PalmOS readers have three format options:

  1. Download eBooks created as Palm "Doc" files.
  2. Download eBooks created as iSilo files.
  3. Download eBooks created as MobiPocket Reader files.

Author's Summary:

I prefer iSilo. It allows for hyperlinks (to make Table of Contents and link to Appendix resources) and smaller files. At the time that I chose iSilo, my handheld did not support expansion cards and iSilo was much quicker and smaller than most readers available. Its compressed files also allowed for many more resources to be available at one time. The current version of iSilo is bigger, and much more powerful (including support for my expansion cards).

You really must choose the reader that best suits your needs. If you don't mind spending $17.50 for an eBook reader, I would recommend buying iSilo. All three of the readers compared below are great options and it really comes down to balancing several main factors: space, speed, expandability, and cost. If your handheld device does not have an expansion card and/or you are tight on space, CSpotRun might be the best choice for you. It does not have the nice formatting and hyperlinking features of MobiPocket and iSilo and lacks expansion card support, but at 28K (and free), it is by far the smallest reader. If your devices supports expansion cards, choose either MobiPocket or iSilo. Although they are both over 300K, the ability to read documents from an expansion card is great! If you have plenty of space, but you don't want to pay for an eBook reader, then MobiPocket is probably the choice for you. It has a lot of advanced features, but is slightly larger and slower than iSilo. For more information, look over the following chart and the summaries at the end.

For your convenience, below is a simplified comparison table of the current formats and features, followed by reasons for choosing each:

Feature Palm "Doc" (CSpotRun) iSilo MobiPocket Reader 4.3
Supported Devices PalmOS 2.0 or above PalmOS 3.0 or later, PocketPC, Windows 95 or later PalmOS 3.0 or later, Windows CE 2.x, PocketPC (all versions), Psion Epoc32, Nokia 9210/9290, Franklin eBookMan, Windows 95 or later
Formats Supported Doc Doc, iSilo 2, iSilo 3, can convert from HTML with iSiloX Doc, MobiPocket, Open-eBook, XML, HTML
Price Free $17.50, 30-Day Trial Available, feature limited free version also available. Free*
Size on Device 28 Kb 306 Kb 415 Kb
Bookmarks Yes Yes Yes
Formatted Text No Yes Yes
Hyperlinks No Yes Yes
Notes No No No*
Highlighting No No No*
Tables No Yes Yes
Pictures No Yes Yes
Dictionary Lookup No No Yes**
Copy Selected Text Yes Yes Yes
Extra-Clear Type No No MobiType only available on color PalmOS devices
Autoscrolling Yes Yes No*
Rotate Screen Yes No No
Read from Expansion Card No Yes Yes (just added)

* Now Available in MobiPocket Reader Pro 4.5 for $19.95 - for a comparison of the different MobiPocket versions, check out the comparison at Mobipocket.
** Merriam Webster ® Vest Pocket Dictionary for MobiPocket 4.3 and above released February 22, 2002. It costs $9.95 and can be downloaded at MobiPocket.

Download CSpotRun, MobiPocket Reader, or iSilo.

Reasons for choosing CSpotRun (plain Palm "Doc" files):

  • Free
  • Compatibility (because it is the standard palm text format). Plain Doc files can be read by MOST readers on PalmOS devices. CSpotRun is not the only option, though it is a great free option. Many more readers listed here.
  • Very small size (leaves more space for documents).
  • CSpotRun offers auto-scrolling, screen-rotation, and bookmarking.
  • CSpotRun offers full-screen (no toolbar) reading mode.
  • Disadvantage - no hyperlinking, thus no Table of Contents or links to Appendix.
  • Disadvantage - no formatting, thus no bold, italics, alignment, etc
  • Disadvantage - eBooks can not be stored on an expansion card thus limiting number that can be concurrently stored on Palm handheld (big disadvantage if your device supports expansion).

Reasons for choosing iSilo:

  • iSilo format is compressed to about 70% original size.
  • Can read standard Palm Doc files as well.
  • Supports hyperlinks (table of contents and appendix).
  • Supports graphics/pictures and tables.
  • Easily stores and reads documents on an expansion card.
  • Can convert any web page into an iSilo Document.
  • Many scrolling options (line-by-line, 1/2 page, page).
  • Autoscrolling.
  • User organization of eBooks possible via catagories.
  • Same eBook file compatible with all versions of iSilo (in case you own both a PocketPC and PalmOS device)
  • Disadvantage - Costs $17.50.

Reasons for choosing MobiPocket:

  • Free.
  • Can read standard Palm Doc files as well.
  • Supports hyperlinks and table of contents.
  • Supports graphics/pictures and tables.
  • Supports storage of eBooks on an expansion card.
  • A free 1913 Webster dictionary is available as another eBook (actually quite close to being contemporary with Ellen White). It can be downloaded here.
  • Other dictionaries can be bought at MobiPocket.
  • User organization of library possible via catagories.
  • Same eBook file compatible with all versions of MobiPocket (in case you own both a PocketPC and PalmOS device).
  • Disadvantage - Very large size (400+ Kb).
  • Disadvantage - Sometimes sluggish (though great improvements have been made in the current version 4.3).

Note: Author of comparison uses all readers, but prefers iSilo.


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