Comments on: Create Your Own Palm Reader eBooks

Palm Digital Media has just introduced the Palm eBook Studio, which allows users to create, distribute, and sell eBooks in the Palm Reader format. It will have three versions. The standard one is for individuals to create personal documents or businesses for internal use. It is available now for both Windows and Macintosh for $30.
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DropBook?

mtg101 @ 5/21/2002 10:06:38 AM #
So does this mean the end of DropBook? Or will that continue to be provided for future formats of PalmReader eBooks?

---
russ@russb.fsnet.co.uk
RE: DropBook?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 11:40:02 AM #
I asked them this same question and received back, "DropBook will continue to be updated and fully supported."
RE: DropBook?
emmert @ 5/21/2002 2:40:49 PM #
What is DropBook?

RE: DropBook?
bcombee @ 5/21/2002 5:36:49 PM #
DropBook is a small program that lets you turn files in the Peanut Press markup language into ebooks. You take you file, drag and drop it on the "DropBook" icon, and a PDB gets written back to the folder where your source was.

--
CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com

The Return of Newton Press

lorenzszabo @ 5/21/2002 10:32:16 AM #
Hey,

looks like good ol' Newton Press! Wow, a very nice product.

The first OS X native WYSIWYG convertor/editor!

Cool!

:-) Lo

What's the big fat hairy deal?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 11:01:23 AM #
So now we have the privilege of paying to difuse Palm's proprietary format. The format may be adequate, but Palmreader is inferior as a reader. It doesn't support 3rd party fonts, it will disable a font hack and not reactiveate it when you exit--an thinly veiled ploy to get you fork out $20 to buy Palmreader Pro w/the skimpy AGFA font pack. Even using Palms burn-into-the-rom standard large font, the doesn't wrap screens in a consistent manner, which means you have to find your place at the top of every new page. You also have to readjust the contrast on greyscale devices upon exit.

I've taken all these issues up with Palm support, which was unresponsive, to put it nicely.

Now Palm is offering 3 new ways to get e-book authors to pay to promulgate its sub-par format or, should I say, a format that only works on a sub-par reader. What's the big fat hairy deal?

RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
C @ 5/21/2002 11:15:20 AM #
I agree...what is so good about that reader? It's bloated...who's going to pay for books on their palm anyway?

RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
Ronin @ 5/21/2002 11:20:18 AM #
I use PalmReader Pro and have none of the complaints that you have described and I think it is an excellent reader.

I have had no problems with formatting and a page turn has consistently led me to the next line of text (although I would prefer that there was a option to retain the last line from the previous page). Not only is the reader able to use the Agfa fonts you mention but it is able to use all of the custom fonts that are available for use with Font Hack.

I also use Font Hack and PalmReader has never 'turned' it off.

RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
narnia_77 @ 5/21/2002 11:44:23 AM #
I also have none of the problems mentioned above...

"There's always hope, because it's the one thing nobody's figured out how to kill yet." -- Galen, Crusade (B5)
RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 11:59:55 AM #
Palm Reader is even better on Pocket PC. It supports whatever fonts you install on your device. Excellent.
RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
MY @ 5/21/2002 12:11:17 PM #
PalmReader Pro is my ebook reader of choice and I recommend it highly.

RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
bcombee @ 5/21/2002 12:14:49 PM #
I use Palm Reader Pro, but I didn't buy the AFGA fonts, so that's only $10. I just use the Lubak hi-res fonts for the Sony CLIEs and find them to work really well. The other ebook reader I use a lot is Mobipocket Reader, and I generally find Palm Reader Pro to be faster and less glitchy.

--
CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 12:27:00 PM #
I really prefer iSilo - much easier file conversion (if I want compression and/or images), or plain old Doc reading (if I don't).
RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
mtg101 @ 5/21/2002 12:46:31 PM #
PalmReader isn't for everyone - especially if you want to view HTML or other standards based formats.

