Free eBook Readers – Read eBooks on your PC, Mac, Netbook, iPad, and More

On Monday the cost for Amazon’s Kindle dropped from $259 down to $189 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook dropped to $199 while they introduced a wi-fi only version for only $149.

For a quick comparison of the three devices, you might find the B&N comparison chart interesting though it is a bit biased in their favor. Despite dropping down a bit closer to the practical and affordable range, many people may not want a separate device for reading books but may still want to be able to read eBooks on their laptops, desktops, and other devices they already have.

Fortunately, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer free-to-download applications that allow you to read their ebooks on your iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, and Blackberry with more devices on their way supposedly.

You can download the Barnes and Noble eReader here (18.5 MB for PC).
You can download the Kindle eReader here (6.24 MB for PC).

If you’d like to see how Apple’s iBooks on the iPad might compare, see my review of the iPad on 404 Tech Support.

I tried out the Amazon Kindle software on the iPad while I had one at my disposal and grabbed a few screenshots. Here’s the sign-in screen:

The Library page that will show the different books you have downloaded:

A page from the book:

I’ll let you form your own opinion but to me the Kindle’s page doesn’t look too enticing. It looks like what you would see reading a standard PDF document making dry reading even more dry. The image below shows a screenshot of the PC version of the Kindle software and it doesn’t look much different than it does on the iPad.

You can also send the pages into Full-screen to remove the menu bar at the top and other distractions.

Personally, I tend to like the Barnes & Noble Desktop eReader more than the Kindle application for the PC but it’s mostly just personal preference. Speaking of preferences, the BN Reader has a place where you can go to change Reader Preferences but it is a blank screen. Not a whole lot of customization is available at this point but I like the wider, two-page format better.

The BN Reader also allows you go full-screen and remove the distraction. With the arrow keys working to advance the page, this can make for pretty easy reading without constantly thinking that you’re reading on a computer.

One distinct feature that the BN Reader has and the Kindle doesn’t is the ability to easily import your own books. Files with the extension .pdb, .epub, .pdf can be imported by using the option under My Library and My Stuff.

Just because you haven’t purchased an eBook Reader device yet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the conveniences digital books offer. Even if you have a device, being able to read your library of books on a computer or laptop gives you even greater flexibility. Your preference for which device or which application you like better is also helpful to know before you build up your library because the formats aren’t compatible with each other and you should take this into consideration before you make your purchases. In the meantime, the desktop readers are free and include a number of free ebooks currently available.


 
 
 
Jason
Jason Hamilton writes the occasional post for FreewareGenius when he finds software worth recommending and the time. He is a full-time system administrator and writes more frequently at 404 Tech Support and AssumeAwesome.
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  • roger

    The major difference I find between the two readers is that, with the Kindle for PC I have set it as the default for .prc and .mobi and double clicking on either of the formats will automatically open them without having to import them into the Kindle whereas I have to import the .epub or .pdf files into the B&Nereader before I can open them.
    As I use Windows 7 I was able to set up a new Library for my books (called Books, it seemed fitting) and I like to be able to open my books directly from the Library which I can with all but the B&N ones.

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  • Rajesh

    Hey, now you can get almost any book from Google books. There are many free tools around which helps download google books for free as pdf files, so you can read them any time.

  • Senthil Kumaran

    Thanks, I found that BN Readers Full Screen option was what I was looking for in a ebook reader.

  • ssppaammeedd

    cant find software for the reader for a pc!!!

  • sally

    i want to read free e books from my laptop

  • http://gmail arun

    i like the e book reader