View Full Version : Bookeen producing eInk reader for Baen Bar - IF they get 1k orders


macanima
01-16-2007, 11:58 AM
From Baen Bar (http://bar.baen.com/WB/default.asp?action=9&read=99471&fid=76):

This is the offer from Bookeen :

Bookeen offers for USD320:

- 1 Eink device

- 1 USB cable (the device can be charged through the USB connection)(*)

- 1 userís manual

- 1 Packaging

- Shipment is not included (**).

- 1 year warranty (please see terms of trade for more explanation) .

Supported format: RTF, HTML, PDF and PRC (No DRM).

Here is what we can propose for 1000 units at USD320:



The device specifications and mechanical design will be exactly the same as the Starebook (thinnest and lightest device).

To summarize:

Hardware :

Size: 4.7" x 7.4" x 0.3" (118 x 188 x 8 mm)

Weight: 6,3 ounces (183 g, battery included)

Screen: Black & White 4 level gray-scale Eink, 6", 600x800 pixels (170 dpi), Daylight readable, Portrait and landscape display capabilities

Sound: standard 3.5mm stereo headphone plug

Controls: buttons "ON/OFF", "Up ", "Down", "Right ", "Left", "Enter ", "Cancel", "Menu", "Music".

Battery: Rechargeable built-in Li-Polymer battery (800mAh) (8000 page flips battery life) rechargeable by USB

Processor: Samsung S3C2410 ARM 200MHz

ROM memory: 16 MB + 64 MB Data Flash

RAM memory: 16 MB

Connectivity: USB Client (v2.0)

Expandability: SD Card slot

Power Supply: USB

Color: white(*)

Logo: Bookeen (*)



Software

Operating system: Linux

(*) can be changed but extra cost to be determined.

- Bookeen will provide patches, updates and upgrades for new format support. These software enhancements will be free as long as Bookeen doesnít need to pay any royalty to a software publisher. (For example : Macromedia provides Flash player for Bookeen eink device with a USD5 royalty fee then the update will not be free. Bookeen has developed its own support for CHM format then the update will be free)


Thought some people here were interested in this deal, so you might wanna head over there and be tallied if you're interested. This isn't an immediate thing - I think I saw a mention of 'September' at one point - but for a DRM-free ebook reader, I'm willing to wait a bit. :crowngrin

da_jane
01-16-2007, 01:08 PM
I'm in. I guess there will be a whole slew of Sony eink devices from Mobile Read users on E-Bay? LOL.

nekokami
01-16-2007, 03:20 PM
I suppose it will be the equivalent of the STAReBOOK (same manufacturer), but without the proprietary stk format, so converting files to the format wouldn't be necessary. What would make it worth switching from Sony, if you've already got one? Just to make a point about DRM? It won't meet my needs in any case-- I need stylus annotation capabilities-- but I'm curious as to why it would seem to be worth switching from Sony to this. I seriously doubt the end-user support is going to be any better, unless the Baen Barflies are going to provide it, and that assumes root access, which I don't see specifically listed.

I'm not trying to be a wet blanket, I just don't see the advantage here, yet.

da_jane
01-16-2007, 03:27 PM
It would be so that I could read books without conversion. Sony doesn't read html natively. Many, many romance e-publishers offer html as a format choice, plus a read reader can convert secure files into html format. That is a huge deal for me. I bought my Sony Reader with a 2 year accident protection plan. I feel confident that I won't lose money on this transaction.

There isn't anything about the Sony Reader except for the screen that makes me want to stick with it. There isn't any content that it sells that I can't get somewhere else, cheaper. It doesn't offer a great browsing format. A way to make notes. It just has a beautiful screen.

If I can get the beautiful screen that reads htmls natively, Sony loses me as a customer. Bookeen partnered with Gowerpoint Ubook reader in the past and I hope that program is the basis for its e-reading software. Gowerpoint allows to have bookmarks, display pictures, has a great library feature. The only thing it doesn't do is allow you to rate your books. Other than that, I think it is a wonderful ebook program.

RWood
01-16-2007, 03:33 PM
Since I've already converted all but a handful of my Palm books to RTF for the Sony and the conversion from HTML to RTF is trivial, there is no incentive to move to the Bookeen. While the Sony does support DRM, there is no requirement that I use the DRM since there are viable alternatives available on the Sony. Also at a savings of less that 10% (before shipping and taxes) there does not seem to be a financial incentive either.

