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Old 09-04-2009, 12:50 AM   #1
Nate the great
Sir Penguin of Edinburgh
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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EB20 online reader - review

One of the books I need this semester is Decisions for War, which is published by Cambridge University Press. It is available as an ebook, but only as an ADE protected PDF, and only from www.ebooks.com. Normally I avoid PDFs like a politician avoids responsibility, but I decided to make an exception becuase this site has its own browser based reader that I had been wanting to try, and this title is compatible.

MR first covered the eb20 back in December 2007. Rather than repeat that announcement, I recommend that you should go read it directly.

I've been using eb20 for the last couple days. I also used Netlibrary to read the book in order to provide a contrast. Both readers were displaying not just the same title but the exact same PDF. I have to saw that I am deeply impressed with the eb20.

Netlibrary has an online reader like the eb20, but it comes in a distant second place. The NetLibrary reader opens in a standard browser window, which is not good for PDFs becuase about 2 vertical inches are lost to the menu bars. eb20, on the other hand, opens in a separate window without the menu bars. It has an extra vertical inch of screen real estate. This is a big deal on a 12" laptop screen.

The reading experience is similar, in that both readers let you copy, highlight, annotate, bookmark, etc. But one way that eb20 is significantly better than NetLibrary is page turns. NetLibrary only lets you see one page at a time, and to turn the page you have to use your mouse to press the next page button. The eb20, on the other hand, turns the page with the left and right arrow keys and it scrolls the pages with the vertical arrow keys. The load time of a new page was about the same, but scrolling the page was actually faster.

One interesting difference I noticed is that eb20 automatically crops the margins. This looks to be about a half inch removed from each side. I know it doesn't sound like much, but when I am looking at part of 2 pages it's very nice not to have an inch of wasted space in the middle.

My Recommendation: The eb20 is not enough to make me want to get a PDF, but on the rare occasion that I am forced to buy one, I will check www.ebooks.com first.

Last edited by Nate the great; 09-04-2009 at 01:26 AM.
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