Sunday, November 23, 2008

BeBook Gets A Review

E-book review: Long term test of the BeBook
E-books are still a topic that manage to enrage the nation. Half are for, half are against, and most feel the price isn't justified. But is either side right? And if you take into consideration the price of an average book, surely paying a one off fee for an e-device that comes with literally thousands free to download isn't such a bad deal? I've been road testing the BeBook, and can now present to you my findings. And it's love.


This is one area the BeBook really excels in as it reads around 25 formats. I've opened lit files, JPEG's PDF's and txt files with absolutely no problem and have placed RSS feeds on it by syncing it up via USB to MobiPocket. I'm impressed it supports the DRM protected formats such as Microsoft Lit and Mobipocket as that places it heads and shoulders above its competitor, the [Sony] Reader -- which I'll get too soon.

The thing about both Microsoft LIT and MobiPocket file formats are that they are legacy. They're less likely to be around now that major publishers have agreed to support the ePub file format. I suppose the BeBook would be useful for people who already have a very expensive investment in those formats. But I think it'd be worth the effort to violate the DMCA and rip those eBooks to another format.

And then this:
I like how the BeBook site includes an online library that's free to download, even though the books are a selection of old classics.

Well, here's some Show and Tell. This is what the BeBook-formatted PDF of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes looks like:

That is just gruesome formatting! It's the worst kind of amateurism.

I always use this story as an eBook formatting litmus test because Conan Doyle rarely used italics in his stories and in this one, "the" is critical. Here it is capitalized. Rubbish!

It continues with this bit:
The Sony Reader needs to be mentioned as it's the main player on the UK eBook market. So how does it compare? Well it's certainly more stylish to look at and has 12 shades of eInk compared to the BeBook's 4. On the downside, it's heavier, bigger and books are locked to DRM. That's probably the crucial factor at the moment and why the BeBook is worth the extra £30.

What? £30 more for something that can't do ePub? That can't borrow eBooks from public libraries (something which will be coming even to the UK, if it hasn't already)? Double rubbish! And there are DRM-free ePub eBooks available. (And by the way, the Sony Reader has 8 shades of gray, not 12.)

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