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Old 08-01-2008, 07:48 PM   #46
Jim Lester
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Great point. The latest firmware may have solved that problem for PDF and ePUB at least but not for the other formats. Calibre solves it for the other formats and may soon have a ePUB solution as well.

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Not quite. Sony doesn't provide their drivers for Mac, and the Sony Reader on the Mac just appears as yet another USB Mass Storage device. This means that ADE won't recognize it as a Sony Reader, and you can't "Authorize" your Sony Reader with your AdobeID on the Mac.

This is not particularly pretty, Mac like, or something that I'm especially proud of, but if you do Authorize your Sony Reader on Windows system with the same AdobeID as your Mac system(s) you will be able to transfer content through the file system (ie not through ADE), and be able to read it on your Sony Reader.

For non DRM protected content, like the good ePub content from Feedbooks.com, you don't need to go through this hassle and can directly transfer the content from your Mac to your Sony Reader.
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:01 AM   #47
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I have a 505 and was never really happy with it. I don't like how hard it is to press the page buttons and the Sony store, well, you know how that is.
I bought a Kindle and have not turned on the Sony since the day my Kindle arrived.
I think that with the next gen Kindle right around the corner, the ability to easily purchase books on the Kindle store, and the fact you don't have to tether the device to a computer gives the Kindle a pretty big lead on the other devices.

I don't think all the others will go away, but the Kindle's lead will only grow over time and it will become the device of choice for most people. Certainly once it's rolled out in Europe and I suspect it will be sooner or later.
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:50 PM   #48
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I think that with the next gen Kindle right around the corner...
Could you share with us your reason for believing that a next gen Kindle is "right around the corner", please?
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:28 PM   #49
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On ePub versus Mobi:

We forget that we aren't the folks who determine which format will win. That's up to the publishers.

Early signs are that ePub is going to win. Adobe is providing free ePub export filters for all their tools, including InDesign. InDesign has cleaned Quark's clock over the past couple of years in enterprise publishing -- I've been watching the galleys I get from my publishers switch from Quark to InDesign filenames (outside the crop marks) -- and at least one of the five major mutlinational publishing groups, Hachette, has already made a strategic decision at board level to go with ePub (because it integrates with the ebook provisioning workflow they've just spent eight-digit-dollars building over the past three years).

Also: MobiPocket is a subsidiary of Amazon. The publishers hate, fear, and loathe Amazon -- Amazon is pretty ruthless and will eat their lunch in a split instant if they give AMZN the opportunity. So that's another strike against.
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Old 08-02-2008, 05:31 PM   #50
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On ePub versus Mobi:

We forget that we aren't the folks who determine which format will win. That's up to the publishers.

Early signs are that ePub is going to win. Adobe is providing free ePub export filters for all their tools, including InDesign. InDesign has cleaned Quark's clock over the past couple of years in enterprise publishing -- I've been watching the galleys I get from my publishers switch from Quark to InDesign filenames (outside the crop marks) -- and at least one of the five major mutlinational publishing groups, Hachette, has already made a strategic decision at board level to go with ePub (because it integrates with the ebook provisioning workflow they've just spent eight-digit-dollars building over the past three years).
Yes and no.

Agreed on InDesign: an old friend is a DTP specialist at a major publisher, and one of the folks who turn copy edited manuscripts into files printers can make plates from. She's peeved, because she spent considerable time learning how to work around Quark stupidities and make things come out as desired. InDesign is apparently a better program over all, and all of her hard won expertise has become irrelevant...

But the larger question is whether ePub will really become a dominant end-user format. Lower end devices like handhelds may not have the processing power to really handle ePub. But ePub might be just dandy as an intermediate format, readily convertible to Mobi, LRF, eReader, or whatever.
One you have an ePub file and conversion tools, output to other formats ought to be easily automated.
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:54 PM   #51
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But the larger question is whether ePub will really become a dominant end-user format. Lower end devices like handhelds may not have the processing power to really handle ePub.
But the definition of a low end device is a movable feast. Ten years ago, a Palm III with 2Mb of RAM and a 16MHz Dragonball (a 68000 series microprocessor) was more or less state of the art. Today? An iPhone has a 626MHz StrongARM family chip, IIRC, and Intel's pushing the Atom family -- basically a low-power embedded IA32 architecture CPU that scales up to dual cores at 1.2GHz -- at the next generation.

ePub has only been out for about 12 months. If it's to be a stable file format, it's going to be around (modulo some tweaking) for more like 10-20 years. (Look at Postscript or PDF or HTML.)

