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The jury's still out on whether eBooks will ever truly hit the mainstream, but certainly there's been more activity around them in 2008 than any previous year. Unfortunately Amazon hasn't yet brought the Kindle to the UK, but Sony did create quite a stir with its elegant PRS-505 Reader which managed to bag itself a recommended award back in October. So the question is, can a small company from the Netherlands called Endless Ideas take on the role of giant killer and knock Sony off the top spot with the BeBook?

Like most of the current crop of ebooks on the market the BeBook is slightly smaller in size than an A5 sheet of paper. Unfortunately style-wise it's more Primark than Armani as its plasticky grey case just can't hold a torch to the luxurious matt silver finish of Sony's Reader. Nevertheless, at 220g it does feel quite light and it certainly won't weigh you down when you chuck it in a backpack or suitcase.

None of the ebooks we've used have what you'd call overly intuitive interfaces, as sadly no one has yet been able to come up with a GUI that will do for eBooks what the original iPod did for MP3 players. The BeBook is no different in this sense. On the one hand it trumps models like the Sony Reader and iRex Iliad with a tighter menu tree that cuts down on button presses. However, this plus is largely negated by the overly sluggish nature of the device and some rather odd design decisions made by Endless Ideas. The most jarring of these is the location of the menu buttons. Although the menu entries are numbered and shown in a column down the left hand side of the screen, the numerical buttons corresponding to these entries are arranged horizontally across the bottom of the device which just makes them feel a bit odd to use.

On the plus side the BeBook supports multiple fonts and character sets and these can be changed while you're reading a book in most formats, although not in PDF documents. You can also choose between three different levels of zoom. The zoom works in different ways according to whether text in the document can be reflowed. In documents with re-flowable text the Bebook simply magnifies the text at three different levels. However, in other types of documents it simply zooms in and out on the page, with the largest level of zoom switching the display from portrait to landscape mode to fit more text horizontally on the screen.

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December 31, 2008, 2:13 pm

As much as I don't like the closed systems, and other things that they do, I wish Apple would have a look at doing an ebook reader - then we may get something that would have an interface worth using... can't see it happening though.

Ricky Archer

December 31, 2008, 3:58 pm

I paid &#1633.59 for the 'Classics' on the iTunes app store and it works a treat, you can adjust the text size to suit and it's bright for reading in the dark. If you don't want to pay, then get eReader for free! Better still, as it's on my phone it's one less thing to carry.


January 2, 2009, 3:07 am

Hear, hear, I really don't see the point of all these dedicated gizmos. My smartphone does the same job and I have several hundred books (.lit format) on a mini sd chip. Likewise mp3 files, so why buy a dedicated player? It also understands what I say to it (voiceCommand.exe) so whinging about the mobile windoze interface become fairly irrelevant.

I suppose if you really want to sound like a set of castanets walking up the street then having all these gadgets in your pocket is the way to go. I'll stick to my ancient HTC Wizard which still does all I require of it.

Hamish Campbell

January 2, 2009, 12:44 pm

errrr I think the e-ink display might just be the attraction. I'm sure anyone can appreciate the difference between reading off real paper and an lcd screen, this stff addresses that

Frank 2

January 7, 2009, 12:25 pm

I bought this BeBook device and swiftly returned it to Amazon.

It crashes constantly and using SDcards is a nightmare.

In my opinion this device is for users who like to spend hours with upgrading firmware, scrolling through the BeBook forum in order to resolve the numerous errors of the BeBook reader. Taken together, this product is simply not market ready. Furthermore, the unit feels flimsy and is really way over-priced.

Ann Drummond

August 4, 2009, 7:48 am

I love my Bebook! I've had it almost a year and I'm not sure how I managed without it. I've just been overseas and I was able to load more books than I could possible read in the time I was away. I could never have packed so many books given baggage costs. The cost of ebooks is a bit pricey and hopefully in time they will come down. Anyone interested in an e-reader should take a look at the Bebook. A number of formats can be used on it, its easy to use (intuitively so) and the battery life is long so you can read many books before recharging. Also if you&#8217re like me and live outside of the USA the kindle really isn&#8217t an option. If you go ahead and purchase a bebook you can use my discount coupon to get a discount of 25 Euro (

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