Did you say the program can turn most any
phone or mobile media device into a book reader?↑ back
Yes, in one of three ways we probably have your device 'covered'.
Many people now have the ability to read PDF files on their phone or portable media
device. The problem is PDF files do not have the ability to adjust to different
size screens and so the user has to scroll, not only up and down, to view the contents
of a page but very often even left to right, as well. This quickly becomes very
annoying. The Retro Reader Library creates custom PDF versions of a user's books
optimized for most any size screen along with the ability to change the colors,
and font face and size to make the final file even more personalized. Once such
a PDF file is on a mobile device, the user sees one page per screen and need only
click once per page to move through the document; making for a very enjoyable experience.
Click the link to download a book which has been converted to a PDF file and optimized
for a mobile device having a 320 by 240 pixel screen size.
'Feathertop A Moralized Legend by Nathaniel Hawthorne'.
Mobile media players can often display pictures. Owners of such devices now have
an easy way to carry their books with them, as well. The program can save a book
to a set of JPG image files and, just like with the PDF files, the user can select
the size of their device's screen and change the colors, font face and font size.
A set of pictures is created in a folder named with the book title and the user
simply copies that folder to their device.
Any portable media player that can display pictures can instantly become a book
There are, on this disc, two examples of books saved as image file sets optimized
for a mobile device, in this case, having a 320 by 240 pixel screen size. One is an early version of a story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. as it was originally
published in the magazine 'Worlds of If' in 1962 and the other is the famous poem
about the cursed mariner who was a little too free with his crossbow. You can
here to view the pictures arranged in a simple
web page. You can turn any book in your library into a folder of
If you would rather listen to your books, you can do that too by converting them
to Audio Books. The program quickly converts any book into a set of wave files that
can then be burned to disc or converted to MP3 files with the handy 'Wave to MP3'
conversion utility included with the program. Click
here to listen to Lewis Carroll's 'Walrus and the
Carpenter' which was converted to a set of MP3 files using the Retro Reader program.
If your media player is not set up to open M3U files, you can download a zip file containing
the MP3 files by clicking
here or click here to listen to a small sample.
Using one of these methods, you can have a library that fits right in your pocket.
The program is able to turn any mobile media device capable of viewing JPG pictures
or Adobe PDF files into a Book-Reader. Anyone in your household who has a mobile
media player, even one that only displays pictures, will now have a Book Reader
Retro Reader can read your books aloud, using one of three methods:
SAPI 5 - the latest Text to Speech technology from Microsoft. It will automatically
pick up on any SAPI 5 compatible voices a user has installed and they will be available
from within the program; voices such as, 'Microsoft Anna', 'Microsoft Sam' and more.
Microsoft Agent - A talking animated head that, in particular, kids will like. We
have made several optimizations to the Microsoft Agent's reading algorithm that
make the it sound quite a bit more natural than the original.
Audio Books - The program will create a set of wave files split into 12 minute tracks
and ready to be burned on to disc. These tracks can be converted to MP3 files using
a small utility included with the program.
The text to speech features include Start, Stop, Pause, From cursor, Selection,
and Save Selection to Wave.
Text to speech is great for people who want to listen to something on that long
drive to and from work, for the student who has to finish reading some intriguing
thriller like, Joyce's 'Turn of the Screw' or the business person who needs to review
large quantities of text quickly. You see, the speed of the voice can be adjusted
to speak really fast; faster, in fact, than you can read but such that you will
still be able to understand it. The program is also great for kids. My children
enjoy listening to books being read to them.
The really cool part is that as they are listening, they can easily be reading the
words going by. Of course, the program can be set up to read aloud with nothing
on screen but a tray icon but, while the animated character is reading, or while
the version 5 speech engine is highlighting the words, your child may well be improving
their recognition / reading skills and maybe getting to read Gulliver's Travels,
Alice in Wonderland, or The Secret Garden ... instead of playing that game with
the monkey and the hammer.
Senior citizens and people with limited mobility and/or vision can use the text
to speech and other accessibility features of the program to continue enjoying literature
as long as they want. Students can use the program to finish their reading assignments
while hiking, biking, fishing, or anywhere they can listen to their MP3 player.