In ten years time, the workload of rendering ePub will look trivial.
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Old 08-02-2008, 07:00 PM   #52
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I think eventually most of the reading devices will support most formats (drm and non) or there will be software freely available that will convert from and to any format and it will come down to personal preference of the reader. People will end up buying the device that best fits their hands and has the features they want in it.

I love my Sony a whole lot, but who knows what my next device will be. I'm just watching the market and open to anything that will allow me to keep reading this way.
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Old 08-02-2008, 07:18 PM   #53
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But the definition of a low end device is a movable feast. Ten years ago, a Palm III with 2Mb of RAM and a 16MHz Dragonball (a 68000 series microprocessor) was more or less state of the art.
Yes. My first PDA was a Palm OS 3.1 device with 8MB of RAM and a 16mhz Dragonball CPU.

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Today? An iPhone has a 626MHz StrongARM family chip, IIRC, and Intel's pushing the Atom family -- basically a low-power embedded IA32 architecture CPU that scales up to dual cores at 1.2GHz -- at the next generation.
With corresponding power requirements and battery life. I know Intel is pushing hard on the power front, but the days when a device could run a couple of weeks on a pair of AA batteries are long gone, and I don't see current efforts as doing more than slowing the increase in power requirements.

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ePub has only been out for about 12 months. If it's to be a stable file format, it's going to be around (modulo some tweaking) for more like 10-20 years. (Look at Postscript or PDF or HTML.)

In ten years time, the workload of rendering ePub will look trivial.
I concur. But I'm not concerned with ten years from now. I'm concerned with next year, and the year after. And there will be a lot of legacy devices that don't get replaced because they serve their intended purpose. (Mine can be described that way.)

In ten years, ePub might be the standard ebook format that everything uses. It isn't now, and I don't see that changing near term. But if you treat ePub among other things as a base format which can be converted to what ever is supported on your device, you don't care, as long as the conversion happens.

I have a simple want. I want to download electronic content once, and read it on whatever I happen to have handy. So I want a format that is broadly supported, both on a wide range of devices, and by a wide range of publishers. Right now, I maintain five viewers on my PDA to handle all of the content that resides on it, and I'd like to reduce that to fewer.

Down the road, that format may be ePub. Right now, it isn't, and won't be any time soon.
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:37 PM   #54
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One thing that no one has mentioned is that books are cheaper at Amazon. New releases are usually $9.99 which is $3.00 or more cheaper than other websites. Buy enuf books and it does add up. Also, I'm trying to figure out what the big deal is about the coming forth of ePub for the Sony 505? Any ePub book I've found that I was interested in, I've always been able to find at Amazon. (Which again, are always cheaper) The only advantage I can see with ePub is that it "might" become the "standard" format which would be nice in case you wanted to move your purchased books from one device to another. But for me, I read books once and don't find it important to keep them forever.
I had the Sony 505 and it was nice, I enjoyed it a lot, but I prefer the Kindle over the Sony because of two things... Whispernet (way cool) and more options for font sizes which I found I missed when I tried to go back to the 505 when the new firmware came out.
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:37 PM   #55
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Down the road, that format may be ePub. Right now, it isn't, and won't be any time soon.
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I agree. A 200 MHz ARM machine can't do justice to SVG graphics and IMHO it shouldn't have to. I think ePUB has gone over the top with some of its requirements when for regular fiction book reading it is not anywhere near necessary.

