Book Creator@Librie

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Required Software

Book Creator Trial

Book Creator Translated

VMWare Player

VMWare Utilities


Book Creator, by Canon, is a program that generates ebooks in .LRS format, a standard that is currently only used by Sony in it's line of e-ink ebook readers - the Japanese Librie and the North American Reader (PRS-500). The Librie can only read .LRS files (and the DRM-laden .LRX variant of .LRS, used for Sony's Timebook store - their Japanese portal for selling ebooks), but the newer Sony Reader reads .LRS/.LRX in addition to a variety of more basic formats. 

The Reader isn't available in Canada yet, so I opted for the Librie. This means I'm mainly interested in converting readily available material to .LRS.

 There are many ways of converting text filled files to .LRS, but formatting is always a concern. My efforts so far have only produced lukewarm results. The best of the files that I've seen have been produced in Book Creator and they beat my own attempts hands down.

The problem is, Canon's Book Creator is expensive and only available in Japanese. They did offer a one-year trial edition of version 1.4, but that expires in December of 2006, and the download was taken down early in 2006. (Additionally, it apparently refuses to install after ~the third quarter of 2006). 

There are solutions available. The people of the Librie group at Yahoo Groups have partially translated the .EXE of Book Creator to help understand how to use it. They've also cached the trial download so that it's still available for use. The final hurdle - it's expiry - is a little trickier, but apparently people have been able to use it in a virtual machine without issues.

So, rambling aside, I'm going to try and set up a Virtual Machine to try and get Book Creator working on my desktop.

What You'll Need


I'm following the general directions available at this link. These instructions are for setting up VMWare under Windows as a host OS. It is quite possible to do this under Linux as well, but I don't have my Linux Desktop finalized yet.

1) Download and install the VMWare Player software. You'll probably have to reboot your computer. 

2) Install the Core files (CoreSetup.exe,linked at the top of the VMWare Utilities webpage.)

3) Install the VMX Builder application (VMXBuilderSetup.exe, linked near the bottom of the VMWare Utilities webpage)

4) Create a directory somewhere on your computer for your VMWare image. Make sure you have an empty directory just for your virtual machine - when VMWare is running it makes all sorts of little files that you don't want laying around your file system.

5) Run VMX Builder and select "Create New Virtual Machine". Choose your VMWare image directory and choose a name for the virtual image. I've just called mine "Book Creator".

6) Set your options. You have to set the Host Product (Target Platform - Player, Version 2.x), and the Guest OS, which is the operating system you'll be using in the virtual machine. What you put in here will depend on what kind of Windows Install disks you have. I'm using WIndows XP Pro, so I set "Guest O/S Family" to Microsoft Windows, and Version to XP Professional. The rest of the settings on the Options tab can be left alone.

7) Next, you have to configure your hardware. Here's a list of the changes I made. (Keep in mind that I'm running this on a fairly significant machine - Athlon X2 4600+, 2gb Ram, Dual Nvidia 7600GT video)