Retro Reader can store hundreds, even thousands, of books in one convenient place
and they can easily be organized into your own custom categories.
The interface is uncluttered and looks like a book; a good old fashioned book. It
is very pleasing to just sit and flip the pages like you would while reading any
real book with the add that our bookmarks never fall out and they can automatically
set when you close the book.
Our newest feature can locate and automatically import books. It integrates with
the catalog of Project Gutenberg allowing you to locate, and instantly download
and import any of the 30,000 plus books available from the Project Gutenberg web
site. There is also a facility for playing the audio files and downloading and viewing
the zipped html packages available on the Project Gutenberg site. The process is
virtually transparent and so easy anyone can do it.
Your books can be organized by multiple custom categories, metadata and comments
added, full text and metadata searched, books can be imported and exported in an
encrypted format, exported back to text with a metadata header that facilitates
full round tripping of the text files with no loss of 'added' data. This can be useful for making corrections and then re-creating a book from the corrected text. There is an
auto chapterize feature, and several formatting utilities that can help certain common formatting shortcomings found in digitized books.
There are features for locating a certain passage in a book, namely; Find in Text,
and Find Next. Also the 'Locate in Library' interface can search the entire contents of your
library in a flash. There is an Options screen where various settings can be saved
that customize the program to work and look the way you want. Operating the program is simple
This program also creates versions of any of your books as PDF or sets of JPG images
turning most any phone or portable media player into a book reader!
By the way, compared to other available 'Book Reading' solutions we are one of the
most open and least obtrusive. Many products automatically install all kinds of
'server' software that the average user has no idea how to protect themselves against,
and which do things like track your usage and more. Retro-Reader installs no such
'phone home' programs that report back to the internet, and that should 'kindle' a feeling of warmth in your heart. Neither do we install any
hidden programs that run in the background all the time using up your computer's
resources and providing one more chance for incompatibility with your existing system.
No, the Retro-Reader starts when it starts and shuts down when it shuts down and
it doesn't spy on you or completely nullify the security of your system like ...
We have hundreds of books on this web site which have already been
optimized for the Retro Reader (and we will continuously be adding more). There are certain formatting techniques which can improve the accuracy and
quality of your 'text to speech' engine's performances when reading a book aloud. By
and large, we have made those optimizations for you in the books available from
our web site. You can also download, as single files, entire 'themed' libraries,
some containing over fifty books. Project Gutenberg is another of the places to find thousands
of the millions of public domain books available on the Internet. Gutenberg's site
has everything from
Lewis Carroll to
Frederick Douglas to Ben Franklin to Edgar Rice Burroughs, plus thousands more. Remember,
the Retro Reader program has a built in interface that helps you search for and
then automatically download books from Project Gutenberg directly into your library.
The Internet Archive located at www.archive.org and the social collaboration site www.scribd.com are two other sites that offer free books.
We provide a list of current sites, we have found that have free downloadable books
and we plan on, building our own archive. Remember, any document that can
be saved to a text file can be the source for a Retro Reader book; so the sources
available for files to put in your library are virtually limitless. Any text file you have or
any document whose contents you can paste into a text file can become a book in your library.
to watch a video of how easy it is to create a book from any text file. By the way,
we really recommend TextPad for working with your text files and we even have
some 'add-ons' for the program available from our web site.
Other ways to use the program are to create archives of blog posts, articles, lectures
or other content found on the Internet. You can also scan your own, old and out
of print, books. Add them to your Retro Reader Library and then you have your books
in a format you can read, listen to, and carry with you in your phone or portable
media player (as images or audio files) most anywhere you go. I recently digitized
some old paperback books, I had, using my multi-function scanner. The entire process
for one of the books took about 4 hours and now I have that book in a format I can keep forever.
If I wanted to, couldn't I just print out a book
in Microsoft Word ™
and bind that document to put on a bookshelf? ↑ back
If you can afford to pay for the therapy you'll need by the time you get it all
formatted and collated correctly, then, sure you can. In other words, not really.
