The Paperback Page

What is Paperback?

Paperback lets you take pure text files and quickly put them on your Newton device - creating Newton Paperback books straight from your text, with no extra work or hassle, for free!

Paperback is free, but is Copyright 1994-1996 by David Fedor.

Due to the demise of the Newton platform, I'm not supporting or enhancing Paperback any more. Feel free to use it, but don't expect anything more than what is posted here...
FYI, currently, the author (David) lives in Switzerland, and attends the Christian church called LIFT in Zug, near Zurich. If you're passing through, please look me up!

Where to get Paperback

Common questions

What's new in Paperback 2.0?

Paperback 2.0 has the following new features:

Note that Paperback books created with Paperback 1.02 will work just fine on Newton 2.0 devices, but if you create a new one with Paperback 2.0, you can optionally make it Newton 2.0-only, which results in a smaller, faster Paperback book.

How do I use Paperback?

On the Macintosh or using the Windows File Manager, drop a text file on the Paperback icon. A dialog box will appear, letting you choose various options. Normally you'll just change the first item (the text displayed in the extras drawer) and hit "OK" to save the Paperback book on your hard drive.

The generated package file is now ready to be downloaded using Apple's Newton Package Installer, the Macintosh or Windows Connection Kit, Newton Backup Utility, or any of the various shareware package downloaders.

Once you've gotten the package on your Newton device, just tap on the icon in the Extras drawer, and there's your text!

What are all these options?

When you drop a text file on the Paperback application, there are a bunch of options you can set. Here's an explanation of them:

The top few fields are:

The next few options are new for Paperback 2.0:

You can also choose the default font used to display the text. An area to provide contact information or help is also provided; the users can access that info by pressing the "?" button on the status bar.

Can I drop my word processor documents on Paperback?

If you're using a word processor like Word or ClarisWorks or whatever, you'll need to save your file as "text only" before giving it to Paperback. This will remove the graphics, multiple fonts, tables, etc., which Paperback won't know how to display. (See the next question.)

Can I put graphics in a Paperback book?

Paperback doesn't support multiple embedded fonts or graphics or any non-text files. There are other applications which support these sorts of things (Newton Press or BookMaker, both by Apple Computer, NewtsCape, and others) but Paperback is designed to be quick, efficient, and above all, free. I don't have the time to add this feature, and it would make the reader application much more complex.

Are you porting Paperback to the TRS-80?

Paperback currently runs on MacOS computers, and on Windows boxes. It could theoretically run on nearly any computer, but it doesn't make much sense on platforms which don't have the applications to download the packages to the Newton device!

If you're a programmer and really really want a version of Paperback to run on your favorite machine, first make sure there's a package downloader for it. Then write the UI and file handling code for me. Then send me mail and we might work something out. :-)

So is it a "real" Newton book?

Paperback does not create "real" Newton books like those created with Apple's BookMaker application or Newton Press. In some ways that's good - I can implement new features like changing the font on demand, and can support landscape mode (or any size screen) but it also means I don't support some features like multiple fonts, graphics, multiple columns, printing, etc... and you also need to have a Paperback reader installed somewhere, since it isn't part of the ROM.

The reader application (i.e. overhead necessary to display a Paperback book) is less than 15k uncompressed (10k compressed), which is quite compact for an application. Converting ASCII into Unicode (necessary for Newton devices) doubles the size of the text, which will result in packages over double the size of the original text. However, the built-in compression on Newton devices will generally mean your Paperback book will take roughly the same amount of space on the device as it does on your desktop computer.

If you're not including the reader application in the package, the overhead drops down to less than 5k, which is then compressed to about 3k. And just so long as you have a Paperback book with a reader installed on your Newton device, you're all set.

Can I automate Paperback?

If you want to be able to drop a text file on the Paperback application and have it just create the package without any options, that's possible. (I didn't say trivial, but it's possible.) Run Paperback once and set the default preferences the way you want them to be. Then edit the Paperback Prefs file (found inside the Preferences folder of the System Folder) with some text editor like BBEdit and change the 8th letter from a "@" to an "A". Now save the file and your package will be saved in the same spot as the source file, with your default options.