View Full Version : Who Would Buy a Bookeen Eink Reader?


yvanleterrible
12-12-2006, 10:52 PM
This is a follow up on an other thread (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8908).
I have received several days ago two personal replies, from M. MichaŽl Dahan, cofounder of Bookeen. The matter and procedures being rather complicated I have taken time to think things out before posting this thread.

First of all he thanked us for our interest in Bookeen products and went on to specify that this product was originally intended for professional use, but that he was not closed to the idea that a group of people could place an order. The functionalities requested of the product have to be formulated in a package that will affect final price. It is requested that we put forth such a document with a desired target group price knowing that a delay of four months is necessary to elaborate the product. And he wanted us to keep negociations confidential.

In a reply I informed him that here, all our conversations were 'on line' and this fact alone kept any negociation impossible. At this point I gave him further indications of who we were,the address of the site and the one of the forum on the Bookeen reader.

He answered back by saying that he knew Mobile Read very well and that it is one of the best sites on ebooks. He understands the dilemma confidentiality puts on us in regards to communications, but that for the moment our dealings should'nt be done live.(As a business person I agree and respect completely)

As for details I can share he wants three points defined.
1. The must have features. Formats, touchscreen or not, DRM implementation etc. (Remember that anything we ask has an incidence on price)
2. Target price. (Here he jokes) $50USD is not a good answer ;))
3. How many potential buyers.

Then he goes on to suggest that we make a poll and he reiterates the fact that Bookeen is not against a group purchase.


Well... It's up to us to decide if we want to go through. I foresee lots of hurdles, first off, what we want to integrate and second, the number of people interested. Then if we're enough and that we manage to democratically unite our voices and requests, we will surely have to set guaranties up front because no serious company can safely deal with an unorganized group as ours. Then we'll build the road as needed...

Take a look at the poll. For now I only put up the prices so as to put a number on the people in favor of owning a Bookeen eink reader. And since we can vote only once I added quantity choices for those who would like to give one. That would weigh in the balance.

After you vote I invite you to post the features you want and then in a subsequent thread I'll set a poll with the features.Then we'll make an other poll to clarify our choices. It'll be complicated but it will work.
Ihave a personal request. I want a Mobile Read logo on the thing!

phuata
12-13-2006, 12:17 AM
I've voted, but I'd be willing to spend a little more to incorporate all the features I'd like (long-lasting battery, expandable memory, ability to read *.txt, *.pdf, *.rtf, and *.html files, text search, and jump to any desired page). Do we also get to vote on screen size? I've read a lot of debate about that on these forums.

da_jane
12-13-2006, 01:04 AM
Boy, this is tough. I am not sure how to vote because if it was the right price, I would buy more than one to get us over the hump so to speak, but I would buy one at another price for more features. Can I vote twice?

RWood
12-13-2006, 01:35 AM
If we use the Sony Reader as a standard, it must have more features at the same price or the same features at a lower price. That said:

1. No DRM. Our group is too small to have anything developed for it alone.
2. Support for basic formats such as DOC, HTML, RTF (with pictures), TXT, and PDF.
3. Replacable battery or very long life battery.
4. USB interface and have it look like a USB device to the computer.
5. Organized storage -- no flat model only.
6. User defined fonts.
7. Card slot -- SD is fine.

Nice to have but not a must for me:

8. Search
9. Zoom
10. Touch screen
11. Application interface (SDK) for other program loading

Interesting but mostly useless

12. Ability to read and display prior formats such as RB, PDB, LIT

I'm sure I will slap my head as I read other posts and say, "Why didn't I put that one down."

Jack B Nimble
12-13-2006, 03:59 AM
Wow, okay...

Basic needs: First rule, most of the formats should allow the user to override the font choices and sizes. With that in mind, my first choice would be HTML with embedded images, with RTF and TXT also quite usable. Given the graphics support, it should also have 16 grey levels.

Less necessary, but highly desirable: I would want a good compressed format that would allow you to combine several web pages into a single file -- something like Plucker or iSilo. Likewise, besides basic graphics support (JPG and PNG), it should be able to handle archives, such as CBR and CBZ.

Finally, I am not convinced that DRM is not an option -- if this thing is already running Linux, and Pepper already has Mobipocket running on Linux for the PepperPad, that could open a lot options for some potential buyers.

Jack

igorsk
12-13-2006, 06:14 AM
A noble goal, but before you make business decisions based on polls, I recommend you to read this (http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2004/10/12/241228.aspx). I'm not saying this idea will not work, just that you need to be careful.

Moonraker
12-13-2006, 08:24 AM
My fingers are crossed that this works out -- my choices would be:

1) RTF (with images), HTML, PDF support.
2) Storage card slot.
3) USB interface.
4) Replaceable battery.
5) Seach and/or Highlight facility.
6) DRM options (Not all users can or want to convert their own content).
7) A method for updating the device as necessary.

Marian
12-13-2006, 08:47 AM
I would have to have secure Mobipocket, as I have too many ebooks in this format to just disregard. Apart from that I am quite happy to agree with what everyone else wants.
Thank you yvanterrible for your efforts on our behalf.

imaredr
12-13-2006, 09:23 AM
I would want the following software:

ereader
mobipocket
and most of all ubook

It would also be great if I could read lit files. I also would like a dictionary.

