On my Nokia N900 I have many eBook readers (5 in fact including Adobe PDF reader) that do a fairly good job of displaying a book in the right format and presenting it in a readable fashion. But one application stands out above them all and it’s called FBReader.
What makes it amazing is it’s functionality. It has a wealth of features that can be turned on or off, customized to your liking and if one wants to get all geeky and delve into configuration screens, well then this is the app for you. It’s got a massive configuration screen. The basic settings work great as well if you are not up to fiddling with settings.
FBReader supports a lot of book formats which is why I like it so much because then I am not tied down to just one format. Here are a few formats it supports: fb2, html, chm, plucker, palmdoc, ztxt, tcr, rtf, oeb, ePub, pdb, openreader, non DRM mobipocket and of course plain text.
One can hold the N900 any way you choose, because there is an option to spin the screen around. Another great feature is the ability to use the volume rocker keys on the device as Page Forward / Page Backwards keys, so holding the N900 in portrait mode, it is really easy to change pages. If you likes to scroll the page with a flick of the finger, there is a setting for that, or if you prefer to drag your finger left or right there is a setting for that too. There is also scrolling of lines and of course the onscreen page forward or backward buttons. There is also a chapter changer.
I had created a folder on my Nokia N900 called E-Books and had dumped various books in this folder. Some were PDF, some were ePub, others were .mobi, a txt file or two, and FBReader picked up the books and those that had a TOC (Table of Contents), were quickly displayed.
Another great feature of FBReader is it keeps the last open book in it’s history and the last read position. I can then open another book, read a few pages, close the book, and go back to an earlier book and it will have remembered the chapter I was in and the page I was on. I find this incredibly useful as I read a couple of books on the go. Without that function one would forget the last position read or even the story.
It’s also got automatic formatting, so if I were to increase the size of the font or change the font (there are over 40 fonts to choose from), then the formatting sorts itself out. There are over a dozen options when it comes to chosing the font, how it must be displayed on the screen, how close to the top, left, right and bottom margins it must be. You can change the background and font to any colour you like. All the usual formatting is there. It’s great to read something and actually see a coloured heading, and quotes in italics.
HTML links in pages can be clicked on and one can specify how those links are opened (in an external browser or in FBReader – a really useful feature if you are reading a journal or something with loads of references to websites).
One can maximize the screen and show no buttons at all, which is also great, given how much space is available. As in other applications such as the Internet browser on the N900, moving your finger over the bottom right hand corner of the screen makes a ‘show icons’ button appear and the screen promptly becomes windowed with extra menu buttons on offer. Tapping at the very top of the screen brings up the main menu and as you can see from the screenshot below, there are quite a lot of options.
But Preferences…. is where all things wonderful can be set. I’ll list a few of them below.
Start in Library View.
Start Full Screen.
Enable popup menu.
Define a path for your eBooks.
Look for books in subdirectories.
Collect books without MetaInfo.
Directory for downloaded books (did I mention you can download books and not just from one source but many).
Basic library view.
Enable the scrollbar.