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  • 4 Post By Jim Chapman
  1. MPGriffith's Avatar
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       #1  
    I know there is a substantial amount of negativity going around in these forums and don't want to add to that too much. But, I'm curious about the experiences of others in trying to find a useful eReader app for WP8. I've tried a few and settled on the Kindle app and Bookviser for now but the functionality of these compared to Kindle & iBooks on my iPhone 4 is a joke. No embedded dictionaries, no ability to even select text, not to mention inability to take notes or forward text to other apps.

    Overall, I am very pleased with my Lumia 920 and WP8 in general but the obvious -understandable- lack of developer support is a bit frustrating at times.
  2. jeremyshaw's Avatar
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    #2  
    And no nook app!

    The lack of dictionary is a bit of a disappointment, since not only does ios have one built in, the ios kindle app does, too. Maybe in a future update. :)

    Otherwise, I think of it as growing pains :P
  3. GSOgymrat's Avatar
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    #3  
    I am waiting for the Nook app for Windows phone.
  4. shinygerbil's Avatar
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    #4  
    Freda is actually a decent reader; the dev is very responsive and currently hard at work on a wp8-optimised version. It *kind of* has a dictionary - you can tap and hold a word and look it up with various online services iirc. And it's very customisable - I had the colours almost exactly like iBooks.

    I use a kindle now though, so haven't used it in a while - but it's a solid app.
  5. marbla's Avatar
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    #5  
    Freda and the Kindle app are pretty good! I'm looking forward to the wp8 optimized versions.
  6. Digital Moe's Avatar
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    #6  
    I am using the Nokia built in one it is at least nice looking but lacks features. If Freda dose come to WP8 would be nice to have some cloud syncing for what page you are on between devices.
  7. toddos's Avatar
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    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by shinygerbil View Post
    Freda is actually a decent reader; the dev is very responsive and currently hard at work on a wp8-optimised version. It *kind of* has a dictionary - you can tap and hold a word and look it up with various online services iirc. And it's very customisable - I had the colours almost exactly like iBooks.

    I use a kindle now though, so haven't used it in a while - but it's a solid app.
    I second Freda. For a while, it was the only non-store-based (aka, not Kindle) reader on the market that could do "simple" things like display inline images (I think a couple of others may have added that by now). It's still the only reader that can connect to OPDS sources (calibre web service, for example), and the amount of customization is second to none. Early complaints about speed were resolved many versions ago, and any lingering slowness is gone on WP8 devices. Books load almost immediately on my 920, and I never feel like I'm waiting for page numbers to finish counting or anything like that.

    I would make one suggestion, though. Turn off the XNA rendering. It's a good idea, and helps speed things up a little bit, but an (intentional) flaw in XNA's subpixel rendering makes it really suck for rendering letter forms unless you're using a very large font size and a sans serif font. I like to use Georgia at 23 (which is a small font size for freda). It looks great in the silverlight renderer but terrible in the default XNA renderer. So I turn off XNA and just forget that it even exists. Maybe the underlying issues with XNA font rendering have been fixed for WP8. I'll give it another try when the WP8 version of Freda is released, but for now just turn it off.

    For comparison, Freda as I've configured it vs Kindle's night mode theme.
  8. fwaits's Avatar
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    #8  
    Freda for ePub is the best one on WP for sure. Seems to recognize and properly format them the best of the more popular ones I've tried. Comes in a free and paid version (with no ads). Check it out.
  9. shinygerbil's Avatar
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    #9  
    Yeah, I could never use XNA rendering - it's just way too blurry. I actually am not sure about wp8 support - i just went back to look at the last beta test email he sent, and he was actually talking about w8 rather than wp8 - but I'm sure he'll get round to it!
  10. toddos's Avatar
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    #10  
    The W8 version is already out, but Jim is also working on a WP8 version.
  11. Kebero's Avatar
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    #11  
    Freda is a great app. If you don't have a dedicated e-book reader and don't use Kindle, it's definitely the go to app.
  12. Digital Moe's Avatar
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    #12  
    Is there a way to keep the W8 (TR) and WP8 version in sync so you no matter which device you use it will always be the last point you were reading on the other device?
  13. Jim Chapman's Avatar
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    #13  
    Right now, I am working on debugging some more serious issues with Freda for WP8 (the XNA renderer goes strangely wrong when you launch from a pinned secondary tile, and the DropBox file browser fails on filenames containing some special characters, such as brackets). A bug-fix release for those issues will appear in the next week or so.

