1. Introducing Channels - a new way to chat with other Android users!
    Dismiss Notice

eBook Reader Questions


Last Updated:

  1. ct2020

    ct2020 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    After searching around, I found that Aldiko seems to be the most popular eBook app. So I downloaded it. My question is regarding the ePub format. I have a ton of books in text format already. Is it a pain to convert them to ePub?

    If it is, what's a good app that runs txt files and can be used as an eBook reader?

    Thanks
     

    Advertisement
  2. lrbaerveldt

    lrbaerveldt Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    That's a very good question, and one I've been trying to answer myself ever since I got my Nexus One. I've been reading ebooks on my Palm for years, and most of mine are also in text format.

    Unfortunately, there's not a real good solution yet for reading plain text ebooks on Android (at least that I've found). Text Edit frequently comes up in discussions of text editors, but it's pretty simplistic. It's main advantage is that it includes a sdcard browser, so text files can be anywhere on the card. Unfortunately it chokes on large files. Also, if you want to begin editing in your file, you can't just tap where you are. Let's say you've been swiping the screen to move down in your document. If you find a spot you want to edit, then if you tap and bring up the keyboard, the cursor immediately moves to the top of the file, and you have to scroll down again to get to your insertion point. (You could have used the scroll ball from the beginning to move through the file, but when reading I prefer swiping the screen.) This is a killer for me, as it makes it almost impossible to edit large docs, or even easily insert a bookmark.

    Papyrus is another text editor I've been trying out. It does make editing larger docs easier. You can bring up the keyboard anywhere in the document, and have the cursor close to where you tapped. Then you just need to use the scroll ball to then zero in on where you want to edit. Combined with Inserty (an alternate keyboard app that let's you insert pre-defined text, e.g. '[bookmark]'), this is *close* to what I used to do on my Palm. (It was easier on the Palm cause you could use a stylus, but this is close.) It also seems to handle large documents better. However, it has none of the bells and whistles you'd expect from an app dedicated to reading ebooks. Oh yeah, Papyrus does require you to put the docs in the /sdcard/Notes directory, and it doesn't read subfolders. Kind of a pain, as you can't organize your books on the sdcard using folders.

    I am trying Aldiko as well, and as an ebook reading app, it's pretty good. I'm not overly fond of it's "bookshelf" UI; I wish it would just give me a simple list of the books on my sdcard. Because of the bookshelf metaphor, you have to actually *import* epubs into Aldiko. It doesn't seem to do anything to the book itself; if you compare the epubs before and after import, they're the same. You just have to import it so it shows up in your bookshelf. Unnecessary, if you ask me.

    Still, it does a pretty good job as a reader. Paging through a document works well (you can even use the volume toggle switch on the N1 to page up or down). You can bookmark pages, but unfortunately you can't seem to tie a bookmark to a specific piece of text (like if you find a typo you want to go back and correct). I also find it frustrating that it doesn't give you an actual indication of where you are in the book, just a rather vague progress bar along the bottom. And it doesn't even show your progress in the entire book, but rather shows your position within the epub chapter!

    As for converting my text files to epubs, since epub gives every appearance of becoming *the* standard for ebooks, I figure I probably need to eventually convert my collection to it anyway. However, I'm doing the conversion piecemeal, when I want to read a specific book.

    I'm currently trying out two different programs to create epub ebooks. Aldiko recommends Calibre (calibre - E-book management). If you happen to have a well-marked up HTML document, Calibre does pretty well in converting it. It doesn't do quite so well converting plain text; you end up with a pretty minimal document that doesn't necessarily display well on the Android screen. I'm also frustrated that Calibre also wants to be my desktop ebook manager, insisting on bringing every book I want to convert into its own management system, kinda like an iTunes for ebooks. I can manage my ebook collection quite well on my own, thank you very much.

    I'm also looking at an open source project called Sigil (sigil - Project Hosting on Google Code). Sigil is still in the early development stages (it's not even at ver. 1.x yet), but it looks quite promising. It gives you a WYSIWYG editor for your epub, but also lets you directly edit the XHTML code as well (as an HTML coder and programmer, I appreciate that level of control). I've found that I have a lot more control over converting my text files to epub using Sigil than I do with Calibre. For example, if I happened to use the text '[italics][/italics]' or '_...._' in my text ebook, to indicate emphasis, I can do a simple search and replace directly on the code in Sigil to convert that to real italics tags. It also is very easy to insert chapter breaks, and mark text as a chapter heading, which Sigil then automatically inserts into the epub table of contents. Sigil doesn't yet give me as much control over the stylesheets though, but it is still early in its development. Hopefully that will come.

    So, basically I'm using Aldiko on the Android to read epubs, and Papyrus to read long text docs (if I absolutely have to). I'm converting my docs to epub as I go. I'm using Calibre to convert my HTML files, and using Sigil for everything else. I'm not investing a lot of time yet in doing mass conversions of my text files, however. At lot of them simply don't justify the effort, or don't benefit from a full markup. So, I'm also still waiting for a really good (long) text editor for Android.

    Hope this helps.
    Larry
     
    rockyabq and ct2020 like this.
  3. ct2020

    ct2020 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the quick reply. I'll check that open source project out!
     
  4. bruceathome

    bruceathome New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Use Calibre to convert files to epub - it works astonishingly well - when it doesn't automatically fill in details based on the file name of the book I look up the book on amazon and get the isbn. Once that is entered it will download the blurb etc and you can download the book cover etc.
     
    ct2020 likes this.
  5. flammenwurfer

    flammenwurfer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    4
    This is what I do as well.

