I was tempted to write something like “What e-book reader to use on Windows 8” or “Best e-book reader for Windows 8” but this post is in no way a professional or exhaustive review of e-book readers for Windows 8 so I really do not want to lure anyone into thinking otherwise. This is just one of these moments when I felt like rambling about on some subject and this subject being e-book readers. The fact that Bookviser came out for Windows 8 not so long ago and I made a quick tour of the available e-book readers on the Windows 8 app store when checking it out probably have something to do about it.
I have to mention from the start that, when it comes to choosing an e-book reader, I probably do not have very advanced requirements. Most importantly I want to be comfortable when reading thus I want to have as much control over fonts, font sizes, margins etc. as possible. Second I want a reasonable library functionality. Third I want it to look good. The third requirement is of course highly subjective. What I really do not care much about is browsing OPDS catalogues, author formatting in the files, being able to bookmark, making notes or look up words in a dictionary.
So on to the readers. This is actually one place where I found my Android tablet to be better and this is not really because of anything good that Google did nor any fault of Microsoft but simply because of the fact that Amazon have shoved a crap-app (Kindle) out the door and do not seem to want to fix it. The Android version of Kindle just did everything I wanted and there was no need to look elsewhere. Anyway, the four readers that I have tried and found worth mentioning are these…
Book Bazaar Reader
This is one of my favorites. It is a simple elegant and functional reader. It has a nice 3D look including when you turn pages. You can turn off the latter of course. It is fast, even with 3D page turning enabled. It is aesthetically pleasing. It might not be as flexible as some of the other readers when it comes to font sizes etc. but it is good enough for me to be able to find a comfortable setting. It is one of the first reading apps that I would install on any device. It does not have a live tile though which is a bit of a shame. It is quite nice to be able to see the book you are currently reading on the tile.
This one competes with Book Bazaar Reader for the first place for me. It looks a bit more amateurish than Book Bazaar Reader and there are some rather visible spelling mistakes in the user interface but I really like the reading experience on it. As with Book Bazaar reader you have a nice 3D experience and you can choose to read full screen or have your “book” framed using the cover page as a background. It is very flexible in terms of font sizes and margins although it does not support author formatting in the epub file. However, as I mentioned above this does not really bother me very much.
This is a good book reader but for some reason it have never caught my interest. I cannot really give a rational explanation as to why. I probably just find the other two readers above so good for me that I do not consider Freda to be worth spending any time on. I have tried it do and played around with it. It is a good reader and it is indeed very flexible when it comes to formatting. If you are hunting around for readers I would recommend giving it a try.
So now we come to the black sheep. This one should have been the obvious choice as far as I am concerned but it is not. It has a very good and aesthetically pleasing user interface and library function in general. Direct access to the Kindle book store is of course a plus. You can choose to read the books “on-line” or actually download them. Whispersync of your reading position over devices is also a nice feature. However it is all ruined by the absolutely abysmal formatting options. I simply cannot find a comfortable reading setting and that is just a show stopper. To add to this the store always fails the first time you try to go there. You have to wait for a lengthy timeout and then click again. It doesn’t support Amazon’s personal document feature which is just rubbish. I am really disappointed over how Amazon mistreat their Windows 8 customers. These issues should have been fixed a long time ago. I have to say that I understand people who says “Screw you Amazon” and rips the DRM off the Kindle books just to be able to read them on another app.
Well that one is a walkover since Nook is not available in the app store in France and, to my knowledge, in most of Europe.
So there you have it. Book Bazaar Reader or Bokviser is my current choice but if Amazon would have gotten their act together and fixed their crap-app I would probably have used that one due to the otherwise nice user interface and Kindle store integration.