Hi, I’m Joe, and I’m a book nerd. The shelves on my bookcase are sagging because there are far too many volumes resting there, and I’m too cheap to buy a new one — that money can be better spent on new books! They call people like me bibliophiles, but that just sounds nasty. Book nerd is fine by me.
When I got my new BlackBerry, the first thing I did was download the Mobipocket e-book reader. And now that they have over the air downloads, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the BlackBerry e-book experience.
Before you can start reading texts on your BlackBerry, you’ll need an e-book reader. For my money, Mobipocket (download)is the best out there. Of course, it’s free, so it’s not costing me any of said money. But I still enjoy the simplicity of the layout, and the ease of bookmarking and highlighting text. Yes, I haven’t been in school for over three years now, and I still highlight my books. (NERD!)
In fact, you might have trouble finding a reader that isn’t Mobipocket. Wattpad is a relatively new offering. It runs a little slow, but it is also free, and comes with a number of free titles. So you take the good with the bad. But, as I said, it doesn’t really touch Mobipocket when it comes to functionality, selection, and speed. For instance, it doesn’t allow for the bookmarking or highlighting of text. Fine for someone reading articles, but it’s certainly not for the average book nerd. You’ll also need a media card to store the e-books.
This is especially important for Mobipocket, which looks at your media card’s “e-books” directory for information. It doesn’t need to be a large one — I’m getting by with 512 megs, and I’ve got my share of e-books on there. Once you’ve got your reader installed, the next step is to actually find e-books online. But first, a note on e-book formats.
Here’s my only beef with Mobipocket: Files have to be of their format, which is .mobi. This means that e-books I already have, or e-books from my favorite free sites (I read mostly dead authors). However, there is a solution to this problem. Enter the Mobipocket e-book Creator. Now, I can gripe about this, too, since it’s a PC-only program. But it’s easy enough to hijack one of my roommate’s computers. The Creator changes document, text, and PDF files into e-books for consumption with the Mobipocket reader. This is the best solution I’ve found.
If you’re not using Mobipocket, you’ll have to find out the required file format for that specific reader. That might be my one complaint about e-books. Can’t we just have them in PDF format, so they’re universal across readers? Eh, I guess you can’t have it all.
Now that we’ve got the reader and compatibility issues out of the way, let’s download some e-books! The good news is that you can find e-books almost everywhere. And the better news is that many of them are free. Thanks to the public domain, we have Project Gutenberg, which provides public domain material for free.
These comes in text formats, so you’ll have to convert them to .mobi file (I’m assuming that you’ve come around at this point and have downloaded Mobipocket). This is actually great for college students who would normally have to buy the texts at the school bookstore. Now you can just download these classics to your BlackBerry, and always have it with you for class. Mobipocket themselves have a comprehensive e-book store. You can check it out on their website, where you can browse thousands upon thousands of titles.
Once you purchase the book — or find something in their 11,000-plus selection of free e-books — you can easily sideload it onto your media card. If you’re not near a computer, you can now use their over the air download program, which is included with your Mobipocket Reader.
Through this, however, I was not able to find the free selection.
Where to find e-books
I might as well make a list of places to find e-books. Feel free to leave any ones you prefer in the comments. This is anything but a comprehensive list.
Get Free Ebooks
Amazon’s e-book page
Sony’s eBook Store
eBooks.com — bet they’re glad they snatched up that domain
Sumon & Schuster eBooks
Taylor & Francis — academic eBooks
BBGeeks Store — our own collection of eBooks, though not picked by me