Introducing Ibis Reader

One thing that is abundantly clear from yesterday’s discussion of ebooks is that many people are still very unclear about the technology. To start with I would like to make a few things clear. When you buy an ebook from me:

  • It is yours — you own it, and I can’t take it back
  • You can lend it to your friends
  • You can sell or give it to someone else
  • Just like a paper book
  • You can buy it anywhere in the world
  • And you don’t need to buy a special device to read it on

Really, no special device? No, you don’t. The About Ebooks page at the store has a list of different free programs that you can buy to read an epub file on an ordinary computer, but today I’d like to tell you about another reading system that I’ve found since I wrote that page, and which I have come to think is the best option.

Ibis Reader is a web-based epub reading solution. You upload the books to the site, and can then read them anywhere using a web browser. That means you can read them on a PC, a Mac or a Unix machine; you can read them on an iPad, or on any other tablet or smartphone that has a web browser. The software works fine on all these platforms, though for the very small screens of smartphones there is an app alternative as well.

Although Ibis is a cloud-based solution, that doesn’t mean your books are trapped there. You own them and can download them at any time. It is more like an offline backup than a streaming service.

There’s no charge for using Ibis. All you need to do is sign up for a free account so that you have a login that will take you your library. Obviously it is an online service, so for people still on dial-up it is not a good option, but if you have a broadband account it will be fine. And again with the smartphones you can use the app and store books locally.

Ibis works with epub files, which are as close as we have right now to a standard. It does require that the files conform to the epub standard (yes, some publishers don’t bother to check) and are DRM free. All of the books I publish should be fine, and I’ll try to check all of the books in the store, though that will take time. Those of you who are comfortable with software can make epubs from other formats using Calibre.

The biggest obstacle I have found to getting people to buy from places other than Amazon is convenience. There’s that one-click option. But there is an interface for Ibis too. If you have an account, try this:

Add Salon Futura #1 to Ibis Reader

See, easy isn’t it. 🙂

What I need to do is to work out how to add that functionality to the store so that once you have bought a book you are presented with a link to load it into Ibis. As it is commercial store software I may not be able to do it myself, but I’ll work on it.

6 thoughts on “Introducing Ibis Reader

  1. Hummm, I’m curious about this one:

    “You can lend it to your friends”

    Really? So I can send it to a friend, say, by email, right? But in fact I’m giving her a copy so it’s not a usual lending. Should I ask her to delete the file after reading it? If not, can she also lend it to someone else or sell it?

    And do you know if other stores which also sell non-DRM ebooks also apply this policy?

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this kind of things lately and I had more or less decided that I would share or lend ebooks to friends only with DRM-ebooks (in cases in which it is permitted). There are so few publishers (though most are really, really interesting) that sell non-DRM ebooks that I feel it is only right to buy those ebooks as much as I can and encourage others to do so. But this post has made me think about this once more…

    1. Well once you have bought it you can do whatever you want with it. There’s not a lot I can do to stop you. If you put up a web site and tried to sell multiple copies I might get upset, but basically I’m trusting people to care about my business, whereas Amazon and their ilk assume that every customer is a potential pirate.

      1. So, let me rephrase my question: What do you understand for “lending and ebook”? It is clear to me what lending a physical book is, but I’m not so sure about ebooks.

        It’s a sort of metaphysical question anyway, because I feel a kind of obligation to those stores that, like yours, sell non-DRM ebooks and I won’t consider lending ebooks in those cases. However, when stores like Amazon only sell me a license of the ebook (in the case when they will sell it to me, which is not always, because of those annoying geographical restrictions) then I will try to use all my rights, including lending, as much as I can.

  2. Thanks for the Ibis reference – I’ll be playing with it on several lap/note/desk top computers this afternoon :>

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