How to get Bokeen Cybook v3 ebook reader to display Chinese with Stanza

January 31, 2009, [MD]

I've been interested in e-book readers for a long time, and a good friend generously agreed to lend me his Bokeen Cybook v3reader for a week or two to play with, since that is the only way you can really get a feel for this technology - just looking at it for a few minutes is not enough.

I will write a longer review later, but for now I wanted to post the solution to a problem that immediately bugged me: How to get the reader to display Chinese text? I had to experiment with a few different ways, but finally I found that you have to generate a Mobipocket file. For Mac, you can use the excellent Stanza to do this (I understand there are programs for Windows too, not sure about Linux, but hopefully there are options).

A small bug, it seems, in Stanza is that if you copy text from for example a webpage (many Chinese novels are available in full-text as one long webpage), and choose "Create new from clipboard" in Stanza, the linefeeds disappear. And for some reason, if I save the text in Textmate or TextEdit as UTF8 text, or even RTF, it doesn't work, and the text becomes all garbled. However, if I copy the text into OpenOffice, or Word, and either save the file as .doc and open it in Stanza, or copy again from this program to Stanza, it works - with the linefeeds and paragraphs preserved.

So to summarize, copy from a webpage to OpenOffice, and then from OpenOffice to Stanza. Generate MobiPocket file, and drag it over to the ebook reader. Voilà, pure Chinese ebook goodness!

(This is using Stanza 1.0.0-beta16 - they might fix the loss of linefeeds in a subsequent update. Also, I hope Bokeen comes out with a new firmware update that enables you to read simple unicode txt or rtf files directly).


Stian Håklev January 31, 2009 Toronto, Canada
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