New Sony E-Readers, 1 Million FREE e-Books, etc…07.31.09

31 07 2009


From DigitalKoans today:

Sony has announced that one million public domain books from Google are available for its current e-book readers.

In related news, there are rumors that two new Sony e-book readers may be released in August.

Read more about it at ‘Sony E-Readers Get Access to 1M Free Public Domain Books from Google‘ and ‘Sony to Offer 1 Million Google Books through Its Readers.’…”

sonyprs600reviewFrom KINDLE REVIEW, etc. blog on the new Sony PRS-600

“…Sony Reader PRS 600 – Key Features

  1. TouchScreen – confirmed from manual.
  2. It mentions MP3 encoding technology which hints at a voice recording or voice memo function.
  3. Might be flexible – the board for touchscreen, eInk, and back pane all say ‘flexible’ in the manual. Could this be a flexible, unbreakable screen?
  4. Excellent Font Support – It comes with an in-built Font Fusion Engine from BitStream that supports Chinese, Korean, Japanese. It also claims to support ANY font. The default fonts look good (these are fonts on my PC, not on the Sony) –

Sony Reader PRS 600 Default Fonts

Sony Reader PRS 600 Default Fonts

5.  Extendible memory – The manual indicates SD Card and Memory Stick Duo are both supported.

6. Very compact – It’s 4.87″ by 6.87″ by .4 inches. That’s roughly 11 cm by 17.4 cm by .98 cm.

Sony Reader PRS-600 – Key Details

  1. 6 inch screen.
  2. Very light at 10.1 oz (286 g). Very thin at .4″.
  3. Sony Reader 600 will be available in Red, Black and Silver.
  4. Has a touchscreen. The panel below the screen might be touch sensitive buttons (which would be cool).
  5. Can be charged via AC adapter or USB.
  6. Sony Reader 600 has 380 Mb of storage capacity.
  7. It also has SD Card and Memory Stick Duo support.
  8. Battery Life of the Sony Reader 600 is 7,500 pages…”

sonyprs300reviewYou can look at the Sony Reader 300 manual in PDF or get the Sony 300 manual’sKindle compatible version…”


The Future of E-book Readers – NEW Forrester Research Data…06.04.09

4 06 2009

This just released from Forrester Research (click on images for larger versions):


Here is the executive summary of their report How Big is the eReader Opportunity?:

“The eReader market is hot: Barely a day goes by without an announcement of a new device release or acquisition., leveraging its position as a dominant book retailer, has catalyzed the market for eBooks, but that’s just the beginning of the eReader revolution. Competitors will attack Amazon’s market position by launching new features, expanding content beyond books, dominating markets outside the US, reducing costs, and improving relationships with publishers. While frequent book readers drive device and content sales today, the next five years will see an explosion of the eReader textbook market, and in 10 years, the market will be driven by businesses going green in government, education, health, and other sectors. With retailers, mobile operators, and device manufacturers all vying for a piece of the eReader action, publishers should proactively shape their own eReader opportunity — or miss their last best chance to control their own destiny.”


Let Your iPhone Read to You…05.20.09

20 05 2009

The Centered Librarian‘s post Read 2 Me Reads to You on Your iPhone today points our a useful app for the iPhone:

Read 2 Me is an iPhone application that provides full speech synthesis for an entire library of texts…Read 2 Me uses Acapela-Group’s text-to-speech technology and can read almost anything that can be converted to UTF-8.txt. It is already optimized for the Gutenberg collection…”


NelsonFree – “The biggest news in publishing since the Kindle”…03.11.09

11 03 2009


The Huffington Post labeled it “the biggest news in publishing since the Kindle.” Publishers Weekly last week reported:

“Thomas Nelson announced today the launch of NelsonFree, a program that allows readers to receive content in multiple formats—physical book, audiobook and e-book—without making multiple purchases. With NelsonFree, the price of the hardcover book includes both the audio download and the e-book…

Once readers purchase a book with the NelsonFree logo, they are directed to a Web site where they register and answer a security question. They then can download an audio MP3 file and several types of e-book files, including EPub, MobiPocket and PDF

Nelson president and CEO Michael S. Hyatt said, ‘I believe that the industry is shifting and we, as publishers, need to explore new methods of getting our content into the hands of customersNelsonFree will give readers a new level of value and flexibility. It will enhance their literary experience and allow greater employment of the content without breaking the bank.'”

Mobile E-books – ScrollMotion’s Iceberg for iPhone…03.11.09

11 03 2009


The Centered Librarian today pointed out  ScrollMotion’s new “Iceberg” electronic reader for iPhone which ScrollMotion describes as:

“Iceberg is our revolutionary new electronic reader. Iceberg brings the timeless experience of reading books to the mobile space, wedding the functionality of the iPhone to the feel and familiarity of books.

Iceberg is different from all other existing electronic book readers – it’s the only one that replicates the actual experience of reading a book. It’s all done in an organic way that feels right to people who love to read…”

Visit the ScrollMotion site for more details. It will be interesting to hear the reviews from iPhone users.