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Old 08-02-2008, 10:10 PM   #56
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One thing that no one has mentioned is that books are cheaper at Amazon. New releases are usually $9.99 which is $3.00 or more cheaper than other websites. Buy enuf books and it does add up.
Amazon is trying to use its clout in the market to drive demand both ways. The pricing is cheaper... if you have a Kindle. So cheaper pricing is an incentive to ebook readers to buy a Kindle to get it.

Quote:
Also, I'm trying to figure out what the big deal is about the coming forth of ePub for the Sony 505? Any ePub book I've found that I was interested in, I've always been able to find at Amazon. (Which again, are always cheaper) The only advantage I can see with ePub is that it "might" become the "standard" format which would be nice in case you wanted to move your purchased books from one device to another. But for me, I read books once and don't find it important to keep them forever.
It's important for Sony, because it broadens the options. If you want a title, you aren't necessarily tied to the Sony store, or Sony pricing. If it's available in ePub format, you can get it from any vendor who offers it and read it on the Sony Reader.

That won't help you a lot right now, but will later. ePub is in the process of being adopted by major publishers that do ebooks as their standard format. Down the road, we can anticipate just about anything on Amazon in the Kindle store to be available elsewhere as an ePub title. Book retailers compete on price among other things, and we may see attempts to match Amazon's pricing.

Sony's new firmware is both a smart and a necessary move for them. It also strikes me as a tacit admission that trying to use a proprietary format (LRF) was a failure, even if the format is technically superior to other formats out there.

It will be interesting to see how much further effort Sony puts into acquiring and issuing LRF versions of titles as ePub becomes more common, and whether at some point they'll simply standardize on ePub and drop LRF as a supported format available through Sony Connect.
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:37 PM   #57
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I'm thinking that if I was Amazon, I'd wait a bit to see if other the other electronic reader manufacturers jump on the ePub bandwagon. If so, then provide their books in ePub at their usual lower prices and capture all of the ePub market. Also, that would allow Adobe's DE to be used with the Kindle. Can't think of a reason why Amazon wouldn't do that! It will be interesting.

BTW how's the Zodiac doing? I had both the Zod 1 and Zod 2 and read over 100 books from eReader on them. Mighty good machines!
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:03 PM   #58
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I'm thinking that if I was Amazon, I'd wait a bit to see if other the other electronic reader manufacturers jump on the ePub bandwagon. If so, then provide their books in ePub at their usual lower prices and capture all of the ePub market. Also, that would allow Adobe's DE to be used with the Kindle. Can't think of a reason why Amazon wouldn't do that! It will be interesting.
The main reason I can see for Amazon not doing it would be the usual reason for corporate stupidity: ego.

The question for Amazon is "Will the rest of the industry jump on the ePub bandwagon?" If it does, they'll probably have to support it. Of course, doing so will require a firmware update (unless they simply decide to release a new Kindle with updated firmware, and anyone who wants the update has to get a new device...)

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BTW how's the Zodiac doing? I had both the Zod 1 and Zod 2 and read over 100 books from eReader on them. Mighty good machines!
I have three Zodiac 2s. A production unit, a spare, and a "parts" device. Good thing, since the production unit developed issues and I switched to the spare.

They are wonderful devices and I treasure mine. I have about 3,500 ebooks spread over two 2GB SD cards in mine. Most (about 3,200) are in Plucker format, converted from HTML, but I have a growing number of Mobipocket files, courtesy of MobileRead, some ereader files, and an assortment of PDF files, Word and RTF files, and plain text files in the mix.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:28 PM   #59
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I agree with most of what has been said above, there will be significant choices for many years to come. I first read on a PSION and many years later on a Palm OS 4.5 equipped Samsung i500 cell phone. Once I got the Sony PRS-500 with e-ink it was a whole new ball game. (Sorry about that phrase.)

Other than the books I convert for my own use, my main sources of material are MobileRead download ebooks and Fictionwise. While I have purchased from the Sony store, current best sellers are not the reason I read or my prime choice for reading material.
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:39 AM   #60
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I think Adobe is well positioned right now with ePUB and PDF w/reflow, a common DRM and a Linux solution. They are poised to become a major player in the portable eBook market themselves without having to develop hardware. It could be a powerful combination if they roll it out successfully.

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