iPod eBook Reader

I was doing some research on what kind of MP3 player to buy. Naturally iPod was one of the consideration. Suprisingly, I might buy an iPod not purely for the music, but also as an ebook reader.

Apple iPod from 2rd generation and up comes with the "Note Reader" feature. Althought the note size is limited to 4k and 1000 notes, iPod book lovers have devised software to break down a text ebook into segments of 4k with hyperlinks chaining the whole book together.

The latest 5th generation iPod has increased Note Reader size capacity to 8k. Also it keeps track of where you left off in the text and will open automatically at the same location next time you open Note Reader.

Keep in mind that iPod format itself to be Window or Mac operated depending on your home computer. Normally when you buy an iPod it comes standard formatted for Mac. Once you hook it up to the first computer, it will set that computer as "Home Computer" and will auto-sychronzie when it recognizes a hook up with "Home Computer". If your computer is of Window based, iPod will format itself to Window at this point.

If you don't want iPod to auto-sychronize, you can change the setting. Or, while establishing the connection press down Shift + Control for 3~25 second depending on your computer speed, that would stop the auto play.

It is not possible to use an iPod formatted for Mac with Windows and vice versa. This is because Windows does not support the HFS Plus file system and therefore will not see the drive. If you want to change the iPod formate down the road Apple has a guide on how to do so, but keep in mind to backup your file since by formatting you the hard drive is wiped clean.

Now that we know the limitation. Let us look at some iPod text reader software.

Text2iPod requires Mac formatted iPod 2nd generation and up. It is also the best one in terms of feature. While other software breaks a book into hundreds of pieces then link them together with hypertext, Text2iPod actually stores the text file normally. The only downside is that scrolling became very slow because of iPod scrolling firmware algorithms is not designed for a 500k ebook.

Book2Pod is a utility to format large text documents so they can be read on an iPod using the built in Note Reader software. It supports documents larger than the 4KB per note limit of Note Reader, and makes the 1000 note limit easier to live with. It also lets you organise your collection of electronic books and supports Services. It requires a Mac iPod 2nd generation and up.

iPodLibrary requires a Window iPod 3rd generation and up.
  • Add and remove e-books and documents from your iPod.
  • Imports from most major e-book formats, (.LIT .PDF .HTML .TXT)
  • Gets around the 1000 note limit.
  • Allows you to save your position in each book.
  • Keeps all data on iPod, so you as long as you have iPodLibrary installed on all the computers you use you can manage your books wherever you are.
  • Preview function link that lets you see the first 500 words of 'chapter'.
Apple itself offers a Clipboard to Note script that you can use to turn text file into a note on iPod. Long document will automatically be divided and linked also. Other scripts includes "Clear All Notes", "List Notes", and more. All the script requires Mac iPod 2nd gneration and up.

There is also an online version of iPod eBook Creator. Does pretty much the same thing.

I recommend Window iPod owner check out "SharePod" also. Normally to share songs from your ipod to other computer you would have to install iTunes on the computer...which you might not want to do. The other computer could be a friends or it could be an office computer. "SharePod" is a program installed on your iPod and lets you process song for transfer so no extra program has to be installed for sharing on other people's side. There are Mac iPod alternative software and other Window iPod which you can find at iPod Hacks.

BusinessWeek has an article on iPod accessories, if you are interesed check it out. Of particular interesting is iHome clock radio ( Just pop an iPod into the iHome's dock to wake up to favorite tunes. The gadget even charges the unit overnight and serves as a speaker system, too.

Of particular note on accessary is iBuzz. Err, Emmm, an iPod Vibrator. There is a story from The Register about the product.

Lastly, Project Gutenberg has a large collection of free and legal text ebook for download. Mostly classics since the authors are long dead and the intellectual right becomes free for public domain use. I recall downloading Les Misérables once long ago.


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