REB1200 for Dummies

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updated May 13, 2007

Why are the tools and info on this site important?

If you have the ability to create and load your own content then you can store and maintain your own library of ebooks for as long as you have the REB1200, GEB2150 or GEB1150. You can use the tools described on this site to convert many ebook content formats to work on your REB1200.

What AC adapter charger/power supply is needed for the REB1200?

Original AC adapter:

Thomson Consumer Electronics
Switching Adaptor
Model No: KWM020-1818
Input : 100-240-VAC
46 - 63 Hz Max, 0.8A
Output:+18Vdc /1.0A
Output Power 18W MAX
Plug Tip is +
5.5mm (od) x 2.5mm (id) plug, center positive.

Buy a similar adapter from: part number 380374 Maunfacturer: Meanwell, Manufacturer Part No: ES25U18-P1M-R

Make sure the adapter puts out 18V DC regulated, not 18V AC as the incorrect Radio Shack # 2049695 adapter does, or your REB1200 will smoke!

I just purchased a preowned REB1200 on Ebay. It is registered in the previous owners name. Will i need a password to put content on?

You shouldn't need a password to put your own content on - that was just there to control access to the previous owner's on-line bookshelf and encrypted books.

I got a used REB1200. It has the previous owner's name in it. How do I reset it?

Instructions on how to refurbish (reset to factory defaults) your REB1200 are here

I need to buy a card reader. Do i just take the card out of the unit and take it to a computer store?

The card it uses is a CompactFlash card. You can ask for a suitable reader by name, or as you suggested take the card with you to a computer or camera store. The card itself is sturdy, so removing and reinserting it is not a threat. Sandisk makes a nice 4-way card reader that will read CompactFlash, SD, Smart Media (for the REB1100) and Memory Sticks, and Kodak makes a nice CompactFlash reader.

What about flash memory cards (Compact Flash)?

The REB1200 has no memory (for books) of its own. All books are stored on the Compact Flash (CF) card (flash memory). The REB1200 comes with an 8Mb (Mb = megabyte = about 1 million characters) CF card.

You can remove the CF card from the REB1200 and replace it with others for storing more books. You can buy CF cards in the following sizes: 16Mb, 32Mb, 64MB, 128Mb, 256Mb 512Mb, 1GB and 2GB. The 1GB card stores about 1 billion characters or about 300-500 books. A 1GB CF card costs about $30 at

If you buy a CF card reader device (plugs into the USB port on a PC)
You can read and write books directly from the card to your PC.The card appears as another disk drive on your PC. A CF card reader costs about $20 at CompUSA.

Formatting a CF card

Let the eBook format it for you -- a Mac or PC will be happy with the written format.

To do this:

-- Power off your eBook (Menu->Sleep).
-- Insert the CF card you wish to format
-- Hold down the Prev Page (inside of the page turner)
-- Power on your eBook (tap the menu button)
-- Keep holding down the Prev Page bar until the unit is fully up
-- Tap the Bookshelf button, if not already there
-- Tap the Menu button
-- Select the "Info" softmenu item
-- Select "more"
-- Select "more"
-- Select "erase external"
-- Select "yes"

Your eBook will reboot and inform you that it would like to reformat some memory, allow it to do so. Assuming the CF card was in good shape to start with, you will then have an eBook with an Empty (re-formatted) Flash card.

Power off the eBook, remove the card, insert it into you Mac-based CF-reader, and you should be able copy ".imp" files over to the root of the card (at the same level that the eBook already created the SOFTBKS folder). Put this card into your eBook and boot -- the device should find the ".imp" files and install them.

Note that the eBook must be running firmware version 3.3 for this to all work -- the firmware version is displayed following "Viewer: " on the 2nd "info" tray. If you're not running this newest firmware (which supports installing ".imp" files and unencrypted content), just make any connection to the Gemstar servers (Bookstore or Online Bookshelf) and you should be offered the firmware update.

My REB1200 is stuck in "Demonstration Mode"

  • Turn then REB 1200 off,
  • Hold page back button down while turning the ebook on.
  • You should see some small print flash on the screen about checking the checksum, this puts you in a mode where you can turn off the demo mode.
  • Press menu and select info.
  • Tap the more button.
  • There should now see another more button, tap that.
  • On the lower left of this screen you should see the demo mode button. Tap that button and you should now be out of demo mode.

Copying content stored on a REB1200 to a PC. Extract .imp

I'm trying to understand if I should upgrade to the 3.3 firmware or not.

The firmware is built-in software of the REB1200. It tells what the REB1200 can or can not read. Firmware 2.x can only read contents in .RES format while firmware 3.3 can read both .RES and .imp formats (firmware 3.1 & 3.2 can not read personal content). The benefit of 3.3 firmware is that you no longer need to do an extra step in converting from .imp to .RES .

To check your firmware version, open your ebook & press MENU | info | more. The viewer number is your firmware version. Upgrading to firmware 3.3 is free via logging on to Gemstar's Online bookshelf, (or $30 if you send it to Gemstar to do it for you).

Do I lose anything by upgrading? No future vulnerablities, for example, the possibility of someday losing the ability to use personal content, etc.?

No. "In 3.3 the default setting for unencrypted content is on. I believe that this setting is permanent, you can't set it from the server anymore. In other words, there is no way to turn it off without upgrading the firmware.

If you only use 2.3 and erase your internal disk (or corrupt something and loose the preferences), you loose that setting and need to have RebLibrarian around to fix it. In 2.3 the setting defaults to off and can be set by the server. So if you're worried about Gemstar selling the division (unlikely) and trying to screw users again, then 2.3 is a bigger risk than 3.3." - Erik Walter

Other than the ability to put .imp files on the flash card and have the reb handle them, is there any other new features or bug fixes that come from 3.3?

The only new feature is the dictionary but no dictionaries are available at the moment...

"There are numerous bug fixes and other improvements in the newer 3.x firmware. Examples include fixes for large bookshelfs, issues with "broken" content (useful if you're not using Gemstar's tools to create content), fixes for network connections, better support for DHCP servers, faster JPEG rendering, and lots of other things that generally make the 3.x firmware "better" than 2.3."

- Erik Walter

Where can I find technical specs on the .imp file format

Technical information on the Format of SoftBook .imp files: or local copy

Software for IMP file format

Lots of info on software for working with IMP files/converting is at: