Reading on your Treo

March 20, 2007

Stack of booksI admit it. I’m a hopeless bookworm. Always have been since I was in 1st grade. I read fair mix of sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, espionage, and even romance (I’m a sucker for strong female characters). I was buying a couple books a week — yes, even with two young kids. I was still reading in the bathroom (shhh!), on the Metro on the way to / from work, or during breaks. But the problem is that these books kept piling up.  A couple years ago, I ended up having shelves upon shelves, boxes upon boxes of (mostly paperback) books — too many books. I hated donating books — it was as if I was ripping a part of my heart out.  But I had to donate, or else we’d have no storage space left.

And then I discovered reading on my Palm Treo 650.

Suddenly, I could whip out my Treo and read a few paragraphs just while walking from my office to another, or while in the elevator, or while standing in line to buy something. And I didn’t look like a mousy bookworm — I looked smart and busy (or maybe I looked arrogant and business-like — but just humor me here). I didn’t need to remember to lug a book with me — instead, at any time I could just snap the Treo out of its holder and check my email and then read to my heart’s content. Oh, and new releases are usually simultaneously in paper and e-book formats, so the timing is good. Not all books are released in e-book version, though — Harry Potter’s never been in e-book format, dangitall.  Took me a couple days to get used to reading on the electronic screen — and then I was hooked.

I’ve been reading e-books for the past three or so years. I buy 1 to 2 e-books a week, for prices that are comparable to those for “paper” books. I buy and download the book, transfer it to my Treo, and read. And when I’m finished, I just delete the book from memory. Blip, it’s gone. (I still have the book saved on my hard drive, or it’s still available for re-downloading should I want to read it again.) No stacks of books to worry about anymore. In the same span of time, I have bought maybe 3 or 4 actual hard-copy books. Just 3 or 4 “physical” books in the past several years! Peace of mind, actually.

Ereader.comThere are numerous types of e-book reader software out there; Wikipedia’s e-book article does a fair job in covering them. But here, since it’s my article, I’m focusing on e-books read on Treos and other PDAs using the Palm Reader. There are two main although related websites selling e-books for the Palm Reader: eReader and Palm’s eBook Store. Numerous more websites sell e-books for the Palm Reader: University of Virginia’s e-Text Center (free e-books!),, Project Gutenberg (more free e-books!), and eBookMall.

I always buy e-books via eReader. It keeps a virtual “bookshelf” of all the books I’ve ever bought, and I have a loonnng wishlist of books I’ve marked via eReader for future purchase. One holiday season, my mother gave me a hefty gift certificate to eReader — it was the perfect gift for me! (Hint hint hint.) I do have some gripes with eReader: it’s hard to use via my Treo’s web browser (d’oh!), and it sometimes skips some books in the same series (i.e., eReader has all 25-some books in Nora Robert’s “In Death” series except for #17).

1st to die book coverWhat am I reading now? The first book in James Patterson’s “Women Murder Club” series — “1st to Die“. Totally rocks. I think this series is gonna be better than Patterson’s Alex Cross series, which I find a bit tedious at times. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for strong female characters.  I’m off to do some reading.  Nite.


4 Responses to “Reading on your Treo”

  1. Judi Smith Says:

    I also enjoy reading e books on my Treo 650 but cannot download them via Windows Vista which is what came with my new laptop….any helpful suggestions in that regard would be most welcome…..have had no luck so far researching how to overcome this glitch….

  2. proudgeek Says:

    Hi Judi! I think believe the older versions of the Palm Desktop software is incompatible with Windows Vista. That may be why you’re unable to download and then sync the book (via Palm Desktop). Visit the’s Vista page for the latest (but beta) Palm Desktop version that would work with Vista at:

    This software only works with certain Palm models: Centro, Treo 755p, 680, 700p; Palm z22, TX; and Tungsten E2

    If you don’t have one of those (and both you and I have Treo 650’s!), then you won’t be able to run this beta version. However, you could download this book (which is in .prc format) and then email it to your Treo — and then you can save the book onto the Treo. Or you could copy the book to a memory card (onto the Palm/launcher directory), and insert the card into the Treo 650 and open it from eReader.

    Hope these suggestions work out for you.

  3. Harold Wayne Hamlin Says:

    book worm here also.

    Buy a few books / ebooks but do not have a credit card so I am limited as to what I get.

    lots of free stuff out there but I am haveing trouble finding an etext reader.

    question? will I have to change all my text files to doc files to read them or is there an etext reader I can get.

    I do not wish to offend, but are you for real, or are you just a salesman for the websites.

    wayne Hamlin

    would welcome any and all emailed programs, books.

    I have been collecting online free books since the early 80’s, is there anything ;you have been looking for.


  4. Proud Geek Says:

    Nope, I’m for real – I’m not a salesperson for any of these websites. You can convert any text document by saving it in PDB format via Open Office’s free word processor at …

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