Home O’Reilly Challenges Proprietary eBook Standards With Bookworm

O’Reilly Challenges Proprietary eBook Standards With Bookworm

It is only Tuesday, but it has already been a good week for eBook fans. Yesterday, Amazon released the newest version of its Kindle eBook reader, and today, O’Reilly announced that it will now host Bookworm, a popular open source eBook reader and management system, as part of its O’Reilly Labs. O’Reilly wants to position Bookworm, which is built on open standards and frameworks, as an alternative to proprietary eBook management and reading systems like Adobe’s Digital Editions and Sony’s eBook Library Software.

Clarification: We should note that while Adobe’s Digital Editions is a closed source product that does support DRM, it also provides support for open standards like EPUB. The reference to Adobe above paraphrases O’Reilly’s own statement about both Adobe and Sony.

What is Bookworm?

Bookworm is an online service for storing and reading eBooks online. Bookworm was built on top of the ePub standard, an open standard for electronic books that is currently supported by a number of commercial publishers, including Penguin Books, Waterstone’s, O’Reilly, Books on Board, and a number of smaller publishers and free eBook sites.

How to Get Started with Bookworm

To get started with Bookworm, you will need some ePub books to upload to the service. If you don’t have any on your computer yet, here is Waterstone’s version of President Obama’s Inaugural Address, or you can also head to Munseys for a large selection of pulp fiction (just make sure you select EPUB as the download format).

After that, you just have to upload the epub file to Bookworm and you can start reading the book online.

Mobile Reading

The Bookworm interface is sparse, but it does the job. One of the advantages of reading these books online however, is that they are available wherever you go, including your phone, and in many ways, the reading experience is actually better on a small screen than on the desktop.

The nice feature about keeping these books online is that Bookworm always knows what page you were on the last time you opened the book, no matter what device you used. This way, it can easily take you right back to where you left off.

Read in Stanza

If you using an iPhone, you can even automatically move your books from Bookworm directly to Stanza, the popular eBook reader. Just click on the “Read in Stanza” icon and the book is immediately transferred to Stanza, though you can’t sync your book back to Bookworm from Stanza.

Logo image used courtesy of Flickr user Sara Alfred

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