Best Reader Apps for Book Lovers
Introduction: Here are some amazing apps that will help you keep track of your reading lists, enjoy ebooks with ease, and find new titles to read!
Finding Readers With Similar Taste With a Reader App
These apps will help you connect to others, make friends, and get suggestions for more books. Many people find it helpful for keeping track of what you have already read and for recommending books to others. Since these are all very different social cataloging apps, you can use several at a time. Some readers use one to catalogue their home library of books and another to keep track of what books they have read, whether they borrowed the book or own it.
The Goodreads app is a well-designed frequent reader app, allowing users to quickly add books to their “To-Read” shelf on the go and even includes a handy barcode scan function uses the phone’s camera. While its best feature is probably the ability to keep track of books you read, when you read them, and what you rated them at the time, there are so many other functions the app includes.
You can join groups to share your literary thoughts, or recommend a book to someone on your friends list. Goodreads is currently integrated in both Facebook and Twitter, letting you connect with friends you already have on other social networks or invite ones who have not discovered Goodreads yet. Goodreads is a great tool for book bloggers as it allows you to set your reviews to automatically post to your blog and offers an array of widgets that plug into html to show off what you’re reading. The apps listed are free to download.
This website contains a lot of the same social cataloging tools that Goodreads has, but includes detailed information about the books themselves for those who are browsing. Supplied by users of the site, the information accumulates much like a wiki page does. If information about a book is incorrect or missing, those who have an account on the site may update it as needed. Information such as the book’s “First Sentence,” “Notes for Parents,” as well as the “Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis” are listed for each book. While there isn’t an app for smartphones, the mobile site can be viewed from a device’s browser at http://m.shelfari.com.
This is a fabulous social cataloging website that is comprable to Goodreads and Shelfari, though it doesn’t have an app for smartphones. The good news is that if you navigate to their site on your phone’s browser, they have a great mobile site that does the same thing as an app. No frills and straightforward, LibraryThing has an emphasis on connecting book lovers to libraries and book-related events.
LibraryThing Local is an accurate and useful resource for finding bookstores and author talks near you. Users will love the LibraryThing recommendations that are listed under each title that are similar in content or genre and the “get this book” button will give you an extensive list of every bookstore and library in your area that has the book along with some links for book swaps, online resources, and alternative formats such as audiobook or ebook with links to each.
Apps for Reading on the Go
Since everyone has different devices these days, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for reading ebooks. Not only are the devices different, but there are now multiple file formats that provide the same book, but require a different app to run it. This list should help you decide which reader app is best for your needs.
1. Amazon Kindle
Just to clear this up, the Kindle is a device, but is also the name of an app. Technically, you can use the Amazon Kindle Reader app on an Android device, iPhone, iPad, or even the nook, which is a Barnes and Noble product. To download this handy app, use your device to browse the store where you would normally purchase apps or media such as ebooks or audiobooks. The Kindle app will be found alphabetically under “A” for Amazon Kindle and is currently a free app for download. The Kindle app has many advantages and will work for just about every device that has apps available for download, which includes your PC or Mac home computer.
One huge advantage to having the Kindle app on your device is that you can get public library ebooks delivered wirelessly for free through the app without having to connect it to a computer. This app will allow you to change the text font, text size, line spacing, background color, and brightness of the backlighting. You can search the text for a word or phrase and highlight sections you’d like to return to, but you can’t make notes or copy and paste text. If you have the Kindle app downloaded on all your devices and logged in as the same Amazon user, the app will remember which page you are on even if you switch devices; this means you can read on your tablet one minute, and switch to your smartphone which will remember where you stopped reading.
A similar app to the Kindle is the iBook. While available for only iPhone and iPad, it was designed to be ideal for these devices. It does everything the Kindle app does, but in its own special Apple way.
Currently, this is the leading app for Android devices and there’s good reasons for that. It supports a bunch of different formats including EPUB, PDF, and ebooks from public libraries that are encrypted with Adobe DRM. You can adjust just about anything from the text to the margin spacing and it supports night time reading with the ideal backlight conditions. You can shop for books within the app which includes a bunch of free titles that download right into the app, making it easy to go from shopping to reading. For the ultra-nerdy, this app will actually sync with your Dropbox account (a cloud service that lets you store data online), which means you can not only add books that you did not purchase with Aldiko to the reader app, but you can add just about any file that’s compatible with Aldiko that may not even be an ebook. This can be incredible useful for students who have textbooks or PDF articles scanned by their professors that are just too tedious to read on their computer screen. The premium version of this app costs $2.99 which will get you an ad-free reader that updates faster and has the ability to leave notes and highlights in your digital text. The free version has ads and lacks the notation and highlight function.
For those who read exclusively PDF ebooks, this is the app for you. PDF documents are this app’s specialty, making it possible to not only read them with every possible option, but also to annotate and fill in PDF forms within the app. Repligo syncs with the cloud, actually it syncs with all the clouds: Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft SkyDrive, making it ideal for sharing and distributing business type PDF documents. It opens links that are attached to the PDF with ease, has all kinds of adorable symbols you can add to help you annotate (which include arrows, ovals, and sticky notes), and has a rotate button for those annoying PDF documents that were scanned in sideways.
Once you start amassing an impressive ebook collection, you may want to download Calibre. While it is not an app for a mobile device, it is a very simple program for your computer that organizes and improves upon your ebook collection as a whole. Did you get an ebook with a graphic that just won’t load? You can change or add beautiful images to help you identify the ebook on your device. It also adds tags in case you want to keep your mysteries and romance collection easily searchable. You can pull metadata from many different sources including ISBN number, Google Books, Amazon, or LibraryThing which adds information to each ebook, making them neatly cataloged and sortable.
These are both free resources of ebooks that have an associated reader app built-in. If you download Overdrive ebooks free with your library card, you can use the app to both retrieve the book and then read it. The Gutenberg Project also provides free ebooks, but they are generally older books with expired copyrights that are public domain. If you use either of these sources for ebooks, having the special app may make it easier to go from the download process to the reading process. Gutenberg recently added the ability to download books directly to your Dropbox app, placing them in your cloud storage space. This is especially useful when your reader app can sync with Dropbox, making the whole process cordless, wireless, and errorless.
7. Comic Rack
There has been a huge movement of graphic novels and comic books to digital media lately. The audience seemed to take to the digital revolution even faster than the Kindle toting crowd and their ebestsellers. If you enjoy reading comic books on your tablet or smartphone, Comic Rack is the only way to go. Designed to emphasize the crisp and lush images in a graphic novel, Comic Rack lets you choose your reading material based on the cover, and leaves everything else out of it. There are no buttons, links, ads, or any other distractions on the page while the user is enjoying the digital material.
What is your reader app of choice and what was the last thing you read on it?