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Ibis Reader and BookServer

I was extremely pleased to participate in the Internet Archive’s BookServer announcement and press event. (The Register has the best coverage, but also see CNET and ReadWriteWeb).

Our part of this open ecosystem is Ibis Reader, an in-development digital reading system for a range of internet devices that provides access to books both online and offline. Like Bookworm, it provides ePub support and a traditional web interface. But I’m really excited about its unique features:

  1. A total commitment to giving readers what they want.
  2. For platforms that support it, HTML5 offline storage. This means that when you’re not connected, your library is still available. Other web-enabled devices will also work but must be online (Google Gears also supported).
  3. A mobile web architecture, allowing new devices running iPhone OS, Android, or Palm webOS to be immediately supported. (And no App Store censorship.)
  4. All of the cross-device syncing and bookmarking that customers are coming to expect from multi-platform reading systems. Start reading on your iPhone and pick up where you left off on your computer.
  5. A great shopping experience with no DRM. Ibis Reader uses the BookServer ecosystem to help you find, download, and buy books, and none of the books we sell will have DRM. Guaranteed.
  6. Ebook portability means that all your DRM-free library can be exported out of the “cloud” and onto any device that supports ePub.
  7. For publishers, an attractive revenue split, real-time sales reporting, and help with getting into the BookServer ecology.

We’re not launching for several months, but we’ll be posting updates as we get closer. It was exciting to demo an early version of the reading client at the BookServer event, and it’s only going to get better.

Screen shot 2009-10-23 at 10.29.33 AM

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27 Responses to Ibis Reader and BookServer

  1. Roger Sperberg says:

    I hope that anything you can do with Android would port easily to Maemo devices (eg, the Nokia N900 & N810).

    I’ll volunteer now to work with you to ensure Maemo gets the Ibis Reader too.

    Roger S

  2. liza says:

    Roger: we intend to make sure that it will minimally work on any web-capable device, but whether it will support the offline features will depend on whether it handles HTML5 and (less optimally) Google Gears. “Unsupported” devices will get a mobile-optimized but online-required UI like Bookworm’s mobile mode.

  3. To me, BookServer could be the best thing that happens to the publishing industry since the Gutenberg Printing Press. At last there will be a way for small press publishers to have their books easily discovered, to offer ebooks in the essential formats, and to sell digital content at a low price to readers, without the crushing fees of the online booksellers.

    Freed from the typical economic restraints of the current publishing model, we may see more diversity, a healthier publishing ecosystem, and better books.

    To everyone involved in the BookServer project: thank you!

    Michael Pastore, author
    50 Benefits of Ebooks

  4. mungler says:

    well… very nice and all, and i love the idea, but this is vapourware – why not keep this under wraps until you have something to demonstrate?

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  6. El Aura says:

    I recently had to re-install my iPhone, I have lost several bookmarklets. Once installed a bookmarklet becomes indistinguishable from a real application. In order to restore them one would have had kept a separate list of them.
    This is just to say that there are advantages in real applications on the iPhone OS platform.

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  14. bowerbird says:

    liza, will this be open-source?

    -bowerbird

  15. liza says:

    bowerbird: No, though some aspects of it will probably end back in the Bookworm source tree (for example, OPDS catalog browsing).

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  20. bowerbird says:

    ok, i understand.

    it’s just that i thought threepress and o’reilly
    had a strong commitment to open-source…

    -bowerbird

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  26. Brett Warner says:

    This looks neat, I’ll defiitely add it to my android.

  27. Timothy says:

    Hmm…might actually be worth checking out. Thank you.