Ellen

CommanderROR
12-13-2006, 10:11 AM
OK, so I've got an Iliad already, but I'd still like to see something more "user-friendly" around, so I'd be willing to put down some more cash.
I limited my spendings to 300$ because I have to add 19% import VAT, international shipping and toll fees to that price to get my finaly purchase price in Germany...

Features:

6-8" screen, hardcover included!
SD-Card Slot
USB port (device acts as USB harddisk in Windows/other OS)
Mobile-Phone Battery (easy to replace)
Iliad-Style page-bar.
Support for HTML, TXT, RTF and perhaps PDF. Something like Mobipocket would be cool.
Suspend mode (well, every device these days can do that out of the box...apart from the Iliad, so I thought i'd better mention it...
I'm not sure about Touchscreen...it would be nice for using dictionary and for similar stuff, but I wouldn't count it in as a priority job.

OS: Linux with all sources an SDK supplied.
If a toichscreen is added, then a calender/contacts app would be cool.
Bkuetooth would be an option, but also not really among the priorities...that would just shift it in the direction of PDA's


And: A Mobileread.com logo would be pretty cool of course... :deal:

nekokami
12-13-2006, 10:12 AM
Does E Ink display go without saying?

Ditto on basic features like HTML, RTF, PDF, TXT support. USB connection to PC/Mac. Storage card slot that can take up to 512Mb at least. A5 display size is good, with ability to rotate display and configure page buttons appropriately to read upper/lower half of PDFs, for example. PCMCIA slot that could take a modem, ethernet, or wireless card would be a "very nice to have."

Critical features: touchscreen (need not be wacom), search (including in PDF), Highlighting/bookmarks, some basic HWR software (e.g. Vision Objects) could be an add-on for extra cost. User-replacable battery in a standard format strongly preferred.

Most critical: Completely open-source Linux with full SDK, so we can port whatever we want to it, e.g. dotReader. This must include easy recovery to base state. JTAG support strongly preferred.

DRM is optional for me, but if we could only have one DRM choice, I would vote for MobiPocket because of the Amazon connection.

I don't really care about audio support.

slayda
12-13-2006, 10:33 AM
RTF with TOC definitely & images as nice to have
Go to page ___
Bookmarks
Search capability
Full USB
Replacable battery
Hierarchal storage ability

Nice to have
Dictionary
Extra storage (e.g. SD card)
Mobipocket
User defined fonts.


As others have stated, price can vary with more/better capabilities that I want

yvanleterrible
12-13-2006, 10:44 AM
I'll be commenting on your posts a little while later but first I'd like to specify two points.

First, the reader is based on a 6" black and white eink display.

Second, I think Mobipocket would be a given because of Bookeen's involvement in ebook sales. http://www.ubibooks.com/

nekokami
12-13-2006, 10:46 AM
Also, a built-in white LED sidelight might sell more units. E Ink doesn't support a backlight, but a lot of people seem to find the lack of integrated lighting a barrier.

And I forgot, Unicode support. (I read documents in Chinese sometimes.)

TadW
12-13-2006, 11:04 AM
Yeah it seems from the mainstream reviews what people most heavily critized were lack of a reading light and lack of a search feature.

da_jane
12-13-2006, 11:09 AM
If ereader, mobipocket and ubook were available then all of the other issues re: formatting would mostly be resolved. Ubook, for sure, offers search, highlighting, annotations, hierarchal storage, and so forth. Given bookeen's past relationship with gowerpoint, I would hope that they could get something like that worked out.


I would pay $50 more per unit for an integrated light source. A good booklight can easily cost $20+ and to have something integrated would be worth an extra amount.

I do think the price point should be around the Sony Reader and if there was an integrated booklight, I think other consumers would be interested.

yvanleterrible
12-13-2006, 12:04 PM
Speaking for me now, I think that an eink device without touch pad could have an inboard engineered plexiglass wedge as a screen protector. Of course battery duration would suffer. This kind of an apparatus could not go without user replaced battery design...

Pickle
12-13-2006, 12:07 PM
Hi everyone, I've been lurking here for some time just waiting for the perfect eink device to come along. I had to register to vote for this because it looks like Bookeen's reader might be the best opportunity.

I voted for one at $350, but if they could get it down to $300 or less I'd consider buying two. As far as features go. I pretty much want the same thing as everyone else and if Bookeen is willing to listen to their customers I trust the readers of this forum to decide what's necessary.

NatCh
12-13-2006, 12:11 PM
A point: in order to do searching, the hardware has to support it (I know this is a 'duh' :)), and since I don't see any way to do text entry otherwise, either a touch screen or some sort of add on keyboard is going to have to be there for searching.

I know that's an obvious point, but I don't want it to get overlooked. :shrug:

yvanleterrible
12-13-2006, 12:21 PM
How about a full USB port to plug a portable keyboard?

NatCh
12-13-2006, 12:41 PM
Yeah, that'd work, yvanleterrible.

It also occurs to me that it might be tough to make a lightwedge and a touch screen work together....

nekokami
12-13-2006, 01:11 PM
I'd rather have the touchscreen than an external keyboard. Reason: you get a lot of extra functionality with a touch screen, e.g. selection, mouse-like behavior, sketch, scribble, etc. I just think it would be much more "paper-like."

Why would a touchscreen not work with a lightwedge? (I haven't seen a lightwedge in person, only pictures.)

yvanleterrible
12-13-2006, 01:14 PM
The plexy is thick, reducing the effectiveness of your contact with the screen.

nekokami
12-13-2006, 01:47 PM
The plexy is thick, reducing the effectiveness of your contact with the screen.
Could one put the touch sensor on top of the lightwedge, or is it not flat, as the name implies?

stxopher
12-13-2006, 01:56 PM
If I was going to wish?

