I was disappointed to receive only 10 responses to the recent Bookworm poll, but four of those included thoughtful “other” answers and the response I expected to win did not.
The question was:
Which feature would you be most interested in seeing added to Bookworm?
|Edit title, author and other metadata in your ePubs and export that to Stanza or other ePub readers.||10%|
|Create an ePub from scratch by importing or editing content on the web.||20%|
|Export ePubs to other formats, such as PDF or the Kindle format.||0%|
|Support for Adobe DRM (digital rights management).||10%|
|Integration with other online bookstores, such that buying an ePub elsewhere means that it is automatically added to Bookworm.||0%|
|Two-way integration with Stanza, such that adding a book to Stanza automatically adds it to Bookworm as well.||20%|
I really expected the first question about metadata to be the big winner, when 6.5% of the books in Bookworm are named “Unknown” or “Untitled.”
I have no intention of adding DRM support and it’s unlikely that it would get licensed to an open system like Bookworm anyway, but I was curious about the demand. Hopefully the percentage of front-list ebooks with DRM will decline over time.
Here’s a summary of the write-in answers (many paraphrased):
- Provide a lightweight, open-source widget that can render an ebook in a browser, similar to the BookGlutton reader. Authors could use this to distribute long-form works easily.
- Import files from other ebook file formats, e.g. PDF, Mobi, etc.
Frankly, I am unimpressed by ebook conversion tools, especially when the input is PDF and not an HTML-derived markup language. It’s a relatively painless procedure when the input file is true XML and a well-designed XSLT (or possibly XQuery) pipeline is used, but none of the existing popular ebook formats are XML.
I think Calibre does the best it can with a difficult technical problem, but I’m more interested in moving to the next level of digital book design rather than producing more poorly-formatted auto-converted books.
- A “click to advance a page” function
I’m not totally sure what’s meant by this but I’m going to assume it’s to change the behavior of the reading engine to advance to the next page just by clicking on the content, rather than on the Next/Previous navigation links.
I feel it’s important for users to have full access to all the normal behaviors of their web browser. Adding support to click in the content area and advance the page would be convenient for reading, but what if you were clicking because you wanted to cut and paste some text, or follow a hyperlink?
I think there’s much that can be improved in the Bookworm reading UI, and I’ll definitely be thinking about ways to make navigation easier. Just not at the expense of other browser features.
- Ability to tag existing content and export references to tagged content.
I’d like to enable all kinds of editing in Bookworm to allow users to make corrections, update metadata, and even make content changes. It’s definitely on my list of big-ticket features for 2009.
Thank you to those who responded. If you have further feature requests, please leave them as comments here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.