Do you own one of Amazon’s Kindle, Kindle2 or Kindle DX? No you do not but you probably own an iPhone or an iPad or a Blackberry device. How about Sony’s PRS-500, PRS-505 or PRS-700? These are e-book readers (with proprietary software and formats) and it is highly likely that you have never heard of them. So what should you do if you wanted to read (or even create) e-books on your iPhone or iPad or computer? The following are some of the apps that will allow you enjoy an unlimited amount of ebooks of practically any format on your mobile device for free.
Adobe Reader formerly known as Acrobat Reader is available as a free download from the Adobe website (www.adobe.com). This software can be used on all current operating systems. It allows a user to read and print files which are created in Portable Document Format (PDF). E-books which can be viewed using Adobe Reader end in “.PDF”. To create PDF documents, the Adobe Acrobat program suite (which is not free) can be used. A version of Adobe Reader (LE v2.5) can also be used on phones which run on the Symbian S60 3rd Edition operating system.
Microsoft Reader is available as a free download from the Microsoft website (www.microsoft.com) for computers running on the Windows operating system only. It allows users to read files which are created in the “.LIT” (stands for literature) format. Microsoft Reader has the advantage of displaying the book like the printed copy with cover image and illustrations if there are any. Other features include Text-To-Speech for reading books out aloud and navigation to the last page that was read before the program was closed. To create .LIT files, Read in Microsoft Reader is an add-on from Microsoft which can be used with Microsoft Word. If you do not a computer that runs on Windows, ConvertLit is software (available from www.convertlit.com) that converts .LIT files into open formats. Microsoft Reader also works on Pocket PCs that run on the Windows Mobile operating system.
eReader is a free program which is available at www.ereader.com. It displays e-books which end in the “.PDB” format. Versions are available for computers which run on Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh. There are also versions for the iPhone, iPod Touch, Symbian phone operating system, Blackberry, PalmOS and Pocket PC/Smartphones that run on Windows Mobile. To create .pdb documents, the free DropBook application also from www.ereader.com can be used.
Mobipocket Reader is free software from Mobipocket.com (www.mobipocket.com). It displays e-books which end in the “.PRC” format. Mobipocket Reader has a version which runs on Windows-based personal computers. Other versions include those made for PDAs, Smartphones; BlackBerry, Symbian, PalmOS and Windows Mobile devices. There are also versions for e-book reading devices like Kindle, Cybook, iLiad and Psion. The Mobipocket Reader software version for Windows personal computers allows a user to import other file formats such as PDF, HTML, TXT and DOC. These are then converted into the PRC format for viewing. On attaching a supported hand-held device to your computer for the first time, Mobipocket Reader automatically installs the appropriate version of the software to that device and allows you to send e-books to it.
FBReader (which stands for FictionBookReader) is a free and open-source program for reading e-books for computers on all platforms including Linux. It is for reading e-books created in the FictionBook format which end in “.FB2”. It also supports a wide variety of formats such RTF (Rich Text Format), HTML, PRC (unprotected files only), TXT and so on. It is available for download from www.fbreader.org. FBReader also has versions for Nokia tablet devices like the Nokia 770 and Google Android-based phones.
Lexcycle Stanza is a free program for reading e-books created in a variety of formats for personal computers which run on Windows and Macintosh. This software is available for download from www.lexcycle.com. It displays books in formats like Microsoft’s LIT (unprotected files only), HTML, DOC (Microsoft Word), AWZ (Amazon Kindle’s proprietary format), PDF, etc. There is also a version for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Okular is a free e-book reader and document viewer for computers which run KDE 4 (the desktop environment for Unix-based computers such as Linux). Okular also works across others platforms like Windows and Macintosh. It supports such formats as PDF, HTML, EPUB, FB2, and so on. It is available for download from http://okular.kde.org.
This is a free e-book reader written in the Python programming Language for Linux, FreeBSD and other such operating systems. It is an open-source program. It is available for download from www.sourceforge.net/projects/pybookreader.
The above are free software guaranteed to turn your home computer into a veritable library whether you use a Windows, Macintosh or Linux-based computer. A good idea would be to download and install those which handle the proprietary e-book formats: PDF, LIT, PRC, PDB and FB2.
See More: Best Free eBook Reader Apps for Android OS