New epubBooks: Mobile First Design

I’m pleased to announce the brand new, ground-up rebuild of epubBooks! For this release I wanted to create a design with an emphasis on mobile users, which will give a much improved experience to those with tablets and smartphones.

Over the last coupe of years the type of visitor coming to epubBooks.com has been more and more mobile based, with almost 60% using the site on a smartphone or tablet — the old design didn’t work too well on any device with a screen resolution less than 1024 px, which meant anyone viewing the site on an iPhone, Windows Phone, or any other small screened device had a difficult time reading the text and navigation the site. Even those of you on 7 inch tablets, like the Google Nexus, spent a lot of time zooming in and out.

The new site uses what’s called a responsive layout, which means that the page sections move to best fit whatever screen size you’re on; text and some images will resize, especially for those smartphones with screens of just 480px. [Read more…]

Library Books & eReaders

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. [Read more…]

New iTunes 9.1 with EPUB Library Support

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. [Read more…]

Apple iPad and EPUB Books

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. [Read more…]

Stanza: Read EPUB books on your iPhone

UPDATE: Stanza is no longer maintained so I’d recommend you try out Bluefire Reader. Checkout my iPhone or iPad pages for some more information on reading EPUB books on the iPhone with Blurefire and other apps.

Ready … Set … Read!

This is the headline on the Lexcycle website for their new iPhone eBook reader called Stanza. They’re touting this as the ‘premier electronic book reader for the iPhone and the iPod Touch‘ which more importantly (at least for me) has the ability to read ebooks in the EPUB format.

Stanza is still in beta at the moment so there will be a few bugs hanging around but hopefully lexcycle will go final soon. [UPDATE: Stanza is now considered one of the best free eReaders out there with most bugs fixed, and available for iPhone and iPad].

Stanza Logo

Okay, so now you have your Stanza/iPhone EPUB reader, but where do you get your books from? This is the easy part…

You can download lots of free EPUB ebooks right here on epubBooks.com.

Alternatively, you can use Feedbooks, whose catalogue is available from directly within the Stanza app.

Browsing and downloading books once you’ve installed Stanza is very intuitive, just select Online Catalog and Feedbooks to get books from our service — feedbooks.com

Commercial ebooks are not currently available so all the titles you’ll find are in the public domain, but what’s available from both epubBooks and Feedbooks should keep everyone reading happy for a lifetime.

Right, all I need now is an iPhone…

UPDATE: I now have a full review of the iPod Touch and the Apple iPad – these two reviews have lots of information on adding ebooks to your Apple device as well as what other EPUB eReader apps are available, and all of which can be used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.