View Full Version : One (open) device replaces Kindle, Nook, Borders, etc...


recycledelectron
07-23-2010, 07:52 PM
I noticed several years ago that every ebook seller offered some program for Microsoft Windows to let you read their ebooks on a PC.

That meant that if you wanted to read everyone’s ebooks, you needed a PC. The problem, of course, was that PCs were not as handy as dedicated ebook readers.

I gave up on DRMed books and went with a $200 7” ARM-based tablet. It read the non-DRMed books.

Then I was checking the web site for my tablet, and learned that if I installed the latest version of Andorid on it, I could read almost all the commercial, DRMed ebooks.

ONE READER CAN READ JUST ABOUT EVERYONE’S EBOOKS! It seems to me that if one device could replicate a Kindle, a Nook, and a few other devices…that news should have been a big headline.

Lately, a new standard has emerged from the publishers of DRMed ebooks: Android.
Amazon’s Kindle books can be read on an Android device: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88702&highlight=android+standard
Barnes & Noble’s Nook books can be read on Android Devices:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91721&highlight=android+standard
even Border’s books can be read on Android Devices.

Android appeals to publishers because they can keep their content locked inside their own executables. (I have DRM, but I will have to deal with it to get some books in the foreseeable future.)

How much longer before major text book publishers (e.g., Course Technology, Mcgraw Hill, Prentice Hall) adopt Android? If they did, we would have a very usable standard. Students and avid readers could buy their own Android-based reader, or Windows-based PC and read everything they wanted. Content would have been separated from the hardware (at last!)

When Jeff Bezos introduced the Kindle, he said it was a stop-gap to get Amazon into the ebook market until the ebook reader (hardware) market matured. I think it has.

So, is the ebook Tower of Babel we’ve all been dealing with over? Can we finally buy any Android tablet and read whatever we want?

Did anyone cover this?

Andy

wodin
07-23-2010, 08:15 PM
So, all you Android app devs, how about a library app that searches the SD card for ebooks, and knows which app to call for which book.

It would be a real PITA to try to remember which format a particular book is in so I'd know which app to open.

Nate the great
07-23-2010, 09:48 PM
We were already at this point several years ago with Windows Mobile. All of the major formats had an app for WinMo. Then Microsoft had to go a and ruin it, and then everyone stopped developing for WinMo.

kjk
07-23-2010, 10:05 PM
Yes, both Android devices and Apple devices can now read almost all DRM'ed content, thru different apps.

But that's not the same as one app reading all DRM'ed content. Which would mean one standardized interface and one library/storage. We aren't there yet.

recycledelectron
07-23-2010, 10:50 PM
Yes, both Android devices and Apple devices can now read almost all DRM'ed content, thru different apps.

But that's not the same as one app reading all DRM'ed content. Which would mean one standardized interface and one library/storage. We aren't there yet.

True. It's not a common file format, but it is a common platform.

It's not perfect, but it's a start.

Likewise, it's not a world without DRM, but it is a world with DRM I think I can live with.

Now, I need the textbook companies to start supporting it.

I also need to create a table for what formats & OSes what publishers support. I prefer a common format, but a common platform at least lets me survive for now.

Andy

EowynCarter
07-24-2010, 04:38 AM
So, is the ebook Tower of Babel we’ve all been dealing with over? Can we finally buy any Android tablet and read whatever we want?
No. Will be over the day every shop uses the same format.

Can you load you own ePub into the borders or B&N apps ?

murraypaul
07-24-2010, 07:20 AM
ONE READER CAN READ JUST ABOUT EVERYONE’S EBOOKS! It seems to me that if one device could replicate a Kindle, a Nook, and a few other devices…that news should have been a big headline.

Lately, a new standard has emerged from the publishers of DRMed ebooks: Android.
Amazon’s Kindle books can be read on an Android device: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88702&highlight=android+standard
Barnes & Noble’s Nook books can be read on Android Devices:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91721&highlight=android+standard
even Border’s books can be read on Android Devices.