However if, like me, you just want to read plain text and SciFi mags - it does the job well.

The big winner for me is the dictionary. With the full College dictionary in there I can look up all the words I've ever wanted too, including obscure Greek gods and weird medical terms - all of which appear on a regular basis in my SciFi mags :)

---
russ@russb.fsnet.co.uk

Palm Reader Pro works with free fonts
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 2:59:47 PM #
I use Palm-Reader-Pro and I'm quite happy with it.
Incidentally I installed some very small fonts of
the "Font Hack 123" pack, which is freeware.

I was surprised it worked- on a 160x160 palm display,
you can almost double the text by using the -xs-fonts, like "ants-xs".

As well, I like the teleprompter-function of Palm Reader Pro better than other doc-readers.

oliver

RE: What's the big fat hairy deal?
CarlF @ 5/22/2002 9:57:42 AM #
Hi I.M.,

Although it is true that Palm Reader doesn't work with FontHack, it doesn't do anything to actively disable the hack you just get poorly paginated books. We recommend that you configure FontHack to be turned off when using the Reader.

As several others have noted, Palm Reader Pro does support the same types of third party fonts that you can use with FontHack.

If you are using an older greyscale device you may have problems with the contrast. If this is the case you should go to the Screen Preferences in the Reader and switch the display quality to "Low". This puts the Reader into black and white mode and will eliminte most contrast problems.

Carl Fristrom
Palm Digital Media Group
www.palm.com/ebooks

The Big Deal is Choice of Reader

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 12:30:10 PM #
The big hairy deal is we should have the freedom of choice on reader. There are plenty of eBook readers out there with better features and nicer fonts than Palm's Peanut, pro or not.

Their proprietary (closed) format is bad for eBooks in general, and for competition in readers. After all, we don't have to play Sony-brand VHS tapes on a Sony VCR, do we? We should have "fair use" of any eBooks we paid for on our own gear -- but if you support the Peanut format you are basically supporting a flawed DMCA and limiting your choices as a consumer.

RE: The Big Deal is Choice of Reader
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 3:24:15 PM #
Yes, yes, yes.

Why is Palm not letting other companies use thier formats for ebooks? it makes no sense.

RE: The Big Deal is Choice of Reader
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 2:51:47 AM #
Personally, I really like Palm Reader. I used both the free and the Pro version with my m505 and I now use the free version of Palm Reader on my Pocket PC.

In terms of Digital Rights Management (DRM) I *much* prefer Palm Digital Media's method over Microsoft's Reader, which links your reader software to a Passport account. Last time I checked, MS Reader could only be activated twice per Passport, even if you activate the software on the same PC after you reinstall the OS. There is also no way to deactivate the software to "free up" an activation. If you want more, you either beg MS for more, or just create another Passport account. What a pain.

Palm's method, on the other hand, is to use your name and credit card number. How many of us are likely to give that info out to others in order to pirate the e-book you've just bought? I certainly wouldn't. The same e-book file can be read on the Palm and Pocket PC versions of Palm Reader. You can even read the book on different Palms at the same time if you wanted to do that for some reason.

I am irritated by the license terms of the new Studio software, however. According to that, this software -- which you pay $30 for during the introductory period -- can only be used to create e-books for your own personal use or for use by family members and the like. What the heck is the point of that? If you want to distribute a book that you've written to the general public, you have to purchase a different version of the Studio software for over $100. That's BS. The current version of DropBook does not carry these license restrictions and I think it's absolutely absurd that they've set things up this way for the new software.

I've been converting the Star Trek stories of an independent author to Palm Reader format in order to make them available in another format. It's a very time-consuming process to do all the markup by hand in Notepad. I was excited to hear that the new Studio software was now available, but am now concerned that by posting these converted stories publicly, that I'll now be in violation of a license agreement.

