Monday, September 15, 2008

Read ebooks using your mobile phone

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Ebook readers are all the rage today. E-ink technology is still in its infancy, but we are lucky that the promise of perfect paperless reading will happen in our lifetime.

Amazon has the Kindle and Sony has their own ebook reader. Both companies use the new E-ink technology. While not perfect, it's really best suited for any amount of sustained reading on an electronic device.

Now, if you want to read ebooks, but you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on these new gizmos, then allow me to tell you how to take advantage of pre-existing technology that you may already have.

The picture above is an open source application called ReadManiac. It's essentially a midlet creator. It creates jar / jad files that can be easily installed even on midp 1.0 cellphones. The midlets can be made into a standalone application (for phones with file systems) or a midlet with an emebeded book.

For example, my k750i is a midp 2.0 phone with a file system. The best midlet for it is the standalone application, because you can store ebooks in your flash card and access it inside the app.

I also have an old Nokia 6230, midp 1.0 phone, without a file system. The best midlet to use is the one with embedded ebook since the phone can't access files through the application.

Here's a list of some less known ReadManiac features:

1. Can read zipped ebooks.

2. Has a configurable eyeguard to remind you that you are reading on a small LCD screen.

3. Bookmarking, search, and goto page quick navigation.

Once you installed a bookreader on your phone, where can you get ebooks to read? Well, you can go to Project Gutenburg for millions of free books, or here for a few commercial bestsellers.
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