This is also true of the iPad, so hardly breaking news?

HarryT
07-24-2010, 07:45 AM
ONE READER CAN READ JUST ABOUT EVERYONE’S EBOOKS! It seems to me that if one device could replicate a Kindle, a Nook, and a few other devices…that news should have been a big headline.

Lately, a new standard has emerged from the publishers of DRMed ebooks: Android.


With the very greatest respect, Andy, that's a little disingenuous, given that exactly the same thing could be said about the iPad, too. Both the iPad and Android are "open systems" in terms of being able to read pretty much anyone's DRM system.

EowynCarter
07-24-2010, 08:00 AM
Both the iPad and Android are "open systems" in terms of being able to read pretty much anyone's DRM system.
No. Android is open. IOS4 is close source, proprietary. So are the software for kindle, B&N and so on.
"Open", means using a format everyone can use. (That uses a free licance).

HarryT
07-24-2010, 08:03 AM
That's why I put "open" in quotes. I meant that they are "open" in the sense that you can install whatever application you want on them, as opposed to dedicated reading devices where you're stuck with the reading software that the manufacturer supplies, and can't install any other.

gastan
07-24-2010, 09:41 AM
Lately, a new standard has emerged from the publishers of DRMed ebooks: Android.

and

Android appeals to publishers because they can keep their content locked inside their own executables.


Android is not a "new standard". It is not a format. It is an operating system and I doubt very, very much if publishers had anything to do with its development. It was originally developed as a mobile phone operating system and most probably consideration for e-books never entered into the developers mind.

Android does not "appeal" to publishers. They still publish their books in their preferred format ... ePub, PDF, PBR, TXT, HTML, etc, etc, etc, ... and most likely give minimal thought to which OS the reading device will use (unless it is specifically for Kindle, of course).

To me, your entire assertion, from starting point to conclusion, is meaningless.

Gary

recycledelectron
07-24-2010, 11:17 AM
No. Will be over the day every shop uses the same format.

Can you load you own ePub into the borders or B&N apps ?

I can't use my Adobe PDF reader to read DJVU files either.

This is also true of the iPad, so hardly breaking news?

The IPAD is a single product. Based on decades in academia, I can say that forcing everyone to buy one device usually fails. Forcing everyone to buy compatible devices usually works.

We did not say "everyone must buy a Toshiba S100 notebook." We did say "everyone must run Microsoft Windows."

Based on my experience, asking everyone to buy an IPAD would fail, but asking everyone to buy an Andorid device would work.

Andy

HarryT
07-24-2010, 11:21 AM
Forcing? Sorry, who is being "forced" to buy something?

recycledelectron
07-24-2010, 11:23 AM
Android is not a "new standard". It is not a format. It is an operating system

True. I'm saying we might be able to compromise on an OS as we head towards a format.

and I doubt very, very much if publishers had anything to do with its development. It was originally developed as a mobile phone operating system and most probably consideration for e-books never entered into the developers mind.

True. And yet, Android might provide enough standardization for my college to adopt it as a standard ebook platform.

Android does not "appeal" to publishers. They still publish their books in their preferred format ... ePub, PDF, PBR, TXT, HTML, etc, etc, etc, ... and most likely give minimal thought to which OS the reading device will use (unless it is specifically for Kindle, of course).

When I ask for digital review copies of text books, I don't get any of those formats. I get executables or plugins for web browsers. These access the publishers web site, and grab the book I want.

My experience is that the publishers want an executable so a 3rd party tool from a Russian web site will not strip their DRM as easily.

Andy

recycledelectron
07-24-2010, 11:24 AM
Forcing? Sorry, who is being "forced" to buy something?

As a college professor, I force my students to buy text books.

If we (as a college) decide to switch to ebooks, the students will be forced to buy the ebooks and a device to read them on.

