Help Me, Microsoft Reader Folks

Update: I think we have something that kind-of wins, if you have a proper font, and I don’t know that all Windows boxen have it. Same download link below; I reset the hit counter.

You’re my only hope. And feel free to spread this link.

So I’ve been experimenting with a multi-format ebook workflow: one source, multiple products at the end of it. I hope that when I get it all working together for Shadow Unit Season 2, an episode will take me very little time to compile for multiple formats:

  • Mobipocket (Kindle 1, Kindle 2, Mobipocket Reader, FBReader/iLiad etc)
  • EPub (Sony Reader PRS-505 and later models, Stanza/iPhone, Adobe Digital Editions, etc)
  • PDF with linkage (anything that can read PDF), letter-size for now
  • LRF (Sony Reader all models)
  • LIT (Microsoft Reader)

But I currently have no way to test the LIT file I generated (using calibre, the Swiss toolkit of ebook conversion). If you have something that reads MS Reader .LIT files, and you’d like to experiment and report bugs, here’s the link to the LIT file for Episode 1:

[download id=”34″]

If you’d like to help, you can comment in this post (that’s probably most helpful) or send email to

By the way, if you want the other formats, here’s the relevant post, and you can also look at the Downloads page (link all the way at the top of this blog).

7 thoughts on “Help Me, Microsoft Reader Folks

  1. Hi.

    I’ve just installed the reader – actually, it doesn’t look so bad, but it’s a bit outdated software.

    OK, one problem not related to .lit file is overquotation:

    “‘I’m a spook, not a doctor?’”

    The probably .lit-specific is unrecognized character in place of “?” (displayed as empty square):

    With any luck, we won?t need to work all twenty-seven
    We?re very sorry for your injury, Ms. Foundline
    like lying down after a long day?s work

    (There’s more of them).

  2. Hi Wasaty!

    I’m on a Mac, so I have some limitations.

    Overquotation – very weird. Doesn’t show up in the other formats.

    The LIT-specific ‘?’ is likely an encoding issue. The HTML files were in ISO-8859-1 (rather than UTF-8).

    I uploaded a new file with ISO-8859-1 encoding forced (I think…). Same link location.

    Thanks for helping! :)

    (I’m really going to bed now.)

  3. Sorry, but no banana. Everything looks the same.

    And BTW, that “overquotation” is just in one place, the one I quoted.

  4. Encoding-wise, everything looks fine to me – no random ‘?’ marks in sight. Actually-visible quirks: the paragraph indent looks kind of large and the cover image appears to be a thumbnail image stretched up to full size.

    Are you using any2lit or oeb2lit? Any2lit by default produces kind of large paragraph indents, while oeb2lit will just use whatever the CSS specifies. If you use oeb2lit you also have several options for explicitly specifying the cover image in your OPF. A metadata/meta[@name=”cover”] with a @content of the /manifest/item/@id of the cover image is the “generic” way, which you may already be doing for Mobipocket generation? LIT-specifically, a guide/reference with @type ‘’ will become the LIT cover image and @type ‘’ will become the LIT thumbnail image.

    Oh, and as far as checking out the LIT versions yourself, Wine runs on OS X and MSReader runs just fine under Wine. That’s how I ran it (on Linux) to implement LIT generation, in fact. :-)

  5. Hi Marshall,

    Ah, so it’s a font issue, or something like that.

    I’m using any2lit—haven’t tried oeb2lit yet. I’ll try that next, thank you.

    I’m using both the metadata/manifest item method for a cover, as well as guide/reference item with type :) So I’m not sure why the cover image is like that. Hmm. (I didn’t know about thumbimage-standard).

    I’d be checking this all out myself, but I’m having problems with WINE on the Mac with refers to Microsoft Reader, and I’m not sure why. (Perhaps the WINE I’m using is too old?) What version of the Reader do you use?


    The overquotation is intentional—it’s a character repeating a quote, in this case a humorous one, so the double quote/single quote is all good. :)

  6. Marshall,

    I used oeb2lit, and it made a file that was larger by about 200k, and I have no idea what that’s all about. It’s up at the link now.

    And Microsoft Reader still won’t run on my machine, and I’ve gone through two WINE installations at this point.

  7. Hi,
    I just looked for the MS reader yesterday.
    Searching for .lit files brought me to your site.
    The sample I saved to my phone looks very similar to the PDF, except the cover is more a square than a rectangle.


    Bert H. Wilde

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