Here at TeleRead, we have our favorite ereading apps.
For example, we like Moon+ Reader Pro, FBReader, Bookari and Voice Dream Reader for Android.
Marvin, Bookari, and Voice Dream are among our choices for iOS (yes, Android and iOS versions exist of Bookari and Voice Dream).
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
I have basic requirements when it comes to reading on my android tablet: the ability to sort by author; once sorted by author, the ability to sort by series; easy to use; and the app must allow me to store a large library (3500+ so far). Bookari is my favourite by far. The look and feel is exactly what I want. I have tried FBReader; Moon+ Reader; Bluefire Reader etc but there was always something that didn’t quite work properly for me. Inability to sort by series; clunky navigation; unable to have large library etc. I do still use Blufire as well, but only for temporarily stored eBooks. I also dislike the way some functionality available in iOS, but is not available in android!
My mother stll uses a 1st gen iPad – ok for reading but not too flash for much else. Things need to be pretty simple for her, so she still uses Shubook. Doesn’t allow sorting by series, but Mum is used to the app now and hates it when I get her to try anything else.
The Kobo, iBook and Kindle apps are horrendous so I don’t use them at all. No decent functionality. I think I lasted all of 5 minutes when I tried them out some time ago.
We’re also partial to Google Play Books around here, and I’ve had reasonably good experiences with eReader Prestigio though I don’t ever seem to have written them up.
Also worth remembering that sometimes useful “features” are generally invisible on feature lists—such as whether a given e-reader application handles non-breaking space paragraphs correctly.
@Chris: Underwhelmed by Google Reader. But, yes, it has its fans and I’m glad you mentioned it. eReader Prestigio is a great addition to our list. It does TTS beautifully – better than Moon – as well as bold. Wonderful fonts. Very much looking forward to your review.
Do you really think an Obama-to-Clinton administration will take on Amazon? Never forget that Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post and, next to the NY Times, that’s the most influential newspaper in the country. Either paper can make an administration’s life hell and, in the case of Hillary, they ‘know where the bodies are” in a body count rivals that of Auschwitz.
Indeed, this crazy election only makes sense when you realize that the press in this country did their best (successfully) to puff the weakest and most scandal-prone of an otherwise good field of Republican nominees, as well as crushing Bernie’s grassroots challenge on the left. What was the reason?
I’ve already given one illustration—Bezos owning the Washington Post. The once lucrative income big city newspapers got from advertising is gone. That from network TV news is collapsing fast. I watched NBC News at a relative’s not long ago. It was ad after ad for prescription medicines for old people. Those are virtually the only people watching NBC News, and when they’re gone, they won’t be replaced by a newly aged cohort. Without an audience, how do you get advertisers? Without advertisers, how do you pay lucrative salaries?
From the perspective of news executives and their ever-obedient staff, the fix for our mainstream press woes lies subsidies by billionaries, either directly (Bezos) or through ownership by giant corporations. Do not forget that the MS in MSNBC is “Microsoft.”
These news sources are already selling themselves cheaply. That is why this election is a horror. They’re going after the most lucrative source of income possible, billionaires who like pay-to-play politics because they’re the ones who have the money to pay. (Think of those huge speaking fees Bill and Hillary got from Goldman Sachs.)
And in exchange the billionaire-favored candidates—in this election that’s chiefly Hillary—will get unabashed boosting. The chief problem this bought-and-paid-for press is facing is that Hillary’s decades-old record of corruption and incompetence is so dreadful, it’s impossible to hide. In the Internet era, no story can be hid for long.
And in this horrid cesspool, issues that could have easily been dealt with in the past are issues that can’t get enough attention to get fixed. For instance, all the attention that’s devoted to Hillary’s email scandal, is diverting attention away from a host of issues such as:
1. Huge budget deficits that have doubled our national debt in the last eight years.
2. Chronic unemployment in many areas of our country. I was talking to someone on Friday who lives in a small town where the chief source of income is rapidly becoming old people living on Social Security. With no local jobs, the young are leaving.
3. An increasing aggressive China and Russia, along with a soon to be nuclear Iran.
A press that wants to elect Hillary and defend Obama simply can’t allow those issues to become important since the blame for them rests primarily on Democrats, particularly Obama. In that environment, copyright and DRM will never be an issue. If important issues can’t be addressed, then neither can little ones.
Also, in the past parties had reasons not to run trashy, corrupt candidates. The press might be heavily partisan, but until Bill Clinton corrupted it, it would have gone after even crooked Democrats.
And once upon a time, the Republicans had ample motivation to run clean candidates, since any flaw in their candidate would be ruthlessly exposed by a partisan press. But any motivation for doing that ended completely in 2012, when the liberal press went after a candidate as talented and squeaky clean as Romney. All too many Republican and independent voters have concluded that there’s no reason to support polite and clean candidates, since they’ll be attacked anyway. In the context of a press that always attacks Republicans, for many voters the best candidate will be one that kicks back and fights dirty. That is Trump.
Most Americans understand the problem—two candidates, neither of whom is qualified for the presidency. But far too few realize that the cause lies in a once mainstream press that, in the interest of survival, has sold itself out. That is where their anger should be directed.
That’s why I’m not focusing on who wins this one. I’m focusing on doing my best to ensure that, starting in 2020, this bought-and-paid-for press will never have the influence to shape an election again. It’s their corruption that matters the most. It is their corruption that lies at the heart of the woes of Election 2016.
And in the end, this is why smaller problems such as copyright don’t get fixed. Why haven’t our copyright laws been amended in any substantial way since the late 1970s, despite all that has happened? Because one powerful group, publishing and the movie industry, wants strict copyright, while another, high-tech giants such as Google, was soft and squishy copyright law. When two powerful, pay-to-play groups clash, neither can win and nothing gets done. The interests of the public (and impoverished authors) never get considered.
@MichaelPerry: Of course, DRM is hardly an issue on the level of automation. But it’s a big fish in the ebook pond, the one we at TeleRead write about. I won’t address all your points. But, yes, I fervently agree with you about the possibility of mass unrest resulting from automation.
We need to do something, probably a mix of things—from upgrading the workforce to infrastructure projects to thinking about some kind of guaranteed basic income for those without other hope. I’m anti-Trump in terms of solutions. But economically he is dead on the money about the mess the American elite has gotten us into without sufficient regard for our working people.
You’ll get no argument from me that DRM and siloing are bad for consumers in particular and the eBook world generally. However, I think that you are being overly harsh with Apple when you say, “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).”
True, Apple iBooks does support Apple FairPlay DRM which, unlike other DRM flavors, is not currently circumventable with freely available tools. However, the iBooks app handles ePub 2 and ePub3 eBooks that are not DRM encumbered just fine. As well, it is uniquely able to offer readers access to Apple’s interactive and media rich multi-touch format.
You are not very specific about what you mean by “lags in the display-feature category” so that assertion is pretty hard to address. Perhaps we’ll see a more detailed comparison of eReaders on this dimension later on.
Then there is also the matter of EPUB 3 compliance. When does that become important to eReading? The Book Industry Study Group (BSIG) keeps tabs on how well eReaders comport to the ePub 3 standard (see: https://bisg.site-ym.com/news/298060/Announcing-New-Updates-For-the-EPUB-3-Support-Grid-.htm) offering test files and an online validator for independent investigation (see: http://epubtest.org).
I am a big fan of Google Play Books on android. It’s simple to upload ebooks to that site, and overall it looks great. My main complaint is that GPB isn’t supported easily on Kindle Fire! (On IOS it looks quite good).
I just checked the Play store page for Adobe DE. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adobe.digitaleditions&hl=en Looks like this app has been updated several times so Update, there’s a lot of negative reviews on Play store for DE — primarily because it’s so hard to open up DRMed ebooks.
For what it’s worth, if you use the nifty little workaround to let you load the Google Play Store onto the Fire, Google Play Books works just fine.
What I am looking for is an ereader that will sync reading positions between Android and iOS. Bookari almost does it but it is not reliable. FBreader has promised an iOS version that will fit the bill (I hope). Do you know of any reader other than Bookari that will sync between Android and iOS?