Retro Reader prints out bindable books at the touch of a button. This feature is
more than just the 'booklet' creator found in Microsoft Word, which is not feasible
for books with over 20 pages. Booklets are a set of pages folded in half and stapled
in the middle. Retro Reader actually creates a book that can be printed out and
bound into a paperback or hardback using standard book binding methods. In bookbinding
the pages are printed out and then folded and stacked. The final stack is placed
in a vise and the binding is added. This can be as simple a matter as a firm rubbery
cement and a cardstock cover for a paperback to elaborately sawed, sewn, webbed
and tied procedures which are then fixed in a leather or cloth bound cover to create
exquisite works of craftsmanship. (For a really good introduction to bookbinding
techniques visit www.transientbooks.com. They are artisans and have a marvelous
section on the actual techniques they use.) Printing out a book for binding with
Retro Reader Library currently requires Microsoft Word 2000 or greater be installed on the machine
with Retro Reader Library.
How did the Retro Reader first get started? ↑ back
The Retro Reader program was originally created so people could print out downloaded
Internet books in a form that could be bound into actual physical books and put
on a shelf. Other features were soon added including an interface that resembles
an actual book and a bookmark in the middle so users could read the books on their
computer in a pleasant format and never lose their place. Then we added 'Text to
Speech' capabilities. Books can now be listened to as the user reads along, an excellent
feature for children and adults alike or they can be turned into audio books for
listening to most anywhere on either CD or a portable MP3 player. We have lots of
plans to improve the program and upgrades will always be free.
The Retro Reader Library program is more than just a pleasant and efficient way
to organize, search, share, and from which to read your books.
The program is called Retro-Reader and there are a couple reasons why. For one,
the interface looks like a book; a good old fashioned book. It is very pleasing
to just sit and flip the pages like you would while reading any real book. The second
reason is that, the program is optimized for acquiring and working with books that
do not have DRM (digital rights management) applied to them, that is, books in the
public domain. In this day of the super corporatization of everything, isn't that
in itself, a bit retro? We may 'go corporate' too, someday, but we fully intend
to always support 'plain vanilla' text files as a book source. Lastly, another
reason is this; the program can format, collate, and print out books which can be
bound and put back on a shelf. That is, on a real book-shelf. Book binding is a
wonderful 'retro' hobby and we encourage you, if you have an interest, to find out
more about it.
Speaking of virtual book-shelves, though, the program is completely integrated with
the largest virtual book-shelf on the web. That's right. The grand-daddy of them
all; Project Gutenberg. The first site devoted to making books available to the
public with no strings attached, Project Gutenberg has over 30,000 books available
in many formats and new ones are being added every ten days. Recently they have
been focusing on Science Fiction books that have entered the public domain but the
site contains a wealth of classics including the works of many famous authors, as
well as, histories and antique books. Many of the 'so- called' book sites on the
internet have simply copied a handful of books from the Project Gutenberg site and
then hung out their virtual shingle.
We at Retro-Reader have several thousand books in our library files. They came from
dozens of different places. Web sites like archive.org, scribd.com, and many others
added together have over several million books which you can download. Other sources
might be CD book collections, or your own personal works or those of your friends.
Another way to get books into your library is to scan them in. There will be, a
video on that process, soon. These are just some of the possibilities, there are
many other ways to get books into your library files.
Your books may also be exported and imported and so shared with your friends. If
you have spent days and days perfecting some copy of a book which was almost unintelligible
with typographical errors or if you have scanned in some book from your personal
collection and you want to lend it to someone, we are 'right there' for you.
So many books are lost over time because they just rot away. We believe that digitizing
books is the way to preserve them for future generations. We have many antique books
and they are in the public domain but there is no digital copy available. If you
are a book lover, you probably do too.
We hope to help bridge that gap with our program. One of the latest features of the
program is a forum for our users
to create a community. You can meet other
gather helpful tips,
learn techniques and a lot more.
Do not misunderstand us. If someone has the latest copy of the latest
Harry Potter book as a text file, they are not allowed to post links to it on our
forum. We will not allow any links to copyrighted material on our forums. However,
if you have a digitized copy of a truly superior translation of the works of Anton
Chekov, Franz Werfel or any of a hundred thousand other such works, or if you, yourself,
have taken the time to actually make such a digital copy of some ancient leather
bound tome ... we would love to help you share it around.
Well, thanks for taking the time to read all the way through this file. That said,
it's a real good indicator that you are the kind of person who will love this program.