July 10, 2004

eBook/document readers for Palm OS Devices

Q: What app do I need to read ebooks and text files on my Treo 600?

A: You'll need a document reader for the Palm that can read Palm doc files as well as a converter program for your Macintosh to change RTF or text files into Palm doc files prior to transferring them via a hot sync.

Now that my beloved Handera is 3 years old and still running Palm OS 3.x, I haven't looked at reading software in ages, but here's some general commentary on programs I know about or use regularly.

For e-books/text, I primarily still use a version of TealPoint's TealDoc software. TealDoc can read plain text and .doc files, and supports landscape mode and scrollwheels on devices which have those. It also can deal with documents stored on cards rather than in RAM. It does not render HTML; however, version 6 can strip out HTML tags. TealDoc is $19.95 US. I've read hundreds of books on my handheld with my trusty copy of TealDoc. Good investment for me.

If you need a reader which renders HTML, people used to suggest MobiPocket Reader. I haven't used it in ages, so I can't really comment on it. Baen Books' online subscription service recommends using MobiPocket as they distribute their books in HTML (but it's really basically just paragraph tags, which are easy enough to visually ignore for me in TealDoc). This is also $19.95 US.

Palm also offers eReader (used to be Palm Reader) for both your Palm and for your Mac, so you can read Palm .doc files on your Mac. It supports some kind of digital rights management. It is possible to buy DRM books from somewhere for it, but it will also handle just regular text files converted to Palm doc format. While I don't use this on my handheld that often, I do use it on my Mac. It has a nice visual page display. The desktop and Palm versions are available in a free version.

Most of these programs would go quite handily with PorDiBle for your OS X box. PorDiBle converts RTF and text files to Palm doc files (.pdb) which can be read with most document readers for the Palm.

Posted by Eingang at July 10, 2004 11:49 AM | TrackBack

Since I wrote this, I upgraded my trusty Handera to a Sony CliƩ TH-55 and upgraded to the latest version of TealDoc. It works nicely on devices with high-resolution screens. Since the last version, they've changed their font technology. The old version used FineType but the new version uses FontBucket. By default, it comes with a wide variety of font faces or you can download several, including 18-point fonts. It's also possible, although I didn't have much luck with this under OS X, to convert your existing TrueType fonts from your Mac and copy them to the Palm for use in FontBucket.

Posted by: Eingang at August 12, 2004 10:30 AM
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