“Flexible electronic books to hit market soon” – Plasticlogic…03.09.09

9 03 2009


(Image: Plasticlogic)

Flexible electronic books to hit market soon  is a recent, short New Scientist story [February 29, 2009] excerpted here:

“GADGET-makers have long promised us a flexible electronic book, but actually producing a robust, bendy screen has proved tough – until now.

Plastic Logic, a display technology company based in Cambridge, UK, says it will launch the first flexible electronic book in January.

The two most popular e-books on the market, the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle, are paperback book-sized devices that use first-generation black and white electronic ‘ink’ displays. These consist of a plastic sheet containing pixel-sized voids, each filled with black and white ink particles. Electric fields attract the ink to the top of these voids to display print. The problem is, the transistors that apply these electric fields sit on a layer of glass, making the displays fragile.

Plastic Logic says it has now perfected a way of printing polymer transistorsonto a layer of bendy plastic – allowing the screens to flex and bounce. ‘Screen breakage is the number one complaint with today’s e-reader technology. Our display can take a lot of rough and tumble,’ says Joe Eschbach of Plastic Logic.

Screen breakage is the number one complaint with today’s e-reader technology

To produce the transistors, the company prints a droplet of conducting polymer and a surfactant onto the plastic substrate. The surfactant makes the droplet water-repellent, so when a second droplet of polymer – without surfactant – is dropped on top of the first, it slides off and lands next to it, ending up precisely 60 nanometres away because of the size of the droplets. This close proximity is important for producing transistors with fast display switching speeds.

The company says it is now ramping up to commercial production of the screens, which will be just under A4 in size. ‘It’ll be a much better e-reading experience at this magazine size – keeping layouts and graphics intact without converting them to small and unattractive formats,’Eschbach claims.

The device will have wireless internet connection and a touch screen, allowing use of a virtual keyboard for annotating text. In contrast, the latest Sony Reader has a touch screen but no wireless connection, while the latest Kindle, which was launched this week in the US, connects to a book download store via 3G but wastes screen space with a manual keyboard.’

© Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

“The Future of E-Books”…03.09.09

9 03 2009


Here is an interesting “…extract from a coming report, The Future of E-Paper: A Technology Assessment and Market Forecast by David Lieberman, available from  in June 2009 posted on E-Book Week:

The future of e-books will see a continuing proliferation of platforms with a built-in e-reader function. E-reader software has already spread to cellphones, PDAs, portable gaming systems and elsewhere, in addition to residing in dedicated e-reader devices and personal computers. The continuing spread will familiarize more and more people with the e-reading experience and its benefits, while simultaneously stimulating content creation for different market niches.

E-reader platforms will evolve in a variety of ways, particularly in their screen technology. The e-paper screens on today’s e-reader devices, for example, will grow from today’s 5- to 6-inch diagonals to 8, 10 and 14 inches. That’s no stretch at all for e-paper technology. Moreover, e-paper is very conductive to building flexible displays, and so will enable new types of e-reader designs for rollable, foldable, tuckable products. More homes for more e-books for sure. 

Larger-screen e-readers will held spread the base of users into the professional realm, with their ability to effectively present more complicated documentation, akin to the document formats common to paper and computer screens today. A reader with a 14-inch screen in the same format as a pad of large paper will have strong appeal for document reading of all types, not only for traveling but for home and office use as well. Furthermore, if you flip it from portrait to landscape mode, such a device would comfortably display two pages side by side of a best seller. 

Today’s e-reader displays are primarily monochrome devices with 4 or 16 gray levels. That, like a 6-inch screen, is fine for general-purpose kicking back with a best-selling novel. For a number of other applications, however, lack of multiple colors is a hindrance, so color is in demand. Medical books, atlases, many textbooks and a number of other instances come to mind. 

Partly because it is a reflective display technology, e-paper does not deliver very saturated colors. The early efforts in multicolor e-paper rely primarily on RGB (red, green, blue) color filters, which is the de facto standard technique for colorizing LCDs (liquid-crystal displays) but a technique that is highly inefficient. E-paper colors using filters are not very saturated and have a pastel look like color photos on traditional newsprint. E-books with some kinds of illustrations will do fine with pastel-like color; others will not

Some vendors are improving the picture by stacking individual RGB subdisplays to achieve multicolor. This avoids the inefficiency of RGB color filters, which automatically discard 2/3 of the available light at a pixel location. (That is, a red subpixel filters out the blue and green components of the available light.) Other vendors are working on patterning discrete RGB lines on a display–perhaps the optimal solution. 

In addition to better color, e-books can also look forward to e-reader screens that have a bit more zip than the latest crop. It typically takes a full second for an e-paper screen to be redrawn–that is for an e-book to “flip” to the next page. That’s not a problem, but it limits how well the screen can handle additional functions we take for granted such as maintaining the visibility of a cursor as we move it across the screen. That’s a hindrance.

For general purpose reading, higher-speed response would also enable the use of simple animation in e-books: this would be invaluable, for example, in e-instruction manuals and elsewhere. 


David Lieberman is a veteran display journalist and analyst. This article is an extract from a coming report, The Future of E-Paper: A Technology Assessment and Market Forecast, available from  in June 2009. Lieberman is also the author of NanoMarket’s Signs of the Times: Opportunities for Printable and Organic Electronics in the Signage Market.”