There are two things that I find difficult to put down; a good book and my BlackBerry. They both keep my brain sharp (mostly) and keep me entertained. Now, while nothing will, hopefully, replace the book as we know it, there are alternative ways to catch up on the latest book from your favourite author. Electronic Books, or eBooks, have been a great way of sharing cultural works with the world, thanks to the efforts of Project Gutenberg and similar independent organizations.
There are a few eBook readers in the market that are available for the Blackberry; mobipocket reader, wattpad and shortcovers to name a few. For those who had sported Palm, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices in the past, may have utilized eReader to support their bookworm habits. A few weeks ago, Bla1ze announced that eReader has ventured over to the BlackBerry world in beta form. Now, instead of carrying a pocket novel, you can carry around a pocket bookshelf! eReader is brought to you by Fictionwise, which was acquired by Barnes & Noble. I've never read an eBook before, so I was eager to try eReader out.
About eReader Pro
Before you can bury your face in a book, you have to set up an account at www.ereader.com and then download the application directly from your BlackBerry.
The application takes 940.3KB of space and is available for the following BlackBerrys;
7130, 8110, 8120, 8130, 8220, 8300, 8310, 8320, 8330, 8350i, 8703e, 8707, 8800, 8820, 8830, 8900, 9000, 9500, and 9530
The main screen that appears is known as your Bookshelf; the eBooks that you have downloaded to your device memory or SD card will be displayed here. Each entry will display the book title and the author. More information can be viewed from the menu, including a description and ISBN number. Despite not having any keyboard shortcuts, navigating through the virtual pages was quite easy. Scrolling the trackball up and down or left to right will help you read page by page. At the bottom of the screen gives you the current page that you are on and the total number of pages in the eBook. Within an eBook, the menu gives you advanced search options and settings. You can view the table of contents and select which chapter you want to skip to. Rather than giving your book dog ears, you can create multiple bookmarks for future reference, or choose a page to jump ahead to. A search option is also available; allowing you to navigate to a specific word or phrase. If you find the font a little difficult on the eyes, you can choose another from your BlackBerrys font list. On top of this, you can change the font size from 1 to 72 (but anything under size 10 will require a magnifying glass).
From your BlackBerry, you can head over to the eReader Mobile Site where you can browse through eBooks by Category, New Releases, Bestsellers or Author. At this point, you can either purchase eBooks from your BlackBerry, or select from the free eBooks. At the bottom of the page, you have the option to view the full site, as you would see on your computer.
Once you have purchased your eBooks (or selected from the free ones), you can access them from your Online Bookshelf. It is here that you can choose which eBooks to download to your BlackBerry. I was only able to retrieve the free eBooks as server issues denied me from downloading the paid for eBooks. The downloaded eBooks are now found in the previously mentioned Bookshelf menu.
The entire process, and my eBook reading options worked well, but my only gripe lies with the cost of the eBooks. For example, the Twilight eBook goes for $8.24 (List price is $10.99). Now head over to Amazon.com and you can buy the actual book (or from the Kindle Store) for $6.04. Perhaps it is the cost of convenience, but hopefully we will see more competitive pricing in the future.
With access to a huge library of eBooks and fast download speeds, eReader is a decent option for reading eBooks. I'll be more impressed when I'm able to download the eBooks I paid for, and their pricing goes down. With the convenience of reading on the go on your BlackBerry, you'll have that much more room in your briefcase, purse or bag. The application, which is currently in beta, is free. Download eReader, and a few free eBooks, and try it out for yourself.