    I have ebooks in a number of different formats and I use calibre to convert them to epub. I usually look the book up on wikipedia to get the isbn and true first edition cover. Then I enter the isbn in calibre so it can autofill the book info. Then tweak the chapter detection string based on how the chapters of that particular book are named, then convert. They aren't perfect but good enough for me. Chapters come in pretty well and the cover looks very nice on the Aldiko bookshelf.
     
  6. bruceathome

    bruceathome New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hey Flammenwurfer - when you transfer the books to your phone, do they end up in a folder (wordplayer or something) from which you then have to transfer them to eBooks/import? - I would really like calibre to transfer directly to the import folder but can't seem to find a way to do it.
     
  7. flammenwurfer

    flammenwurfer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    4
    Yes. I don't even try to have calibre sync with my phone. I just let it convert and drop them in that folder. Then I connect my phone and drag and drop. I'm sure there's a way to configure the exact folder that it copies to. If I figure it out I'll let you know.
     
  8. bruceathome

    bruceathome New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks mate.
     
  9. bruceathome

    bruceathome New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi flammenwurfer - worked it out.

    In Calibre go to preferences -> plugins -> device interface plugins -> Android device. Select it and then click on customize plugin. In the bottom text entry box delete all entries except 'eBooks/import' (no inverted commas). Click ok and its right to go. Works!

    All you need to do then is go into aldiko and import the books.
     
  10. twospirits

    twospirits AF's janitor Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,182
    Likes Received:
    5,028
    Good thread, I've been looking at this as well.

    TS out
     
  11. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,217
    Likes Received:
    130
    A lot of good info in this thread! Sigil sounds very promising; I'll keep an eye on that.

    I usually rely on getting books from Gutenberg, Baen, or the Aldiko built-in catalogue. Apart from free (as in speech, even) books, I'm afraid I don't read a lot of new stuff; mostly I'm chewing my way through 'the classics'.

    Also, Welcome to the forum to all the new members in the thread! :D
     
  12. eachna

    eachna Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'd also like to suggest giving Calibre a try. It's a fantastic program, I have my Kindle and my Milestone sharing ebooks and it's fantastic.
     
  13. SuperBaby

    SuperBaby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    3
    I use Endless Reader. This is the only app I found which supports Chinese characters and TXT format. The bookmarking works fine and scrolling is smooth. One thing I like about this app is that you gave opt to show shadow for text. It makes reading more comfortable. Font size adjustment is good. Unfortunately you cannot edit the text with this software.
     
  14. flammenwurfer

    flammenwurfer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thanks for the tip! I'll have to give that a try.
     
  15. choccy

    choccy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    8

    I use this too, very good!
     
  16. ct2020

    ct2020 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Some people have been talking about using the isbn to get Caliber to grab all the book details... I don't seem to be able to see where to put that in caliber. Where do you add it?
     
  17. ct2020

    ct2020 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Found the answer myself shortly after (within minutes... lol). What you do is edit the metadata manually and then there is a field for it. I was looking on the convert page and couldn't see it there because it isn't there. Thanks to everyone in this thread that has helped and I hope the thread will be a help to others in the future.
     
  18. rockyabq

    rockyabq New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know this is an old thread, but what are the new developments?

    I've recently converted from an HP iPAQ to an Android and I'm really missing having access to some of my very large documents. I used eReader and its pdb format with embedded pictures that were scalable and with excellent formatting. The Android version of eReader is horrible. And they won't even answer my emails with questions any more.

    So my question to you folks is, what's the current best text reader (or text editor) for the Android that can handle really large files? I have a medical dictionary that's over 34mb! Also, I have to be able to search within the text files.

    Is ePub still the format of the future?

    Thanks,
    Rocky
     
  19. Harry2

    Harry2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,186
    Likes Received:
    1,347
    iReader (... yes with i, not with e in front ;) ) claims to read .pdb format.

    http://ireader.over-blog.com/pages/Featutes_list-2270230.html

    I didn't try this format yet, I use the reader as reader for more rarely formats and MobiPocket books.

    EDIT:
    ePub is a good format for eBooks and there a lot of Android readers for this format.
    But I think there isn't a ePub reader which is able to read a 20MB ePub file.

    For PDF readers a 20MB file is not a problem, with Mantano Reader I read comfortably a 200MB PDF document.

    Big .mobi formats are also a problem for Android readers.
    Only with the Kindle reader app was able to read my 15MB MobiPocket book.

    Harry
     
  20. jgreetham

    jgreetham Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    19
    I use iReader as well for .txt files. I haven't tried it on Palm .pdb format.

    I have tons of ebooks in .pdb format so I convert a few now and then using Calibre. My approach is:
    - Open the .pdb file in a palm book reader on my desktop. Save it as a .txt file
    - Open the .txt file in M$/Word.
    - Change the title to the "Title" style and the author's name to "Subtitle".
    - Change each chapter title to "Heading 1". Or if the book has sections or parts, use "Heading 1" for those and "Heading 2" for the chapter titles. This is not really as tedious as it seems. Even without the word "Chapter" and just numbers - 1, 2, 3, etc. it only took me 1/2 hour or so to have Word find each chapter number in Clancy's "Executive Orders" which is a pretty long book.
    - Save the result and also Save As html.
    - Add this html version to Calibre and convert to Epub.

    Again, this may seem kind of involved but the result is much more pleasing than just converting the .txt to Epub. Aldiko is my prefered reader for Epub.
     
    Harry2 likes this.
  21. rockyabq

    rockyabq New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jim,
    Which pdb ebook reader are you using that allows you to save as text? My eReader version for Windows won't let me do that.
    Thanks and take care,
    Rocky
     

Share This Page

Loading...