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 eBook Readers  
Before you begin reading you will first need an eBook reader, that is to say a program that allows you to view the contents of an eBook with proper formatting. An eBook reader, which will be referred to solely as a 'reader' in this document can take form in many different programs (view figure 2.1). It is likely you have a very basic one on your computer right now called Notepad (to run notepad, click on the Start icon, click on Run and type notepad). Notepad, will read all files that end in .txt, .rtf and .doc (with the latter two though you will likely lose formatting). Most commercially available eBooks will probably not use .txt, .rtf or .doc however, since this type of file is easily copied, edited and transmitted through less-than-legal channels. Instead they will use another format and for that you will need a more capable reader.

Figure 6.1

    

(From left to right, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Reader for Palm OS, Palm Reader)

First you must discern what operating system you are using since this will ultimately determine the readers that are available to you. Below you will find operating systems listed in bold and some of the more popular readers.

Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2k/XP

Express Reader DX - a fully functional Qvadis reader and editor.

BigDOC - a complete DOC reader.

DocView32 - a free DOC reader.

DocReader - a Windows program that can not only reader DOC files but also create them.

Easy DOCViewer - a simple and free DOC reader.

Doc Reader for Java - a very unique reader that is completely Java-based.

FastWriter - a program that is capable of reading Word (.doc), Text (.txt), HTML (.html), RTF (.rtf) and DOC files on both the PC and Palm computers.

Adobe Acrobat - an extremely popular reader that allows you to read and print off .pdf and .pdf+ documents. This is one of the most common readers on the market.

Palm Reader - formerly known as Peanut Press, Palm Reader supports the Palm eBook standard and offers both free and commercial versions of its software.

Microsoft Reader - An extremely secure and widely used reader that uses Microsoft's proprietary format .lit. This format is also natively recognized on the Pocket PC.

Palm OS 3.5/4.0/4.1/5.0/5.1/5.1.2/5.2

Palm Reader - the Palm standard (DOC). This reader offers both commercial and free versions of the software.

MobiPocket Reader - a multifunctional piece of software that allows for reading .pdb, .prc and .doc files. It also operates as a news viewer with its own set of custom channels. Again, there are both commercial and free versions of this software.

CSpotRun - An extremely popular and free DOC reader for the Palm OS.

SmartDoc - A simple Palm DOC reader and editor. This software is completely free.

iSilo - a commercial reader for the Palm OS that offers extended formatting.

Wordsmith - a word processor for the Palm that can handle DOC as well as .txt and .doc.

MobileDB - a program that offers cross compatibility between the desktop, Palm and Pocket PC platforms. The program allows users to view databases on their handhelds.

TomeRaider - a commercial piece of software that allows a user to read nicely formatted eBooks in DOC* and its own proprietary .tr files. *This feature is only available on the Palm version.

Adobe Acrobat for Palm OS - this software allows a user to reformat a PDF file and install it on the Palm OS device. While this operation can take some time it is still one of the few that offers seamless image integration into the document.

Pocket PC 2000/2002/2003

The cost of production is completely format dependent. If you decide to use Adobe Acrobat (view figure 5.1) you could very easily spend several hundred dollars. If you wish to use Palm's DOC format you might be looking at only $50-100 for a professional suite or nothing for some of the free conversion utilities. Microsoft Reader currently has two main options. Word 2000 offers the ability to convert text file into Reader files, this option is free but does not allow the same customization that Overdrive's Readerworks (See figure 5.2) does (a software suite that is very complete and will run you up to $119 USD).

Microsoft Reader - for devices using Pocket PC OS 2000 and 2002 this reader is pre-installed on the device. For those using 2003 Professional the software is included on a CD. Pocket PC 2003 Premium also has this software pre-installed. For those using the desktop Windows OS this is often your best bet as it offers seamless integration. This software is only available for Windows (desktop) and Pocket PC OS.

Palm Reader - formerly known as Peanut Press, Palm Reader supports the Palm eBook standard and offers both free and commercial versions of its software.

MobiPocket Reader - a multifunctional piece of software that allows for reading DOC, .prc and .doc files. It also operates as a news viewer with its own set of custom channels. Again, there are both commercial and free versions of this software.

TomeRaider - a commercial piece of software that allows a user to read nicely formatted eBooks in DOC* and its own proprietary .tr files. *This feature is only available on the Palm version.

Adobe Acrobat for Pocket PC - this software allows a user to transfer a PDF document to a Pocket PC device. This program, unlike its Palm cousin, will not reformat the document. This often leads to sluggish results on slower Pocket PC devices.

EPOC

MobiPocket Reader - a multifunctional piece of software that allows for reading DOC, .prc and .doc files. It also operates as a news viewer with its own set of custom channels. Again, there are both commercial and free versions of this software.

VReader5 - a reader for the Psion Series 5 device.

Ebook - an aptly named program that can handle DOC files as well as Text and TCR formats and is available in a variety of languages.

Once you have discerned what reader(s) you will need or want and installed them on your device, you will probably want to read through the documentation (if any) that was supplied with the program. While most programs are straightforward, you often discover small, timesaving features that can save you from performing repetitive tasks.

  

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