There is a very thin line between an eBook-reader and a PDF-reader. While the PDF-reader just needs to read PDFs, an eBook-reader is expected to optimize the process of reading an eBook on your computer.
Desired characteristics are the ability to:
- Read various formats including PDF, HTML, TXT and other formats
- Organize books into categories for easy reference and to create favorite lists
- Annotate, highlight and bookmark pages.
Choosing one best reader among the multitude available is both a tough task and also an insensible one. Once upon a time, the humble .txt format used to be the only form of data. Today, there are nearly unlimited formats. While in an ideal world one would prefer all of this data to be in an open format, the same cannot be expected in the real world. Our books are tied down in either .pdf or .lit or .pdb. So, one has to exercise discretion in selecting the best reader.
Among the various software discussed here, most aim to only present your book in an almost paperback-like format. Only a few try to organize them and add value to the same. Since the main purpose is to read books and not just text, preference is given to those that add value rather than just display your book in a fancy format.
Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
Mobipocket Reader Desktop is a fully-featured reading solution. It has an intuitive interface, annotations and even a dictionary search when configured properly.
The reader includes an auto-column layout for an optimal reading experience, with options for page size, full width display, 2 or 3 column display with customizable font types, sizes and background colors.
It supports .lit,.html,.txt and .pdf files. Mobipocket also claims to sync with all your mobile devices such as a smartphone, Blackberry or PDA.
The main disadvantage is that it stores all of your books in a proprietary .prc version. What this means is that for every book you read, you need to import it into Mobipocket.
Calibre is open source eBook library management application. Calibre supports extensive file conversions, with the ability to convert over thirteen document formats into EPUB, PDF and MOBI formats for use on popular eBook-readers like the SONY PRS 500/505/700, Cybook Gen 3, Amazon Kindle (1 and 2) and the iPhone (with the stanza reader software).
You can also set up Calibre to fetch news from websites and RSS feeds and convert it into a compatible format, so you can load up your eBook-reader with information from your favorite sites. There's even a built-in web server so you can access your eBook collection remotely. It even has a cover-flow browsing feature for your books. However, it tries to sort all your books in its own preferred folder structure, so if you're a person who uses your own folder-hierarchy use this carefully.
Other eBook Reader Suggestions:
Tom's eTextReader reads rtf, html and txt files. Useful features are opening files directly from zip archives and a downloading tool for Project Gutenberg files. But the entire software is a little bit outdated. It lacks support for some commonly used formats. You can check this out at http://www.fellnersoft.at/eTR.htm.
yBook, is a beautiful piece of software whose main aim is to provide a 'paper book' experience on the computer screen. It even allows you to choose what color your pages are and provides a default two-page layout (which can be changed). It opens .txt, .pdb, .rtf and .htm files. This also has a Project Gutenberg downloader. If you want a simple reader that gives you a book like relaxed read then this is it. You can check this out at http://www.spacejock.com/yBook.html.
To be reviewed:
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Mobipocket Reader Desktop
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