Andy

HarryT
07-24-2010, 11:28 AM
Oh I see what you mean, yes. But if you simply specify the format - ePub, or whatever - then the student will be free to buy whatever device can read that format, whether it be a laptop running Windows, a Mac, an Android tablet, an iPad, or whatever else they fancy. That's what I meant earlier when I said that both Android and the iPad were "open" in respect of being able to install applications on them.

luqmaninbmore
07-24-2010, 12:55 PM
Yes and it is developments like those Andy mentioned, about forcing students to by ebooks, that makes me feel that the move to digital has some of the character of a scam. It is an end run around the used market. And publishers would love to do away with used text books so that they could more thoroughly exploit the captive student market. The royalty squad would love to do away with used bookstores. I like ebooks, don't get me wrong, but I have the feeling that there is more going on than a simple move to a more efficient distribution system.

=X=
07-24-2010, 04:05 PM
Oh I see what you mean, yes. But if you simply specify the format - ePub, or whatever - then the student will be free to buy whatever device can read that format, whether it be a laptop running Windows, a Mac, an Android tablet, an iPad, or whatever else they fancy. That's what I meant earlier when I said that both Android and the iPad were "open" in respect of being able to install applications on them.
.... Really? What happens if he says buy it from the iBooksore.


With regards to the red "Whatever" highlight. I suppose if he said you must buy MOBI formats. At that point the users will have more choice than Apples iBook format

Of course if he says you have to have an android device, then he can tell his students to get the book anywhere.

..... Except for two problems. A good amount of the Text books will be in PDF (probably using ADOBE). And the only way to get supported access to the Apps he is refering to requires that Android devices have Access to the Google Market. Not all tablets have access to the Google market.

Also I'm seeing his point. While eBook reading technology isn't new, neither is the Android or iPad if you look at their guts. What is new is the prolivication of cheap Android devices, and it will only get more accessible. And the support for applications that read a specific DRM. Before these apps did exist but few people read on them.

=X=

murraypaul
07-24-2010, 04:27 PM
Of course if he says you have to have an android device, then he can tell his students to get the book anywhere.

This is backwards thinking.
If the point is to have open standards for ebooks, why on earth would you want to force a particular hardware platform? What is gained by saying 'you have to buy an Android device' rather than saying 'you have to buy a device capable of reading format X with DRM scheme Y'?

Also I'm seeing his point. While eBook reading technology isn't new, neither is the Android or iPad if you look at their guts. What is new is the prolivication of cheap Android devices, and it will only get more accessible. And the support for applications that read a specific DRM. Before these apps did exist but few people read on them.

I feel like I'm in a parallel universe :)
So what's new isn't the iPad, and the reading apps available for it?

recycledelectron
07-24-2010, 04:44 PM
This train of thought (if I can be said to have thought) started when I went to http://www.SmartQMid.com for updates for my SmartDevices V7. I noticed that Andorid had been updated, and that I could read Amazon's ebooks, Border's ebooks, and B&N's ebooks.

Since my last post, I've looked over the major online book sellers. I see that PC, Mac, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android are all fairly standard. I totally missed this in the last few months. :smack: NOW IF ONLY THE BIG TEXTBOOK PUBLISHERS WOULD GO THAT WAY!

Oh I see what you mean, yes. But if you simply specify the format - ePub, or whatever - then the student will be free to buy whatever device can read that format, whether it be a laptop running Windows, a Mac, an Android tablet, an iPad, or whatever else they fancy. That's what I meant earlier when I said that both Android and the iPad were "open" in respect of being able to install applications on them.

Yes, you are right, but we are not there yet. I do see that we may get a group of standard executable platforms BEFORE we get a standard file format.

Yes and it is developments like those Andy mentioned, about forcing students to by ebooks, that makes me feel that the move to digital has some of the character of a scam. It is an end run around the used market. And publishers would love to do away with used text books so that they could more thoroughly exploit the captive student market. The royalty squad would love to do away with used bookstores. I like ebooks, don't get me wrong, but I have the feeling that there is more going on than a simple move to a more efficient distribution system.