First, make it tougher instead of pretty. I LIKE taking my ereader with me. (Hmmmm, rubberized texture and water resistance.)

Second, 2 memory slots. Yes, I said 2. One for storage and one for reader program hooks so that whatever program needed to read with can just be popped in like a game cartridge. (Hey, if they insist on a different reader for every book and every font, might as well just load them when you need them.)

That's two wishes. One for each hand. Oddly enough, they don't seem any fuller than before.

As for reality, agree with better file organization and some sort of document navigation ability.

yvanleterrible
12-13-2006, 02:23 PM
Could one put the touch sensor on top of the lightwedge, or is it not flat, as the name implies?
Remember that it is really a wedge, thicker on one side than on the other, kind of difficult to put something over it. The wedge is what creates the evenness of light dispersion across the undersurface.

Xenophon
12-13-2006, 02:43 PM
Others have made plenty of sensible comments about features. It seems to me that any request that involves custom development will likely price the device out of reach for a small order (under a 1000 or so units).

Y'all have probably seen my rant about the physical ergonomics of the Sony reader. Doing significantly better than that would be high on my list of desired features. (A page-bar like the iLiad might help...) Open source Linux-based system would allow porting, and so is good. Lastly, support for rotating so any of the four edges of the device is the "top" seems like a darned good idea.

Xenophon

NatCh
12-13-2006, 02:50 PM
...support for rotating so any of the four edges of the device is the "top" seems like a darned good idea.Does to me too. :yes:

nekokami
12-13-2006, 04:28 PM
Remember that it is really a wedge, thicker on one side than on the other, kind of difficult to put something over it. The wedge is what creates the evenness of light dispersion across the undersurface.
With that in mind, I myself would rather have a touchscreen than a lightwedge. But the rest of the market may not agree with me. (I can always keep saving my pennies for an iLiad.)

slayda
12-13-2006, 04:53 PM
With that in mind, I myself would rather have a touchscreen than a lightwedge. But the rest of the market may not agree with me. (I can always keep saving my pennies for an iLiad.)

Yeah, I'd like a touch screen too! But as a "nice to have" rather than a "required".

Melf
12-13-2006, 04:54 PM
Manga (or Comics) reading mode !
-> full screen browsing of images
-> portrait x lanscape
-> fit height x fit width
+ browsing zip files with images would be also cool

nekokami
12-13-2006, 05:37 PM
Yeah, I'd like a touch screen too! But as a "nice to have" rather than a "required".
In my case the integrated light is only "nice to have," but some easy to use form of input is required -- I plan to have a lot of text on this thing, I need to be able to search through all of it, and I need to be able to mark places with notes to come back to again. If I didn't need that sort of functionality, I could get the Sony reader. If I wanted to do all this with a keyboard, I'd stick with my laptop.

Funny, but in a way my needs could almost be summed up as "like the eBookWise 1150, but with E Ink and Linux, and an open architecture so we can expand it ourselves." Of course, the eBookWise does have integrated lighting. Perhaps a solution other than the lightwedge could be used? I'm envisioning a sort of popup panel that would cast light across the front of the screen when popped up, and turn itself off when popped back into the body.

By the way, does the lightwedge at all reduce readability in sunlight?

NatCh
12-13-2006, 05:44 PM
By the way, does the lightwedge at all reduce readability in sunlight?Interesting question .... I don't think so since it's just a clear piece of plastic when it's not turned on ....

I've wondered some about some sort of edge-mounted tracklighting without a light distribution panel too. But not enough to take a guess at how well it might work (i.e. I haven't tried to build one to see how it might work :)). :shrug:

Maybe after the holidays I'll have some more time to play with such things. I think I can still remember how to soldier. :nice:

nekokami
12-13-2006, 05:54 PM
I just went to look at the lightwedge website. The wedge isn't very thick. I think the touchscreen could go on top of it. I would suggest actually angling the wedge and the underlying e ink screen slightly inside the case to split the thickness of the wedge. The refraction of the acrylic would alter the appearance of the e ink page anyhow. A little tweaking would minimize both the refraction and the way the wedge would stick up. The pen calibration might also need to be tweaked to account for the difference in appearance of the e ink across the wedge. But it would be a killer combination. I'd up my purchase price to $400 easy, assuming the OS was still open to developers. As someone earlier pointed out, the two aspects of the Sony Reader that are constantly beat up in reviews are the lack of lighting and lack of search. This would provide both.

SoCal Bob
12-13-2006, 06:12 PM
I agree with most of RWood's post with some shuffling, etc:

1. Ability to open other DRM formats like PDF and PDB
2. Support for basic formats such as DOC, HTML, RTF (with pictures), TXT, and PDF.
3. Replaceable battery or very long life battery.
4. USB interface and have it look like a USB device to the computer.
5. Organized storage -- no flat model only.
6. Ability to delete on board
7. SD card slot.
8. Sync with Desktop
9. Search

Nice to have

10. Dictionary (Palm like function)
11. Zoom
12. Touch screen

Redfoot
12-13-2006, 06:56 PM
I would be able to go to about $250, but as I have more than 2000 .lit books I would need that capability. As for the touch screen, I have the touch screen on my eBookwise-1150, and I would love to be able to turn it off. I keep accidentally touching the screen and highlighting text that I do not want to highlight.

