Aldiko: Best eBook Reader
Note: My coauthor and I each wrote about Aldiko for the book, for the Reference chapter and the Entertainment chapter, respectively. We ended up putting it in Reference, so I’m running my own description here, which we cut to avoid duplication.
Who needs another expensive device dedicated to just reading books when you always have your Android phone with you anyway? Aldiko gets mobile book reading right, with an eye-pleasing, customizable (by font, color, margins, etc.) experience to curl up with or take on the go. Sure, the screen is small and doesn’t support proprietary, DRM-protected formats like Kindle’s MOBI, but Aldiko reads any ePub files, which you can import yourself or get download through Aldiko’s online catalog.
OFF THE SHELF (left): The attractive dashboard that greets you when Aldiko launches gives you quick access to the book’s you’ve read most recently, your whole eBook library, and a portal to a variety of catalogs to download new books. Just choose a book to get reading, wherever you left off or bookmarked.
BROWSE THE CATALOG (right): Aldiko taps into a variety of sources for discovering both free and paid books that are available to download. Feedbooks.com is a great place to find free books, both original content and classic works culled from the public domain. Specialized catalogs include technical content from O’Reilly eBooks, romance novels and erotica from All Romance eBooks, and books by independent authors and publishers distributed by Smashwords.
READ THE CLASSICS (left): Reading books on the small screen isn’t as difficult as you might think, especially when you can change text size, font, brightness, orientation, and other layout choices. Navigate through the book by table of contents, search by phrase, or just swipe the page to the left to turn to the next.
BEDTIME READING (right): Reading dark text on a bright backlit background is a little more difficult on the eyes than the reverse. When you hunker down in bed to read with the lights out, switch to Night mode to get white text against a black background.
HONORABLE MENTION: FBReader
FBReader is another serviceable eBook reader, and it supports ePub, OEB, and fb2 (.zip) file formats. It includes some of the standard features of Aldiko, such as Night/Day modes and choice of screen orientation, but its appearance and layout options are much more limited (most notably, you have no control over your font type, size, or color). FBReader also taps into the free public domain content available at Feedbooks, but it doesn’t directly access the other specialized catalogs offered by Aldiko.