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PopSci turns a Tablet PC into an eReader



101509-popsciThe magazine known to the kids as PopSci (and to me as Popular Science) has a write-up in their November issue about how to turn an old Tablet PC into a DIY Kindle. Well, sort of.

The gist is to buy an old Tablet PC with a D-pad and Windows XP (they suggest an old Fujitsu Stylistic or Motion 1400), tweak the settings for easy viewing and control, and install a variety of eReader applications. Supposedly you can do that for around $200, shaving $100 off the cost of a Kindle, which is a good plan… almost.

Anyone who’s shopped for Tablet PCs on eBay (which, now that I look back on it, is the only place I’ve bought them) knows it’s easy enough to find an old Tablet PC for $200 – you just can’t find one with a fresh battery. That’s fine if you only read around the house or other location with reliable power access. But if you want real mobility, you’ll need to shell out at least $50 for a new battery, probably closer to $100 or more depending on the model, killing the cost savings.

That said, the setting tweaks should be useful for turning your current or new Tablet PC into an eReader. I previously considered doing this in a separate user account so as to keep my configuration and settings in place, but I never got around to it after neglecting to get into serious eReading. Still, for what I do read, my Tablet PC is my preferred device even without tweaked settings.

Via Lifehacker



  1. Joe

    10/15/2009 at 3:58 pm

    Only problem is, PC reader software is pretty horrible, including the Microsoft Reader for Tablet PC version.

    I’ve been using Calibre for a while, but they’re all pretty bad.

    How hard would it be to make a good ePub reader that supports markup with a pen? It seems like a no-brainer to me, but just none of them are any good at all.

  2. SAM

    10/15/2009 at 10:29 pm

    I like Acrobat(full version) because it has a re-flow
    option to blow up your font as large as you want.

    Not all the books you may want to read come in PDF though.

    Pages are in full colour, and the refresh rate is instant.
    Fast forwarding to further pages is quick too.

    You also get a regular computer to
    run other programs after you get tired of reading.

  3. Jason

    10/16/2009 at 10:09 am

    Agreed, reading software on PC’s is awful. I’ve tried Calibre and found it lacking. One piece of software that I find decent for reading e-books on a PC is oddly comic reading software: ComicRack.

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