More than just a book, or what Android reader apps can do

Today we decided to talk about what Android reader applications can do: from “spying” on book characters to adaptive layout and other functionalities.

All who are interested in this topic are welcome to cat.


Our review of ONYX BOOX MAX Carta: uncompromising in A4 format

Expand your library


Perhaps many of us were faced with a situation where we could not find the right book or get a work in the original language. Sometimes a book is not in stores, because the publisher stopped publishing it - this was the case with Rosman and the series of works about Harry Potter. The rights to release books were transferred to Machaon, and now only versions of them can be found in the books.

Reader applications allow you to buy and download books directly from libraries. Everyone knows about the Kindle and its integration with the Amazon store, but there are other applications on the market that are worth talking about in this review.

For example, CoolReader application gives users direct access to The Gutenberg Project to download popular books. The Gutenberg project digitizes and preserves in a text format various works of world literature. In 2005, the number of books collected as part of the initiative was 17 thousand. Today, more than 56 thousand documents are available for free download.

Literature from The Gutenberg Project is even used to “promote” other initiatives, such as Standard Ebooks . Standard Ebooks participants take books from open sources, including OPDS catalogs , format and correct them according to the developed guide. They add covers with images, edit footnotes and quotes so that the book does not look like an ordinary text document.

The CoolReader application also works with the LitRes store, the range of which includes about 750 thousand electronic books (of which 100 thousand are Russian-language). Access to The Gutenberg Project and LitRes is also provided by the FBReader application . However, to interact with them, it offers additional features. FBReader for Android allows you to write and add plugins that extend its functionality. In the case of LitRes, the application allows you to pay for books via SMS. In this case, FBReader can organize the so-called book network, when the entire library is stored in a cloud storage, and books are combined by authors and series.

In addition, reader applications can simplify working with foreign literature thanks to built-in dictionaries. With their help, you can view the meaning or translation of a word in one window. For example, ONYX BOOX contains English-Russian and Russian-English dictionaries with the ability to add dictionary databases in StarDict format. To view the translation of a word, just select it in the text.

The list of libraries that readers can access is not limited to ordinary literature. There are applications that allow you to download and view comics on the screen of a mobile device. An example is Comics from Comixology, which includes more than 100 thousand comic books of various publications - Marvel, DC Comics, Image Comics, Disney and others.

In 2016, the service even launched a Netflix-style subscription - Comixology Unlimited, which allows you to read an unlimited number of comics. As noted in Forbes, this service is useful both for those who are just starting to get acquainted with this genre, and for those who are looking for new titles.

Another comic book reader app is Marvel Unlimited . It has elements of augmented reality that make it possible to dive deeper into the Marvel universe. On the pages of comics there are special tags that can be scanned and read the comments of artists, screenwriters, see interviews with the creators.

While such applications are far from always suitable for reading from electronic readers, however, the situation will soon change. The editors of the Good e-Reader blog note that already in 2018, readers with high-resolution displays based on color electronic ink can start selling on the market . It is still unknown whether readers with a 13.3-inch color E Ink display will appear (for example, a display of this size is set to ONYX BOOX MAX 2 ), but if this happens, then such gadgets are likely to become a complete platform for reading graphic novels.

"Follow" the characters


In voluminous works, it can be difficult to keep track of all the interweaving of the plot and the kinship between the characters. Even George Martin himself, the author of “Songs of Ice and Fire,” has difficulty with this. There are known cases when he turned to one of the fans - Elio Garcia (Elio M. García), if he could not remember any details about his work. Garcia himself created the site Westeros.org , which is the base with facts about a series of novels.

For those who do not have a “personal consultant” who can answer all questions, there are special reader applications that monitor all the “intricacies”. An example is the Kindle's X-ray feature, which allows remember who this character is, what kind of subject it is and why it is important. When a function is called, information about the character and places in the book where he is mentioned is displayed directly on the screen of the reader.

Additionally, we note that the same goal can serve as a bookmark function and a global search on the text, which offers , for example, Aldiko Book Reader . With their help, you can find mentions of events, characters and objects that are important for the plot and make notes “in the margins” so that in which case you can return to them and remember who the relative is and who the dwarf came from.

Read the book “out loud”


There are situations when reading a book is uncomfortable - your hands are busy, or your health condition does not allow. Another example - you are driving and you want to continue acquaintance with the book, but already in audio format. Audiobooks solve this problem. According to statistics cited by the Audio Publishers Association, transport is the second most popular place (after home) to listen to them.

Some reader applications support TTS (text-to-speech) technology, thanks to which they can synthesize speech. The same FBReader has a special module from Hyperionics Technology, which allows you to reproduce the text of a book “out loud.” FBReader also supports audio books: therefore, if the work is in audio format, then you can listen to pre-recorded speech, rather than synthesized.

“To work with sound” can also tolino - the application provides access to an entire library with audio books. At the same time, it synchronizes all your books between several devices while maintaining progress - you can start to “read” from the monitor screen, and continue on your smartphone or reader.

Adapt design


Paper literature, no matter how popular it is or whatever indisputable merits it possesses, has one drawback - the font, paragraph design and other page settings cannot be customized - the printing house is “responsible” for them. And sometimes publishers make rather unusual design decisions. For example, “The Witcher” by Andrzej Sapkowski from the Moscow publishing house “Astrel” has a rather unusual page layout - because of the size of the book, the text is divided into two columns, which not everyone likes .



E-books and applications for reading them offer a large number of tools for customizing the presentation of text. For example, MOON Reader allows you to customize everything: fonts, themes, overlays. The application automatically scans the device for fonts and loads them - you can select the desired one and specify its size, properties, "adjust alignment" and color. At the same time, MOON Reader automatically adjusts the text to fit the screen, “trimming” unnecessary spaces and editing the indents between paragraphs.

As soon as you open the first book, MOON Reader offers set up tap-zones (areas responsible for turning over and calling up the menu) and templates for gestures. A large number of options for configuring tap zones gives Orion Viewer. The “working surface” of the device is divided into 9 areas, each of which you can assign any action: go to the beginning or end of the book, scroll forward ten pages, open the contents, rotate the screen, crop fields, etc. This is only part of its capabilities.

Configuring a large number of tap zones and gestures allows another application - NEO reader 2.0, which comes pre-installed by default on all ONYX BOOX readers. It is adapted for working with PDF and DjVu formats (in general, all popular formats are supported) and provides many options for scaling and cropping fields (if desired, they can be adjusted to the pixel precision).

For example, it is possible to select a specific area for scaling, read the enlarged page by fragments, crop by page and width, change the scale. If you read technical literature, then for graphs and schemes you can “twist” the contrast in order to better see the values ​​on the scales and the signed values.

The special Reflow function simplifies the work with scanned PDF documents and makes it possible to adjust the font size, line spacing, and column parameters. To work with text in the ONYX BOOX reader, a large number of fonts are preinstalled, while it can work with letters and hanging punctuation, it has switchable hyphens and custom pagination. There is also gamma correction and built-in styles.

Some applications, for example, AlReader (as well as OReader, which is an adaptation of AlReader and is used in ONYX BOOX readers), allow you to customize the displayed elements for each screen mode (window full-screen): system line, footer, status bar. For the latter, you can separately set the necessary elements: pages, percentages, time, battery charge, book information, progress line.

In general, programs for reading electronic books in recent years have expanded functionality - popular applications today provide not only tools for synchronizing with libraries and customizing the display of text, but also the ability to correct typos and make corrections. All this is designed to make reading with readers even more comfortable.



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