CNET Editors' review
Though its name suggests a much more generalized purpose, eBook Library for Mac helps you perform only one specific task, which is practicing speed reading, using eBooks as a source.
We downloaded eBook Library for Mac and launched the self-contained binary without issue. When we read through the short but comprehensive Help file, we learned that the app requires a very specific format, plain text encoded in UTF-8. Through a menu item in the app we were brought to Project Gutenberg, a repository of hundreds of free public domain eBooks. We downloaded an eBook in the required format, and then learned we had to edit the file a bit as there was some text included not related to the book, itself. We edited and saved the file in a minute or so, but the manual process didn't score points for the app. It was easy to upload and save the file to our eBookshelf for future access. For any open file, you just click the "Start" button and it highlights small blocks of text at a speed you determine -- this is the speed reading technique at work. We could configure a speed of 50 to 1500 words per minute, and there was an associated counter indicating how much time was left until the end of the book. We were also able to start at the beginning, pause, and continue where we left off at any time. This last option was true even after closing the app and restarting it with the handy "Use Last Source" button, which returned us to the exact line where we stopped.
eBook Library for Mac offers a basic, no-frills approach to speed reading, and once you get past the initial loading of an eBook into the app, its intuitive interface and flexible operation make it a useful download for those looking to learn and practice speed reading.
eBook Library supports speed reading plus an eBookshelf. You can practice your speed reading skills using plain text eBook files with speeds between 50 wpm and 1500 wpm. Reading speed is set using four ranges (very slow, slow, medium, and fast) and a slider is provided to adjust the speed within each range. Speed settings are saved between sessions. Any plain text file may be used but eBook text files can be downloaded free from the internet. The user should copy just the eBook text (do not include text before or after the actual book text), paste into a TextEdit file and save as plain text with Unicode UTF-8 encoding. This file is then used as a source file. Select this source by clicking on the "Choose New Source" button and navigating to the file. If you do not finish reading a text file, eBook Library remembers the last line read and provides this information when you relaunch to continue reading. In that case, you would click on the "Use Last Source" button to load text saved during the previous session after parsing. You may start reading at the beginning or at any line. You may select automatic or manual scrolling. A "Dim Text" slider is provided to set the darkness of background text. Estimated time to finish is displayed. When you first launch eBook Library, a folder titled "eBookshelf" is added to your Documents folder. The eBook menu includes a menu pick to help you find free eBooks on the internet, a menu pick to load a file from your eBookshelf and another menu pick to let you save a parsed text file to your eBookshelf. An eBook loaded from your eBookshelf appears in the display almost immediately. A Help window is available.
What's new in this version: Version 7.3.0 is compiled for 32 bit Cocoa.
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