I like Palm Reader, I really do -- especially on the Pocket PC. (It also reads Palm Doc files on the Pocket PC, which is nice since I have such a large collection from my Palm days.) I like the selection of mainstream authors that are available through Palm Digital Media. I don't think many of these are available elsewhere, and I feel that's a testament to Palm's DRM method. However, for the average user, wanting to create and distribute content in Palm Reader format, I guess the format leaves a little to be desired.

RE: The Big Deal is Choice of Reader
fyock @ 5/22/2002 11:38:16 AM #
>Why is Palm not letting other companies use thier
>formats for ebooks? it makes no sense.

We are. That's what part of this announcement is. You can use Palm eBook Studio for personal use and give away Palm eBooks. You can buy a license to sell unencrypted eBooks, in June.


RE: The Big Deal is Choice of Reader
fyock @ 5/22/2002 11:38:16 AM #
>I am irritated by the license terms of the new Studio
>software, however. According to that, this software --
>which you pay $30 for during the introductory period
>-- can only be used to create e-books for your own
>personal use or for use by family members and the
>like.

That's the marketing translation for the press release. :-) The actual license is very similar to the DropBook license. For the $30 Studio, you can give away eBooks for non-commercial use.


RE: The Big Deal is Choice of Reader
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 9:43:00 AM #
"There are plenty of eBook readers out there with better features and nicer fonts than Palm's Peanut, pro or not."

PalmReader supports hyperlinks, which few other eBook viewers support. The ones that do are not freeware.

One quasi-popular eBook viewer vendor told me that they will "NEVER" support hyperlinks. Wonderful. This is the hyperdoc age and viewers without such support are substandard.

"Their proprietary (closed) format is bad for eBooks in general, and for competition in readers."

Please explain how introducing cross-platform, free and pro versions of the viewer, and inexpensive compilers is bad for competition.

Test Drive

Ronin @ 5/21/2002 1:22:12 PM #
Has anyone tried this yet?

I am interested but the site does not reveal enough to assure me that it will meet my needs. I have used dropbook and would love to have something more user friendly and intuitive. It sounds like it does everything that Palm Markup Language does without having to know PML but I need to know which formatting it supports and which it does not before plucking down my hard earn dollars.

I e-mailed PDM and they say they are looking into releasing the manual for download but have not decided to do so yet. Any input would be welcome.

RE: Test Drive
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/19/2002 8:22:17 PM #
We purchased eBook Studio as a way to help speed up the process -- we have a 600-page (yes, I said 600) reference guide we are tweaking now, which we will distributing to our customers for free from a beaming station when they attend our conference this summer.

There are some compability issues between the PC and Mac versions that I've been able to work around, but which I am not really pleased with. There are some major problems saving large PML files on the PC version as well. I have submitted a number of bug reports to Palm Digital Media, and I've gotten satisfactory responses for a few of them (but the software is still seriously buggy).

Who cares? Long live open formats

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 1:40:29 PM #
PalmSource, Inc. is not controlling this little animal over on the east coast... and it shows.

Why should we care that they now let someone create an ebook to read on their reader? We have scores of options like Mobipocket, iSilo, Quickword, Wordsmith, etc. that we don't need to support a $30 "file creator" that cranks out files that only can be read on Peanut Reader.

Who is actually sitting in the Peanut Gallery who cares?

RE: Who cares? Long live open formats
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 9:25:08 AM #
"Why should we care that they now let someone create an ebook to read on their reader?"

Because using PML is a pain.

"We have scores of options like Mobipocket, iSilo, Quickword, Wordsmith, etc."

Like we should ask readers to buy word processors so they can read our books.

Mobipocket? Like it couldn't use some American competition. Odd UI -- get it off my Palm!

iSilo is fantastic, but it requires readers to pay for the viewer application while the compiler is free. !?? From a publishing standpoint this model is bass-ackwards. Adobe's Acrobat Reader had this same problem in the beginning, but quickly fixed it.

