Thursday, March 26, 2009

First Impressions / Review of my BeBook

A few months ago I posted about a niftly looking eBook Reader called the BeBook and offered you all a 25 Euro discount if you used my coupon code "" Well, someone was paying attention, probably the good people at, because 10 people used my coupon code and my Free BeBook was delivered on Tuesday!!!

I had to wait until Wednesday to play with it because the instructions suggested that it would be a good idea to let the battery charge for 12 hrs the first time. I was able to connect it to my computer and start copying over eBooks and Fonts to start the customizing process of my new eBook reader. :) Here is a picture I took while I was waiting for the 12 hrs to finish.

On Wednesday I turned on the BeBook and started to play. So far I'm loving the folders and the ability to jump 10 pages at a time with a push and hold of the or button. Even though I have my eBooks sorted into Genre folders there can be several pages of eBooks to sift though, since we only see 8 eBooks per page, knowing that the eBook I want is near the end of the folder I'm looking in I can then jump 10 pages at a time till I'm close to the page I want and then go page by page till I'm finally at the page I want. This is a good thing. Currently on my Cybook even with the 20 eBooks per page view I still have 5 clicks per page and that's a lot of clicks when I need to get from page 5 to page 21! I live in hope that the next Cybook firmware will allow the jump 10 page option as well.

All of my books are sorted in folders by Genre and thenI name my files in this format: "author_series_title.prc" or "author_title.prc" so that all the eBooks by the same author will be together and my series eBooks will show up in the right order. The BeBook lets me sequence the eBooks by "Title" which seems to really mean by "FileName" and this makes me Very Happy. Since I tend to read different Genres for different moods my 'currently reading' list is all over the place in almost all the folders. This is where the "Recent Files" folder comes in handy. The 8 most recently read eBooks show up in this folder with the most recently opened eBook on the top, it even tells you what date you opened the eBook. Quite handy!

It took a bit of reading and tweaking but I was finally able to add my own Fonts to the BeBook and have them recognized as options in Mobipocket files. This thread on the BeBook Support Forum was very helpful: The Font Names have to be either all CAPS or all lower case and have very specific endings, very confusing and apparently easy to miss a step along the way. I'm happy to have it working and be able to read with my favourite fonts again. The only gripe I have with the Fonts is the size, there are 3 font sizes available on the BeBook: small, medium, large changed by clicking the <8> buttom. Unfortunately, the smallest Font available for Mobipocket eBooks is much larger than the font I generally use on my Cybook, it's closer to what I would use if I was in low light situations or very tired and wanted/needed a bigger font in order to read easily without turning on a lamp. If this was updated, or we were able to pick what the default sizes were, I would be thrilled.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about the placement of the and bottons which are located both on the left side of the screen and at the bottom of the screen as the <9> and <0> buttons. In practice it is very comforatble to use them. When I am holding the BeBook in 1 hand I use the <9> and <0> buttons, but when I'm laying in bed with the BeBook propped up I find that the left and right arrow buttons on the side can be quite handy. Navigating the menus is fairly intuitive as well, I had no troubles finding my way through my folders or getting through the settings to turn off the *BEEP* which occured with every button press. This is the default setting and came back after I upgraded to the Feb 2009 firmware, so now I will never forget how to turn it off! Adding Bookmarks to the Mobipocket books isn't hard either, though not as easy as adding them to other formats. It just involved clicking on the <6> button, then then choose "Add bookmark," a similar number of clicks as adding a bookmark on the Cybook. Once I knew the sequence I was able to add bookmarks without even thinking about it at about the same interval I've always done.

Overall I think this is a great eBook Reader, I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone who wants to get in on the eBook Reader fun. Since it uses the standard eInk screen the reading experience is great. It is a great cost, especially since it has been on sale for only $279.99 US including leather case, earbud headphones, lanyard, USB cable, battery, screwdriver to install battery, and extra screws for the battery case. The BeBook supports many ebook formats from pdf*, mobi, lit*, epub*, doc, html, txt, prc, fb2, jpg files. (* non-drm)

If this has peaked your interest, don't forget to use my coupon code when you purchase your BeBook, "" or head over to the BeBook Wiki at and help the next person on the list get their Free BeBook too. Unfortunately, due to price drop, coupons are no longer valid for those who pay in dollars. For those who pay in Euros or AUSD the discount coupon can still be used. The good news is that with the price drop the current cost is almost the same as it would have been with the discount, $279.99 US including the leather case. I would assume that if the price goes back up the coupon will become valid for those of us who would be paying in US dollars.

Instructions for adding fonts to the BeBook which will be recognized by Mobipocket eBooks:
  1. Put font library in SD:/fonts/ under index or built-in/storage:/fonts/ index
  2. The name of the font library should abide by:
    XXXX.TTF Normal font
    XXXXBI.TTF Bold italic font
    XXXXBD.TTF Bold font
    XXXXI.TTF Italic font
    xxxx.ttf Normal font
    xxxxbi.ttf Bold italic font
    xxxxbd.ttf Bolf font
    xxxxi.ttf Italic font

    The file name should be all in capital letters or small letters and the 4 font libraries should be complete.

    Otherwise it will be regarded as non-complete font library, and won’t be displayed in the list of MOBI READER font library.

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