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Finally, An N97 eBook Reader That Isn’t Broken [ZXReader]

ZXReader: The best (and only) ebook reader for the N97 and 5800XM.

ZXReader: The best (and only) ebook reader for the N97 and 5800XM.

The Mobipocket eBook reader used to be my reader of choice. That is, until their Symbian programmer disappeared like a fart in the wind (or so I’ve heard), leaving behind nothing but a half-finished S60 Fifth Edition port. One that can’t even exit fullscreen mode without a complete reinstall. To put it mildly, I think it sucks.

You can move the info/progress bar around the screen - I have it set to the right side.

You can move the info/progress bar around the screen - I have it set to the right side.

So the only thing left is an eBook reader called ZXReader, and it’s actually an impressive piece of work. You can customize almost every facet of the eBook display, from changing the fonts and colors to things like screen margins and the location of the info bar. Navigation is neat, too: the app divides the screen into touchable regions that can activate different functions – by default, the top portion of the screen is used to move back a page, and the bottom portion to move forward. But you could also change it to left, center, right, and have each section perform a different task. It’s so far and away from the crap that is Mobireader S60 v5 Beta Unsigned that it’s amazing. Did I mention it’s free?

ZXReader provides a wealth of customizations. Lots of good stuff here.

ZXReader provides a wealth of customizations. Lots of good stuff here.

There is a catch, however.

And that catch is – ZXReader is only compatible with two types of file formats: regular text files and .fb2 files. Text files are fine, but unfortunately don’t have support for things like bold headings and the like. Also, they tend to run the gamut in terms of quality since nothing’s standardized.

Enter FB2. FB2 is apparently a newfangled ebook format based on XML and created by some Russian programmers. It’s not a very popular file format, and finding software for it was a pain in the butt. An application called FictionBook Designer can open up a bunch of different ebook formats (html, doc, rtf, pdf, lit, pdb, rb, xml, and best of all prc). Yep, that’s mobipocket’s file format. One of the help files does say that the prc file format is a little wonky (not the exact words) and you’re probably better off converting the prc to html with MobiPerl. I personally tested a couple prc->html->fb2 conversions and it worked fine.

Download ZXReader 1.2.3 For Symbian S60 Fifth Edition Devices (N97, 5800 XpressMusic)

ZXReader. Right click and select “Save Target As…” if the download does not work correctly.

Using FictionBook Designer to Create FB2 Files

This is pretty straightforward.

  1. Download and install Fiction Book Designer.
  2. Go to File -> Open Book and select your ebook file. It can be in any number of formats, but if you’re trying to convert a .prc file see the directions below. It’ll take awhile for the file to process.
  3. Go to File -> make Fiction Book file (F8) or just hit the F8 key.
  4. This will pop up the make Fiction Book file dialog box. I would fill out the Author’s First/Last name and Book Title, but everything is pretty much optional.
  5. Click the “make book” button in the bottom left corner.
  6. You’ll hear some annoying sound effects, most notably a chime when it’s finished. Another box filled with XML tags and other junk should appear.
  7. Go to File -> save as (F5) or just hit the F5 key. Save your .fb2 file.
  8. Your fb2 ebook is now ready to be copied to your phone!

Converting PRC Files to HTML

Since Fiction Book Designer does a lousy job with prc files, use MobiPerl to do the conversion to HTML, then have FBD do the rest.

  1. First, grab MobiPerl. I’m going to assume you’re using Windows – download the latest binary, mobiperl-win-0.0.42.zip.
  2. Unpack everything into one directory. You’ll see a bunch of executable files, the only one that you’ll need is mobi2html.exe.
  3. Create a shortcut to mobi2html.exe. A quick way to do this is to click on the file, hold the Alt key, and, while still holding down the mouse button, drag the mouse away. That will create a shortcut to mobi2html.exe.
  4. Drag your prc file on top of the shortcut you just created and let go. You should see a command prompt box open up, output some garbage text, and close. It’s done!
  5. Check the “unpacked” folder in the directory you placed MobiPerl and you should see your html file. Now plug this file into Fiction Book Designer, and follow the rest of the directions above.

I highly suggest creating an ebooks directory on your memory card or mass storage or wherever. To add your ebooks to ZXReader, simply go to Library -> Options -> Add file.

***

Tags

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Jennifer
4/20/2010
7:18 am

Hi,

Does anyone know if there is an ebookreader for Symbain that reads epub?
I heard that’s going to be the standard format for ebooks….

