[Nfbmo] Ibis Reader

DanFlasar at aol.com DanFlasar at aol.com
Thu Mar 4 07:04:52 UTC 2010

Below is an URL and a copied interview with Liza Daly, spokesperson for a  
company that is releasing anew mobile-based reading app called the  Ibis.   
It's an interesting read, but just as interesting is that the  article 
does not mention another new reader - Blio, which, unlike IBIS, seems 
already  to have been designed from 
the ground-up for book purchase.  Not only that, as y'all may know, Blio  
will allows the sighted reader 
to purchse and read books on mobile devices as well as computers, it will  
also read them aloud.  And Blio 
is a free app. 
Here's a link to an article about Kurzweil and his plans  for the (at press 
time unnamed) Blio: 
Out of curiosity, I linked to the IBIS page ( _Ibis Reader_ 
(http://ibisreader.com/) ! ) to check it out.  The page  was a bit confusing 
but I clicked on the GetBooks link, chose the first free book category  
(public domain books) and chose 
the first book to read - which happened to be the "Kama Sutra" by  
Really!  It was the first  book! 
I got to a login page, entered an email  address, invented a password and 
was taken to the first 
page of the Kama Sutra.  Suprisingly, the book was completely accessible  
via JAWS.  As the artile 
explains, IBIS is not a downloadable App, it's a webpage that, written in  
HTML5 (a new internet protocl), 
that links to the varoius books IBIS offers.   The experience is  just like 
reading any well-designed webpage. 
Books are offeredone page/webpage so at the end of each page, you have to  
click the NEXT link to go 
to the next page. 
That get's *really* old!  Bookshare and Project  Gutenberg, I'm pretty 
sure, don't have that linmitation. 
But, it works fine for what it is, seems to be at  least consistent with 
good accessible webpage design. 
Given that Kurzweil is behind Blio, IBIS may not be  great competition.  
But, give it a try if you feel  
like it.    
Anyway, the interview with Ms.Daly is  interesting. 
I've started a bi-weekly interview series with leaders and innovators in  
the book industry. My first interviewee is Liza Daly, of _ThreePress 
Consulting_ (http://threepress.org/about/) , and the woman who  knows all about 
ePub. Liza, along with _Keith  Fahlgren_ (http://kfahlgren.com/) , recently 
launched the _Ibis  Reader_ (http://ibisreader.com/) , a cross-platform mobile 
reading app built on HTML5. I asked Liza to  tell me all about it.
1. There are lots of good mobile ereader applications out there:  Stanza, 
Kindle, eReader, Kobo, not to mention dedicated readers like Nook and  Kindle 
and the Sony Reader. Why do we need Ibis? 
_Ibis_ (http://ibisreader.com/)  isn't meant to compete with any of  these. 
In fact we're quite open about encouraging readers to take their books  off 
Ibis Reader and put them on a preferred device. You can download a complete 
 epub off the web site any time, and on the mobile devices we provide some 
quick  "Read in Stanza" links on the iPhone (or Aldiko on Android). 
What we hope to be able to do in the coming months is provide features that 
 are only available on a web-native platform. Because everything is just a 
web  page, and the code is common across all devices, we can roll out new 
features  and fixes quicker than any of the above. We should be able to 
innovate as fast  as the ideas come. 
2. The big problem with mobile readers right now is availability of  
titles. How will Ibis users get access to new books? 
We're committed to a DRM-free approach, which we know is going to be tricky 
 in terms of acquiring popular content. But there's great literature and  
non-fiction being created outside of the traditional publishing industry. 
We're  still calling titles on Ibis Reader "books," but in the digital space it 
doesn't  have to be a traditional book at all. We want to help readers and 
authors  connect with all forms of writing -- short stories, literary 
criticism, poetry,  comics, even interactive fiction or video! It just has to be 
wrapped up in epub,  and despite some anti-hype, epub is a great container 
for any content you want  to distribute digitally. 
3. Will people be able to buy books and read them on  Ibis?

We sure hope so. For us, it's critical that paid content  be almost as 
frictionless as free content. Anyone who's bought an ebook lately  (outside of 
the Kindle hardware ecosystem) knows that it's anything but  straightforward 
to buy digital books. So we won't go ahead until we're happy  with our 
4. Will publishers be able to sell books to Ibis users? 
We're definitely interested in talking to publishers who want to be able to 
 sell direct-to-consumer. That's been very successful for small to medium 
niche  publishers. 
5. How does _OPDS_ (http://code.google.com/p/openpub/wiki/OPDS)  work with 
OPDS is critical to discovering and acquiring books in a mobile context 
where  people don't want to type and can't upload their own books. At launch, 
we'll use  OPDS similar to the way Stanza and Aldiko do: we browse public 
catalogs of free  content and let people get those books with just a click. The 
catalogs are  always up to date and provide great metadata, covers, etc., 
all in a  commonly-understood data format. 
Eventually, of course, we're interested in using OPDS to manage paid  
transactions, and we've got some other ideas about how OPDS can help people  
discover books outside of just browsing catalogs. 
6. What's so great about HTML 5? 
HTML5 has definitely been a wild ride. It's got weaknesses for sure -- Ibis 
 Reader on a mobile device definitely isn't as fast or as feature-filled as 
a  native app, and Android doesn't behave the same as the iPhone. There are 
 limitations we'd love to be able to overcome. On the other hand, it's a  
tremendous asset for a tiny company to have a cross-platform environment to 
work  with, and adoption of HTML5 on devices and by consumers is only going 
to grow.  It's a good place to be even though it hasn't been easy. 
7. What is the relationship between ePub and HTML5? 
Right now it's uncertain. There's definitely movement within the IDPF to 
make  some kind of forward-looking statement about HTML5. In particular I 
think it's  critical that we adopt the <video> tag, to avoid unintentionally 
tying  ePub to proprietary technologies like Flash. But HTML5 is more than just 
video  and offline usage, and I don't want ePub to stagnate. 
8. What about DRM and Ibis? 
Easy question. No DRM. 
9. What do you think is the biggest challenge to for ebooks in the  next 
few years?

Right now the fight is over pricing, but I think  ease of purchase is the 
real barrier to consumer adoption. It's so puzzling  right now. People are 
going to be much more willing to pay publishers' dream  prices if they can 
just get the books with minimal hassle and have some of the  same freedoms of 
use that print books have allowed. 
10. What do you think about global markets for ebooks? 
This is a huge area for us. I expect mobile reading and information access 
to  be a key growth area for digital content globally, and in the developing 
world  especially. The old publishing territorial rights models aren't 
going to last  long. I can't think of a better way to ensure that ebook piracy 
becomes  entrenched than a refusal to adopt worldwide rights for digital 
content sales.  During Ibis development we've taken special care to make sure 
that we fully  support non-English content and scripts. 
Find out more about _Liza &  Three Press Consulting_ 
(http://threepress.org/about/) , and go play with _Ibis Reader_ (http://ibisreader.com/) ! 
NOTE: this interview was cross-posted at the _Book Oven  Blog_ 
(http://blog.bookoven.com/) .

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