Monday, December 4, 2006

Back to Book Basics

One of my newest toys happens to be a Sony Librie eBook reader - a dedicated device for reading ebooks with a 6" e-ink or electronic paper display. Fascinating gadget that re-writes the rules for reading electronic texts. Problem is, unlike it's newer North American progeny - the Sony Reader - the Librie only understands one file format. Everything else must be translated to fit in the wee beastie.

Originally, Sony wasn't very forthcoming with the file format so it fell on the community to create tools for translating content. Several good utilities now exist, but they tend to be pretty simple and the output can be rather lacking at times.

There is another solution - there is a commercial product from Canon called Book Creator that seems to be the official implementation of the .LRS/.LRX standard. There is even a fully function trial version that can be used for 1 year.

There are 3 things that suck:
  1. The program is Japanese only
  2. Canon pulled the download early in 2006
  3. It expires this month, and doesn't like to install anymore.
1 and 2 were solved by the Librie group at Yahoo. 3 is a little trickier, but - Virtual machines to the rescue! I wrote up what I went through installing a virtual version of windows that's dedicated to running Book Creator - without disturbing your real Windows distribution - all with free tools. Check it out.

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