E-book reader

11. March 2007

Is a practical e-book reader just around the corner?

I received the following block quote in a private message to the Big Head Press forum earlier today, and it intrigued me. I do know the name of the sender from The Libertarian Enterprise, and what I remember of his postings is reasonable enough. I pass this along without endorsement, as I don’t know Derek that well or have the time and means to research and evaluate his proposal. Caveat pledgor, as it were:

Scott,

I hang out a lot at Baen’s Bar as well as at The Libertarian Enterprise and I have become involved with the efforts of NAEB (Not Another E-Book, LLC) to bring a version of the STAReBOOK STK-101 to Barflies and DearAuthor (romance) ebook customers. Two things set us apart from STAReBOOK, iRex’s Iliad, the Hanlin Jinke and the Sony PRS-500; we’re getting our first model to ‘market’ for around $350 and we support reading non-DRM ebooks in the PDF, TXT, RTF, PRC and HTML formats. (If we can get 5,000 customers, we hope to leverage our supplier (Bookeen) down to under $300. This is for an ebook reader which uses the new 6″ e-ink display that is far less energy-consumptive – average battery charge – with the screen on – is measured in *DAYS*!

However, one thing Bookeen requires for us to meet is a minimum ‘club’ order of 1,000 units. We’re right now taking names and email addresses of those who might be interested, over at our website, http://www.naebllc.com/.

We’ve gotten up to 168 people just on the preliminary specifications we have available.

I’ll be up front. We don’t yet have our evaluation units and won’t be getting them until early April. So we don’t have final specifications, nor have we been able to post reviews of the device or images.

Still, I think anyone who reads L Neils’ stories would be a candidate for such a user-friendly ebook reader and I’m asking you to post this email on the Forum if you would be willing to let us ‘get the word out’.

Derek Benner

BTW, the device will do 4-level grayscale image display as well and Bookeen has intimated that we may be able to get 16-level grayscale by the time we place our order – which means it would make a fantastic reader for the graphic novels.)

What especially interests me about this product is its anti-DRM philosophy. Use common formats, don’t try to create captive markets. If they can make and sell these things profitably, and they perform as promised, we may finally have a viable reader. And that will turn the entire publishing industry on its head.

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