Home Book Review A Review of Websites About eBook Readers and eBooks
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A Review of Websites About eBook Readers and eBooks

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As eBooks and their associated eBook readers become increasingly more popular, particularly with the launch of Amazon’s Kindle in the UK and Europe, the topic is receiving more and more website and blog support. Much of this is very repetitious, with the best content coming from those sites with a longer history. Here are our top eBook and e-reader websites:

MobileRead.com

MobileRead is a comprehensive blog and forum covering most topics related to eBooks and eReaders. It’s home page summarizes the activity on its major pages: the forum itself, a Wiki, offering information on just about any related topic you can think of and a developer’s Hub, offering an environment in which developers of eBook related projects can collaborate: they must be open-source, meaning that the projects are free to use by forum members.

The forum itself appears to be very popular, with posts being made practically every day on topics ranging from books and readers to software and uploads, and make sure you read the free offers – you can get some great stuff here free of charge, ranging from open source to advertising promotions. The forum also has a section for non-English speakers, the German and French forums appearing most popular which is unsurprising considering the nationality of the site administrator.

The Wiki offers a whole heap of information on eBooks (reviews, formats, uploads, libraries, etc.), hardware (readers, e-ink and audio books) and software and also a FAQ section and information on the basics for beginners. This in itself would be sufficient to render MobileRead worth visiting, without all the other good stuff it contains, but it is the Developer Hub that really underlines the professionalism, not only of MobileRead itself, but also of many of those that use it.

The Development Hub gives details of a number of e-reader projects hosted at the developer subdomain, dev.mobileread.com, and also provides details on tools that developers would find useful such as PDF tools, scanning applications and MobiPocket format generators. Anybody with breaking news or details of anything they have read or are working on, can visit the ‘Submit News’ page and offer their submission for publication on the site by means of a simple form.

Registered to a Swiss, Alexander Turcic, MobileRead.com has registration data as far back as 2002, and is therefore a mature blog and forum with a large worldwide following. The information it provides on the subject is comprehensive and useful, and little wonder that this takes the Number 1 spot in this review.

eBOOK88.com

Ebook88 is a website intrinsically devoted to eBooks, their benefits and uses, writing, formats, submission and so on, but also offers reviews of Ereaders, though these are not its main focus. The site owner, Linda Shen, named this Hong Kong based site after her recorder, the Music88, and the site has been operational since 2002. While it is not as well visited as MobileRead, the website offers a great deal of useful information for those interested in eBooks.

One of the benefits of visiting eBook88 is that they offer lists of eBooks, both to purchase and available free of charge, many of particularly use to students searching for eBooks on their subjects. Most technical books are very expensive, and it should be possible to find electronic versions at a lower price: but how do you find whether they are available in eBook format? eBook88 can help you to solve that problem with its free eBook directory that you can use to find eBooks on any topic.

If you are looking for a technical title, simply enter it into the directory and you can find it is available from any of the sources to which the site is affiliated. You can also use the directory to submit your own eBooks for publication: Linda Shen knows how difficult this can be because she claims to have started it up because she was seeking a means of publishing her own eBook on recorder teaching. She found it extremely difficult to find any sources that would accept recently written technical eBooks.

Project Gutenburg (gutenberg.org)

Project Gutenberg was the first distributor of free eBooks. The originator of eBooks (in 1971) was Michael Hart who founded Project Gutenberg which is the most used source of free and public domain eBooks in the world.

If you are looking for a free eBook you first come here, although it is important that you understand the degrees of freedom before you use the book. Not all of these are in the public domain: some are copyright-free but others are not. Make sure that you read the copyright license inside the eBook and adhere to its requirements when using it.

Otherwise, Project Gutenberg books can be used to modify and republish as your own, to provide free of charge to your website visitors, to sell in a modified form or to use as part of an advertising promotion. eBooks that are still protected by copyright can be used in certain ways, such as giving them away free, but cannot be sold or generally altered in any way.

It is a great source of eBooks if you are seeking material to read on your e-reader, and is free to use, and you are invited to offer a donation if you wish.

EpaperCentral.com

EPaperCentral is a site that is dedicated to electronic paper, e-ink and e-readers. It is website offering RSS feeds on this general topic, and also a forum on a number of topics that does not appear to be well visited. However, the site itself is worth visiting for the information it provides.

If you own an e-reader and want to understand more about the e-paper and e-ink that enables it to read so crisp and sharp, and look almost like pages of a real book, then ePaperCentral.com is for you. It offers reviews of readers, though the feature that seems most exciting is its technology review.

When you visit the technology page you will find innovations such as Bridgestone’s new alternative e-reader display medium to e-ink that uses another form of electrophoretic technology and its own electronic display powder that offers the first real challenge to e-Ink’s product. I could go on and on about other technological wonders I read about on this page, and it also operates like a blog, offering the opportunity for readers to make comments and publicize their own experiences.

ePaper Central is the ideal website if you want to expand your knowledge of eBook readers beyond just the products and have a closer look at how the text is presented on your screen. The technology involved is sometimes mind-blowing, and if you want to stay ahead of everybody else, then this might be just the information you need. For example, according to the article “Electronic Paper Technology: Tomorrow’s Paper”, the e-paper display is so light that it can be folded or curled, while still retaining the image and does not lose it even if power supply is not available (Digital Book Readers).

EbookReadersReview.co.uk

eBook Readers Review is fundamentally a good review site for eReaders, offering both reviews, readers’ comments and news on the e-reader front. It is a simple blog site with few bells and whistles, and does what it promises to do: provide independent reviews of eBook readers that are not clouded by preconceptions or a desire by anyone to justify their purchase.

These reviews are offered in a number of formats, of particular interest being a comparison of readers according to screen size. Thus, you can read a comparison of eBook readers with 5 inch screens, 6 inch screens and so on, and also in-depth reviews of individual machines. Also offered are reviews of file formats and other topics related of interest to eReader users.

If you are considering purchasing an eBook reader and don’t know where to start looking, then this is a great site for you. You can compare what is on the market and make up your own mind based upon knowledgeable but dispassionate product reviews.

Each of these websites are leaders in their own niche, and are musts to visit for anybody interested in the technology and practical uses of eBooks and eReaders. With the increasing popularity of e-readers and this new way of reading books, come the inevitable high competition and the equally inevitable knock-offs and copies. By using these sites you can learn how to distinguish the good from the bad; the real from the copy.

By Marco Gustafsson

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