Friday, May 29, 2009

New Astak EZ Reader "Pocket PRO"

Astak is announcing the new 5 inch EZ Reader "Pocket PRO" that will release in about two months. Many people have asked for a lighter and smaller eBook Reader that is easy to slip in a purse or sport coat pocket... BUT it has to have excellent battery life, outstanding reliability, and be retail priced around the magic $200 mark. It has to have North American technical support, have great software, be able to download both Open Format and DRM books, and maybe even do something with a bit of Pizazz-z-z!!

About four months ago Astak released the EZ Reader Basic in 6 inch. That device has E-ink for 8,000 pages to a single charge, three font size increases, displays horizontally and vertically, and has been backed by the San Jose, California based Astak. It also gave an incredibly crisp display with reliability that has been almost legendary. Even FRY's Electronics has remarked how there are almost no returns and no problems!

Now the "Pocket PRO" will take this exact same software and reliability and great technical support to a smaller and lighter 5 inch. All the things people have loved about the EZ Reader Basic are in this device: three font increases, great MP3, replaceable and rechargeable battery, a Grade "A" screen, SD Card Slot, and the ability to display in numerous languages and formats... are on the Pocket PRO. It will display Open Format eBooks purchased from hundreds of stores... YET it will also allow easy downloads from Astaks own website: (now under construction). On that website you will be able to download eReader and Adobe Digital Edition for your DRM.

What about PIZAZZ-Z-Z?? Try the fact that the Leather Crush Resistant case is included, as are earbuds and free pre-loaded CLASSICS for the entire family. TRY the fact it will be offered in: black, white, violet, slate blue, gunmetal brown, and lime green!

And the price will vary up and down between $209 and $199 (projected retail)!

Upon release, this device can be purchased at the new website... where you can also read the FAQ sheet and find all the tips and tricks to change fonts and operate the Pocket PRO right out of the box (charge first please). Did I mention fine technical support from Californians who love their product? Yes, we are different in California... but we're your type of people (we listen and solve)!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New color eBook perhaps

Today Astak is beginning a trial of a complete color eBook Reader. The device just arrived for our trials.

The device weighs about 14 ounces and is about 1 inch in depth. The screen is measured diagonally at 7 inches.

We do not yet know what the battery life will be or many other facts. I am posting simply to let people know that we are indeed startingthe trials and we hope all will work out.

Color eBooks are definitely coming and there is a lot of discussion going on about whether they will go over successfully. Printed books, on the whole, are black ink on white paper. Yes, people do want to do a lot more than just read books. Some want to read comics, some want to show color pictures, some need color for medical purposes, and some just like a color interface. Also, color allows good cover artwork and other parts or features of a book.

We do not know yet if this will be released by Astak. The device is Touchscreen and has an onboard stylis. The device has Wi-Fi.

Let us code name this device as "Lectra". As soon as I know more I will do a new blog entry on it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

No DRM, Readers for women, more at IDPF

The IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) annual show was May 11 & 12 in New York. The show and conference has a major impact on eBook Readers and eBooks. The IDPF represents the people who build, publish, and/or sell eBooks and eBook Readers.

This years show was very interesting as panels discussed trying to end DRM, what women want in the way of eBook Readers, and much more.

Three panelists showed examples of how they have done away with DRM and seen sales actually climb for eBooks without piracy climbing. True, these were smaller publishers with their own eBooks... but the point was made that just MAYBE doing away with DRM (Digital Rights Management) does NOT hurtsales or lead to increases in piracy (the supposed biggest roadblock to removing DRM).

What was really intersting is that IDPF devoted a busy day of presentations and panel discussions to this topic. It will spur more scrutinyand tests of possibly removing all DRM down the digital road.

Also discussed was how eBooks are becoming an important part of publishers profits. It was the ONLY bright spot for the publishing industry during 2008.

In 2008, eBook sales climbed by 171% while audio books and print fell sharply. The eBook industry on the whole will be a $500 Million business by 2010.

Also discussed was where people do their reading. Only 5% read digitally during travel. 50% read at HOME and 35% read at work. 60% of those polled say they use their eBook Readers principally in bed! The need for decent lighting to allow such reading is pretty clear.

There was a great women's panel at IDPF. Women have grown to be 50% of all eBook business! This is up 10% in one year. Yet, Sarah Wendell of "Smart Bitches Trashy Novels" and Malle Vallik of "Harlequin" both clearly stated that eBook Reader manufacturers like Amazon and Sony have heard from them for three years (at IDPF) that there are clearly things women want and these two have paid no attention. Sarah stated that North America spends $96 Billion a year on Electronics and $55 Billion of that is spent by WOMEN! Yet, such things as good reading lights and numerous font sizes and large screen sizes, lightness, simple set-up and loading, and durability have been largely overlooked by the Big 2. They also want an end to DRM! There are NO eBook Readers specifically designed for women. They like the idea of color bodies on eBook Readers; but see color bodies as only a start in designing for women.

S0... in short... many of the issues that people want on eBook Readers are largely NOT IN PLACE NOW! The IDPF is finally allowing these voices against DRM and supporting women's needs to be heard by the entire organization. Things ARE starting to change!!

Also at IDPF were representatives from the CES (Consumer Electronics Show). They were stating that the 2010 (early January) CES show has a special area named "eBook Pavillion". This will be the first time that the largest Trade Show on earth will spotlight eBooks, eBook Readers, publishers, and more.

In all, the show was fabulous. Adam Smith of Google spoke and we found out what Google is trying to do for eBooks. Adam is YOUNG. He is also charasmatic,passionate, smart, has a warm personality, and a good sense of humor!! Anybody that had the opinion that all powerful people seem stuffy and stand-offish is wrong. I was able to walk right up and talk plainly with Adam about the Agreement for Astak that will bring their eBooks to the masses. That agreement is coming within days and should help Astak spread the miracle of classic books to everyone without DRM.