Book reader feature set

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Discussion of eBook Feature Set

This page serves as a forum for discussing the features required to make the device a useable eBook reader. Access to a diverse library of reading and reference materials will be a prime selling point of the olpc project. The devices are being cost-justified to interested nations based on the idea that money currently budgeted to purchase textbooks for students could be used to purchase a $100 laptop for each child and that the textbooks would be available in eBook format on the laptop itself.

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The number one required feature for an ebook reader HAS to be the clearest, most easily readable text display possible on the hardware. Anti-aliasing or font-smoothing can be a great asset if implemented well or a horribly "smudgy" mess if implemented poorly...

Useful features might include:

  • User definable "style sheets" to control font size and type face, etc.
  • I wonder if the previous point includes the style explained by myself in the discussion. --Dagoflores 00:44, 2 April 2006 (EST)
  • Display graphics in various formats; both vector and bitmap formats
  • Display complex formulae
  • Link in multimedia elements such as sound or video files
  • Bookmarking, preferably sharable via network
  • Annotations, preferably sharable via network
  • Link to external programs for coursework such as worksheets, labs, etc. which can be forwarded BY the teacher to the students, and sent back to the teacher once the homework is done.
  • Human readable, yet efficient markup language
  • Compressed files (easily decompressed to access original files)
  • Simple, intuitive interface
  • Localizeable
  • Supports complex-text langugage rendering (for example, arabic and thai)
  • A way to scroll, or "turn pages" of ebooks with the following properties: simple, natural, low-learning curve.
  • Users should be able to encrypt and view documents. Special care should be taken to treat the contents in a highly sensitive manner to make wide-scale analysis of such documents infeasable.
  • A text to speech option might help kids that do not like to read a lesson but would not mind listening to it at a speed they could understand it.


The laptop has the storage capacity for many hundreds of books, articles, stories, essays, etc., so cataloging, organizing and searching will be crucial.

Useful features might include:

  • A standardized schema of metadata for categorizing work
  • Sorting on any of the fields in the schema, plus system generated data like last page read, etc.
  • Full-text search capability across all titles - MUST be speedy so indexing will be necessary
  • Network access to larger library to allow downloads of additional titles

Jog Reading Wheel

A few years for a ridiculous sum of money, considering the fact that the units are no longer supported or sold, I bought a stony clié PDA T625 C ( I still have it on my desk if someone wants to make me an offer:) Anyway one of the most salable features and indeed usable things about this PDA is the thumb wheel on the side of the case. It allows me to read PDF or whatever documents and scroll up or down the pages of the document using this little plastic wheel, if you push the wheel in you can also reset to the start of the document. Don't take my word for it here is what many other people say about this neat feature; "On the left side of the Clie are the jog-wheel, back button and hold. The jog-wheel? “What a dumb idea,” I thought when I started using the unit. “What is the point when you can just touch the screen to select objects and items?”

Well In less than a week I found this little addition to be an absolutely wonderful feature. I can fly though addresses or to-do’s with a flick of my thumb while driving, on the phone, etc."