FBReader beta: an eBook reader for the OpenReader format

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FbreaderWhile the big debate over the high-definition DVD format war rages in the mainstream, a quieter, but no less important battle continues on the eBook front. OpenReader is an XML- and CSS-based electronic text format that could help reduce the number of proprietary formats out there; a great move for all involved in my opinion.

TeleRead notes that FBReader, software that supports this open format, was just released in beta for Windows XP and they take it for a spin. FBReader is in the early stages, so you might not see some of the advanced features found in MS Reader, eReader Pro and other clients, but I’m sure that will come over time. For now, it’s just nice to see software that can use a standard, open format. The beta version of FBReader is also available for Linux, the Nokia 770 / 800, some Sharp Zaurus’ and two Motorola smartphones, the E680i & A780.

Related sidenote: the newest version of MS Reader for Tablets & UMPCs is pre-installed on the new Samsung Q1P for Vista, but no mass distribution yet via Microsoft’s Reader page. I’d expect to see some news soon; in the meantime, I may take a look at FBReader. It could take years for the publishing industry to adopt an open format (or they may never adopt it), so content could be hard to come by, but in the end, a common standard would benefit consumers and publishers.

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