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Old 12-16-2009, 07:06 AM   #1
ChristopherTD
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Workable ePub reader for Windows Netbook

I am trying to get my Dad to read some ePubs, but have been thwarted by the lack of a workable ePub reader for Windows. ADE and Sony offerings are poor, and for some reason he has taken against Calibre. Instead he hand edits the ePub into eReader (PDB) format somehow and reads them using that.

Are there any other ePub readers for the PC that I might point him at?
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherTD View Post
I am trying to get my Dad to read some ePubs, but have been thwarted by the lack of a workable ePub reader for Windows. ADE and Sony offerings are poor, and for some reason he has taken against Calibre. Instead he hand edits the ePub into eReader (PDB) format somehow and reads them using that.

Are there any other ePub readers for the PC that I might point him at?
Hi ChristopherTD,

IIRC, the Mobipocket Reader Desktop Reader will open epub files. You may also try the FBReader for Windows. I don't read epub files on the PC, so I cannot comment on capabilities of the mentioned programs. What is the problem with ADE? I just played around with it for a short time some while ago - it seemed to work OK.

Cheers,
Klaus
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:23 AM   #3
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I am not sure why he doesn't like ADE, but for me I find the ADE interface to be very confusing. I don't read on my computer though so I haven't tried to puzzle it out. I have several times found that ADE wouldn't proceed until it had been updated, which I really objected to. I don't mind software phoning home to see if updates are available, but locking you out of the software until you apply the update is heavy handed.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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Try the latest B&N Reader for Windows. It does not have all the features of the standard eReader Windows app, but it is similar and it displays ePub with the option of specifying your own font, justification, etcetera (i.e. it displays ePubs like it displays eReader ebooks).

EDIT: See the screenshots in B&N Switching to ePub a Sneaky Move?

Last edited by wallcraft; 12-16-2009 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Try the latest B&N Reader for Windows. It does not have all the features of the standard eReader Windows app, but it is similar and it displays ePub with the option of specifying your own font, justification, etcetera (i.e. it displays ePubs like it displays eReader ebooks).

EDIT: See the screenshots in B&N Switching to ePub a Sneaky Move?
Does this B&N application use the ADE engine as the back-end? It seems plausible, since they're using it in the Nook and I'd expect them to want some sort of display parity with the desktop application.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:10 PM   #6
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Does this B&N application use the ADE engine as the back-end?
No. It does not read ePubs protected by AdobeID DRM and it does not support multiple fonts or document-specific fonts (although it does let you use any font loaded on your PC). See the attached screenshots of a test ePub for default fonts. It displays as expected using Sony eBook Library (which is using mobile ADE) but shows only one font and without the specified page breaks and other formatting in the B&N Reader. The actual ePub ebooks I have tried look OK in the B&N Reader, but it does not support all features of ePub.
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Last edited by wallcraft; 12-16-2009 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:47 PM   #7
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No. It does not read ePubs protected by AdobeID DRM and it does not support multiple fonts or document-specific fonts (although it does let you use any font loaded on your PC). See the attached screenshots of a test ePub for default fonts. It displays as expected using Sony eBook Library (which is using mobile ADE) but shows only one font and without the specified page breaks and other formatting in the B&N Reader. The actual ePub ebooks I have tried look OK in the B&N Reader, but it does not support all features of ePub.
This is good to know, thanks. I actually downloaded and installed B&N's reading application after posting, but uninstalled it after 10 minutes. It's pretty horrible. It took me more that 5 minutes to even figure out how to load an epub book from disk. In general, it's pretty poorly designed. You can't use the arrow keys to change pages, or the PgUp/PgDn keys either. I couldn't find any way of keyboard navigation for books. That's just ridiculous. Do they expect users to mouse click the GUI arrow buttons for every page? The only thing worse would be if they actually had some sort of keyboard navigation, but it's so unintuitive even power users can't find it.

And the epub books I loaded had all sorts of weird characters displayed, which display normally in ADE. It seems the B&N's reading system has even worse default Unicode character coverage than ADE, and I didn't think that was even possible. It also made it evident they rolled their own (crappy) engine.

The justification and font selection is pretty nice though. Hopefully other Reading Systems will pick up on it soon, it's pretty damn basic yet completely absent from every other commercial renderer.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:32 PM   #8
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I seem to recall ADE being limited in keyboard shortcuts (or even common sense keyboard use) and lacking in basic usability.

I think one of the problems is that rendering an eBook on screen is treated as a technical problem, i.e. get some text on a page, and left at that. In reality it is far more than that if you are to observe even the most basic typographical niceties that you take for granted in a printed book.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:32 PM   #9
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Another choice in eBook readers is epubreader. MobileRead has a forum specifically for this reader. It is an addon for Firefox (also usable in SeaMonkey) web browser and does a good job reading ePUB files.
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