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Old 01-13-2008, 11:20 PM   #1
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Talking Fictionwise says eReader format is safe

After all the speculation it's time to relax and celebrate. According to Steve Pendergrast, one of the founders of Fictionwise, the eReader format is here to stay:

Quote:
"We are absolutely *not* going to shut down the ereader format or the ereader web site."
In fact they plan to port the eReader software to a much wider range of devices.

After the Kindle, they just didn't want to be at Amazon's mercy:

Quote:
Every other DRM format we support is owned by a competitor of ours who could pull it away from us at any time.
(..)

By owning the eReader format, nobody can ever take that format away from us.
(Read the rest at jkOnTheRun)

Don't you love these guys?

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Old 01-13-2008, 11:33 PM   #2
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eReader format wont be anything special until it is available on an eink device with at least a 6" screen.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKeeper View Post
After all the speculation it's time to relax and celebrate.

According to Steve Pendergrast (one of the founders of Fictionwise) the eReader format is here to stay:
<...>

In fact they plan to [I]port the eReader software to a much wider range of devices.


After the kindle, they just didn't want to be at Amazon's mercy:

Don't you love these guys?
I don't know whether I love them, but I do think they are being smart.

I couldn't imagine them buying eReader to shut it down and kill the reader. Why buy it at all in that case? They could just let it die a natural death, which given Motricity's benign neglect would have happened sooner rather than later.

It's good that they plan to port the reader to other platforms, and I'd expect Symbian and Blackberry to be what they had in mind.

Now, if they're really clever, they'll do what Amazon did when it bought MobiPocket: make the reader and the ebook creator freeware. Fictionwise makes it's living selling content. It's in their interest to have as much content as possible available, and to make it as easy as possible for folks to read it.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:54 AM   #4
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Fictionwise has a sound strategy by owning a DRMed format they won't be shut out if the owners of the other formats decide not to sell through Fictionwise. Of course I'd rather that there be no DRM but honestly my DRMed books (especially my eReader books) are much higher quality than most of my non-DRMed books. By higher quality I mean mostly the technical aspects such as editing and proofreading. Because many of the authors that I love are only available in a DRMed format, for me the quality of the writing tends to be higher. I even own some eReader books that aren't available in any other format.

Now that I know a little better I purchase DRMed books in .lit and convert but not everything I buy is available in .lit so I still have to buy eReader format on occasion. I would love, love, love to either be able to read my eReader books on my Kindle or Iliad or be able to convert them to a compatible format.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:00 AM   #5
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
eReader format wont be anything special until it is available on an eink device with at least a 6" screen.
Now that Fictionwise owns the format and plans to expand the range of devices, I think that will happen very quickly. We know they've been working on an e ink device of their own -- I would guess it will be another Bookeen clone, but maybe it will be something else. In any case, there's an OSX version already, so porting to the various Linux devices shouldn't be hard.
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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What I would like to see is Fictionwise allow anyone who has an eink reader to use eReader format if the company desires. That would be nice.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
What I would like to see is Fictionwise allow anyone who has an eink reader to use eReader format if the company desires. That would be nice.
The PML format is documented, and tools exist to create books in that format. Using it on an eInk reader should be only a matter of a viewer that handles PML running on that reader.

Fictionwise ought to consider making the reader open source to encourage ports.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Fictionwise ought to consider making the reader open source to encourage ports.
______
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I don't think they could do that, given that it's supposed to support a DRM format. With the source to the reader, it would be fairly trivial for someone to edit to allow any CC# to work on any file, or remove the check for DRM compliance altogether.
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
Now that Fictionwise owns the format and plans to expand the range of devices, I think that will happen very quickly. We know they've been working on an e ink device of their own -- I would guess it will be another Bookeen clone, but maybe it will be something else.
I'm hoping rather desperately for "something else" - namely, something that more closely follows their own EB-1150 in design. Of course, I don't want it to be nearly as thick and heavy as the 1150 - there's no need for an e-ink device to be that bulky; size should stay about that of the Cybook - but I would love to have the page navigation button layout from the 1150 along with the ability to rotate the screen so that you can easily hold & navigate a book either left or right-handed. I'd also love to have the 1150's library design for collection management. Touch-screen and integrated (or low-profile accessory) lighting for the screen would be nice bonuses but not essential, at least not as compared to the other features.

And, of course, backwards compatibility with the IMP format would be great. As would pricing more in line with Sony's Reader than the Cybook (I'm well aware that they couldn't price it comparably with their 1150 - though it would sure be nice if they could...).

Given a Fictionwise e-ink device that incorporated most of those features, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat, despite having just bought the Cybook. (And, even more recently, having bought both a used Sony 500 and 505 for my brother & his wife and for my parents respectively, since they usually read most of my pbooks and I needed something less expensive than my Cybook to loan them for reading ebooks.) While the Cybook's ergonomics don't totally suck, the 1150 definitely has it beat.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:16 PM   #11
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Backwards compatibility with the IMP format might be a bit involved, since it's a bit like PDF in being specifically tied to a page/screen size. How's a 320x480 IMP going to display on a 600x800 screen? Just magnify it? Existing ETI-2 IMPs wouldn't work well, so likely source files would have to be recompiled for a different screen size, though it might be possible for the new device to dynamically recompile an ETI-2 into an ETI-3.

But, yes, I do want ETI-2 ergonomics. A device you can securely hold in one hand and page forward or back with the same hand is much better than devices that require a separate hand to hit a paging button.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jadon View Post
Backwards compatibility with the IMP format might be a bit involved, since it's a bit like PDF in being specifically tied to a page/screen size. How's a 320x480 IMP going to display on a 600x800 screen? Just magnify it? Existing ETI-2 IMPs wouldn't work well, so likely source files would have to be recompiled for a different screen size, though it might be possible for the new device to dynamically recompile an ETI-2 into an ETI-3.

But, yes, I do want ETI-2 ergonomics. A device you can securely hold in one hand and page forward or back with the same hand is much better than devices that require a separate hand to hit a paging button.
One way to handle the ETI-2 320x480 is to simply use larger fonts. Graphics can either be scaled or left alone. One page is still one page so this might leave a larger margin in some cases on some pages.

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Old 01-15-2008, 10:16 AM   #13
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Agreed on the ergonomics of the existing EB-1150. Regarding the IMP format, I know it has page breaks, line breaks and whatnot in it, but it might be possible to ignore those and reflow the text dynamically. There's clearly still text there, because you can select, find, etc. It might depend on how/if paragraphs are marked.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Fictionwise ought to consider making the reader open source to encourage ports.
Exactly! Prove all the tools and open all the specs of the format, and it'd be truly something to look forward to. Until then... just another proprietary format that is at the mercy of a single company.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:12 AM   #15
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Agreed on the ergonomics of the existing EB-1150. Regarding the IMP format, I know it has page breaks, line breaks and whatnot in it, but it might be possible to ignore those and reflow the text dynamically. There's clearly still text there, because you can select, find, etc. It might depend on how/if paragraphs are marked.
But why? The eb-1150 is a 5.6" device and the e-INK is likely a 6" device so there is not much physical size difference. If we consider the font size needed to provide a good reading experience there is very little difference. You pick a font that provides the same size page and you're all set. Just because the resolution is higher doesn't mean you need to cram more data on the page. The font sizes used on the eB-1150 already provide the similar amount of data per page as most of the e-Ink devices so you just pick the right font and everything should be fine.

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