Dajala
12-13-2006, 07:22 PM
In addition to a lot of features allready mentioned (particularly the number of formats and replaceable battery), I would like a Wi-Fi b/g on my ebook reader.

With this feature I can connect with either an online bookshelf (such as the ebookwise does) AND unlike the ebookwise, connect to a user specified address for a bookshelf that runs on my server at home or Gutenberg or whatever the new incarnation of blackmask is etc.

That way I can connect to my home network through my router or via the web while I'm traveling. No p.i.t.a. cords. Ever.

Daj.

nekokami
12-13-2006, 08:21 PM
In addition to a lot of features allready mentioned (particularly the number of formats and replaceable battery), I would like a Wi-Fi b/g on my ebook reader.
It might make more sense to have a PCMCIA slot. That way people could put in whatever connectivity they wanted, and choose how much power they wanted to spend on it, too. And also, a GPS card could be dropped in if someone wanted to create a smart map application.

Just a thought....

@Redfoot, being able to turn off the touch screen is a fine idea. Just so long as it can also be turned on. ;)

sebfro
12-13-2006, 08:41 PM
I second EVERYTRHING you say.

1.) we need an "open source" system so we can program everything we need ouerselves. I am 100% confident that we have a dedicated community.

2.) physical ergonomics. I am not comfortable with the current readers. Especiall if I have to use them in landscape mode. (-> "any of the four edges of the device is the "top" ")

and something I fancy (but won't hit the market for some time)
3.) I would like to have a A5 display (10"). So I can have any A4 pdfs in Landscape mode. I don't mind scrollling as long as nothing gets resized.


Everything else: Well, give us the basics and the tools (read: open source) to do the rest ourselves. The hardware needs to be desgined. Software features later.

P.S. I'd order one even if it is well above USD 400,-


Others have made plenty of sensible comments about features. It seems to me that any request that involves custom development will likely price the device out of reach for a small order (under a 1000 or so units).

Y'all have probably seen my rant about the physical ergonomics of the Sony reader. Doing significantly better than that would be high on my list of desired features. (A page-bar like the iLiad might help...) Open source Linux-based system would allow porting, and so is good. Lastly, support for rotating so any of the four edges of the device is the "top" seems like a darned good idea.

Xenophon

yvanleterrible
12-13-2006, 10:15 PM
It might make more sense to have a PCMCIA slot...
A PCMCIA would'nt work. You have to remember that this device is slim, just about the thickness of a PCMCIA. Remember also that the machine exists and has a fixed design. All we can add must not interfere physically. The only hardware possible is a touchscreen because it goes over the eink. What is customizable mostly, unless I'm wrong, is all the software part...and that LOGO thing! :happy2:

nekokami
12-13-2006, 11:56 PM
Ok, I can see why PCMCIA won't work. Could the USB port be used to stick on a USB wireless adapter, or is it one-way, only allowing the PC/Mac to see the unit as a USB drive? Some kind of hardware expandability is a Good Thing.

paul-mke
12-14-2006, 12:41 AM
My wish list for features would be:
1. Formats: PDF, DOC, TXT, HTML
2. Scale PDFs appropriately (I read alot of PDF manuals- which present a problem on a small screen).
3. Memory card slot
4. USB port for transferring files
5. Long lasting battery, preferably replaceable
6. Search capabilities
7. Go to page...
8. Bookmarks
9. Ability to change the orientation of the screen
I would be definitely interested in purchasing one if it came in or below the $300 USD mark- with the willingness to trade off on certain features.

alex_d
12-14-2006, 03:46 AM
Wow, this is all pretty interesting.

However, I think you guys have to realize that there are VERY FEW things that Bookeen is going to go out and do to sell 200 units. It's not going to be seeing much more than $20k in profits, so it's not going to spend more than $5k. However, there's still a bit that can be done.

First, we have to ask what WE can do and develop.

We need to design our own case. CAD isn't hard, and making an image to paint the plastic is even easier.

Regarding hardware, there should be a STANDARD usb port, to attach keyboards, bluetooth, wifi, etc. This should be easy for bookeen to add. Stuff like touchscreens and extra buttons are probably out of reach for us.

Freely modifiable software isn't even worth mentioning. In fact, I hardly want Bookeen to provide much except the basic OS and drivers. (ie, no point making lists of software features that we want Bookeen to provide)



Custom case, USB peripheral port (ie host, not slave), and an easy-to-use SDK is all that's needed to kick the pants off of everything else.

Maybe we can even sell it commercial and pay our community developers. Altho that might be a bit more organization than a forum can create.

Snappy!
12-14-2006, 06:09 AM
I would also get it only if it displays English characters + Chinese characters (Big5 traditional + GBK simplified) + English menu.

And no conversion apps please. Native HTML with links support and text support. PDF is a plus but not mandatory.

I have a series of reference texts (14+ mb compressed) in 6000+ html files. They are cross-referenced using links and are updated like at least once a month. If I can simply update the necessary html file incrementally instead of having to convert everytime a single file changes, I would get it.

Bob Russell
12-14-2006, 07:29 AM
However, I think you guys have to realize that there are VERY FEW things that Bookeen is going to go out and do to sell 200 units. It's not going to be seeing much more than $20k in profits, so it's not going to spend more than $5k. However, there's still a bit that can be done.

First, we have to ask what WE can do and develop.Remember, though, that they would probably love to develop core features and have them paid for by initial sales, so if there are enough bodies to do it, then a few zero profit sales might be worth it for them. They end up with the additional features to use for future sales.

