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Old 05-07-2009, 10:15 AM   #16
Indigo Ink
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But if Amazon had brought ePub onboard and then told these companies that in order to sell your product to work with the DX, you need to make ePub, then there's a chance that would happen. I'd rather have ePub text books then Mobipocket text books for one.
While adding epub would have been good, I guess one would need to look it from Amazon's perspective - given the choice, I think, Amazon would not allow anything but mobi/azw on Kindle. But the moment you look at the textbook market, or personal document market they must have realized that they cannot do without PDF, so in all probability, quite reluctantly they had to bring in PDF on board.
To take a clue from my personal experience -
For quite some time I did not think PDF was a good format, not reflowable and all that, I used to convert many of my pdf articles into mobi (figures and diagrams not being very essential for me) but the day I sat down to write an academic paper I realised that to provide quotes and cite references I had to quote a page number and reflow became a problem. The non-reflow nature of PDF which used to be the 'problem' became an 'advantage'. So, I had to admit to myself that PDF does have certain characterstics which is keeping it a defacto standard in professional and academic world. I guess, Amazon realized that KDX cannot do without it...while it can easily avoid epub.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:18 AM   #17
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The PDF viewer is incredibly basic, I don’t know why they needed Adobe Digital Editions SDK. All the PDF viewer does is clip the margins in portrait mode and clip the margins with continuous view in landscape mode (i.e. parts of two pages could be on the screen at once in landscape). This could easily have been done with open source code.

What is strange is no support for device wide PDF search (as there is for MOBI and Amazon ebooks). PDF to text is widely available (open source again), and this is needed for within-document search (which it has for PDFs and all other document types). The problem may be specifying locations accurately, because the DX also lacks note taking within PDFs - perhaps for the same reason. You don't need locations and context for within-document search because you just display the page on the screen (with highlighting).
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:21 AM   #18
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The PDF viewer is incredibly basic, I don’t know why they needed Adobe Digital Editions SDK. All the PDF viewer does is clip the margins in portrait mode and clip the margins with continuous view in landscape mode (i.e. parts of two pages could be on the screen at once in landscape). This could easily have been done with open source code.
Perhaps because the SDK is officially supported by Adobe, whereas open source alternatives are not, and Amazon doesn't want to hassle with the support? Just a guess.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
But if Amazon had brought ePub onboard and then told these companies that in order to sell your product to work with the DX, you need to make ePub, then there's a chance that would happen. I'd rather have ePub text books then Mobipocket text books for one.
I would have liked ePub support, but I was far more interested in PDF support. There are over half a million public domain PDFs on Google Books and archive.org to which I now have access. Creating PDFs from scratch is trivial. Creating PDFs from existing books and documents not already in an electronic format is also easy. PDF images of very old books preserves their character (think something like Newton's Principia). Magazines, textbooks, company documents, and other printed pages often have a consistant layout on each individual page. Reflowable pages will often break that layout, so PDFs are a stronger fit for these types of documents. Businesses, government offices, schools, and hospitals all produce a ton of paper documents and once again it is trivial for them to produce PDFs which can then be stored or accessed through the Kindle DX. These same documents can also be easily shared with other entities that may not have an eReader.

I prefer ePub over mobi when it comes to a reflowable format, but I believe PDF files have their advantages as well.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:00 AM   #20
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Perhaps because the SDK is officially supported by Adobe, whereas open source alternatives are not, and Amazon doesn't want to hassle with the support?
Amazon may feel they have better legal cover buying PDF technology from Adobe. I have seen this from large companies before, it is easier to buy a cheap license now than get hit by lawsuits later. I don't think there are any lawsuits possible about PDF, but better safe than sorry.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:04 AM   #21
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. . . and Amazon will still be around in 10 years whereas IRex may not.
Amazon may be around in 10 years but in 10 years will Amazon have decided that it needs to change ebook formats and discontinue current formats as a way to enhance its bottom line by requiring Kindle users to buy new machines? Or will the Kindle become the Betamax of ebook readers as all other device maufacturers go with a different format that is more widely accepted?

The status of Amazon in 10 years as regards ebooks and ebook reading devices is as speculative as whether iRex will be around in 10 years.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:11 AM   #22
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What Amazon has done is help validate PDF as an eBook format. That is wrong. It sends the wrong message to the publishers and public.
PDF has its problems but many of those problems can be solved, and certainly larger screen ebook readers is a help. But, alas, so do all the other ebook formats have their problems, some of which may not be so easily resolved. Personally, I would prefer to see PDF's problems resolved and it become the standard than to have to deal with the problems of other formats.

