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To the many hardware-based e-book readers available, we have to add now a plethora of reading tools that have followed an increasing demand from e-book lovers – the option to transform our laptops, smart phones, and tablets into e-book readers. ICE Book Reader Professional covers that demand while offering also something completely different – teleprompting and TTS capabilities.
This is what makes this app different from the many readers available. A caveat, thought, this does not make it better or superior in any way to other e-book readers, it only makes it “different”. While others concentrate on reproducing the beauty of a printed book on your screen while taking advantage of the most obvious digital text management features (reflowable text, bookmarking, word search, online dictionaries, etc.), ICE Book Reader Professional concentrates most of its efforts in improving your reading experience by reducing eye strain.
Using an oversized Comic Sans font on a light-grey background, painting the titles in red, and highlighting the first letters of all new paragraphs in white, this tool provides you with a unique layout that attempts to make your reading experience as smooth, comfortable, and healthy as possible. For most, at least. The limited customization options in terms of fonts, colors, sizes, and backgrounds limit its use to those who find this layout good for their eyesight (in terms of color contrast, font type, and size, mainly) and nice enough to look at it for hours. Alternatively, you can ask the program to reproduce the original layout of the book.
A number of other features – also designed to help make your reading more comfortable – do accept customization, though. Thus, ICE Book Reader Professional can scroll the text automatically and adjust the scroll speed to your reading speed, so that you don’t need to touch the controls to move to the next page. This makes this app useful for teleprompting, whether you are in front of a camera or simply giving a presentation. It can also read aloud the text for you using TTS technology, and even record that reading to produce audio books. It will remember when you left your reading off, and will allow you to configure your mouse as a remote control.
The program also comes with a series of not-so-friendly e-book management tools designed to organize your collections with just a few clicks or to extract all kinds of metadata from your books. Be prepared to face a strong contrast between the “comfortable reading” approach of the main interface and the somehow cryptic and cluttered menus, metadata readers, and e-book management features that you will have to deal with.
As said, ICE Book Reader Professional is not better or worse than other e-book readers – it is just different. It offers some unique functionality that you won’t easily come across in other similar tools, but – in a well-meaning attempt to improve your reading experience – it limits the user’s choice of layout a bit too much. The only way to find out if it adjusts to your ideal reading experience or not is by trying it. You may be surprised.
- Suitable for teleprompting
- Advanced settings for e-book library management
- Adjustable reading speed
- Allows for text editing
- Fonts and colors designed to alleviate eye strain
- Read-aloud TTS functionality with recording capabilities
- Full-screen mode reading
- Fonts and colors don't allow for customization
- Complexity of menus and management of book-related data