    So, across WP8 and W8, the development roadmap looks roughly like:
    Next week: W8 version 3.2, adding bookmarking/annotating/selecting of text, deleting books and book sources, custom OPDS book sources, pinning of books to start menu, and a bunch of UI improvements ...
    Next week or two: WP8 bug-fix version 2.9, for secondary tile and DropBox issues
    Within the next month or so: W8 version 3.3, adding all remaining WP features to the W8 program (backup/restore, dictionary lookup, define presets ... )
    Some time early 2013 probably: W8 version back-ported to WP8, which will bring both versions onto the same code-line (and, crucially, the same underlying database, SQLite). At this point, the WP8 version will be a real native WP8 app (so it will support all screen resolutions properly, and will allow you to register Freda as the app for opening EPUB and FB2 file types).
    Not very long after that: Features for selectively synching across all devices you're using, covering: settings/presets, bookshelf (including last read location), book source details. It will be based on using special SkyDrive files and folders.
    Longer term: Features for sharing book lists, annotations etc. ('book club' use cases) - using an Azure cloud solution, if I can figure out a way to pay for it.
    As and when I can: Fixing assorted bugs and formatting concerns (line spacing and margin issues, the proper handling of PRE and CODE elements, broken image path logic, clean management of the choice between 'block' and 'indent' paragraph layout ... )


    All this, approximate though it is, is subject to some variation, dependent upon the vagaries of the Microsoft certification process, and the competing demands of my day job.

    If you have questions or any other suggestions, feel free to contact me at jim@turnipsoft.co.uk
    Last edited by Jim Chapman; 11-27-2012 at 06:44 AM.
  14. Digital Moe's Avatar
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    #14  
    Thanks for taking the time to reply Jim much appreciated.
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    #15  
    I read two of the Song of Ice and Fire books on Freda on my Lumia 800, personally I think its pretty good.

    Kindle Ive used a little, but not much.
  16. diesel_fan's Avatar
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    #16  
    Try Nokia Reading, Freda or FB2 Reader.
  17. Cpfoxhunt's Avatar
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    #17  
    Having just stumbled onto this thread, I just bought the paid version of Freda and so far it blows Nokia Reader (and its annoying 'news' section) right out of the water. I'm glad to hear that it is going to be so well supported by its developer!
  18. jkercado's Avatar
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    #18  
    I just found this thread. I'm a Nook user, and since B&N has been dragging their feet on this, I decided to try this app, Freda. I'm impressed. This is really good! I'm going to get the paid version now. It's definitely worth more than 99 cents!

    Now I just gotta place some of my personal ePub books on SkyDrive and I will be golden.

    :D
  19. switchthreesixty's Avatar
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    #19  
    How do I read ebooks I placed in my Documents folder?
  20. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chapman View Post
    So, across WP8 and W8, the development roadmap looks roughly like:
    Any chance that one of those updates will improve text rendering on the Windows 8 / Windows RT version? No matter if Smooth Fonts is on or off, text is blurry in the app on my Surface. Honestly it wasn't an issue that I even noticed until I demoed "Fiction Book Reader" which has perfectly crisp fonts all the time.
  21. Jim Chapman's Avatar
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    #21  
    I think I'd better offer an update on the development roadmap for the next few months, as it has changed somewhat - firstly because my day job (telling an investment bank what technology to spend its money on) has been busy these last few weeks, and secondly because I had a lot of users asking for the 'highlight text' feature in W8.

    So, across WP8 and W8, the development roadmap looks roughly like:

    Next week: W8 version 3.4, adding selection/highlighting of blocks of text, a 'copy' button and improved handling of CODE/PRE blocks (book text that must be shown in a fixed-width font).
    Within the next few weeks or so: W8 version 3.5, adding all remaining WP features to the W8 program (backup/restore, dictionary lookup, define presets ... ). Also I will spend more time on improving the range of 'text sharpness' options.
    Some time in April probably: W8 version back-ported to WP8, which will bring both versions onto the same code-line (and, crucially, the same underlying database, SQLite). At this point, the WP8 version will be a real native WP8 app (so it will support all screen resolutions properly, and will allow you to register Freda as the app for opening EPUB and FB2 file types).
    Not very long after that: Features for selectively synching across all devices you're using, covering: settings/presets, bookshelf (including last read location), book source details. It will be based on using special SkyDrive files and folders.
    Longer term: Features for sharing book lists, annotations etc. ('book club' use cases) - using an Azure cloud solution, if I can figure out a way to pay for it.
    As and when I can: Fixing assorted bugs and formatting concerns (line spacing and margin issues, broken image path logic, clean management of the choice between 'block' and 'indent' paragraph layout ... )
  22. yopablo's Avatar
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    #22  
    In my case, I prefer reading comics with Comic Time Comic Time | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United States)

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