That is because the words "scam" and "college text book" are synonyms.:rofl

We will keep paper books, and the students can pick which they wish to use. My biggest complaints are: (1) students can not keep DRMed books long-term, (2) students are tracked as they read DRMed books, and (3) we often require them to buy software (e.g., SAM 2010 from Course Technology) and they can agree to the license agreement (which goes beyond "do not pirate") or they can not turn in the work and will fail the class. Ick!

Andy

murraypaul
07-24-2010, 04:55 PM
Since my last post, I've looked over the major online book sellers. I see that PC, Mac, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android are all fairly standard. I totally missed this in the last few months. :smack: NOW IF ONLY THE BIG TEXTBOOK PUBLISHERS WOULD GO THAT WAY!
[...]
Yes, you are right, but we are not there yet. I do see that we may get a group of standard executable platforms BEFORE we get a standard file format.

I think once reasonably large screens are commonplace for readers that PDF will become a more viable format for textbooks. I've downloaded a couple of O'Reilly eBooks, they supply them in ePub or PDF, and the PDF provides a superior layout.

Maggie Leung
07-24-2010, 04:58 PM
I'm not technical, but best I can understand it is, content should be like water -- bring whatever container you want and we'll fill it with content for you. Practically, I can see that happening, with DRM.

I don't want to get into debate about the evils of DRM. I just see content producers being willing to offer content in unmolded form, which would allow widest distribution (best profit potential), but with DRM, which they see protecting their product. (Maybe it protects nothing, but I don't see them giving it up.)

So what would be the most accessible method of delivering unmolded content? Pure text that can go into nearly every container, yet allow DRM to be slapped on?

=X=
07-24-2010, 06:17 PM
Yes, you are right, but we are not there yet. I do see that we may get a group of standard executable platforms BEFORE we get a standard file format.


I'm not sure sure of that...

School recently started for my children. My son came home excited and said they have a new program where kids can enroll through their online library and access their text books through the web.



I think once reasonably large screens are commonplace for readers that PDF will become a more viable format for textbooks. I've downloaded a couple of O'Reilly eBooks, they supply them in ePub or PDF, and the PDF provides a superior layout.
Yes I agree that has been my belief for some time now.

=X=

wodin
07-24-2010, 09:37 PM
Forcing? Sorry, who is being "forced" to buy something?

[Off topic]US citizens are being (will be) forced to buy health insurance.[/Off topic]

cutterjohn42
07-24-2010, 10:27 PM
oops wrong topic

EowynCarter
07-26-2010, 05:31 AM
Can you load you own ePub into the borders or B&N apps ?
I can't use my Adobe PDF reader to read DJVU files either.
Of course, they are two differants format. If the b&n app can read drm ePub , it should be able to read drm-free ePub.

HarryT
07-26-2010, 07:32 AM
Of course, they are two differants format. If the b&n app can read drm ePub , it should be able to read drm-free ePub.

Only if it has a mechanism for loading them. The B&N app for the iPad, for example, won't let you load your own content - you can only read books from your B&N bookshelf.

recycledelectron
07-27-2010, 04:30 PM
Of course, they are two differants format. If the b&n app can read drm ePub , it should be able to read drm-free ePub.

You are assuming something about software.

Software can be created to do anything the programmer makes it do. There is no gurantee that a word processor will support upper case letters, if a programmer does not want it to. Being a (competent) programmer is a lot like playing God: you can do anything you want. There are not many rules.

:offtopic:The thing that drives me crazy is when someone says "If I need a seperate program to ... something ... THEN IT'S USELESS!!! (You did not say this, but that others have said it.) If someone refuses to adopt ebooks because their one hardware reader needs different programs to read different books. I agree that it's annoying, but I disagree that it makes the reader "USELESS!!!"

Andy

kevinp
07-28-2010, 03:28 PM
I found a saying on the web many years ago: "We're programmers -- we can do anything."

I'm a programmer, and find that to be true.