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Old 09-04-2009, 12:50 AM   #1
Nate the great
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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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Old 09-04-2009, 12:55 AM   #2
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Thanks Nate. I remember when they brought it out, but never tried it out. It's good to have more info about it.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:15 AM   #3
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Pity you can't get it as an ePub, Nate.

If you write the publisher, I'd be curious to find out how they respond.

- Ahi
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
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Pity you can't get it as an ePub, Nate.

If you write the publisher, I'd be curious to find out how they respond.

- Ahi
Can you think of a reason they should bother (besides wanting to remove the DRM )? Seriously, this ebook can be read on Mac, Windows, and any ebook reader that is running Adobe's firmware. That covers most of the market.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:22 AM   #5
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Can you think of a reason they should bother (besides wanting to remove the DRM )? Seriously, this ebook can be read on Mac, Windows, and any ebook reader that is running Adobe's firmware. That covers most of the market.
He he. Most of a market that is PDF-phobic.

Which makes me wonder what their internal reasons/rationales are for opting for PDF anyways.

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Old 09-04-2009, 11:35 AM   #6
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He he. Most of a market that is PDF-phobic.

Which makes me wonder what their internal reasons/rationales are for opting for PDF anyways.

- Ahi
No, geeks are PDF-phobic. I've now seen data from 3 different places that show PDF is the most popular format. The average user obviously doesn't care.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:37 AM   #7
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No, geeks are PDF-phobic. I've now seen data from 3 different places that show PDF is the most popular format. The average user obviously doesn't care.
Well, I should have been more specific.

I think eBook device owning users are PDF-phobic. Those who view on their screen/print are not.

Although now that I think of it... this might mean that the answer is very boring, and they simply anticipate most of their users to view the eBook on a personal computer or a laptop...

- Ahi

Ps.: If ever Mobileread members come for us with anti-heresy pitchforks... I hope to have the honour of being burnt at the stake together with you!
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:45 AM   #8
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I think eBook device owning users are PDF-phobic. Those who view on their screen/print are not.
Slightly off-topic, but I think Nate was right with his "geeks are PDF-phobic" comment. PDF was created as a proprietary format in 1993 or so and remained that way until 2008. The reader was free but the tools available to create them were overpriced, buggy, hard to maintain in a corporate environment, and often threw hissy fits when trying to upgrade. And don't get me started on the bloated reader software for which there are now decent alternatives (foxit) but for the longest time these didn't exist.

For me, PDF comes with a host of bad memories, and I am only slowly overcoming that

Last edited by acidzebra; 09-04-2009 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:25 PM   #9
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Slightly off-topic, but I think Nate was right with his "geeks are PDF-phobic" comment. PDF was created as a proprietary format in 1993 or so and remained that way until 2008. The reader was free but the tools available to create them were overpriced, buggy, hard to maintain in a corporate environment, and often threw hissy fits when trying to upgrade. And don't get me started on the bloated reader software for which there are now decent alternatives (foxit) but for the longest time these didn't exist.

For me, PDF comes with a host of bad memories, and I am only slowly overcoming that
Hmmm... my own experience suggests otherwise. But it's mostly intuition, I guess... because I don't think I've ever discussed PDF at length prior to mobileread.

Which is to say, I suppose you guys might be right.

- Ahi
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:01 PM   #10
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Hmmm... my own experience suggests otherwise. But it's mostly intuition, I guess...
And the same goes for me. I have not commented on the technical or typographical merits of PDF, just my experiences with the software, maintaining it in a corporate environment, the lack of proper tools on linux in the 'propietary years', and the company itself.

One final note on PDF; how could I forget to mention the whole Skylarov episode in my little tirade? Must have blocked it from memory.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:14 PM   #11
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Hmmm... my own experience suggests otherwise. But it's mostly intuition, I guess... because I don't think I've ever discussed PDF at length prior to mobileread.
Which is to say, I suppose you guys might be right.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:28 PM   #12
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No, geeks are PDF-phobic. I've now seen data from 3 different places that show PDF is the most popular format. The average user obviously doesn't care.
Too blanket if a statment to be true, I know plenty of geeks that prefer PDF.

What's that old addage "people like what they know" I'm thinking people rather prefer PDF over any other book format because they are comfortable with that technology.

Which is why PDF always trumps all the other formats in popularity.
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:58 PM   #13
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Too blanket if a statment to be true, I know plenty of geeks that prefer PDF.

What's that old addage "people like what they know" I'm thinking people rather prefer PDF over any other book format because they are comfortable with that technology.

Which is why PDF always trumps all the other formats in popularity.
You're right. That was a blanket statement.

My original point was that PDF was acceptable to a large part of the ebook market. I think this is even more true in the academic market.
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:11 PM   #14
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PDF

I think that new consumers like PDF's because they know them and know that Adobe can read them and its been around for a while.

The other file types that ebooks come in are strange and not always standard, so PDF's make sense to a new consumer.

When I first started buying ebooks I would buy them in pdf format. Now I try to not get ebooks in PDF format.

How often is PDF support asked for in the "Which Device Should I Get" forum? Very frequently.

Amy
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