Reading eBooks on the not-so-smart cellphone (a Samsung m510 example)
By Rob Preece, Publisher, BooksForABuck.Com
I joined the cellphone revolution late. For years I shook my head when I saw teens walking by, chatting away on their cellphones, couples on dates--each speaking to someone else, and shoppers desperately getting last minute lists from someone at home. Finally, though, I broke down and joined the 20th century, picking up a Samsung m510 (and Sprint service).
I was tempted by the high-end smartphones. Mobipocket (www.mobipocket.com) runs its eBook software on Palm, Blackberry, Windows, and SymbianOS phones. Of course the Apple iPhone has built-in browser capabilities that allow it to read HTML-formated eBooks. Simple economics decided me on a cheaper route. I went with the Samsung m510 because it is affordable, has a nice camera, and it's very small and lightweight.
Like most cellphones, the m510 does support data services. If I'd been willing to pay the extra fee for data services, I could have access to a web browser and read my (HTML) eBooks in that way. But once again, economics suggested that I avoid this added investment. What I have, then, is a relatively basic phone, with no added services. Which brings up the fundamental question--how the heck can I read eBooks on that?
One alternative is not to read eBooks on it at all but to continue using my current devices (a Palm IIIxi and an eBookWise). The drawback with this approach is that I don't really want to carry multiple devices with me all the time. While I prefer the eBookWise when I'm going to be sitting for a while (airplane rides jump to mind), a lot of the time, a few minutes of reading time come unexpectedly. Ideally, I'd like to be able to read on a device I have with me all the time--hence my phone.
The m510 does not seem to have any means of reading text files. Nor have I been able to discover any way to access the web browser without participating in the data services (and paying more money). I was forced to look for alternative approaches. Finally, I realized that the photo browser offered a possibility. Importantly, the photo capability meant that the phone can communicate with the PC for purposes of exchanging data. The m510 uses a small memory card that plugs directly into my HP PC (with an older PC, you might have to buy a 'card reader.'
I'm going to make this next part of this paper a step-by-step of what I did to put eBooks on my phone.
I've found it quite possible to read eBooks on this screen--as long as it is not in direct sunlight. If I'm going to be reading outside, I guess I'll stick with my Palm IIIxi. I haven't discovered any way of creating bookmarks within the eBook. For this reason, you may decide to create multiple subfolders of twenty or so pages each. That would eliminate the need to page through hundreds of images to find wherever you left off.
There are a lot of steps listed above. A couple of things to keep in mind: (a) you only have to download RasterBook and set up your BAT files once. (b) The actual book creation process takes a few minutes, but it certainly isn't painful. (c) Dragging and dropping the image files is easy.
Some problems. When I first attempted to create an eBook with the RasterBook program, I ended up with all of my pages being blacked out. I solved this problem by eliminating the graphic images from the HTML-formatted eBook. (You can edit HTML using WordPad). The Samsung m510 viewing screen is quite small, but usable. The first line is obscured by icons, but the first line is a repeat of the last line of the previous page, so there is no problem here. Unfortunately, RasterBook's help file is non-existant. You may have to experiment a bit the first time you use it. Editing one of the existing BAT files is definitely the easiest way to go. The command line approach looks to me to be more challenging (I couldn't get it to work, anyway).
BooksForaBuck.com provides all of our eBooks in HTML format. If you have any problems converting our HTML eNovels using the RasterBook application, please let me know. Please note that the RasterBook application does not allow us to create the JPG files for you--you'll have to do this yourself.
I'm always happy when I discover a new means of reading eBooks. I still have iPhone envy, but I'm enjoying reading eBooks on my Samsung m510 phone.
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