Online EPUB Reader – Testers Needed

Earlier today Liza Daly, creator of the tei2epub converter, posted the following notice to the ePub Community over at Yahoo Groups;

I’m looking for interested parties to help test an experimental platform for reading ePub-formatted books via the web. There’s minimal effort involved: just upload one or more ePub documents and try it out. If you encounter bugs (which is likely at this stage) I may ask for you to forward the ePub file so I can test it internally.

This is great news and exactly the kind of activity we need to encourage the adoption of the ePub format. I wish Liza all the best and very much look forward to the seeing the reader go live.

To all you tech heads out there, please get in touch with Liza and start digging out those bugs!

You can contact Liza using

(Thanks to Liza for giving permission to use her email address in this article)

Feedbooks to release their own e-Ink Reader – Native ePub?

Last week, Feedbooks co-founder, Hadrien Gardeur announced on the forum that they will be releasing their own dedicated E-Ink eBook reader! is a service that provides public domain eBooks for download in multiple formats, including of course ePub.

The device itself will be available later this year (September/October 2008) through a large French retailer (yet to be announced) and then via online ordering later in the year.

Hadrien mentioned that they are dedicating their resources to what they consider to be the ‘basic features’ that any dedicated reader should have.

  • A 6″ E-Ink device (presumably the Vizplex display), based on Linux 2.6.
  • Browsing for books via folders or metadata
  • A real bookmarking system (similar to the Sony Reader)
  • A simple, yet customizable UI

Hadrien didn’t give too many details away just yet, but he promised to provide screenshots and even videos closer to the time!

As the Feedbooks website provides books in the ePub format I very much hope that their reader will be able to reader ePub books natively.

Mobipocket Desktop supports ePub and to be released on the iPhone

At this year’s IDPF Digital Book 2008 conference, we had confirmation from Mobipocket president and CEO, Martin Görner, that Mobipocket Reader Desktop 6.2 is able to import ePub files, with the next version being able to create ePub files. At present the reader does not read ePub files natively, it converts them to the MOBI format before transferring to your device.

One minor issue is that the reader does not create a TOC (Table of Contents) from the toc.nsx file contained in the ePub document. Let’s hope they don’t take too long to fix this.

Also in his talk, Görner announced that by the end of the year, the Mobipocket Reader will be available on the iPhone. I guess with the recent release of the iPhone SDK this should be no surprise, but great news nonetheless.

Acceptance of ePub is growing from strength to strength, with one more reader adding support for the format. Mobipocket Reader now covers many devices including the iPhone (end of 2008), Blackberry, Windows Mobile, PDA and a number of dedicated ePaper devices. Once the reader is updated across these devices, ePub support will be opened up to a whole new batch of users.

Adobe release Digital Editions 1.5 – with enhanced DRM flexibility

Adobe Digital Editions has been updated with enhanced DRM support and flexibility, now at version 1.5. Adobe DE is a Flash based, lightweight, internet application used for reading PDF’s and the IDPF’s ePub document formats.

The enhancements to their DRM means that users activate their DRM protection on a named basis, this allows you to move your protected eBooks/eDocuments across platforms and mobile devices, of course we’d rather not have any DRM (or at least just social DRM). There is also a limit of 6 desktop and 6 handheld devices that you can activate, which should be okay for most people in the short term but over a period of several years we are likely to need to activate more devices than this, particlarly if we have to re-format our OS. We shall have to see what the future holds for those needing to activate more devices.
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