Sep 3 2006
I think someone at the IPAQ forums (now Mobility Today) turned me onto Gowerpoint µBook reader (pronounced microreader) when I purchased my IPAQ in 2004. Now I wonder how I ever lived without it. Gowerpoint µBook gives the reader control over the look and feel of the ebook. The importance of this was driven home to me as I was reading Nora Robert’s Morrigan’s Cross in Ereader format.
The extra space between each paragraph was driving me nuts. µBook can render my books without that extra annoying space. There are some who believe that the extra space between paragraphs is easier to read in smaller format, but I like to my digital reading experience to as closely mimic the paper version as possible.
eReader has very few customizable options: font, font size, background color, full justify and underline links. It does not allow you to change the extra space between the paragraphs. I don’t want a software ereading program that dictates formats to me. If I am going to be using technology to read books, then I want the freedom to make the book look like I want it. Not what Sony, eReader, Mobipocker software wants the book to look like. After all, the publishers aren’t reading the book. I am.
One of the concepts behind ebook technology is to make the book format meet your specifications. Want a dark background with light text like Ned? Done. How about Pink for breast cancer awareness month? Want the typeface to be serif, smooth and 14 point? Done again.
Each person is different and each one may like different settings. In uBook, you can change the following:
- Fonts (type and size)
- Link colors
- Italics spacing
- Interline spacing (the spaces between each line)
- Indent spacing (how far in the first line in each paragraph is indented)
- Orientation (ie, portrait or landscape)
- Space between paragraphs
One neat thing that you can do with µBook is to add your own fonts. I downloaded Georgia font at the recommendation of another reader. This is accomplished by copying the TTF files from your Windows/Fonts folder onto the Windows/Fonts folder on your pocket pc. You may have to reset before the fonts appear.
The one drawback of Gowerpoint’s µBook is the options interface which is not entirely untuitive and takes a little time to set up. However, if you set it up once to meet your reading needs, you’ll not need to do it again. Beyond the look and feel is what µBook can do behind the scenes. It eliminates the need to convert for almost all files except for the ones with DRM. For example, it reads all of the following formats “natively” or without need to convert:
text, rtf, html, prc (older and unencrypted), pdb (older and unencrypted)
uBook will extract text from an unencrypted PDF. The output is pretty hit or miss. It also reads “zipped” folders so that you can compress your book files into zip folders and allow you to carry more books with you at one time. If you have a handheld device, either Pocket PC or Palm, this is a must have program.
Next week: A Letter of Complaint to Fictionwise. Get your head out of your arse, Fictionwise.