But it would definitely be more interesting and price effective if MobileReaders are able and willing and interested in developing features on their own. This might be a platform that works well for this. And nothing against Bookeen, but I suspect the folks here would do a better job also!

RWood
12-14-2006, 09:32 AM
One thing we are offering them is that we will continue to develop the software and extensions. That could make it the most feature rich reader on the market and spur future sales. Even if they losa a few bucks on the deal they get a great R&D department that represents the cutting edge in users.

nekokami
12-14-2006, 10:35 AM
Regarding hardware, there should be a STANDARD usb port, to attach keyboards, bluetooth, wifi, etc. This should be easy for bookeen to add. Stuff like touchscreens and extra buttons are probably out of reach for us.
A standard USB port is a very good idea, because it allows for expandability. But I agree 100% about software. We can develop that ourselves. One basic reader (with source) is all we need. I'd recommend RTF, but anything with some basic formatting (e.g. HTML) would be fine. We can modify that for anything else we want.

However, I still think the touchscreen and integrated lighting would be a good investment on Bookeen's part. The market wants a search function and some form of self-lighting. I think reviews of the Sony Reader have shown that. It would be in Bookeen's interest to add those two features, neither of which should be that expensive to include, and we can provide a market base and evangelization so they can sell many more units. I recommend we suggest an "affiliate" program to them so our individual members can be motivated to help sell units. See http://www.myaffiliateprogram.com for an example of such a program organizer.

yvanleterrible
12-14-2006, 10:48 AM
Let me make a small analogy.

Someone somewhere want's 200 cars outfitted with a special interior. You're a car interior fabricator and you'd be willing to make those interiors. Then you go to this client, design the interior, put up a price and then go to a car manufacturer buy 200 cars or so and refurnish the interior. This means that you are not in a position where you can change the engine or suspention, body or any mechanicals...except the interiors. Doing so would quadruple the price but if the client is willing...

I am not that shure that Bookeen makes the reader themselves. They are a team of engineers. My guess is that it is built elsewhere. I know about retooling and manufacturing. When a design has been set it is very expensive to make changes, certainly not viable for a 200pieces order! What we have to keep in mind is to limit the hardware we desire to what is being offered (http://bookeen.com/Design/ebook-reading-device.aspx?selectionm=3) Otherwise the reader will cost about the same as an Iliad.

I think the reader as it is has all the hardware necessary to be competitive with others and be even better. The only two things I would see is a full USB master and wifi or bluetooth. The rest is all software, what this company is best at. :wink:

nekokami
12-14-2006, 11:06 AM
Fair enough... but I personally wouldn't buy one without a pen. At the price range these things are going to have to sell for, I need to be able to write (markup, anyway) as well as read. So I guess I'll wait for something different (which may end up being the iLiad after all, as they've been more talkative to the developer community lately.)

yvanleterrible
12-14-2006, 06:20 PM
Well People!

We're at 61 buyers plus 5 doubles, That makes 66 and if you count off those who will think it too pricey when the real price comes in, I figure we only have a quarter of the number of people we need!

phuata
12-14-2006, 07:59 PM
All right, I'll be the first to admit I'm not all up on hardware capabilities. Is it possible to have a text-search function without altering any of the hardware in the existing device?

(I see no way to input text in the specs, but I do see the letters USB and saw around here somewhere someone talking about a portable keyboard plugging into a USB port. Is this that kind of port, or not, or what?)

Vienna01
12-15-2006, 01:19 AM
I'm a newbie of a couple of months with the Sony. I am sure we will become a two reader household soon. If Bookeen supports good presentations of .pdf formats worth more.Maybe if it includes sw to generate its unique format from others. Perhaps it could support a current non-Sony Reader that gives us access to other than Sony DRM'ed books (Maybe Adobe DRM if Adobe would allow). The object is to have a reader with support of the widest file formats to give access to the largest number of books (DRM and not DRM)
I suspect that I could go to $350 if the reader would really be all the things that Sony doesn't do well. Because I have a Sony I would very much like if Bookeen could support Sony's format with DRM. Sure would like to be able to read books I buy on both readers(maybe that is commercially undoable?)

yvanleterrible
12-16-2006, 10:56 AM
74? Anyone left?

NatCh
12-16-2006, 06:33 PM
This tidbit on prices over on the Baen Bar forum, which they can share because Bookeen hasn't NDA'd them out the wazoo:Ordered in lots of 200 they can give us a reader that would sell at the same retail price as Sony's, that is $350.
Ordered in lots of 1000 the price will drop.Apparently Bookeen is willing to install FBReader software.

Just thought I'd share. :nice:

Melf
12-16-2006, 08:26 PM
So, lets someone buy 1000 of them and sell them on ebay with international shipping ! :)

bostonte
12-17-2006, 05:11 AM
I voted for one at Sony's MSRP -- provided it has stylus input (scribble on PDF, etc.), and a fully open OS (if they put DRM reading software on there, understandably that part can be closed).

Otherwise it offers little advantage to me over the Sony. Unless of course they include software for reading other DRM'd books.

Add other features and perhaps I'd pay more, but roughly Sony's price with a touch screen is a definite for me.

bowerbird
12-17-2006, 04:00 PM
if we order a batch of one million of 'em,
can we get the price down to $100 each?

-bowerbird

yvanleterrible
12-17-2006, 04:48 PM
if we order a batch of one million of 'em,
can we get the price down to $100 each?