Besides, PDF has one advantage over all the other formats, especially for for nonfiction and technical books: it is exceedingly easy to create and thus reduces the costs. It is very costly to have to convert graphic-laden books to ePub or other formats as one has to then try to fix the errors that occur in the conversion, such as graphics shifting.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #23
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Or will the Kindle become the Betamax of ebook readers as all other device maufacturers go with a different format that is more widely accepted?
But, Kindle was NEVER marketed as a generic e-book reader device. Those pieces of hardware were forever designed and sold as a ticket to Amazon service. Amazon does not care about interoperability with the rest of the world, nor does he, truth to be told, lie to us that it is otherwise.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:56 PM   #24
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The PDF viewer is incredibly basic, I don’t know why they needed Adobe Digital Editions SDK. All the PDF viewer does is clip the margins in portrait mode and clip the margins with continuous view in landscape mode (i.e. parts of two pages could be on the screen at once in landscape). This could easily have been done with open source code.

What is strange is no support for device wide PDF search (as there is for MOBI and Amazon ebooks). PDF to text is widely available (open source again), and this is needed for within-document search (which it has for PDFs and all other document types). The problem may be specifying locations accurately, because the DX also lacks note taking within PDFs - perhaps for the same reason. You don't need locations and context for within-document search because you just display the page on the screen (with highlighting).
I suspect that they cut a good deal with Adobe and Adobe wants to roll out their new product into the eBook devices. Using the SDK allows for some of the things you want in the future with firmware updates. I think they rushed this to market and firmware on the way in the future. Actually the product itself may see changes by the time it really appears 6 to 8 weeks from now.

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Old 05-07-2009, 02:37 PM   #25
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Can someone explain, why so many are clamoring for EPUB?

It's a sincere question: I really don't know much about it, but from what I know, I don't see a reason for it.

A PDF gives an accurate representation of a page on screen, preserving both fonts and design. It is as close as one gets to the printed page, and I believe, the best way to replace a printed page.

I personally would rather see screen size standardization, showing pages as meant to be shown by the publisher, then reflowing. There is standardization for paper sizes, why not for screen sizes?

But for those who desire, the new PDF SDK allows reflowing.

In addition, PDF is already an established standard on the desktop. And, at least on a desktop, a PDF can be annotated, searched, stickies can be placed on it, and so on. Not sure if the current mobile version allows this, but if it doesn't, I'd imagine it will soon.

So, again, isn't it better to establish a standard (and PDF currently seems to be the best one I've seen), instead of fragmenting an already confused market with new formats, like EPUB?
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:39 PM   #26
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Can someone explain, why so many are clamoring for EPUB?

It's a sincere question: I really don't know much about it, but from what I know, I don't see a reason for it.

A PDF gives an accurate representation of a page on screen, preserving both fonts and design. It is as close as one gets to the printed page, and I believe, the best way to replace a printed page.

I personally would rather see screen size standardization, showing pages as meant to be shown by the publisher, then reflowing. There is standardization for paper sizes, why not for screen sizes.

But for those who desire, the new PDF SDK allows reflowing.

In addition, PDF is already an established standard on the desktop. And, at least on a desktop, a PDF can be annotated, searched, stickies can be placed on it, and so on. Not sure if the current mobile version allows this, but if it doesn't, I'd imagine it will soon.

So, again, isn't it better to establish a standard (and PDF currently seems to be the best one I've seen), instead of fragmenting an already confused market with new formats, like EPUB?
sonist, i've got a thread just for you : "What's so great about epub ?" you ask...

you can just read the first page to get most of the pertinent information, i think. epub is really far superior to pdf for most ebook uses (there are some obvious exceptions, of course) in every way.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:56 PM   #27
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Because the Kindle DX is much cheaper, has a better screen, longer battery life, comes with free wireless access, the ability to access hundreds of thousands of books the IRex can't, and Amazon will still be around in 10 years whereas IRex may not.
In what way it has a better screen? The resolution is smaller and the size is smaller. Both are e-ink ...
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:58 PM   #28
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Amazon may feel they have better legal cover buying PDF technology from Adobe. I have seen this from large companies before, it is easier to buy a cheap license now than get hit by lawsuits later. I don't think there are any lawsuits possible about PDF, but better safe than sorry.
PDF is an ISO standard and licenses are free. I don't see how lawsuits would affect it.
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:00 PM   #29
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PDF is an ISO standard and licenses are free. I don't see how lawsuits would affect it.
Lawsuits about the implementation.
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:16 PM   #30
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I really don't see the great advantage compared to an IRex Digital Reader (despite the lower price).
The two are now side by side on the E-book Reader Matrix. I agree that the cost isn't the primary issue (although my guess is that Amazon has set an upper price limit for 9.7" devices). I really wanted to buy the DR1000SW, but will this ever come out and if so will it have "good enough" software? I have preordered a KDX, but an alternative from iRex or Sony (or anyone) could change my mind.

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