NatCh
01-16-2007, 03:36 PM
There isn't anything about the Sony Reader except for the screen that makes me want to stick with it.Even without a backlight, Jane? Sorry I just couldn't resist. :grin:

They were talking about FBReader at one point, but I don't know if that's what they've ended up going with on this. :shrug:

Edit: Now I'm seeing a post on the Bar to the effect that Bookeen has developed their own reading app.

NatCh
01-16-2007, 03:47 PM
For the interested: It looks like they're going to be gathering orders via the naebllc site (http://naebllc.com/index.html). The link isn't up yet, but I'll post it when it is (unless someone else beats me to it :)).

I know it's been mentioned that they need 1000 units worth of orders to get the pricing they're talking about.

nekokami
01-16-2007, 03:49 PM
The description posted doesn't mention root or shell access, an SDK, or a user-replaceable battery. I'd recommend some caution.

NatCh
01-16-2007, 03:58 PM
Funny you should say that, those are very hot points of discussion over at the Baen Bar right now. Not much coming out of said discussion at the moment. :shrug:

da_jane
01-16-2007, 04:27 PM
Does Sony come with any of those? Just wondering? And yes, even without a backlight. I feel like I have to have one of these e-ink devices. LOL.

nekokami
01-16-2007, 06:27 PM
I guess I can't help it-- I'm skeptical. TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. The Bookeen reader is probably a workable device -- looks like they're the manufacturer for the STAReBOOK, after all-- but I just don't see enough value for the cost when you factor in a machine that will be orphaned out of the gate. The BAEN crowd is essentially trying to trim off Sony's margin, but when everything is factored in, I doubt the final cost will really be much less than the Sony unit, with less direct end-user support. If it came with an SDK and root/shell access, limited functionality could be improved. But US$300+ is still too much for me to pay for a device that is only a reader -- can't take notes, can't search, can't run any other apps, etc.

Hopefully I'll be proved wrong on this, the people who get one will be happy with it, the user development community will flourish, and eBooks will take off. But I think I'll sit this one out. My eBookwise 1150 still works well enough, at 1/3 the price.

Bob Russell
01-16-2007, 07:37 PM
Looks a lot like the Sony minus the A/C adapter, but plus HTML and prc compatibility, and the adapter sort of accounts for the slight price difference. But remember that a complaint about the iLiad arose after the fact that DRM was not supported (because you couldn't buy recent popular books for it).

On the other hand, Baen folks probably don't care about that for the most part.

One of the main draws would be an open environment to support third party apps. It's odd that it was missing. Maybe it was asked for, but not allowed? Or maybe that was an issue for future support because the retail software probably isn't set up that way. For example, they offered to basically provide functionality updates, and that might be difficult if the platform was different than their main retail products.

And I would have also expected foreign font support. I wonder why that was left out, or maybe if it is included.

I think most people are likely to prefer the Sony Reader, but this might find a nice niche market. I hope so. I'd like to see many devices succeed as long as we don't split up the 3rd party development efforts too much. Hopefully they will get the 1000 orders they are aiming for!

Alexander Turcic
01-17-2007, 06:28 AM
1000 units is a huge order. I am sure we could come up with 100 or so MR orders, but 1000? :huh:

yvanleterrible
01-17-2007, 11:07 AM
We could'nt even come up with a hundred people interested. And most of them were in a category below the $320 sticker. It would have been nice with the MR logo. :)

@ da jane... Html is so easy to deal with. What I do is open the book with Word, pass it through a reformating macro,change the properties of the document and resave it under an other name in RTF format. That takes under two minutes. Quite worth it for a ten hour read. With PDF; open document in Acrobat reader, select all, copy and paste in Word. Then pass it through the macro and save in RTF. ET three minutes. The "copy" is the culprit in this process, it seems to go on forever...

Vash
01-17-2007, 12:55 PM
We could'nt even come up with a hundred people interested. And most of them were in a category below the $320 sticker. It would have been nice with the MR logo. :)

@ da jane... Html is so easy to deal with. What I do is open the book with Word, pass it through a reformating macro,change the properties of the document and resave it under an other name in RTF format. That takes under two minutes. Quite worth it for a ten hour read. With PDF; open document in Acrobat reader, select all, copy and paste in Word. Then pass it through the macro and save in RTF. ET three minutes. The "copy" is the culprit in this process, it seems to go on forever...


