I have always enjoyed books.
It was in the early 1980’s, with the introduction of compact discs, that I realized the potential of electronic books. Shortly after this I purchased my first computer, an Apple IIGS, and my first page layout program, GraphicWriter III. I soon began inputting the works of Emerson into the program.
As technology progressed I began planning ahead to the day when we would actually have a practical ebook reader. What format should I use? I bought my first Macintosh in the late 1990’s and with that purchase I discovered Adobe Acrobat and then InDesign.
I first began designing the books to be output on letter size paper. A practical reader was still some time off and I wanted to be able to read the books on something other than the computer screen. They needed to be portable. Letter size paper was too big. Sure it worked short term, but I did not see a reader that would use that page size in the future. It was some time after this point that I realized Acrobat and the later versions of InDesign had a feature called booklet printing. Upon trying it out on my 2-sided printer I realized I had found what I needed.
In the late 2000’s Sony came out with the first ebook reader that I actually purchased. The screen was too small and the contrast was not to my liking. The display refresh rate was too slow for my files. They were too big for the screen and for the reader to be practical it would need to shrink the page size of the whole file down to be of use for my purposes. I tried laying out the file to the specs of the reader, but this was not what I wanted. I was not going to reformat my files every time a new reader came out and the only other option I saw was reflowable text, html or epub. This was not acceptable to me either.
The year 2010 arrives and Apple is set to begin selling the iPad. I have checked the dimensions and it looks as if this is finally going to work. Stay tuned...
I now have the iPad in hand and in combination with the GoodReader pdf viewer, available from the iTunes store, the ebooks I have on the site work fantastic!
2010-06-21 Apple has updated the ibooks app and it now currently supports pdf files. As for power features and file management I still recommend GoodReader, but I am using ibooks for simplicity of everyday reading. My feature request for both, dictionary support and highlighting.