O’Reilly are now selling ePub books!

Last month O’Reilly announced that they will be starting an experimental pilot and selling selected titles in an eBook bundle. The bundle includes a PDF, Kindle-compatible Mobipocket and of course an ePub formatted version.

Today, O’Reilly announced the availability of 30 eBook titles! The cost of the bundle is a little lower than the paper version and if you wish to pay a little more you can get the print book with the eBook bundle included!

Here is the full list of those thirty titles;

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UPDATE: Stanza is no longer maintained so I’d recommend you try out Bluefire Reader.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.

Feedbooks RSS tool converts to EPUB

Feedbooks are at it again, now they’ve gone and updated their RSS tool to include conversions to the ePub format! I’ve been playing around with this and it’s a really cool app – you can even supply your own RSS feeds. The converter actually outputs to a number of different formats including;

  • ePub
  • Mobipocket/Kindle
  • PDF
  • Sony Reader (PDF)
  • iLiad

Hadrien, Feedbooks co-founder, posted that along with adding support for ePub and Mobipocket, the files will generate much faster and there is also an “API endpoint for developers to create applications (such as iNewsStand on the iLiad).”

Continue reading “Feedbooks RSS tool converts to EPUB”

ePub books finally reach mass market status

New eBook Standard Now Available For Mass Market Audience was the title from yesterdays WebWire press release on the ePub book catalogue at BooksOnBoard.com. With almost 200 eBooks in the ePub format this is the first real source for mass market books to be released in the new eBook standard.

It’s a little unclear if the ePub versions have DRM restrictions, but as the site states;

DRM Adobe ebooks can be read only on Adobe Reader 7, Adobe Acrobat 7, or Adobe Digital Editions […] We recommend Adobe Digital Editions for Adobe format eBooks, both pdf and ePub versions…

We must presume that they have DRM in place.

The market is still waiting for better ePub readers and until we get those it won’t matter how many ePub books they release. Let’s hope that the Sony Reader (PRS-505) receives its Digital Editions firmware update soon and that other dedicated readers, such as the Amazon Kindle and Cybook follow suit.

Yes, we still have a long way to go but it does look like we’re on the right track.

O’Reilly to start selling ePub Books!

Today over on the O’Reilly TOC, Andrew Savikas made an annoucment that from July 2008, O’Reilly will release a selection of their catalogue as a DRM-Free eBook bundle. This will include a PDF, Kindle-compatible Mobipocket and yes, an ePub format version! Not only are they giving you three for the price of one, but these will also be DRM-Free eBooks (they are considering a form of social DRM.)

Although they are still working on the ePub versions, any PDF eBook you buy now will make you eligible for free access to the ePub version once it is released. For the moment this is only an experiment, but if It works out, they plan to release their whole catalogue in these formats (barring a few with copyright restrictions and some old ones that present at format-conversion challenge.) Continue reading “O’Reilly to start selling ePub Books!”

What image formats are suitable for ePub?

A question posted over on the ePub Community Group was asking what image formats are suitable for use in ePub.

As Jon Noring replied, the OPS 2.0 Specifiaction says that an OPS (ePub) Reading System must support the GIF, PNG, JPEG and SVG image formats.

These are pretty standard formats to be supported so I don’t see any problems with rendering these. But I do have some concerns regarding SVG – these of course stem form having absolutely no clue at all about the format!

Still, I am wondering if there will be any issues when rendering SVG, akin perhaps, to what we had during the browser wars.

Is there anyone out there who understands SVG and can shed some light on this matter?

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 liza@threepress.org.

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

DocBook XSL now supports EPUB!

The Digital Editions blog is reporting that the latest release of the DocBook XSL (1.74.0) now supports output to the ePub format. It was only recently that the tei2epub converter was announced so it is great to have a converter from DocBook to the ePub format.

DocBook is a very mature XML master format that although is used mainly for technical documents, can also be used for simpler documents and prose like books, which could make it a useful master format for any public domain eBook projects.

This release of the DocBook XSL is an experimental release and is being made available for testing purposes. Any developers out there should certainly check it out and if you find any issues, report them back to the DocBook project.

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

Last week, Feedbooks co-founder, Hadrien Gardeur announced on the mobileread.com forum that they will be releasing their own dedicated E-Ink eBook reader!

Feedbooks.com 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.