eReaders - eBooks

eReader app Reviews - The Best of Both Worlds

I like reading books. But when I read a book I like to see the original picture illustrations. I like reading the classics with original pictures. That presents a problem with eReader apps because most of the good eReader apps do not include access to free eBooks with pictures.

The answer lies in Google Books. You can download free classic books with illustrations at Google Books. Download them in ePub format and then you can import them into your favorite eReader. The eReader’s and apps are reviewed below. But first, here is how to get classics from Google Books.

  1. Go to Google Books and type in the name of the book in the search box and press enter.
  2. On the left hand side look for Free Google eBooks and click on it so that only the free books are displayed.
  3. Click on a book title to see a preview and start reading it and look at the pictures. In the upper right corner click on Download and then click on ePub to save it on your computer.
  4. Now look at the Import section below for each of the ereader apps or ereader devices below or to read the ePub eBook on your PC you can download Adobe Digital Editions or http://calibre-ebook.com/

IFlow Reader

Illustrations: Alice in Wonderland (included) has strange (not the original) illustrations. Can’t find illustrations in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or other classic books. Hold your finger on an image to view only the image and zoom into it

Navigation: Has a nice scrolling flow downward, like a webpage.

Bookmarks: Difficult. You have to click and hold on a word until it asks if you wish to highlight the word or highlight the sentence. Then you click on “Text” and that word or sentence becomes a bookmark. Or click on a “Notepad and Pencil” icon and that word becomes a bookmark with annotation.

Notes: Yes. See Bookmarks above.

Definitions: Yes. Double tap a word and then click on earth globe icon and you can choose to look up the word in google or dictionary.com or wikipedia.

PDF: Not supported yet.

ePub: Supports text and images. To read books on your PC you have to download Adobe Digital Editions.

Import: Yes, easy. You can import ePub books you have downloaded from other sites by going to iflowreader.com clicking on “My Books” and then “+ Import a Book”. If you download a book from http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/library/ to read in Adobe Digital Editions the book will download to “My Documents/My Digital Editions” on your hard drive.

Stanza

Illustrations: Alice in Wonderland (included) has the original artwork, however can’t find illustrations for other classic books like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. All the free books seem to come from feedbooks.com without illustrations. Hold your finger on an image to view only the image and zoom into it.

Navigation: Left and right gestures turn the pages. Shows a nice sliding of the page.

Bookmarks: Click the bookmark icon. Then click on “Bookmarks” and click plus sign or “Add”.

Notes: Difficult. Click and hold a word and a new screen appears allowing you to “Define”, Annotate” or “Share”.

Definitions: Yes. See Notes above.

PDF: Only reads PDF text, not pictures.

ePub: Supports text and images.

Import: Yes, but with medium difficulty. You may import epub books you download from Google Books or other locations. The easiest way to do so is with http://calibre-ebook.com/ for Windows, Mac, or Linux. Here are the steps:

  1. Download Calibre and run it and then click on Add Books and browse to your epub books.
  2. Click on Connect/Share -> Start Content Server if it is not running
  3. On your iPod device in Stanza app: Click on Get Books then click on the Shared tab
  4. Click on Books in calibre (your PC name)
  5. Click on By Newest
  6. Click on the book you want to download into Stanza and then click Download

iBooks

Illustrations: Could not find illustrations for classics like Alice in Wonderland or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Double click an image to view it by itself and to zoom in and scroll the image.

Navigation: Left and right gestures turn the pages but it is somewhat slow.

Bookmarks: Easily bookmark a page by clicking on the bookmark icon.

Notes: Hold on a word to choose “Dictionary”, “Highlight” or “Note”

Definitions: Yes. See Notes above.

PDF: Yes. You can import PDF files with pictures, but it is so slow to display a page!

ePub: Supports text and images.

Import: Yes. You can import books using iTunes. In iTunes click on File -> Add to Library… then browse to where your epub file or pdf file is located. Click Choose. Now you will have a new category in iTunes called Books. Click on your ipad or ipod device on the left and then click on the books tab on the right and make sure Sync Books is checked. Now your synced books will end up in iBooks bookshelf.

Cons: iBooks seems really slow to start and to open books. Somewhat slow to navigate. I also don’t like the bookshelf view because it is difficult to read the titles. Fortunately you can change to list view.

Kindle

Illustrations: Could not find illustrations for classics like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or The Mountains of California by John Muir.

Navigation: Left and right gestures or click on left or right side of screen.

Bookmarks: Yes. Click screen for menu then press + icon. To view bookmarks click on open book icon and look under My Notes & Marks.

Notes: Click and hold a word for an instant definition at bottom of screen and then you can highlight a sentence or make a note, which will appear under My Notes & Marks.

Definitions: Yes. See Notes above.

Import: Kindle does not support ePub format. But you can convert ePub books to a Kindle Device compatible format using applications like http://calibre-ebook.com/ for Windows, Mac, or Linux. With Calibre you can plug your kindle into your PC through USB to let Calibre detect it and then you can click on an ePub eBook and click Send to Device.

ePub: Not supported.

Cons: Most free classics do not include picture illustrations or photos. Fortunately you can convert ePub books that you get from Google books or other places by using http://calibre-ebook.com/.

Google Books

The Google Books app at the time of this writing is the worst ereader app. However, Google Books seems to be the best place to find free older books with illustrations. At first the Google Books app wants to display scanned pages of text but you can change this by clicking on Aa for settings, then scroll down and click on Flowing Text.

Illustrations: Many, many older books are available for free at Google Books and they usually include original illustrations, pictures and photographs.

Navigation: Left and right swipe or click on left or right side of screen to turn pages.

Bookmarks: No. You can’t make bookmarks, but it does save the last page you were on and you can navigate through the table of contents.

Notes: No.

Definitions: No.

ePub: Yes

Cons: No notes, definitions or bookmarks.

Pros: Free ebooks with illustrations!

Nook

This Barnes & Noble app seems to be the worst app for ipod touch or android. It takes a long time to open a book and then sometimes when you turn a page it takes a long time to display it.

Illustrations: It is very difficult to find classic books for free with illustrations. But I found out a technique to do it:

  1. First go to Barnes & Noble NookBooks section.
  2. Then type in the name of the classic book you want and then type 0.00 after the title. For example, type “Sherlock Holmes 0.00”. The 0.00 is the price for the book you are looking for. So the example above will display all the Sherlock Holmes books that are available to download for free.

Navigation: Left and right swipe or click on left or right side of screen to turn pages.

Bookmarks: Yes. On bottom-right corner of the screen is a + sign. Click on it and it dog ears the page. To go to a bookmark click the middle of the screen and then tap go to and then tap bookmarks.

Notes: Yes. Tap and hold on a word for two seconds then you can highlight, add note, search dictionary or lookup in google or wikipedia.

Definitions: Yes. See notes above.

ePub: Yes

Cons: Slow and difficult to find free classics with pictures.