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eReader Pro - World’s largest eBooks Store on your Berry

By Ryan Blundell on 8 Apr 2009 10:31 am EDT
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eReader Pro for BlackBerry

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).

eReader
view the device or online bookshelf

eReader
various options to choose from while reading

eReader
book details

Going Online

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.

eReader
accessing your online bookshelf

eReader
no book for you!

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.

Epilogue

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.

Pros

  • change font and font size
  • easy navigation via trackball
  • multiple search options
  • purchase and download right from your BlackBerry

Cons

  • price of the eBooks
  • unable to download paid-for eBooks

Download

Reader comments

eReader Pro - World’s largest eBooks Store on your Berry

18 Comments

Ereader seems to have a problem with the resolution. No matter what font or size I choose, the right hand margin is down the center of the screen. It as if it doesn't know how many characters fit on the line. That's too bad, because I used to use ereader on my win phone and it seems like there is a larger selection of books available that mobi.

Since I posted earlier I received a notification today there was a new release available- 1.0.27. That took care of the display problem. Its still a beta and is missing some of the features people mentioned- font and background color, auto scrolling, but hopefully it won't be long before they are added. In the meantime its usable as it is. If you have books you downloaded for another device you should be able to use them on your BB.

How much of a headache or eyestrain does reading an e-book on a BlackBerry screen cause you? I like the idea, but not sure I could spend hours reading on such a small screen.

I am a BB noob but a long time user of Palm and more importantly, eReader. As you can adjust the font size and set it to auto scroll (at least you can on the Palm version) there should be no need to strain your eyes or your thumb scrolling through the pages. A great option for that daily commute, sitting in a waiting room or anywhere else it might not be convenient to carry a book.

I am most excited to see this for BB.

Cheers,

Andrew

I also worried about reading for hours from a small screen. I tried though and liked it. I have read over a dozen books on my blackberry storm since I got it in Dec. I use Mobipocket and have no problem reading them. Some publishers offer free ebooks by new authors or some older books by poular authors.

When trying to access the online bookshelf from my bb storm I get the following message after it signs me in.

"an unknown error occurred while downloading the online bookshelf" any suggestions?

You can get to their free books by clicking the small blue and orange box toward the bottom of the left column on the home page. It says "New to eReader? Try our free eBooks." However, I can't get paid or free books to download on my Storm. Waiting for customer support help...

It's a shame that other users are having problems with the beta, but I don't know what to suggest for fixes. It's working properly for me on my BB 8900 on the Rogers network. I've been using it for a few weeks now and it's been great. I just bought 3 new books through the website this morning and downloaded them to my BB a couple of minutes ago. Personally I don't like scrolling constantly, so I just hit the space key at the end of every page to get the next page. Book pricing isn't fantastic, but it's not dreadful either (at least not for Canadians) - I usually end up paying close to what I have to pay for a paperback copy and if it's price much more than that, I hunt around on other ebook sites to find the least expensive one.

I was at first having issues unlocking my ebook. I assumed that the last 4 digits of my credit card were the unlock code for the ebook. I then tried punching in the whole number and that worked just fine.

Ryan, this Ars Technica article on eBooks gives you a good rundown of precisely why we've ended up where we have with eBooks
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/02/the-once-and-future-e-book.ars
You'll get a good idea of why they're so expensive, too. I'm hoping that now a big, more "legitimate" (in the publishers' eyes) company is heading eReader, we'll get more reasonable prices, but to be honest I'm not holding my breath. Amazon got a real coup in persuading the publishers to reduce their prices, and no other eBook retailer has been able to do the same. It's a real shame, because that is what's stymying growth in the market, and I would hate to see Amazon get a monopoly. Don't get me wrong, I love Amazon, but monopolies are always bad.

I had the same issue with the ereader not being able to download the books I purchased. I'd have to reattempt to download them several times and it would go through.

I like the features on the mobipocket better. Change of font color and background color (which is good for night time reading) full screen etc.

I'm an avid reader, using both MobiPocket Reader and eReader on my 8830, along with my wife's Kindle. I've been using MobiPocket for years, with complete access to ebooks I purchased pre-BB beign able to transfer and read on my BB. I do agree that some ebooks are way overpriced.

One of the nice things with Fictionwise is their book club. With their book club, you can usually get a small discount on book prices (compared to their regular price), plus they have their MicroPay rebates. With each ebook you prurchase, you get a % back as a rebate, which can be applied to other ebooks in the future. Between the book club discount and micropay rebates, I purchased some current books for free. It's not the same as the lower-priced Kindle offerings at Amazon, but it does come close to balancing out the long-term cost (especially since you don't have to buy a Kindle first).

I think there are some huge things in store for Fictionwise (which owns EReader) since they got bought out by Barnes & Noble. I do love the ability to buy the books through fictionwise and get up to 100% micropay rebate... which allows me to essentially get two books for the price of one. Plus, Fictionwise has a "book club" membership which also gives you access to a library to "check out" books for 2 week periods.

(And yes, I've read quite a few books on my BB)

I am experiencing the same problems several have mentioned regarding errors downloading books - both free and paid. Deleted until I hear some positive reviews...