-bowerbird
:happy2: Do you have $100,000,000.00 to spare?:happy2:

Drizzt321
12-17-2006, 08:10 PM
This sounds like a great idea, and most of the suggestions have sounded great. To put in my own $.02, here's what I'd like.

-Formats: HTML, TXT, RTF. PDF would be nice. Any DRM'd format, I probably wouldn't use, but I'm not opposed to having the support. What would be better is if the platform were open (or open enough) for us to develop our own applications on as a few other posters have suggested.
-Storage: SD/MMC slot or CF slot. Or both? or 2 of one? These could be used for storage, _and_ IO devices like WiFi and bluetooth. Couple that with being able to put our own applications on it...well, the possibilities are awsome.
-Along with the formats, the ability to define any of the screen edges as 'top' would be great.
-Bookmarking would be a great to have.
-Touch screen would be awsome...but not sure about the cost. Depends on how much it would add to the devices. I did put down the $400, but I would love to have the price a good bit lower.
-Decent capacity batter, and the ability to recharge from a USB port might be nice. User replaceable might be really nice, but might not be practical for the physical size limitations. But if you allow charge from USB (probably have a mini-usb connector) you could use some of those small external cell phone charger packs, or even put together a few NiMH AA's and put them together into a charger pack.
-Decent default font selection, as well as the ability for user fonts. Perhaps some kind of standardized (I'm thinking a TrueType Font, or something like that that is well defined) font can be used, either on an external storage card, or can be installed into the internal storage so it can be used by all documents.
-It would also be nice for a user to override any default font selection for a document and force the reader to use a different one. Some people have trouble reading some fonts while others don't. Also having a user override document's font size could also help.

Well, I guess thats just about all I can think of right now. Mostly I'd say, give me the open platform, the 2 storage slots (which can double as IO), and touchscreen if the price can be low enough and I'll be more than happy.

nekokami
12-18-2006, 10:22 AM
This tidbit on prices over on the Baen Bar forum, which they can share because Bookeen hasn't NDA'd them out the wazoo:Apparently Bookeen is willing to install FBReader software.
Sounds like we need to join forces with the Baen Bar crowd -- might be able to get the quantities we need that way.

macanima
12-18-2006, 12:06 PM
Honestly, I don't need a ton of features in my eBook reader. Top 3:

1. Wide array of document formats - RTF, TXT, HTML, and PDF being the ones I'd need most often.

2. Far, far less ghosting per page turn than a Sony Reader. I finally got to look at the Reader hands-on in my local Borders and the amount of flicker per page turn was overwhelming. Of course, I think that someone had started playing an audio file and walked away, and after a minute or two with the Reader's interface I still couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so I went straight to the books - this may have been related.

3. Related to the previous anecdote: an interface that is fairly simple.

4. Okay, I lied, so there's four: a note-taking feature. This is the #1 reason why I'd like to eventually purchase an Iliad; however, the reportedly low battery life and the overload of other features are the reasons why I won't purchase an Iliad (well, that and the oppressively high price tag!).

Basically, I need something that will display whatever I want, display it well, let me flip through it easily, and let me take notes (whether on the document or separately). And doesn't cost too much.

I don't ask for much, do I? :happy2:

(Also, hi: long-time lurker, first-time poster.)

MWetherspoon
12-18-2006, 02:25 PM
Love the thought - even with having already purchased one of the Sony Readers.

Support for basic formats such as DOC, HTML, RTF, TXT, and PDF.
Replaceable AND/OR very long life battery.
USB interface
SD card slot
Sync with Desktop
Search Capabilities
Bookmarking
Stylus Entry for notetaking(nice to have - could live without)

and:

My one *strong* request would be for a either a heavy duty case or an add on case protector - mine goes everywhere with me - and I'd be getting one plus up to two additional units for deployed family members that are as avid readers as I am - and the whole e-book world has them both drooling with the ability to take a device with their libraries on deployment, but it has to be rugged considering their living conditions....

yvanleterrible
12-18-2006, 02:35 PM
Total tally so far 83 we've got a good ways to go! :) Notice we have two triples!

slayda
12-18-2006, 04:39 PM
Total tally so far 83 we've got a good ways to go! :) Notice we have two triples!

Yvan,
This is the second time that my count is different from yours. Do you have 10 hidden somewhere? I count 73.

yvanleterrible
12-18-2006, 06:24 PM
You have to take into account those that woud buy two and those that would buy three.

ashkulz
12-19-2006, 02:40 PM
Well, reading through all the replies, the following items were present on the collective wish list (might have missed something):


HTML support
RTF support
PDF support
DOC support
other formats
Memory slot
Text Search
Bookmarks
Replacable battery
Battery life
USB Interface
Hierarchical Browsing
Custom/user fonts
Orientation & Zooming
Touch Screen
SDK + Updatable Firrmware
Archive support
Random seeking
Backlight / sidelight
Unicode support
Ergonomics
Annotation & note sync


We need to have a multiple-choice poll on which features are most important for people.

yvanleterrible
12-19-2006, 03:42 PM
Well, reading through all the replies, the following items were present on the collective wish list (might have missed something):


HTML support
RTF support
PDF support
DOC support
other formats
Memory slot
Text Search
Bookmarks
Replacable battery
Battery life
USB Interface
Hierarchical Browsing
Custom/user fonts
Orientation & Zooming
Touch Screen
SDK + Updatable Firrmware
Archive support
Random seeking
Backlight / sidelight
Unicode support
Ergonomics
Annotation & note sync


We need to have a multiple-choice poll on which features are most important for people.
That sum's it up quite nicely. Now if we can get to 250 units wished, we could go ahead!

nekokami
12-19-2006, 04:48 PM
If you really could get that list of features for the price point of the Sony Reader, I might buy 2 or 3 and take the chance that I'd be able to resell them, just to help get the order up to the minimum required. Anyone else here feel this way?