You know, I hate to say it... but what about embeded images in a true reflowable and rescaleable environment? Man I love html viewers. If they get this guy off the ground I'm all over it

Vash

yvanleterrible
01-17-2007, 01:00 PM
I'm with you on this Vash, but we must remember that the actual crop of readers are meant for static display, preventing many HTML features.

NatCh
01-17-2007, 01:31 PM
The lack of images is a bit annoying, but RTF reflows just fine. :nice:

NatCh
01-17-2007, 01:42 PM
Here's some more info from the Baen Bar:It's a Bookeen reader.
If you want a SDK you'll have to buy it from Bookeen and they will have to support it.
As of now we've no information on it.

The device is to be drag and drop.
The computer will see it as a USB drive.
We're cheap on your behalf and that's just one thing more that saves you money.

It's a built in battery.
In practical terms, after the warranty runs out you get to use the iPod solution and pry apart the case to change it out yourself.
When will you have to do this?
Unknown.

mcdaniel
01-18-2007, 02:31 AM
I have been following the BaenBar discussion of ereaders, and their recent decision to try and go with the Bookeen reader (apparently the StarEbook version, not the 3rd gen version shown on the Bookeen website). Unless something happens before they place the necessary info for ordering the devices, I plan to place a firm order, i.e., I am willing to go ahead and either send and check or place a credit card order at this point.

However, if there are too many delays, I may wind up buying a SonyReader as an interim solution - though I don't want to take that financial hit!

Robert

Snappy!
01-18-2007, 11:37 AM
I just made a trip to compusa yesterday and got a first hand look at the Sony Reader. I walk away very impressed with it. To be honest, it is so readable and clear at all angles, it almost felt like it has backlight!! But in the end I didn't get one ... the sales person was very eager to shove onedown my throat though. I asked if they have one and she brought me to the cashier and started scanning the UPC!! hehe ... Two things stop me from getting the Reader just yet. One, no native HTML support ... and I mean, renering + hyperlinking to local files. I have a huge volume of reference reading materials (6000+ files) that are cross linked. If I have to convert each of them individually and loose the hyperlinkings in the process, I'm out. So gowerpoint's uBook reader would be an excellent choice! Did I mention that I got a registered licence for the uBook? And their licence is a one for all type, meaning I can use any of the versions of ubook on a PocketPC, HandheldPC and computer with just one license. Now this is one honest and good company! 8)

Second thing is native support for Chinese character display. I've gotten Chinese display and input all setup in my SHARP Zaurus c1000, so any new reading device must support Chinese text.

I only need Chinese text support for the books, English menu is perfectly good for me.


It would be so that I could read books without conversion. Sony doesn't read html natively. Many, many romance e-publishers offer html as a format choice, plus a read reader can convert secure files into html format. That is a huge deal for me. I bought my Sony Reader with a 2 year accident protection plan. I feel confident that I won't lose money on this transaction.

There isn't anything about the Sony Reader except for the screen that makes me want to stick with it. There isn't any content that it sells that I can't get somewhere else, cheaper. It doesn't offer a great browsing format. A way to make notes. It just has a beautiful screen.

If I can get the beautiful screen that reads htmls natively, Sony loses me as a customer. Bookeen partnered with Gowerpoint Ubook reader in the past and I hope that program is the basis for its e-reading software. Gowerpoint allows to have bookmarks, display pictures, has a great library feature. The only thing it doesn't do is allow you to rate your books. Other than that, I think it is a wonderful ebook program.

Snappy!
01-18-2007, 11:42 AM
I just made a trip to compusa yesterday and got a first hand look at the Sony Reader. I walk away very impressed with it. To be honest, it is so readable and clear at all angles, it almost felt like it has backlight!! But in the end I didn't get one ... the sales person was very eager to shove onedown my throat though. I asked if they have one and she brought me to the cashier and started scanning the UPC!! hehe ... Two things stop me from getting the Reader just yet. One, no native HTML support ... and I mean, renering + hyperlinking to local files. I have a huge volume of reference reading materials (6000+ files) that are cross linked. If I have to convert each of them individually and loose the hyperlinkings in the process, I'm out. So gowerpoint's uBook reader would be an excellent choice! Did I mention that I got a registered licence for the uBook? And their licence is a one for all type, meaning I can use any of the versions of ubook on a PocketPC, HandheldPC and computer with just one license. Now this is one honest and good company! 8)

Second thing is native support for Chinese character display. I've gotten Chinese display and input all setup in my SHARP Zaurus c1000, so any new reading device must support Chinese text.

