iPhoneWhile Apple hasn’t unveiled a new e-book standard for the iPhone, the forthcoming product apparently will offer PDF-reading capabilities.

Encrypted PDF—so you can read best-sellers from DRM-loving publishers? I don’t know. Beyond that, keep in mind that PDF isn’t exactly the optimal approach for phones or other handhelds.

But what about the future?

Could reflowable e-books in the IPDF‘s new EPUB format display well on the iPhone—without any need for the hated scrolls from left to right? Maybe Adobe’s Bill McCoy, a TeleBlog contributor and an EPUB advocate, can at least tantalize us with a few clues or some speculation. Also, I’ll be most interested in Bill Janssen’s further observations on the iPhone as a display for browser-based e-books.

Related: BookSquare‘s observation: “Setting aside the comfort issues, the iPhone could either kill the nascent e-reader business or take it to new levels.” Also see Wiley exec Joe Wikert’s iPhone thoughts.


  1. Seems to me that it all depends on how well it works as a Web browser. So far, it looks good. But the devil is in the details of carrier service plans, HTML extensions, Javascript capabilities, etc. Personally, given the apparently closed nature of the iPhone, I think I’d still prefer a Palm Treo 680, which can run customized translation dictionaries, support oodles of third-party apps, play MP3s, and still support (apparently) 2GB of flash storage via a removable SD card. Would the Treo be a better e-reading phone if they junked the keyboard and expanded the screen from 320×320 to 320×480, just like the iPhone? Sure it would. But right now the resolution is about the same as the iPhone’s, and you don’t need to use the stylus to write on it.

    I tend to believe that the “nascent e-reader business” died still-born four or five years ago, so I doubt this will resurrect it. The technology idea made sense in 1998, but no longer does. The good news is that the soul of e-reading has been born again in the use of e-pubs deployed as Web sites, and a good browser tool is all that’s needed to access the millions of on-line e-pubs.

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