Dear all, a brand new version of our Bookari reading apps is cooking! It’s a pretty big release and it deserves a few explanations. It will provide improvements in almost every feature, so let’s review them by category:
Digital Rights Management (DRM) support
Definitely not the funniest or simplest topic but let’s address it first before talking about more exciting ones…
We have created Mantano in 2010 after successfully integrating the Mobipocket DRM in e-reading devices back in 2009 for Netronix, one of the leading OEM e-reading device manufacturers! Since then, we have always been eager to integrate any available DRM technology, to provide our users access through a unique app to any book whatever its provenance. Doing so hasn’t always been an easy trip, both from technical, User eXperience and legal point of views, believe us… But we’ve found a way. We’ve been the very first to be able to publish apps who were compatible with the 3 major DRMs together (Adobe DRM, SonyDADC URMS and Readium LCP), while providing a very smooth UX! We’ve also developed our Magic Links technology, that makes the DRM completely transparent to the user!
However, DRM is a sensitive topic, DRM solution providers have their own strategies and some of them imply a pretty significant cost for the reading apps developers (yes, it’s not free, except LCP…).
So at some points choices must be made for independent software publishers like Mantano… This is why Bookari 5 will provide significant changes in this area, while our B2B white labelling offering remains the same. Please read the following section for more details.
> Contact us for white label reading apps inquiries.
We’ve been a long-time and loyal implementor of the Adobe DRM technology. We have delivered one of the best integrations according to many experts including Adobe itself. We have also integrated it in other apps for our B2B customers such as Netronix (in dedicated e-reader devices), NYPL (New York Public Library), Grammata and others.
However… Despite all our efforts and goodwill, the context doesn’t allow us to further support it inside our own public-facing Bookari apps. We can’t obviously enter into deep details there, but this decision was motivated by many major concerns such as:
- The lack of control over the Epub and PDF rendering engines. As active Epub 3 implementors we needed to be able to use our own Epub 3 rendering engine, which has proven to be impossible with RMSDK, much to our regret;
- The very high price of this technology
We will still continue to internally maintain the compatibility with Adobe RMSDK as much as we can, in order to be able to fulfil Adobe DRM-enabled white label inquiries from B2B customers.
So you can contact us if you need white labelled Adobe DRM-enabled reading apps (or integration services). More generally, we can still provide our B2B customers with apps supporting any or many of Adobe, Sony DADC or LCP DRM. The only thing that will change in this area will be related to the Adobe DRM SDK licence procurement.
What will be the impact on Adobe DRM-protected books for our Bookari users?
The rule is simple:
- Existing users will still be able to use our apps to read Adobe DRM-protected books
- New users won’t… They will have to use a third-party app.
Here, we’ve been one of the very first to integrate it in a very smooth way, and we have been early supporters of it. We cannot officially support it in our public-facing Bookari apps, but we can provide to our B2B customers SonyDADC URMS-enabled white label apps. So -again- don’t hesitate contacting us.
Readium LCP (for Licensed Content Protection) is a new passphrase-based rights management solution, with support for different business models, including library lending . This is a simple but reliable solution for distributing protected content, based on rock solid encryption algorithms (AES-256) and classical PKI techniques.
The solution is minimally intrusive for the end-user, who doesn’t need to create a third party account and may even share his ebooks with his family or close friends. Rights-owners can still efficiently protect their content against over-sharing.
More information about LCP on the EDRLab website.
“We’ve been one of the very first to… but…” Haha no, just kidding. Here, we’ve been the first implementor, and in fact we have contributed our code to the Readium Foundation.
So yes, we do support LCP, both in our public-facing Bookari apps and in white label apps!
Very good news there! We are now using different rendering techniques and we’re extremely happy… The PDF support is improved in all areas:
- Speed: the Bookari 5 PDF engine outperforms the previous one (which was already pretty fast) in a very tangible manner.
- Quality: the rendering quality is improved, too.
- Text selection / highlights: the selected text is now always correctly spaced. Our previous engine was in very specific (and rare) books not always correctly spaced. So in these cases, the selected text sometimes didn’t contain any spacing. This doesn’t happen anymore.
Which PDF engine will be used when you read?
- The legacy Adobe RMSDK PDF engine will be used only to open an Adobe DRM-protected book. Reminder: only if you already had Bookari 4.X – otherwise you don’t have access to Adobe DRM;
- For all other PDFs, the brand new PDF engine will be used
What will happen to your existing bookmarks and annotations?
- Your existing bookmarks and annotations will be preserved. Internally, a conversion will occur from RMSDK-specific annotation format to the ne engine format.
Good news also there! Except for Adobe-protected books for users who already had Bookari 4.x, Bookari 5 will open all Epub files with our own Epub rendering engine, based on the Readium engine. This means a lot. Here is an overview of the impact:
- Read both Epub 2 and Epub 3 with exactly the same underlying engine. This means that you won’t see any reading experience difference depending on the exact Epub version of your book;
- Epub 3 format support in both Bookari Free and Bookari Premium. This means that you’ll enjoy the features of this significant evolution of Epub: native footnotes support, interactive contents, media overlays etc…
TTS is a key topic in modern reading apps, because it addresses the needs of everybody:
- Obviously visually impaired people
- Mobile users eager to read while driving, running, cycling…
- Language learning students who would like to listen to the correct pronunciation of the books they read
However, TTS raises technical challenges. In Bookari 5, we are pushing our TTS support to the next level by adding some key features:
- Crop headers and footers in PDF books: when starting the TTS reading on a PDF book, we display a tool that allows you to specify the area of the pages that contains relevant contents. With this tool you can remove any unneeded header and footer that could break your listening experience:
- Intelligent sentence breaking (Android only for now, iOS 11+ to come later): did you ever experience painful TTS readings on texts that contain a lot of abbreviations ? Thanks to the use of advanced Natural Language Processing techniques, our apps can now detect the sentences even on heavily abbreviated sentences such as “Mr. J.Doe went back to the U.S.A on Nov.1st, 2010”!
We are adding the latest finishing touch, so stay tuned, it’s coming soon!