Microsoft Reader was a Microsoft application for the reading of e-books, originally released in August 2000.
Microsoft Reader was available for download from Microsoft as a free application for computers running Windows. It can also be used on a Pocket PC, where it has been built into the ROM since Windows CE 3.0. Microsoft Reader was not supported on newer Windows Phone 7 devices, but it was compatible with Windows Mobile.
Microsoft Reader displays books in the .LIT (shortened from "literature") format, an extension of the Microsoft Compressed HTML Help format to include DRM. These e-books can be purchased and downloaded from online stores.
The notable features of Microsoft Reader are ClearType for increased readability on small screens, highlighting and doodling designed for quick note-taking, text notes, and searching. The PC version also has an optional plugin for text-to-speech, enabling books to be read out loud.
In August 2011, Microsoft announced they were discontinuing both Microsoft Reader and the use of the .lit format for ebooks at the end of August 2012, and ending sales of the format on November 8, 2011.
Books accessible by Reader can be protected, or unprotected, only allowing access to protected books if the user has activated the software. This can be accomplished by registering using their Passport account. Only six Reader installations can be activated per account, after which, Microsoft requires the user to request further activations.
Read in Microsoft Reader is an add-on, available from Microsoft, that can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Word (versions 2000, 2002 and 2003) to create .LIT extension e-books. This software is not fully compatible with Office 2007.