capsule review

EBooksWriter Lite

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder EBooksWriter Lite

This free e-book creator lets you compose masterworks of up to 20 pages in length, for a maximum file size of 1MB. Your e-book is saved as a self-extracting file that installs the reader software, then opens the e-book. It's not as straightforward as opening a PDF file in Acrobat Reader or an equivalent program, but it works.

EBooksWriter Lite is challenging to figure out, and it's necessary to follow the Help system's Tutorial to accomplish tasks. When you follow the directions, however, you can create a table of contents and link to your book's pages. You can type directly into the pages and insert images, or import multimedia files and text from programs such as Microsoft Word. The Help system offers a complete manual in PDF format; I suggest that you download that and read it carefully if you plan to use this program.

That said, I did not study the manual and was still able to put together a three-page book with pictures. I did run into a problem when attempting to use background images on the pages, however--the program kept telling me that a 32KB image file was "too big for the Lite version," which made no sense. I gave up on backgrounds and imported the files as smaller images, which worked fine. However, I ran into more problems when I was finalizing my e-book: I kept getting the "too big" error message, even though I embedded only tiny pictures on the pages. I finally discovered that the program was still reading the larger background images, and I had to use the "Images and files album" function in the cryptically named Hypertext menu to remove the unused images. Perhaps I could have avoided this hassle if I'd read the manual.

EBooksWriter Lite is free, but you're required to accept e-mail newsletters from the vendor--and your e-book contains a text ad for the paid versions at the bottom of every page. The Lite edition contains most of the functions available in paid versions of the software. Missing features include Boolean search, shopping cart and order form functions, CD-creation feature, password protection, and advanced features like Flash support, FTP publishing, and so on. In addition, paid versions allow you to create much longer e-books.

Ease-of-use issues aside, EBooksWriter Lite does what it says it does: It creates e-books for free. If you're interested in creating your own e-books for friends and family, and willing to embark upon a steep learning curve, you should give this program a try.

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder EBooksWriter Lite

  
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