SoCal Bob
12-19-2006, 04:53 PM
If you really could get that list of features for the price point of the Sony Reader, I might buy 2 or 3 and take the chance that I'd be able to resell them, just to help get the order up to the minimum required. Anyone else here feel this way?

I agree, lets see if this moves from "talk" to "reality"

nekokami
12-19-2006, 04:54 PM
SDK + Updatable Firrmware
I'd like to make this item a bit more specific:

Linux 2.6 kernel support (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=9083)

Drizzt321
12-19-2006, 06:54 PM
As big a fan of Linux as I am, I'm not so hardcore to insist on it. If we can get a full SDK that lets us dig in pretty darn well into whatever is installed on it, I'll be happy. Sure, I'd love for it to run Linux, cause that'd make it that much easier on us.

alex_d
12-19-2006, 07:24 PM
I really think that list should include:

A case that isn't as ugly as the one on Bookeen's website. Or am I really the only one who wants my cutting-edge gadgets to be purty?

wallcraft
12-19-2006, 11:35 PM
Feature creep is already making this sound impossible in practice. My shortlist would be: FBReader, 10+ hour battery life, one popular DRM format (MobiPocket would be my 1st choice because I think Amazon wins in the end).

FBReader gives us most non-DRM formats, except PDF. If a (text plus images) file format isn't supported now it can be. Similarly, I suggest improving FBReader rather than re-inventing the wheel (dictionary, annotations, read aloud, etcetera). If you have Linux on a PC, download FBReader and try it out. It is Linux only, but see When a win32 version? (http://groups.google.com/group/fbreader/browse_thread/thread/508c80cbb60e38d8/#) for an example of running FBReader under VMware Player.

CommanderROR
12-20-2006, 11:05 AM
I agree about the "feature creep", but I don't agree with 10+ hours of battery-life...that's PDA style and not eink worthy!!!

slayda
12-20-2006, 11:33 AM
Features will be academic unless we get enough people lined up. I think we should wait & see if we get enough total interest before we start debating which features.

da_jane
12-20-2006, 03:09 PM
Just a query, why wouldn't we just join up with the Baen Bar? I've been in email contact with one of the members and they are gearing up to take orders on a unit that has the FBReader, allows for text searching, and has an eink display.

alex_d
12-20-2006, 06:08 PM
hmm... i noticed that the bookeen looks an awful like like the starebook.

Melf
12-20-2006, 07:58 PM
it can be the same oem producer....functions and price will show :)

phuata
12-20-2006, 08:35 PM
Just a query, why wouldn't we just join up with the Baen Bar? I've been in email contact with one of the members and they are gearing up to take orders on a unit that has the FBReader, allows for text searching, and has an eink display.

So, how do we get in on this with them?

nekokami
12-20-2006, 09:25 PM
Just a query, why wouldn't we just join up with the Baen Bar? I've been in email contact with one of the members and they are gearing up to take orders on a unit that has the FBReader, allows for text searching, and has an eink display.
I logged in at the Baen Bar today to see where they are with this. They are not taking orders yet; they haven't selected their vendor yet. They had been designing a new reader from scratch and are now considering Bookeen instead due to cost. They are also considering Kent Displays. They have formed an LLC (http://naebllc.com) to raise the necessary funds for an initial order and seem to be well organized in terms of making sure that the finanical trail is clear, and they've been having some interesting discussions about hardware and software functionality, including lightwedge-style illumination. I think it would be well worth our while to link up with them, though I'm not sure how much more input they want.

phuata
12-21-2006, 04:47 AM
If they are going to have the software needed to read Baen ebooks, an eink screen, text searching capability, and a long-lasting, replacable battery, I don't need much more input. I just need to know the price.

NatCh
12-21-2006, 10:10 AM
That's their stated goal, except that the e-ink might be Cholesteric LCD, or some other non-dynamic display tech, depending on what they find the best price to readability ratio. :shrug:

da_jane
12-21-2006, 02:58 PM
How are the Cholesteric LCD from Kent different in terms of readability?

alex_d
12-21-2006, 05:58 PM
Wow, those cholesteric lcds look pretty cool. It seems they have a higher reflectivity and contrast and lower power. Unfortunately, the can't come close on the dpi. Standard panels hover around 80 dpi and custom jobs max out at 127.

Actually... these might be useful for my own application. Were the people at Baen given a quote?

nekokami
12-21-2006, 06:09 PM
If they are going to have the software needed to read Baen ebooks, an eink screen, text searching capability, and a long-lasting, replacable battery, I don't need much more input. I just need to know the price.
I don't think they're going to have text searching capability. They seem pretty adamant against incorporating anything that could be used to add a keyboard or touchscreen. They also seem opposed to leaving the system open so that users can add their own apps. (That may just be the impression I'm getting from one vocal participant in the discussion, however.)

