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Old 07-19-2011, 02:57 PM   #1
pruss
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A scrolling ebook reader

Coming from Plucker on which I've read a ton of stuff, I'm annoyed by the paging rather than scrolling that most Android ebook readers seem to implement. Flipping a page mid-sentence is distracting, and you have to remember the beginning of the sentence, which occasionally requires flipping back. Pages are one of the limitations of pre-electronic books--we should be free of this limitation.

Moreover, scrolling is important to me because sometimes I want to focus on one particular part of the text, and then I like to slide it to the top of the screen, so I can easily see it as I think about it, without having to find it in the page after looking away or keeping a finger on it or being distracted by what came earlier. And it would be really annoying if a complex sentence were broken between pages and there was no continuous scrolling, since then one couldn't see the sentence as a whole. Moreover, scrolling enables finer tuning of bookmarks than just page-based ones, which can be useful.

None of this matters much at all for easy fiction in one's native language. But for complex or foreign-language (or both!) texts, it can matter quite a bit. I am a professional philosopher, so I have a bunch of complex ebooks.

So, is there an ebook reader that will give me the sort of experience I want?

Oh, and ideally open source. (And with Plucker support. But I can convert and/or add Plucker support, I guess, if I have to.)
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:51 PM   #2
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I'm not sure if you're asking for a device in particular or you're looking for an android app. If you're looking for an android app for epubs, then Moon+ reader has scrolling. Both automatic and manual. It also has the one of the best bookmarking/highlighting interface of all the reading apps.

There are free and paid versions of Moon+ reader in the android market.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:21 PM   #3
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I'm not sure if you're asking for a device in particular or you're looking for an android app. If you're looking for an android app for epubs, then Moon+ reader has scrolling.
I am also not sure if this is a request for a device or Android software, but I agree that Moon+ seems to be the best for scrolling.

It quickly switches between page mode, autoscroll and manual scroll. Just swipe up and it scrolls up. You can even turn on shake to switch on autoscroll.

I used a fine autoscroll reader called uBook on my old IPAQ and one aspect I wish Moon+ had is a larger line at the autoscroll point between the previous page and the new page. uBook phased in a colored line between the two that was sharp on the edge forming the new page and shaded on the edge forming the old page (old page is fading away). It made it easy to tell if you were reading faster or slower than the scroll speed.

The other issue I have with Moon+ is that autoscroll turns off too easily if I bump it. I'd like a bit less sensitivity and for it to pause, not turn off.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:19 PM   #4
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It is software I was looking for, not a device. Thanks for the Moon+ suggestion. It looks very good, except for not being open source (I can right away see one feature that I'd like that isn't there: boolean search; I think the regular expression search can compensate somewhat, though) and not supporting Plucker files.

A number of my ebooks are Plucker files made from a large number of interlinked html files. I can reverse the process and go from Plucker to a large number of interlinked html files again. But as far as I can see, Moon+ will then only search one of the html files, not all of them.

I could convert to ePub, I suppose.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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I could convert to ePub, I suppose.
Yes, a plucker2epub.pl would be a nice addition to the tools you have already released!
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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Yes, a plucker2epub.pl would be a nice addition to the tools you have already released!
All I have is epub2plucker.pl. :-(

I tried using Plucker's explode (which works quite well for me) to convert back to html, and then Calibre, but Calibre didn't like the hundreds of articles that that generated when I ran it on the Summa. I could try it again.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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I first tried Calibre and Moon+ on the complete works of Thomas Aquinas in Latin, html from the web (with permission): about 800 files totaling 100mb. Calibre took a while to convert, but it did generate a 32mb epub file that Moon+ loaded and searched pretty well (except that sometimes it scrolls when I try to tap on a hyperlink--I wasn't using a stylus and I expect it'll work better with a stylus).

Moon+'s search is much better than Plucker's search (though I suspect it doesn't do Plucker's accent-ignore search for non-English texts). The only downside on this text is that it took about 15 seconds to load the epub file..

Calibre's GUI version had trouble, however, with importing the results of Plucker's explode of Aquinas' Summa--it just hung there for a very long time. So I gave up and used the commandline version. That generated a 6.9mb epub file from the 626 html files that Plucker's explode generated from a 5.6mb plucker file.

Moon+ loaded the file, but it took an unacceptable thirty seconds to load. I certainly don't want to wait thirty seconds whenever I need to look something up! FBReader took about forty seconds. (And I tried loading twice to make sure it wasn't just a matter of an initial scan.)

Plucker loads the file in three seconds on a much slower device (PalmTX at 208mhz as opposed to Archos43 at around 800-1000mhz). It sounds like I'm still stuck with the Palm as my primary e-reader. (Well, "stuck" isn't the right word--I really like my TX.)

