Ever wish eBook readers had two screens so you could open them up like a real book? Me either… but that’s because I use my Kindle for reading text. But if you’re reading graphic content like manga or other comics, you might be missing out on the full experience of viewing imagery that’s meant to span across two pages.

Progress Technologies has a solution: they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for a dual-screen eReader called the eOneBook. It has two E Ink displays. It even comes with all 18 episodes of the popular Fist of the North Star manga pre-loaded.

There’s just one catch: that’s all it’s designed to read. There’s officially no way to load any other content. In other words, the Fist of the North Star Full Version eOneBook doesn’t just look like a paper book, complete with a book cover and paper sides. It’s meant to display the same content every time you open it, just like a paper book.

In some ways, this makes plenty of sense. For $250 you get a single book-sized device that takes up a lot less space than 18 volumes of the manga. And if you assume each volume sells for about $20, it’s cheaper to buy this eReader than the complete set of books.

Plus the digital versions are available in both English and Japanese.

On the other hand, it seems kind of crazy to sell an eReader that doesn’t support downloadable content. The developers are trying to paint the bug as a feature it’s simple to use, doesn’t require any setup, and there’s no need to login to a service or connect to a WiFi network to download content. In fact, it’s not even clear if the eReader supports WiFi.

There’s not even a USB port: it runs on four AAA batteries.

The software is also so simple there’s no bookmark feature. The eOneBook is designed to remember your last page read. But if you decide to skip ahead or back, you’ll have to fiddle with some buttons to find your place again… assuming you remember the page number you want to get back to.

Overall, it’s an interesting use of existing technology to create something new that emulates something very old. But it seems like a product that’s going to have a very small market.

It does apparently have some market appeal though: the crowfunding project had a goal of $27,000 but the campaign has already raised more than $170,000 from more than 650 backers.

The eOneBook is expected to ship in April, 2018.

via The Digital Reader

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5 replies on “$250 dual screen eReader is really book-like (in that you can’t load new content)”

  1. I have the Kindle with E-ink screen that has over 60 books on it. I think this would be great if one could load books on it. I like how it opens like a book.

  2. Interesting idea, sell an electronic book not an eReader. But if you buy paper books you probably get them for a very long time barring a terrible accident, and most accidents would destroy one volume. Scrounge for a replacement on eBay if it is out of print. This thing? Roll the dice every year to see if it suffers a random failure that wipes out the whole set. Odds of passing it down intact so close to zero as to not count. Flash memory lifetime will get it if nothing else manages.

    But nobody is thinking ten years down the road anymore. Fifty? Unimaginable.

  3. Welp, it’s one thing what the developers intended, and an entirely other case how easy or hard it might be to open it up. Guess it’s some microcontroller running the show with a LibJPEG or LibPNG library and that’s hooked up to two screens and a few buttons and a microSD reader, so my guess is you can take out the SD and upload whatever content in the one supported format. In fact if you look at the board design it’s just there:

    https://i.imgur.com/OtQqSnh.jpg

    On the other hand that’s something even I can do in an afternoon if I get my hands on an e-ink screen (I can even 3D print a housing and I have several suitable microcontrollers lying around).

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