Read Project Gutenberg e-books with eTextReader

By Mark O’Neill

As well as being a writer, I am also a voluntary proofreader for Project Gutenberg. But although I volunteer my time to proofread books to be turned into digital files, I am keenly aware that there are not so many good reading programs for e-books. Microsoft has its Reader, Adobe has its Reader and Amazon has recently introduced Kindle. But since Gutenberg e-books are published mainly in text file format, that excludes the possibility of using any of the services just mentioned.

A while back, a colleague at Project Gutenberg sent me the link for eTextReader and I have to admit that it doesn’t do such a bad job. In fact it displays the text quite well. The interface looks like an open book and you can navigate through the “pages” by using the arrow keys on your computer keyboard.

Other features include being able to change the font and the font size (if black Times New Roman isn’t your thing). You can also change the text color, the background color, and you can make clickable bookmarks to mark your place in the story. In fact it was the bookmarks that made it the deal-clincher for me as I was tired of reading an e-book, taking a break, then losing my place in the story.

I live in hope that one day e-book technology will get a lot better but in the meantime I am quite content with eTextReader.

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19 Responses to Read Project Gutenberg e-books with eTextReader

  1. Nice find! I love project Gutenberg but I was always annoyed by the .txt format (reading 300 pages in this format is not so pleasant). I’ll start using it right away! :)

  2. Nice find! I love project Gutenberg but I was always annoyed by the .txt format (reading 300 pages in this format is not so pleasant). I'll start using it right away! :)

  3. I was too anxious to read Dracula but could not read 10% of it with the text format… The I tried with a PDF version available somewhere using “read Out Loud” feature of Adobe Reader but then also had it unfinished. But at least PDF was better than plain txt.

  4. Well as I mentioned in the article, you can change the size and style of font so it is easier to read the e-book. I have found that eTextReader makes text files much nicer to look at and read.

  5. I was too anxious to read Dracula but could not read 10% of it with the text format… The I tried with a PDF version available somewhere using "read Out Loud" feature of Adobe Reader but then also had it unfinished. But at least PDF was better than plain txt.

  6. Well as I mentioned in the article, you can change the size and style of font so it is easier to read the e-book. I have found that eTextReader makes text files much nicer to look at and read.

  7. I found eTextReader via your article. (Fellnersoft’s google ranking must not be very high.) For reading, I now find eTextReader/txt preferable to Foxit/pdf.

  8. I found eTextReader via your article. (Fellnersoft's google ranking must not be very high.) For reading, I now find eTextReader/txt preferable to Foxit/pdf.

  9. Thank you very much, I will try it. Although, you can copy it in word and save it as microsoft reader or pdf , than you can read it in any of those adobe or microsoft reader too

  10. Thank you very much, I will try it. Although, you can copy it in word and save it as microsoft reader or pdf , than you can read it in any of those adobe or microsoft reader too

  11. i couldnt understand why people are having trouble with the txt format. for me its my favorite format , as it allows me to format the books' text any-which way i want. its the only format that works for me. the first time, i generally open the book in microsoft word and change the background colour to grey and the font to size 18. then i sit back and read away by pressing the pgdn button. when i am done i just type my name at the end of the paragraph i am in and click save. the next time i need to read i just search my name in the text through Find and read away. i love the gutenberg books precisely because they are in txt format – and you never have to worry about the txt format going obsolete – it probably gonna stay around or be accessible for the next 100 years.

    project gutenberg is a great site and i know nothing beats the feel of an actual/physical book – but atleast i get to read the books this way , many of which i wouldnt be able to afford.

  12. i couldnt understand why people are having trouble with the txt format. for me its my favorite format , as it allows me to format the books’ text any-which way i want. its the only format that works for me. the first time, i generally open the book in microsoft word and change the background colour to grey and the font to size 18. then i sit back and read away by pressing the pgdn button. when i am done i just type my name at the end of the paragraph i am in and click save. the next time i need to read i just search my name in the text through Find and read away. i love the gutenberg books precisely because they are in txt format – and you never have to worry about the txt format going obsolete – it probably gonna stay around or be accessible for the next 100 years.
    project gutenberg is a great site and i know nothing beats the feel of an actual/physical book – but atleast i get to read the books this way , many of which i wouldnt be able to afford.

  13. Thank you! I cannot stand serif fonts for reading on the computer — not TNR anyway. I'm a proofreader too, and I get plenty of TNR there, thankyouverymuch!

    I do appreciate that the books are in txt format — as the previous commenter said, it is unlikely to go away any time soon. I doubt seriously that it'll be around in 100 years, but it is a good choice for PG's purposes. I just would prefer not to read it that way.

  14. Thank you! I cannot stand serif fonts for reading on the computer — not TNR anyway. I’m a proofreader too, and I get plenty of TNR there, thankyouverymuch!

    I do appreciate that the books are in txt format — as the previous commenter said, it is unlikely to go away any time soon. I doubt seriously that it’ll be around in 100 years, but it is a good choice for PG’s purposes. I just would prefer not to read it that way.

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