Last edited by pruss; 07-27-2011 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:28 PM   #8
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So I gave up and used the commandline version.
I ALWAYS use the command line ebook-convert for important/non-trivial conversions. It is hit and miss sometimes, so I usually follow that with a quick and dirty .epub edit using either Sigil and/or winrar and a text editor! And for toc.ncx manipulations I now use ePubFixer.

Quote:
Plucker loads the file in three seconds on a much slower device (PalmTX at 208mhz as opposed to Archos43 at around 800-1000mhz). It sounds like I'm still stuck with the Palm as my primary e-reader. (Well, "stuck" isn't the right word--I really like my TX.)
My (old) reader, the REB1200 is a very capable reader that could easily handle 25-50MB ebooks, with tens of thousands of hyperlinks and/or images. The old devices got it right, albeit with (as of now) non-"state of the art" technology. Imagine if those same devices were re-released now with today's high tech cpus, screens, ram, etc...
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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I wrote the Moon+ developer about the speed issue. His response was that this was due to the need to maintain compatibility will ill-formed and older-version ePub files. (I then suggested that he detect those files, and load the good ones faster.)
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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Coolreader is opensource supports plucker format IIRC it has a scroll support but you have to do it manually as far as I can tell maybe you could add auto scroll.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:15 AM   #11
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I don't need auto-scrolling, just plain scrolling. I used to be into auto-scrolling, and put a fair amount of working into getting it working well in Plucker, but eventually I stopped using it.

I just tried Coolreader. My test epub, and not just a test since it's a book I need to be able to refer to quickly (look up passages at conferences, for instance), is Aquinas' Summa Theologica again. Coolreader took over a minute to open it. Drag-scrolling was unusably slow. Paging with the volume keys took about two seconds. Eek. And I couldn't click on the links.

But it looks really good and has a ton of nice options.

My suspicion from my experiments is that for some reason the epub readers are reading the whole file, and doing something with it. I don't know what. Paginating it into a single whole?! Why? Each segment of the epub is 260K and the epub format is a zip file, hence is indexed for random access of each segment. It shouldn't take more than a second or two to load in a segment and to format it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:15 AM   #12
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Aldiko loads the test file close to instantly. So it's not a matter of something intrinsic to epub files that makes it impossible. But Aldiko does paging, and paging annoys me. More seriously, Aldiko's searching is unacceptably slow. It took Aldiko 1 min 14 sec to search through the Summa, again on a 1ghz device (and I have the CPU governor set so that it should be going to close to full speed when the CPU is busy). Plucker on my TX does it in 41 sec, with my TX underclocked to 208mhz. I always thought Plucker's search was a little slow.

The search speed is no doubt partly a function of the epub format not being as optimized as Plucker's. But only partly. The search has no business taking significantly more than about 19 seconds, since that's how long it takes to unzip the zip file on the device to /tmp/u (in a shell, with busybox unzip) and then grep through the unzipped files. Moon+ and FBReader do the search in an acceptable ~20 seconds.

The Nook app opens the file close to instantly, but shows it with ridiculously wide margins (who needs any margins on a small screen?). Plus it is page based. Maybe one can tweak the margins with Calibre, and maybe I could live with the paging, but the deal-killer is the search. My test search went on for two minutes, and I killed it at that point and uninstalled the Nook up and did rm -r Nook.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:26 PM   #13
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Aldiko does paging, and paging annoys me.
What do you mean by "paging?" Do you mean memory paging (and delays associated with loading), or are you referring to display paging instead of scrolling? IOW, what does "paging" cause you to see when using Aldiko that you dislike?
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #14
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Coolreader was mainly written for fb2 format and dedicated eink readers. And support for other formats added later to it. Could be the reason its not optimized for opening quickly
as on a dedicated reader you would not be opening and closing books for reference and it would be better for dedicated reader to load the maximum amount of the file into the memory.
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Old 07-28-2011, 03:49 PM   #15
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What do you mean by "paging?" Do you mean memory paging (and delays associated with loading), or are you referring to display paging instead of scrolling? IOW, what does "paging" cause you to see when using Aldiko that you dislike?
Display paging.

What I dislike about it is that I read complex texts where I have to look at a single passage multiple times. If the passage is broken across pages, that means I can't get a view of the passage all on one page (without zooming out, I suppose, but that changes the pagination, and I have to find the passage again). Moreover, I'd like to be able to move the complex passage to the top of a page while thinking about it, so that I can look away from the screen and then quickly locate it again. With scrolling, I can do that very easily. Moreover, a scrolling viewer will typically have one line of overlap between pages, which makes for better reading continuity I find (plus it decreases the chance of the complex-sentence-broken-across-pages problem).
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