I only need Chinese text support for the books, English menu is perfectly good for me.


It would be so that I could read books without conversion. Sony doesn't read html natively. Many, many romance e-publishers offer html as a format choice, plus a read reader can convert secure files into html format. That is a huge deal for me. I bought my Sony Reader with a 2 year accident protection plan. I feel confident that I won't lose money on this transaction.

There isn't anything about the Sony Reader except for the screen that makes me want to stick with it. There isn't any content that it sells that I can't get somewhere else, cheaper. It doesn't offer a great browsing format. A way to make notes. It just has a beautiful screen.

If I can get the beautiful screen that reads htmls natively, Sony loses me as a customer. Bookeen partnered with Gowerpoint Ubook reader in the past and I hope that program is the basis for its e-reading software. Gowerpoint allows to have bookmarks, display pictures, has a great library feature. The only thing it doesn't do is allow you to rate your books. Other than that, I think it is a wonderful ebook program.

Cthulhu
01-18-2007, 01:33 PM
I wonder just how far the economy of scale could be pushed in a case like this?

Sadly, it seems that there are too few takers on this new device (I'm still on the fence about this purchase, though I'm trying to inveigle a friend to get one), so Bookeen may not reach their 1,000 orders mark.

However: what if 10,000 people said yes to the device at $30?
;-|

Yeah, probably won't happen. But I know that I could blow $30 on an e-ink device much easier than $300.

yvanleterrible
01-18-2007, 02:33 PM
It will happen in 10 years when readers will be a simple sheet of touch sensitive platic. :) Then we'll show our old PRS just like the recent show of walkmans! :happy2:

da_jane
01-18-2007, 05:05 PM
@ da jane... Html is so easy to deal with. What I do is open the book with Word, pass it through a reformating macro,change the properties of the document and resave it under an other name in RTF format. That takes under two minutes. Quite worth it for a ten hour read. With PDF; open document in Acrobat reader, select all, copy and paste in Word. Then pass it through the macro and save in RTF. ET three minutes. The "copy" is the culprit in this process, it seems to go on forever...

I know how to transfer it but I have hundreds of books and I hate having to convert each one to read. Plus, the whole idea of the electronic library is to be able to tote it around with the books I may want to read, not just the ones I took the time to convert. Further not all my htmls can a) be reformatted into word and b) I have remember to increase the font size and c) they tend to lose important formatting cues (i.e section breaks) and d) certain books have a differnet html for each book meaning I would have to convert 20 some files to read it - etc.

No thanks. That's why my friend has been using my sony reader for the past three months and I have been using my trusty old HP with the gowerpoing ubook reader. That and because it's backlit.

For the average consumer, the requirement to fiddle with a file in order to get it to be readable is a major drawback and for the romance reader who also likes ebooks (i.e., the ones who buy from Ellora's Cave or Samhain etc) these books aren't offered in the propriety format of BBeB but in non DRM formats like html, PDF and the like. Sony isn't immediately compatible for them where as the Baen Bookeen would be.

RWood
01-18-2007, 05:31 PM
I have converted over 100 books from PDB to RTF for the Sony Reader. Some work better than others. A lot of the newer and recently revised conversion tools make this a snap.

I looked through the box I have in the basement (an almost complete set of Bantam "Doc Savage" reprints from the 60s and 70s) and noticed that every page looks the same -- there was no creativity in the typesetting. Just one model and they followed it throughout. Therefore I don't feel bad or cheated that all of the books I have converted to RTF seem to look the same.

nekokami
01-19-2007, 10:03 AM
Someone needs to make a bulk conversion utility that works as easily as the Stuffit "DropStuff" utility. Set your preferred output format and destination in advance, then just drop any acquired file to it and it will land in the destination folder in the desired format. This should be technically feasible... at least for non-DRM files.\

da_jane, if it were that easy, would it work for you? Not that I'm discouraging your purchase of the BAEN/NAEB/Bookeen device, just wondering from a usability perspective.