There is a crippled freeware iSilo viewer that doesn't support hyperlinks, so it is of little value in serious Palm E-publishing.

"we don't need to support a $30 "file creator" that cranks out files that only can be read on Peanut Reader."

We do need to support a modern UI, cross-platform IDE that is made and supported by the people who make the OS.

RE: Who cares? Long live open formats
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/17/2002 1:52:16 PM #
Is any other program available that can read Palm Reader ebooks? Or is the file format available so that a program that uses this format could be written.

I downloaded a free book from the Peanut Press site, http://www.peanutpress.com/free.cgi, and used DocReader to convert the .pdb file to text with PML markup. Then I converted this .txt file to .pdb file using DropBook.

Palm Reader for Windows could read both .pdb files. But DocReader could only read the .pdb file downloaded from Peanut Press, not the one I created using DropBook.

Has the format changed? What compression method does Palm Reader currently use?

Jeffrey Kraus-yao, MCSD
krausyaoj@ameritech.net

Don't shoot the messenger!

Kesh @ 5/21/2002 4:58:32 PM #
C'mon guys, calm down. I'm seeing a lot of 'who cares?' and other quite negative posts. It's one thing to talk about what you don't like in the reader itself, or Palm's practices... but the 'don't care' posts are a little rough on the PIC staff, don't you think?

If you don't like the software, just explain that to us. I'm interested in reading the news, no matter what it's about.

RE: Don't shoot the messenger!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 7:03:10 PM #
Your are right. If someone does not like the software don't rea this news.

However for people that use Palmreader this is great news. I myself use palm reader and I'm tired of having to convert my text to PML, this will solve this with an easy to use WYSIWYG interface.

Sony Clie NR Series

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 7:02:56 PM #
I am having real trouble trying to figure out which ebook reader to use. I have the Sony Clie NR70v and I want a reader that will take advantage of the high resolution of it (320x480).

I also want to be able to purchase and read the current book selections on ebooks.com or peanutpress.com.

I have the new version of Wordsmith but I can't find books in Doc format to purchase. I downloaded Palm Reader but neither it nor Palm Reader Pro can handle the hi-res. Can anyone help me out here?

Thanks

RE: Sony Clie NR Series
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 2:46:05 AM #
According to the ChangeLog.txt file included with the free Palm Reader v.1.1.14, Sony hi-res support has been included since version 1.1.0.

"Support for high-resolution display on Sony CLIE handhelds."

There have been a few bug fixes for hi-res displays in the versions since then. I used Palm Reader and Palm Reader Pro on my m505, so I can't say how well hi-res support works, myself.

RE: Sony Clie NR Series
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 4:05:25 AM #
The hi-res they are referring to is the 320x320 resolution of all of the Clie handhelds until the NR series came out. The new NR series uses screen based graffiti area that can be removed to create the larger, rectangular 320x480 resolution.

Reading books on the little square is not my favorite thing to do. Just having the screen more book like in appearance makes a big difference.

RE: Sony Clie NR Series
CarlF @ 5/22/2002 10:04:47 AM #
Hi I.M.,

Just to be clear, the current versions of Palm Reader/Palm Reader Pro do not support the 320 x 480 mode in the NR70. We do plan to add this support to a future update of both versions.

Carl Fristrom
Palm Digital Media Group
www.palm.com/ebooks

RE: Sony Clie NR Series
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 8:06:52 PM #
I am using T615 for few months and i am will to upgrade tp NR models, i am using isilo reader and isiloX, its perfect with me.
RE: Sony Clie NR Series
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/30/2002 11:55:15 AM #
iSilo allows dropping the graffiti area. The latest version of MobiPocket also seems to allow use of the full screen.

a.p.meiners@planet.nl

RE: Sony Clie NR Series
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/5/2002 5:48:26 AM #
Mobipocket Reader has been chosen by Nokia and Sony as their official eBook Reader for US Market.

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