"E-book reader from Microsoft."
For people who spend a lot of time on their personal computers and are avid book readers, Microsoft Reader is a very useful program. With this program you can enjoy reading your favourite eBooks on your personal device that eliminates the need to buy, carry around, and then maintain real books. It gives quite similar experience as reading a real printed book since it offers many useful functions which readers normally perform while reading, such as adding bookmarks, highlighting text, adding text, and drawing. Moreover, it has other advantages which a real book cannot provide like Find, Copy text, and Play (program reads out the book).
Installation process is quick and simple, the InstallShield wizard confirms basic things like the location for program installation, the space required on hard disk, and to create desktop icon. In the last step, you will be asked whether you want to Activate your computer or not, which is required to enable the program to purchase and download titles that are secured for distribution. You can choose to skip this step as it is not compulsory to do so. Following operating systems support the program: Windows 98 (Second Edition)/ ME / NT / 2000 (Service Pack 3)/ XP / 2003 / Vista.
Graphical interface is modern, simple, and the text readability is also very good. However, it is not much intuitive and its layout is not straightforward, so users need to work bit harder to understand how to add or load eBooks. The left panel displays menu options and right panel shows the list for corresponding menu option, like Library options lists down the eBooks present in your library. One drawback of its UI is while reading an eBook, only ‘previous page’ and ‘next page’ buttons work which makes it difficult to jump to first or last page.
- Help file is provided as a sample file under ‘Library’ menu which helps you to give the idea about its working and provides plenty of information about the software
- Just like a real book, you can add bookmarks to eBook for future reference by simply selecting required text and selecting ‘Bookmarks’ option. You can bookmark on a single page as many times as you want and these are distinguishable due to their different colors
- Some people are in the habit of highlighting text which they feel is important in their real books; the ‘Highlight’ feature is a benefit for such users which lets them highlight text in their electronic books
- ‘Text Note’ is a very handy feature that lets you add text notes for additional information. Lengthy notes can also be added as paging is given and when you are done adding notes, simply click anywhere else and the note will be displayed as a small icon on left side of the page
- Pictorial representations are normally more explanatory than text notes and this programs gives you the convenience to draw on any page, much similar to using a real pen. From the bottom of the page, you can select different colors for drawing and undo or save the drawings as well
- With ‘Find’ feature, you can search for required words or texts in a particular page or the entire book
- If you are not in the mood to read the eBook but want someone else to read it for you, then simply select ‘Play’ option which is a text-to-speech function that reads out text on the current page
- The Annotations lists down the bookmarks, drawings, text notes, and highlighted text that you have added in the eBook
- First and Last page button are not provided at the bottom of each eBook page, so you only have the option to navigate to previous or next pages which takes lot of time and effort. There is also no option to return to the main menu of program
- Its ease-of-use factor is very low and it is hard to find out how exactly it adds/imports eBooks
- Microsoft Reader does not lets you upload your own eBooks, PDF or word file and most of the Ebook formats (it can only read .LIT format)
- Microsoft announced discontinuation of its maintenance many years ago which is evident from the fact that on clicking Shop menu option, an error page is shown instead of showing eBooks library
Amazon Kindle and FSS ePub Reader are good alternatives for Microsoft Reader. Amazon Kindle is a freeware by Amazon.com that lets you read eBooks, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and much more on your Kindle, Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. FSS ePub Reader is a basic reader with which you can read eBooks , documents, and comics, plus it also has a converter to change ePub files to other formats like HTML, PDF or plain text.
Microsoft reader offers some very useful features including drawings, text notes, and annotations but its interface is not up-to-date like its counterparts. Moreover, you cannot read or shop most of the formats or eBooks on this program. It cannot be rated as one of the best eBook readers available and its only saving grace is the features it offers.
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