NatCh
01-19-2007, 12:29 PM
The Amber (http://www.processtext.com/abctxt.html) folks have an app that'll batch convert HTML to RTF, but it's one of the few they want to be paid for, though there is a 30 day free trial ....

dstampe
01-19-2007, 01:59 PM
The Amber (http://www.processtext.com/abctxt.html) folks have an app that'll batch convert HTML to RTF, but it's one of the few they want to be paid for, though there is a 30 day free trial ....
Why is it that so many of the HTML-to-RTF converters lose fomatting? The Amber converter sets everything to left justified. Probably most are based on an old open-source converter and can't be bothered to add value. The only half-resonable one I've seen for this is the SautinSoft converter, and it's more expensive yet.

RWood
01-19-2007, 02:09 PM
There are other choices. Convert Doc (http://www.softinterface.com/Convert-Doc/Features/Convert-HTML-To-RTF.htm) from Soft Interface does keep all formatting in the resultant RTF file. I just checked and the price has dropped to $499.95. The ABC Amber Text Converter costs $24.95 or even less if you buy a bundle of their converters.

dstampe
01-19-2007, 07:18 PM
Hmm, the documatentation etc. for ConvertDoc looks--how shall I put it-- unprofessional for that kind of money, which does not give confidence. Also there's no mention of font embedding in PDF files.

I tried the ABC converter, it loses paragraph formatting on the files I tried it on.

The book(s) I'm trying to work pn were unpacked with ConvertLit, and contain more than 30 seperate HTML files. In addition, this book has certain character's dialog in boldface or italic, or special formatting. Finally, I need large fonts to use the Reader, so this makes the whole process more difficult as font conversion (face and size) are required too.

NatCh
01-23-2007, 02:31 PM
Now that we've had a look at CommanderROR's preliminary (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9475) review (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9481) of the StareEBook hardware, and we know that it's supposed to be the same hardware as what the Baen/NAEB folks are negotiating for, it seems to me we know a few things, tentatively, anyway.

CommanderROR said the one big thing he doesn't like about the StarEBook is the limitation to only Star's proprietary format. Since the Baen/NAEB variant allows a fairly broad list of file types, and should be about USD100 lower price, that ought to make it quite attractive by comparison.

Of course we don't really know for certain that the hardware will be identical (though it seems a reasonable assumption for the moment, so long as we keep in mind that it is an assumption), and we have no idea whatsoever what the software/apps might be like. So those are still a couple of outstanding question marks on the device.

Alexander Turcic
01-24-2007, 08:10 AM
Nat do you think the hardware is designed and manufactured by PVI, the E Ink panel maker? If yes, perhaps also this one (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=9472) is the same device.

NatCh
01-24-2007, 11:51 AM
Hmmm. I hadn't thought about that ... it very well may be the same, or with trivial variations (color and the like). We've known for a while that PVI was offering to build basic reader hardware for whoever wanted to pay their prices. I s'pose that Star and Bookeen just may have gone for that option. Either way, more panels bought means the price can start coming down that much sooner. :nice:

NatCh
02-25-2007, 12:40 PM
For those who have been waiting for it, the NAEB Reader Pre-Order form (http://www.naebllc.com/page3.html) is up now.

As mentioned in the thread title, they need to get 1000 units spoken for before they can move on it, so I think that no one should sign up unless they're serious about buying one.

Last word I heard on pricing was ~$320, and time-frame was sometime in summer, but none of that is finalized.

Also, I think this is the Bookeen hardware discussed above, but I don't have a firm 'yes' on that (there was some minor discussion of other hardware since this came out, which I don't think went anywhere). I'll post again when I know either way.

NatCh
02-25-2007, 02:08 PM
Just heard: this is, indeed, the Bookeen hardware previously discussed.

phuata
02-25-2007, 11:06 PM
I'm sorry. I'm lost. Which discussion? Where? What have they finally decided on?

NatCh
02-26-2007, 01:42 AM
Post #1 in this thread (i.e. the thread you're currently looking at), phuata. :wink:

phuata
02-26-2007, 02:02 AM
Thank-you, Natch. I'm feeling a little slow, here. Are the links in posts 31 and 32 in this thread pointing to the same hardware, or not?

