Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Read ePub files online with your Kindle using Ibis Reader

The improved WebKit-based browser of Kindle 3 (“latest generation”) has made many web sites accessible that were not accessible using the xxxx-based browser of previous-generation Kindles. 
A case in point is Ibis-Reader, a reading system that allows online ePub viewing using most web browsers, or offline viewing using HTML5 web applications on iOS or Android. A (free) Ibis Reader account includes a virtual ‘bookshelf’ where you can upload ePub books, and stores your reading position in each.
Setup for reading on Kindle is mostly straightforward:
  • go to ibisreader.com and sign up for a free user account (computer browser recommended)
  • get DRM-free ePub content (e.g., ibisreader.com, epubbooks.com, feedbooks.com, gutenberg.org, smashwords.com, books.google.com, etc.). By design and philosophy, Ibis Reader does not support viewing of ePub files protected with DRM (digital rights management).
  • login on ibisreader.com and upload your .ePub content.
  • choose one of your books and launch it to view at ibisreader.com.
  • one of the options at the top of the viewing pane is ‘no distractions’ - select this.
  • along the right margin of the viewing pane is a light-colored line. This is used to adjust the width of the text column by dragging it right and left. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to make this adjustment when viewing on Kindle (there’s no way to ‘drag’ with the 5-way controller), so you need to make the adjustment with a a computer browser; this adjustment will be become the default for subsequent browser sessions. Kindle’s screen is 600 pixels wide, so  you’ll want to set the width of the browser window to about 600 pixels, and then drag the margin adjustment line to the left until the horizontal scroll bar (if any) disappears. It might take some trial and error to optimize this setting, unless you have a way to measure the width precisely. I would recommend a little ‘slack’; the margin setting seems to push out a bit when you change the text size, and it may take experimentation to discover the text size that works best for you.
  • on your Kindle, launch the web browser, go to ibisreader.com, login, and click on ‘My Books’.
  • Bookmark this URL to simplify future access.
  • choose one of the books, click the ‘read’ link, and choose ‘no distractions’ (upper right corner of viewing region) if that is available. If the browser displays a horizontal scroll bar, it is because the margin setting is too ‘wide’. Exit reading mode on your Kindle (e.g. go to the Bookmark saved previously), go back to your computer’s browser and adjust it there until it has a width that works well on your Kindle.
  • Kindle’s next and previous page buttons map to ‘page down’ and ‘page up’, to scroll the text to the next reading position. ‘n’ advances to the next section/chapter, while ‘p’ goes to the previous section/chapter. Clicking the ‘Back to site’ link at the top of the page displays links for  the book’s Table of Contents in a pane on the left.
  • Enjoy the world of ePub on your Kindle!

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