Welcome to the Leaves eBook Reader site.

Leaves is an eBook Reader built on the .Net Compact Framework v1 (with some direct API/GDI calls thrown in). It is currently designed for use with Pocket PC/Windows Mobile 240x320 style PDA's and Phones, though plans are for there to be other versions for Smartphone and Desktop (possibly even Mono).

Currently Leaves is in what would best be described as a 'preview' state.

Screenshots:

Please note that alpha transparency doesn't work in the emulator screenshots below, but it should look fine on most devices.

Download the preview version:
LeavesSetup.CAB March 4th, 2008

Copy the CAB file to your device, then click it to install. You may need to install .Net Compact Framework if your device is fairly old and doesn't have it. Only v1.0 is required, but any version should work. Leaves itself is only 180k in size, but currently the ZIP and RAR compression libraries require an additional 400k in DLL's. Efforts will be made to reduce this once these are fully integrated.

Download LitLite if you are a developer:
LitLite is the infamous ConvertLit/OpenCLIT built for the PPC/WM devices WITHOUT THE DRM STRIPPING, so it is useful only for reading WordRMR, ReaderWorks and other non-DRM'd LIT ebooks, but also shouldn't get anyone (me!) into trouble. It has no real user interface as it is intended to be called by Leaves (or any other application that wants to use it). If you have a command prompt on your device, such as the PPC_Command_Shell from the Windows Mobile Developer Powertoys, then you could call it with : litlite <litfile_with_path> <destination_path_with_no_end_slash>

LitLite EXE zipped
LitLite Source Zipped

Current Status:

Leaves is free (as in beer). I may open up the source code if I find I do not need to use any proprietary components that would prevent it, but for now, anyone who wishes to see the source code to help with bugs, etc. can contact me directly by email at 'slain' at this domain.

About:

I started writing Leaves recently after getting fed up with some of the shortcomings of the other eBook readers out there. I've been an avid user of uBook by Gowerpoint for years, and before that I used Microsoft Reader extensively. However, each has its limitations.

When I purchased my latest PDA phone, the HTC Mogul, I was never able to get Microsoft Reader to activate on that phone, even after talking to tech support and doing something with an oeminfo.xml file. Beyond that, Microsoft Reader(MSReader) has always had horribly slow pagination, unless section breaks were included in the original document. Pagination is a challenge, as I've found out. MSReader had a bug for me (maybe since I couldn't activate), where if something was selected on the page, the only way to get rid of the selection would be to go to the Today page and then back into MSReader, otherwise the first word on each page would be selected each time you changed pages. I also hated that so much of the screen real estate in MSReader was unused, with excessive margins around everything. And finally, dealing with the LIT eBook format creation with WordRMR was tiresome. In many cases, I would have to strip all CSS formatting out of an html doc and reformat it by hand before WordRMR would accept it.

Then I discovered uBook, which is a very solid product, but over time its own flaws have become an issue. The main issue for most users starting out is that it doesn't support ClearType. It does however support its own style of font smoothing. But I spent over an hour the first time I used it tweaking font smoothing settings until I found something usable. (Well to be honest, the first time I used it I just took one look at the font and uninstalled. It took another year of MSReader frustration for me to really commit to the change.) uBook supports ZIP compression (meaning being able to read one or books out of a zip archive), but unfortunately many users use RAR compression instead. While it is easy enough to unRAR and the re-ZIP, it is an extra step that I would like to avoid. uBook is also missing some basic file management functionality in its eBook library management section. You can't delete or rename eBooks, and there is no way to refresh the file list if you have the library open to say 'My Documents', and send something to that folder. You have to switch folders and go back to My Documents to see the refreshed list. uBook's dictionary support is very lacking as well. It can take a very long time to look up and paginate a word in a large dictionary (sometimes a minute or more). Its text selection is also very frustrating at times (which is also a complicated process). At times you simple aren't able to select letters or punctuation close to the edge of the screen, and rather than using typical 'invert' style selection, it uses custom drawing, which is very slow on mobile devices. It's default skins are really rather annoying and amatuerish (IMO, but I also like my garish splash page :), and don't maximize the screen space for a mobile device. I spent another couple of hours making my own custom skin that shows as much text as possible with some much lighter grey, unintrusive time/page #/etc. controls at the bottom. It is also very easy to accidentally hit a button that gets uBook into one of its autoscroll modes or whatever, which I find completely useless (meaning I find autoscroll completely useless in ANY reader, and dealing with it in uBook gets to be annoying when you hit the wrong button). And uBook costs $15.

So my main motivation in writing Leaves was to address these issues as best as possible. I attempted to contact the Gowerpoint author of uBook and offer to address some of these issues myself on a number of occasions, offering to do so under non-disclosure, but never received a response. I finally decided to bite the bullet and start writing my own eBook reader.