NatCh
02-26-2007, 10:25 AM
Post 31, yes, as far as we know. Post 32, we think so, but don't know for sure. :shrug:

phuata
02-26-2007, 01:07 PM
Ah, all right. That's where I got confused. I thought they were three different products, so when you said that NAEB was using the previously discussed hardware, I thought we had a choice of three previous discussions you could be referring to.

So, does the NAEB choice have a user-replacable battery as described in the links in post 31 in this thread? How about the included 512MB SD card? And have there been any decisions on the software (is there the bookmark feature or jump to page feature described in the threads post 31 links to)?

I have tried to read all of the NAEB forum, and I see where discussions have been made. I just don't see final choices. And every time I try to visit Baen's Bar, I'm told the page can not be found.

NatCh
02-26-2007, 02:08 PM
They are three different products from three different vendors, they just happen to have the same hardware (the software's different).

Since it has the same hardware, yes, it should have the same user replaceable battery as described, I don't know about the SD card, I think that's being added by the other vendors, so I wouldn't necessarily expect it to be there on this one. :shrug:

The NAEB folks haven't seen the actual software yet, so I don't think there are answers yet to those questions. They are s'posed to be getting test units in the relatively near future, so software questions will likely be answered at that time.

Yeah, the NAEB forum is pretty sparse on discussion, so is that section of the Bar, compared to MR, and the Bar does seem to be unavailable fairly frequently, but if you keep trying, you can usually get in -- it's up right now, for instance. :nice:

delphidb96
03-04-2007, 12:36 PM
The description posted doesn't mention root or shell access, an SDK, or a user-replaceable battery. I'd recommend some caution.

One thing we *STILL* don't know is whether the Bookeen reader is exactly the same as the STAReBOOK on the hardware level - right down to the battery access - and whether the OS/application level has been significantly modified beyond adding in the ebook formats we want for NAEB.

Another thing is whether they offer an SDK and just how much that will cost. Given that I'm the one who will be riding herd on whatever programmers NAEB hires to add in other ebook format support and other functionality, such as text-to-speech for the blind, these are questions *I* would like answered.

Of course, not even having a Bookeen device to evaluate has made this process difficult. :huh:

If any of you know about this kind of programming and would like to help out let us know at NAEB. http://www.naebllc.com/

Yes, we also want the whole platform to be Open Source. In my personal opinion, if we can't get that from Bookeen, it's not worth selling.

Derek Benner

delphidb96
03-04-2007, 12:44 PM
I'm going to top post here because that's my normal habit on the Baen's Bar.

Bob, you are right. It *IS* odd that we haven't stated there is an open environment for the NAEB reader. Of course, that is because, at this point in time, we don't know what Bookeen is offering in its derivation of the STAReBOOK.

Actually, as we still don't have evaluation units to test, examine and modify, we don't know much at all. Trust me, as the Chief Technical Officer for NAEB, I am concerned by this. One thing we've done is to start looking for programmers who can expand the functionality of the basic software and OS with features users would like, such as support for rocketbook, ereader and fbreader as well as text-to-speech. Given that the STAReBOOK and Bookeen devices support music/mp3s, I think we already could support playing audiobooks.

But I don't *KNOW* this. When I know this, you all will know this.

Derek Benner

Looks a lot like the Sony minus the A/C adapter, but plus HTML and prc compatibility, and the adapter sort of accounts for the slight price difference. But remember that a complaint about the iLiad arose after the fact that DRM was not supported (because you couldn't buy recent popular books for it).

On the other hand, Baen folks probably don't care about that for the most part.

One of the main draws would be an open environment to support third party apps. It's odd that it was missing. Maybe it was asked for, but not allowed? Or maybe that was an issue for future support because the retail software probably isn't set up that way. For example, they offered to basically provide functionality updates, and that might be difficult if the platform was different than their main retail products.

And I would have also expected foreign font support. I wonder why that was left out, or maybe if it is included.

