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Sunday, April 22, 2007


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Sony is learning. "Downright hostile" was the first E-Ink device, Librie:
1) Memory Stick only
2) Book uploading only via supplied software
3) Supports only Sony propietary BBeB format, no tools for generating user content
Compare with the Reader:
1) De-facto standard SD card slot
2) Supports open formats like RTF, PDF and TXT
3) You can just drop your books on the card and read them - no need to use the bundled software.
4) Tools for generating content in BBeB format (prslabs.com)
As for reading PDFs, it's not Sony's fault that PDF is a fixed-page format. They can't do much more that scale the A4 page to the Reader's screen size - no wonder everything becomes unreadable. If you make your PDFs to match the Reader's screen size, they're perfectly readable (see the Reader User's Guide for an example).
Granted, the device could still be better - e.g support HTML, or USB mass storage interface, but it's still a huge leap forward. Hopefully they'll keep opening the device even more.


it is certainly good to hear that the latest sony reader sucks less that the previous incarnation, the librie. hopefully they will keep going in that direction. i did not know about the prs labs tools for creating bbeb content, that sounds like a very interesting way to somehow get content to the device. it would be interesting to find out how easy or hard it is to generate "htmlish" content (tables, lists, some very basic formatting) in bbeb if one has a structurally rich xml format to start with. that would turn the reader into something i might actually spend some money for...

however, a first look at prs labs and bbeb is less than encouraging. it is a proprietary format and probably not a very stable platform. the prs labs page is run by sony and i am curious to see what they have to offer to developers. my guess is that this whole setup is less than perfect for building publishing solutions with a certain degree of robustness and longevity.

Jonathan Wilcox

Sony imposes a hostile license on a copyright owner, requiring a non-exclusive grant to Sony of all rights on all media, present and future. What if you write a book that Sony decides to make into a movie? It seems you couldn't stop Sony from doing it.

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