If your idea of an ebook reader is something to use to page through novels, you may be interested in what they're working on. I have rather broader expectations for something I'd have to pay more than US$100 for, but I know there are differing points of view on this.

da_jane
12-21-2006, 09:19 PM
I was told that it would have text search capability which is performed by highlighting a the terms and searching them.

nekokami
12-21-2006, 11:09 PM
I was told that it would have text search capability which is performed by highlighting a the terms and searching them.
I guess you could do this with a thumb wheel. It would be painful to enter a new search string if you didn't have the word/phrase in view, though.

I don't have the impression that the specs are that final, though. They don't have a vendor yet, after all.

ashkulz
12-22-2006, 08:49 AM
Well, you could certainly incorporate a chorded keyboard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorded_keyboard) very easily. With only a few keys (5-8), you'd have almost all the functionality of a normal keyboard. There would definitely be a learning curve, but it would be more cost effective than a touch screen or external keyboard.

Jadon
12-22-2006, 05:45 PM
Well, you could certainly incorporate a chorded keyboard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorded_keyboard) very easily. With only a few keys (5-8), you'd have almost all the functionality of a normal keyboard.
Properly arranged, and onscreen keyboard could give you any character in three keypresses tops, using just a directional ring. The D-ring has nine keys: N,S,E,W,NE,SE,SW,NW and a confirming center. The keyboard is a three-by-three grid of 3x3 characters. You start in the center large square, which is blank. One arrow gets you to the center of any small square. Hit Enter if the character you want is in the center of the small square, else hit another arrow and then Confirm to get any other character. That's 72 possible characters.

ashkulz
12-23-2006, 03:00 AM
Well, as I understand it the refresh rate on e-ink displays is pretty bad and you can't easily update a part of the screen -- hence it's not possible to have an on-screen keyboard.

A cell-phone like input system could certainly be viable (multiple characters on one key) but either way, I think that 9+ keys is too much to accommodate on the device in a easy way.

Redfoot
12-23-2006, 04:02 AM
Why have a on screen or included keyboard? If there is a USB port any standard keyboard can be pluged in as long as the software supports it.

NatCh
12-23-2006, 10:03 AM
Well, as I understand it the refresh rate on e-ink displays is pretty bad and you can't easily update a part of the screen -- hence it's not possible to have an on-screen keyboard.Well, that's not quite so. :nice: You can refresh just part of the screen, it usually results in higher ghosting in the refreshed area is all. :shrug:

As for the buttons ... the Sony Reader has ~15 buttons depending on how you count 'em. :nice:

alex_d
12-23-2006, 05:22 PM
Yeah, if you just want to paint black over white you don't need to do a negative (1s->0.5s), plus, for quick multitapping, it might be possible to start painting a new choice before the old one is dry (kinda like an interrupt). If not that, then just start painting it in a slightly diff spot (like above or below). Even if asynch drawing doesn't work, needing half a minute to type two words is still better than nothing.

It would've been really cool if the Sony had a tiny lcd like the hanlin. But alas..

nekokami
12-23-2006, 11:15 PM
Doesn't the iLiad have an on-screen keyboard?

NatCh
12-24-2006, 11:02 AM
Yeah, it does, I meant to mention that before, but got distracted, I guess. :grin:

unkilbeeg
12-25-2006, 08:22 PM
I've been looking over this thread, and after a couple of weeks living with the Sony Reader I have these criteria (that I don't think I saw mentioned):

1) Specific external software must not be necessary for loading books onto the reader. It needs to be mountable via USB as a drive and files simply copied across. This doesn't mean that dedicated software is forbidden -- some people like those kinds of applications, but it should not be necessary.

2) Any library organization (categories, bookshelves, whatever) should be implemented using the filesystem -- I should be able to separate my groups of books by copying files into specific directories. Again, no specific software should be necessary on my host PC.

I'm not sure if I'm a good candidate for this reader right now -- the Sony is a big investment for me, and it'll be some time before I can justify a similar expense for another similar device. The Bookeen sounds like it has potential to be superior to the Sony, so it would be tempting, but not (for now) compelling.

I don't particularly care about DRM support. I own no DRMed books (other than what came on the Sony, scheduled for deletion soon), nor will I ever. If the support is there, that's fine, but I wouldn't pay an extra nickel to obtain it. A lot of the other extra cost items that have been mentioned would also be non-useful to me -- lighting, touchscreens, search, etc. Again, I wouldn't mind them existing if others want them, but if they ended up raising the price above my threshold, I'd count them as a negative.

Clemenseken
07-01-2007, 04:11 PM
I don't own any eReader yet - and haven't read all other replies, either.

Still i'd like to list my most IMPORTANT items here:

1) Formats: PDF, HTML, TXT, JPG (minimum requirements)

2) Touchscreen for Input/GUI and taking notes (PLEAAAASE !!!)

3) I'd love to have more than 4 "colours" (but will go with'em...)

4) An SDK that makes "free" development possible (must)


(Will we be informed of any progress in the proceedings ?!?)

NatCh
07-01-2007, 05:59 PM
Unfortunately, this particular initiative has been pretty much dead for several months -- we couldn't get the numbers of interested folks together at the time.

The good news is that it seems Bookeen is about set to release an updated model fairly soon that will have somewhat better features than the one this thread was discussing, and it should be more readily available.

However, I don't know that it will have the features you've mentioned, and I expect that some of those will be quite some time coming, color, for instance, is still quite a ways off, apparently.

I think I'll go ahead and close this thread, since the original point of it has passed, if somebody wants to continue the discussion, it might be best to start another thread with a more appropriate title. :nice: