Here at TeleRead, we have our favorite ereading apps.
But your needs may not be our needs—favorites vary even among TeleRead people. One of the best places to weigh your choices is none other than Wikipedia, where ebook fans have lovingly listed in detail the feature sets of the different apps.
Along the way, looking over the lists, you’ll see how badly DRM-capable readers from Amazon and Apple stack up against the competition in crucial ways.
Now, on to the lists!
1. Among the Android apps listed, you’ll find that Moon+ Reader Pro is a clear standout even if it doesn’t read as many formats as some of the others.
Now, do you notice what a loser the Kindle app is in the display-feature category? Talk about arguments for allowing the noninfringing cracking of DRM. Hello, U.S. Copyright Office and the rest of the Library of Congress? Do you really want to let Amazon continue dumbing down its ereaders and apps for captive customers at the expense of accessibility?
I fervently hope that Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden can get away with appointing a new register of copyrights who will go for balanced copyright law, as opposed to the past decisions so often favoring special interests in regard to DRM and other matters. The Wikipedia tables objectively prove how far behind Amazon apps are in serving the needs of ebook-lovers in the crucial display category. Fodder for the Federal Trade Commission, too, even? The FTC is supposed to promote consumer choice.
2. Listings for iOS apps show all the options that Marvin offers and likewise remind us of the shortcomings of Kindle apps. What’s more, iBooks, Apple’s own DRM-infested ereader, lags in the display-feature category compared to many rivals (even if it does offer a boldface font). Further evidence that DRM is toxic for competition? I think so. Amazon and Apple would almost surely give us much better ereading apps if competition existed for reading of DRMed books. But is that the solution anyway? The FTC should really, really lean on retailers and publishers either to drop DRM or replace it with watermarking, which let you read ebooks with a number of products.
The limits of the feature set comparisons in Wikipedia
Mind you, feature set comparisons in Wikipedia are not complete. The Android list, for example, does not tell which apps let you export your notes and highlights by email. And the iOS list does not even mention Voice Dream, which I personally like because of its sophisticated text-to-speech capabilities, not just its usefulness as a traditional ereader app.
What’s more, feature sets should not be the only way to evaluate ereading apps. You also need to care about how well the developers have implemented the sets. Not to mention the overall look and feel of the apps and general ease of use.
Still, the Wikipedia lists are a start for shoppers, as well as a reminder of how badly Amazon and Apple have screwed us with underdeveloped ereading apps.
Related: Wikipedia’s comparison of ereading hardware, such as the Kindle and the Nook lines. The Android and iOS app charts do not include Nook-related apps in the comparison