Thank you!

Tanvi
1/9/2010
2:32 pm

Hi,
Can I use this on my 5230? Please help!

ang
1/11/2010
4:16 pm

Yes, you should be able to run this on the 5230 XpressMusic.

shamu726
11/29/2009
9:29 am

just to let you know, you can use Calibre to covert differet ebook formats to fb2. Its much easier to use (in my opinion) than BookDesigner. :)

Venus
11/27/2009
8:42 pm

Was finally able to download ZXReader to n97. However, Im having problems converting my .lit file in FictionBook Reader. It only seems to show the first page which is the cover page. Help?

Corinna
4/7/2010
12:41 am

hi, I have the same problem. Did you find a solution Thank you

Angie
11/25/2009
4:56 am

How come i can not install zxreader to my N97?. It says “unable to open. File type not supported”. Can someone help me please. THanks

Baruk
11/18/2009
10:04 pm

Is it alright to make /eBooks directory in my memory card and put ebooks in there? Sorry for my sad English.

ang
11/19/2009
1:58 am

Yes, this is what I did.

Anonymous
11/10/2009
4:36 pm

can this read .pdb files

ang
11/16/2009
11:39 am

It does not do .pdb files. ZXreader only does .fb2 and .txt.

Rob Zed
11/10/2009
10:44 am

Hi all,
Have a look at ABC xxx converter http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.html
this converts mobi files straight to FB2
Freeware – a lot easier than mobi->html->fb2

ronald
10/26/2009
10:11 pm

have installed zxreader on my nokia 5800 how can i put ebooks to the zxreader library?

ang
10/27/2009
11:02 am

You can copy your ebooks to any directory on your memory card. In zxreader, go into the main menu -> Library -> Options -> Add file, and then browse to your ebooks directory. Remember, ebooks must be in .FB2 or .TXT format for them to show up, so PDFs and PRCs will not work.

Bolluh
8/28/2009
1:50 pm

I installed the zxreader with ease…. but i stumbled et a problem i can’t find a solution for.
Does anybody know how to convert ebup files to fb?

ang
8/29/2009
11:59 am

I’ve never heard of an ebup file – where are they used?

madhaha
4/10/2010
5:05 pm

Probably meant epub, the darling of the reflowable text ebook world at the moment.

Isack
8/11/2009
4:35 pm

reupload please

ang
8/12/2009
8:32 pm

I fixed the link so the download should work again.

angela
8/13/2009
7:27 am

Thanks, i have the zxreader on my phone now.

angela
8/11/2009
9:28 am

Could you tell me how to install the zxreader on my n97. It doesn’t work when i download it on my n97.

Thanks.

ang
8/12/2009
8:28 pm

After you download it to your N97, run the File Manager application (Menu -> Applications -> File Manager). Then navigate to the folder where you saved it and tap on the file twice – it should let you install it.

Venus
11/27/2009
5:58 pm

Hi! Tried to tap on the file but it says “Unable to Open” file type not supported. Please help..

katrin
8/1/2009
11:27 pm

Certificate error…AWWW

ana
7/13/2009
9:47 am

you’re my hero(ine) – can’t wait to try it, i’m hoping this really works cos i’ve been desperate since i found i couldn’t use mobipocket on my N97 – i have an extensive library!

Lot
7/2/2009
10:59 pm

Can ZXReader display images?

Thanks

Ged
7/1/2009
4:17 pm

There appears to be a few eBook readers besides ZX Reader: for instance there is the newly released iSilo reader as well as QReader and TEQUILACAT.

I would like to know if any of these products can be used to read secure or encrypted eBooks such as those sold via mobipocket.com, fictionwise.cpm and eReader.com?

cedric
6/24/2009
12:48 pm

How does ZXReader handle converted Mobipocket dictionaries, e.g. does it allow you to select a word for lookup?

Njbrunnock
6/21/2009
5:43 pm

Thanks for this, but I can’t find:

“Check the “unpacked” folder in the directory you placed MobiPerl and you should see your html file.”

I can’t see this anywhere. Help!

ang
6/21/2009
10:13 pm

the unpacked folder appears after you successfully create your first html file using mobiperl. if it doesn’t appear, check to make sure nothing error’ed out during the conversion process.

manuel
6/20/2009
3:55 am

Another, long existing, ebook-reader is iSilo. Now with a new version for S60v5.

Reply to Njbrunnock


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