Thursday, December 25, 2008

eReader 1.3 on the iPhone

I had a chance to play extensively today with eReader 1.3 on an iPhone, and I must say I am very, very impressed. The iPhone version is a terrific implementation of the eReader software (much, much nicer, say, than the version of Mobipocket on the iRex iLiad).

eReader is my favorite e-reading software, in part because it has a much better DRM system for commercial books than does Mobipocket. This new version of eReader for the iPhone includes most of the key capabilities of the versions long available for Palm and Windows Mobile devices: the ability to toggle justification, dictionary lookup, and the option to invert the screen (black background with white letters, instead of vice versa).

Text renders beautifully in both Georgia and Helvetica typefaces (although providing Marker Felt was an odd third choice; I'd like to see Verdana). It's an extremely pleasant reading experience, and the combination of an iPhone or iPod Touch with eReader would make a very good ebook-reading platform.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At December 26, 2008 3:15 AM , Blogger Tobias S. Buckell said...

eReader is okay, I personally think Stanza is even nicer, and it has a built in integration with and so you can download a book to read right from the iPhone, no syncing to a desktop or mucking about, browse for a book, get it, read it :-)

At December 26, 2008 4:40 AM , Blogger Dr Plokta said...

It's not free, and it won't read any DRMed books, but iPhone Bookshelf is otherwise better than eReader.

And the reason for the font selection is that those are the fonts built into the iPhone, which doesn't have Verdana.

At December 26, 2008 7:37 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Thanks for that, Toby. Since Stanza also supports the eReader format, that's cool. More info is here.

(I'm done buying ebooks in formats that are essentially device-specific, or that require the company that sold me the book to be around and approve my desire to read it on some future device. I own a dozen or so devices that can read ebooks; Mobipocket lost me as a customer when they said I could pick any four of them to use, and, if I was a good boy, they'd let me change my mind about which four every once in a while.)

At December 26, 2008 11:06 AM , Blogger John Joseph Adams said...

All of these seem fine to me, but my problem with them all is that there's no easy to way to create your own files from Word or RTF documents--at least, there's no EASY way. Stanza and Bookshelf can do it, but you can't convert large batches, which is essential for me because I use e-reading primarily for work, not pleasure reading. (For both, you can convert one file at a time.)

Readdle is nice, in that you can just email files to your account on their server, and it converts them for you and lets you sync them with your phone. Not the best designed app, but as a reader it works pretty well, though it loses indent-formatting in RTF files, which is annoying.

The other problem with Readdle and Bookshelf is that they don't let you turn pages as Stanza does; you have to scroll manually, which is stupid for a reader program.

It kind of baffles me that the iPhone has been around this long and the appstore has been open to outside developers that there is no awesome app for e-reading. Why the hell isn't there an iRead software from Apple? People DO still read, Steve Jobs!

At December 26, 2008 12:00 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Excellent point, John. My main handheld is a Sony Clie TH55 (Palm OS), and I use eReader to read commercial ebooks on it, and WordSmith, which is an excellent word processor, to read and edit Word documents on it. I do all my manuscript reading for RJS Books with WordSmith. What I'd like is one app that handled commercial content and my own content equally well.

In fact, my next phone might be a Palm OS Treo, not an iPhone, because of the lack of a good Word/RTF document editor on the iPhone.


At December 26, 2008 12:29 PM , Blogger Tobias S. Buckell said...

Documents to go is planned for the iPhone (I used to use it on my palm), no word yet on date.

At December 28, 2008 1:04 PM , Blogger flit said...

Dang...I wish I had known that before I got my Blackberry ...I was torn between it and an iphone.

At December 28, 2008 1:46 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

The good folks at Fictionwise say eReader will be available for the BlackBerry shortly, flit. You can never go wrong buying Canadian. ;)

At December 28, 2008 7:47 PM , Blogger John Joseph Adams said...

To follow up on my comment about Readdle--turns out the latest update to the app DOES enable a page-turning feature, so instead of scrolling manually, you can tap the screen to turn the page. They're not true pages, but it does an autoscroll the length of one page that functions just as well.

At December 29, 2008 10:13 PM , Blogger flit said...

oh, that is good news... thanks!

I am glad I checked back :)

At January 06, 2009 7:09 AM , Blogger Vladimir Campos said...

Hi, is it possible to import eReader books+notes from a Palm OS device to a iPhone/Touch? I make lots of notes on my books and I'd like to import them with the books to the iPhone/Touch eReader App.


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