I have two eBook readers, a Kindle Fire and a Nook Touch.
Why two? File formats. The Kindle handles MOBI files and things bought from Amazon. The Nook handles EPUB files. An EPUB will do me no good on a Kindle, a MOBI is useless on a Nook.
What if I sideloaded an EPUB-compatible eBook program on the Kindle? Then I would have a single reader that could handle all of my eBook needs.
And this weekend, that’s exactly what I did.
The program I installed? Readmill.
Why Readmill? Because The Atlantic recommended it and said that Readmill is “the best-designed e-reading system out there.” And: “Above all, I’m nearly certain it has the best digital typography among e-reading software today. On Readmill, digital books look like books, not text files foisted into an extensible reading enviromnent.”
Oh, Readmill, you had me at “typography.”
Because, I’m going to be blunt here, the Kindle’s typography is awful. And typography on the Nook Touch? Oh, don’t make me laugh.
At least the Nook handles chapter breaks decently. The Kindle has a kind of typographic seizure depending on how you reach a chapter break; sometimes it knows it’s reached a chapter heading and formats appropriately, while other times it spazs out and formats the chapter heading as body text.
But there had to be a better way.
I downloaded the APK for Readmill on Friday. Saturday I loaded it onto the Kindle through the USB cable and, using the ES File Manager, I exectued the file and installed it. (I learned this trick because I needed the latest version of WordPress for Android, and the version in the Kindle Store is several versions out of date.)
I loaded several unprotected EPUBS (The Great Gatsby and Ulysses among them) onto my Kindle, at first into the Books directory where the Kindle stores its books, then I had Readmill search the Kindle and import them. (Later, I found the correct path and put new files there. No search and import needed.)
Readmill’s typography is great, and books are easy to read. I experimented with several different EPUBS, and the only feature I found that it didn’t handle was hyperlinks within a document (like, say, for footnotes). The spastic behavior of the Kindle environment with chapter breaks? Readmill handled chapter breaks like a dream.
Readmill is also a social media platform, where you can have friends and show off your library. My profile is a bit dull at the moment; I have no reading friends.
Now I have a single machine that can handle both MOBI and EPUB files. To be honest, I think it’s likely that, given a choice on a book, I’ll get the EPUB file and read it on my Kindle using Readmill.
If you’re at all interested, it’s worth at least experimenting with.