Best Free Electronic Book Reader

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Introduction

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.

 

Rated Products

Mobipocket Reader  

A fully-featured reading solution with an intuitive interface, annotations and even a dictionary search


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free
Intuitive, annotate, customize, dictionary search.
Converts all books into proprietary version of .prc files.
Read full review...

Calibre  

An open-source eBook library management application supports extensive file conversions


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Complete solution, open-source and cross platforms.
Physically manipulates your files.
Read full review...

Other eBook Readers

  • 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 But the entire software is a little bit outdated.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.
  • 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.
  • Adobe Digital Editions, to be reviewed.

 

Related Products and Links

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Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Jojo Yee. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Comments

Another overview of Windows eBook readers that some may find useful is at http://beebom.com/best-epub-reader-for-windows/ .

"yReader2" hasn't been updated for a couple of years, "Reader Library" has been shut down for a year, and this site is falling further and further behind the curve. What did you do to your volunteer editors?

Thank you for pointing this out sonoffar. The obsolete entry has now been removed. In fact this category review is in need of an editor and maybe you would like to volunteer to take it over? If so please use the form at the link below. You can also contact me directly by clicking my username. MC - Site Manager. http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/id-become-editor-gizmos-freeware...

Is this category still in need of an editor?

Yes it is Beggar. Please follow the link posted above if you are interested in taking it on. MC - Site Manager.

yBook2 has apparently not been updated since 2012. This particular TSA has not been updated for some time as well.

I'm not sure that Mobibook is still free. All the points on their website that looke like amy kind of download return a message that the resource has been removed.

Is available and working here:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Others/E-Book/Mobipocket-Reader.shtml

[Moderator's note: Link to direct download of file not allowed. Replaced with the link to the software page]

If you are referring to MobiPocket, it is no longer available in any form. This was brought up here in the comments in 2012 (further down the page): "...MobiPocket was killed by Amazon in late 2011/early 2012. http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2011/11/02/rip-mobipocket-2000-2011/ " There was no editor for this page at that time and apparently there has not been one since.

The final version (6.2) is available on various freeware sites, e.g. Softpedia, CNet, etc if you look around.

It's a very nice reader, it was my favourite for a long time. I only stopped using it because of problems making it portable (it requires Java Runtime installed) and because Calibre changed to offer a double-page "proper book" style of layout.

Ah that makes sense (the last version still being around). Just not available at the "official" site. Personally, I use Calibre and Sumatra. There is a portable Java available at PortableApps. I used to create a portable Java for Vuze, but have not done so in quite some time. My memory is that it was not that difficult.

I've had some luck with making Java-dependent software portable but I never got around to putting much effort into Mobipocket.

It was the lack of a double-page layout really that put me off Calibre before and it now has that and a whole lot more : ) It really is very good.

For anyone interested sumatrapdf viewer can handle .mobi files as well. I am satisfied.

Just took a look at yBook. It's now at version 2 and can handle ePub.

http://www.spacejock.com/yBook.html

Here is a list of current features:

Runs on any Windows PC (Win95 or later)
Display your book on side-by-side or single pages.
Resize the pages, adjust the margins, set text and paper colour.
Text, html and RTF reader
PDB and PRC reader
ePub reader
Search for words or phrases
Automatic bookmarks
Text sizes from tiny to HUGE
No zooming, panning or scrolling
Direct download of all Gutenberg titles, with index.
Internationalised menus - Spanish, German, etc
Completely free to use: No registration, no adware, no spyware.

It's a kind request. Whenever you suggest a software, please post a link to its site. I have inserted the link this time in the comment. Also, if you notice, yBook has been suggested just a comment below.

A bit late but........ Not only is this the best allround software of its type I've found, but:
1. It's free!
2. Very Well-written
3. The author's Site (He writes SF and programs) has extra goodies there.
http://www.spacejock.com/yBook.html
A great place for aspiring Authors, too.

Thanks Himagain, it certainly looks interesting. I will review it shortly.