I think most people are likely to prefer the Sony Reader, but this might find a nice niche market. I hope so. I'd like to see many devices succeed as long as we don't split up the 3rd party development efforts too much. Hopefully they will get the 1000 orders they are aiming for!

delphidb96
03-04-2007, 12:56 PM
1000 units is a huge order. I am sure we could come up with 100 or so MR orders, but 1000? :huh:


To date, we've received 120 requests from people who want a shot at buying a NAEB ereader when it becomes available. I put up the sign-up form on our website on Thursday, 3/1/2007.

Look, part of the issue we have is that Bookeen wants at least 200 units pre-paid before they'll ship and we don't get any price break at all at that point. We get enough of a price break with 1,000 units to allow us to, after including our *own* costs, but not shipping or taxes, charge around $350 per unit. If we can get 5,000 units ordered and paid for, we'll bring that down under $300. IIRC, Bookeen won't give us another price break unless we order some ridiculous amount like 100,000 or 1,000,000 units.

To be fair, we first started out trying to actually design our own ereader. And it is doable. Doable for somewhat less than $200/unit. But only if we were willing to order 50,000 units at once. We would *like* to go that route, but as we're not flush with capital, we figured our best strategy would be to make a 'version 1.0' NAEB ereader branded device from Hanlin, Bookeen or STAReBOOK and plough some of the revenue back into developing our own 'version 2.0'. Remember, if we can gain a reputation for being a 'player' within the ereader sales community, we can get the primary manufacturers to deal with us. And that's important because the e-ink/e-paper times, they are a-changin'. By this time next year, 16-color and 64-color displays, available for immediate integration into retail product designs, are likely. As are faster refresh rates.

However, if we don't get *something* out there, we'll be in the same position with the OEM sources as we are this year.

Derek Benner

delphidb96
03-04-2007, 01:10 PM
I wonder just how far the economy of scale could be pushed in a case like this?

Sadly, it seems that there are too few takers on this new device (I'm still on the fence about this purchase, though I'm trying to inveigle a friend to get one), so Bookeen may not reach their 1,000 orders mark.

However: what if 10,000 people said yes to the device at $30?
;-|

Yeah, probably won't happen. But I know that I could blow $30 on an e-ink device much easier than $300.

Hah! Listen, one of the things we considered was buying the e-ink display modules from the prime source of e-ink displays and assembling our own device and marketing it. For anything less than 50,000 units, we weren't going to get the display itself - and that's not even counting the display controller module, the main processor board, the power supply, the SD or CF support, the case and control wiring - for less than around $120US. And even were we able to come up with the money for those 50,000 displays, they really didn't want to talk to us because they wanted a first order that was larger.

Sure, if we could have come up with the money for 50K-100K units, we could have brought our *cost* down to around $200-$220. But that would have meant scraping up at least $10,000,000! Eep!

And we would have had to repeat the process with the design for the main controller board as it would have to fit into the custom case.

We're thinking of attempting this for our version 2.0 device as the display technology may advance in a year or so.

Derek Benner

delphidb96
03-04-2007, 01:20 PM
Ah, all right. That's where I got confused. I thought they were three different products, so when you said that NAEB was using the previously discussed hardware, I thought we had a choice of three previous discussions you could be referring to.

So, does the NAEB choice have a user-replacable battery as described in the links in post 31 in this thread? How about the included 512MB SD card? And have there been any decisions on the software (is there the bookmark feature or jump to page feature described in the threads post 31 links to)?

I have tried to read all of the NAEB forum, and I see where discussions have been made. I just don't see final choices. And every time I try to visit Baen's Bar, I'm told the page can not be found.

We're essentially going with a Bookeen out-of-the-box at this point, except that it will have the range of ebook format support that we mention on our NAEB specifications page.

Look, part of the problem that we've discovered in this entire process is that it makes no difference what we would *like* to offer as part of a new, custom ebook reader design if we cannot get a decent price break from the OEM manufacturers for the hardware. And we cannot do that without ordering 25,000 or more units and paying for them up front, wait while they're assembled, and then implement the software onto them. Hunh?!?

Now would you be willing to pay $250-$280 for our most expansive version if you had to wait six months for us to ship? Didn't think so. And that's predicated upon us gathering the volume of orders to buy the 25,000 or more units. If we only get 1,000 orders, then the price per device becomes 25 times higher because we *STILL* have to order 25,000 units!

If you think this has been an exercise in frustration, I fully agree with you!

Derek Benner