Web Browsers Instead of eReaders?
- people being able to access epublications (ebooks and more) without an ereader device, and
- what to know about consumer rights concerning purchased epublications, including the right to read that recently purchased ebook on any device personally owned.
Yes, you can read that ebook on any of your devices that can handle it natively or with an application or app. How is the only trick, and more on that part in a future article. For those who are curious and adventurous, you can do some investigating on your own by looking at Calibre. There are some other options as well.
One thing coming down the line is the ability to simply use a browser for your ebooks, both in purchasing and reading. Combine that with coming improvements in computer/device screen resolution and pixel interpolation, and it all sounds pretty good. But wait…
There are issues where individual browsers are concerned, as none of them really support opening epublications directly (except perhaps for PDF, which isn’t that good for an ebook). This means a browser plugin is needed (for now), which of course means a different plugin for most of the differing browsers. And not all as yet have much or any development going on in this area, but it’s coming.
Most epublication vendors are probably not going to like how this may affect ereader device sales at first. It’s not a direct effect easily seen, and they are already on the road to adapting for this future change. Yes, there’s a lot more behind the new line of color ereaders than just eye-candy and spicing it up with more functions and connectivity.
Eventually, the ereader as we know it may die as tablets become more affordable. The newest in the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo lines are essentially hobbled Android-based tablets (as they can do so much more than the vendors allow them to do at present). But even with tablets (open or proprietary), you still have to download (if you’re allowed to) an app from each ebook vendor you want to shop at. Then, that app must be used to read the books you bought with it… if you don’t get savvy and learn how to load those ebooks in any device or app you prefer. But why bother with those apps or even perhaps an ereader for reading or purchasing?
This new subfrontier of epublication consumption still has a long way to go where purchasing (aside from reading) your ebooks is concerned. But eventually you may be able to both purchase (from any vendor) and read your ebooks inside your favorite web browser… and do so on any device or computer you personally own. That includes editions of favored browsers for tablets. (J.C. prefers Dolphin for his Samsung tablet and, for the present, loads all of his legally transcoded ebooks into the Mantano reader app.) Right now, it is all still in the fledgling stage where “reading” in a browser is concerned. The “purchasing” part may be a little further off than that, as it will require the vendors to chill a little and allow a purchased ebook to be pulled in through a browser instead of an app or device.
Below are links to one ereader plugin for the Chrome browser, as well as an article concerning the difficulties yet to be worked out in this case. (J.C. is not a fan of Chrome, but many are.) Don’t let the latter part put you off, once you see some of the hassles, as this is normal in the development of burgeoning soft technologies. It’ll get worked out and streamlined for users, and it’s actually nice that this development process is being covered openly, somewhat.
Feel free to share any links here related to your favorite browser(s) in the area of ebook plugins, and yes, some people use more than one browser for different reasons. J.C.’s favorite is of course FireFox, fully tricked out with multiple layers of privacy (and other) security; then there’s his big gun for security called Tor. And no, he actually doesn’t read ebooks in his browser(s)… yet.