  • Changed memory from 128mb to 512mb
  • Disabled floppy drive
  • Disabled SCSI support 
  •  Changed display support to 1280x1024, enabled Direct3d. Left the memory at 16mb.
  • Added an audio adaptor (ES1371). (To add a device, use the add button at the bottom of the list.)
  • Added a network card. I chose AMD Lance and Bridged, which connects your virtual computer to your network just like a real computer. I can do this because I've got a router, so I'll be connecting the virtual machine to the router. I'd almost recommend using Host Only, meaning your image won't be on the internet at all - just communicating with the host OS. (Assuming your version of windows doesn't need internet access for activation, etc)
  • Added a USB controller. Keep in mind that VMWare doesn't support USB2.0, but it should allow you to attach your devices (like your Librie, Reader, or usb card reader) as a USB 1.1 device. It should still work, but it will be slower. 
  •  Add a Hard drive. This is another complex option. After you add the hard drive, you have to create a hard drive image. Select "Create New". 
  • Choose IDE hard drive, select a HD size. I chose 4.2gb, because that's easily backed up on a DVD. Keep in mind that if you choose a file size larger than 2gb you have to be running Win2k or greater, and using an NTFS formatted drive. You could probably get around the restriction by choosing "Growable Virtual Disk split into files", but I'm not messing with that. I chose "Single Growable virtual Disk". Select Creation Method of VMWare Type Library. (You DID install VMWare Player first, right?)
  • Under Node, select IDE 0:0. (The webpage that I'm following suggests IDE 0:1, but that shouldn't be necessary.)
  • Next, add a CD/DVD drive. I manually set mine to the proper Drive letter for my computer, and chose to make it IDE 1:0. Alternatively, you can apparently chose an ISO image to boot from if you aren't using a real disk to install your OS.
  • Save your virtual image, and launch it to see what happens. If everthing seems okay, add your windows boot disk and go for it.

8) To get input into the virtual machine, you have to point click on it and type Ctrl-G. To get back out it's Ctrl-Alt. To Ctrl-Alt-Del, use Ctrl-Alt-Insert instead. F2 gets you into your Bios. You can reset your computer by going to the Player->Troubleshoot menu. You can apparently also change the memory allocation on the fly.

9) Next step is to install your Windows OS. I did an NTFS quick format of my 4gb partition. When asked about my time and timezone, I set it way back when, at January 1, 2005, and my timezone as GMT +9 for Tokyo. Remember, the main reason we're doing this in the first place is because our Book Creator trial expires in December of 2006. It's also a 1yr limited trial.

9.5) The first time I booted into Windows, VMPlayer crashed. I launched into it a second time and it worked perfectly. 

10) I installed WinXP SP2, just to be on the safer side. Configure windows to your personal preferences. (I turn off the Teletubbies default theme and make everything look like Win2k again :P )

11) If you're going to do much experimenting, it might be worthwhile to make a backup copy of your virtual hard drive file at this stage. By this time, my virtual HD is over 1.5gb in size. I'll refrain from commenting on this until I've tried installing Linux to a virtual machine :)

 12) If you're running a recent version of windows, make sure that, when you configure the date and time, that you turn off the "Synchronize with Server" option. If you don't, it'll happily reset your carefully calculated time warp back to the present instead of 2 years ago. :P

 Although, the thing reset the time anyway. Weirdness.

13) I installed Firefox and 7zip. Edit of this page resumes from Firefox running in my Virtual machine.

14) In WIndows XP, I went to the Regional and Language options control panel. Under the languages tab, select "Install files for East Asian Languages". On the Advanced tab, select Japanese for the Non Unicode language. Click okay. You'll have to feed it your WinXp cd to copy the files and a reboot is required.

Don't be scared of the Japanese language settings. Most things work normally - the only really weird thing is the backslash key becomes a Japanese Yen symbol. It still *acts* like a backslash key, though.

15) Unpack and install the Bookcreator trial. I accepted all the defaults. I also ended up installed TTedit - whatever it happens to be. Reboot again.

16) Run Bookcreator. I got a nice little window up that said I  had 365 days to  demo the program. When I clicked okay, the program opened.

Yay! :)

The program gets grumpy if you change the date on the computer *after* installing, though. 

17) Grab the translated .EXE. Unpack it. Back up the Bookcreator.exe in the Book Creator 体験版 directory in program files and replace it with the one from the archive. Run it, and it should be about as English as it's going to get. :)

18) I installed my Librie software as well, and the translated .EXE.

19) Next, I would recommend installing any other utilities then backing up your image so you don't have to go through this mess again in a year when your trial program expires. 

Now, this worked for me. Your mileage may vary. Now I have to sit down and learn how to use the program (and hope that the results were worth the effort.)

 Written by Tory@SDI; Last edited Dec 4, 2006;