wants to carry around all the textbooks required to teach their course around with them all day. So it would seem that the obvious answer is to give the pupils the textbooks so they can take them from lesson to lesson. The problem is of course that some pupils will forget them, causing the inevitable disruption to the start of the lesson as pupils are moved around so they can share. The other problem is the amount of weight a pupil would need to carry around with them.