Blackbetty: Second Generation e-Book Reader for Mobile Phones

Do you love a good read? Does your inner bookworm compete with your inner TreeHugger:

Bookworm: "I love to run my hands over the spine of a finely bound treasure, leafing into the promise of a new story."

TreeHugger: "The cheap mass-produced books on the modern market don't match the aesthetic books used to have, and e-books might be the path forward. But is yet another electronic gadget good for society?"

Probably, you participate in a book-swapping club such as Read It Swap It in the UK or Novel Action in the US. But in these post-Napster days, did you ever stop to ask yourself: "How does the creative artist make their daily bread when people re-cycle the story with the book?" Here is a statistic few people know: 95% of writers cannot support themselves from their craft.

Clearly, the time is right for a paradigm change in reading habits. Now, Blackbetty is beating the path forward. Blackbetty has developed technology which allows a book to be ordered and delivered to your mobile phone as easily as downloading a new ring tone.Here is the key: Blackbetty has recognized that consumers are put off by having to carry around a special ebook device, and even installing special software to enable e-books on existing equipment is a hurdle to the reticent consumer. The first generation of ebooks for readers, PDAs or smartphones required software such as Rocket eBook, Mobipocket or Adobe Reader. With Blackbetty, you just send an SMS with a keyword in the text and start reading.

But if you fear that content will suffer due to focus on technology, fear not. Blackbetty was founded by Jörg Hotter in 2004 as a publishing company--with a difference: "We are the publisher for the digital age," he is quoted as saying. Blackbetty's first mission is content; they deliver everything you get in a real book: full cover art, copyright/publisher's info, dedications, acknowledgements and the full text of the book in a text quality that is a pleasant surprise considering you may have a mental block at the concept of a book on a mobile phone display.

The good news: you can try Blackbetty for free with a mobilebooks test download. Or purchase one of about 300 books already available for between 3 and 5 euros (US$4 to 6.50) plus network fees for the data transfer. Edgar Allen Poe's "Schwartze Katze" (The Black Cat) is classified as "small" and takes only seconds to download. Sizes range through M and L to XL, exemplarized by Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment in the free test options. The bad news: the Austria-based company only has German titles available. English titles are the next step for Blackbetty.

Another weighty thought to trouble the true bookworms: the eBook industry is trending to shorter stories. Even Hotter says: "It is obvious that practically noboby would read (Dostoevsky) on a cell phone." Hotter is seeking authors. Although the web site sets no upper limit on length, Hottor is quoted as saying: "We are seeking authors that can create a hype", referring to books similar to mini-novels which have met with great success with cell phone users in Japan. Will the new generation with short attention spans be the death of a good, long read?

Via: Handelsblatt (print version)

Tags: Austria

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