Can’t Afford An eReader? How to Read eBooks Now…For Free

eReaders are tumbling in price, but they still represent an investment in money.  And there’s the time commitment, too.   I don’t know about you, but I dithered for weeks until I finally commited to the Sony reader and the ePub format.

Meantime, you’re still buying paperbacks that you will have to rebuy in ebook someday.

Would you like to be able to buy ebooks now?  And no, you don’t have to read on your computer — although you can if you want.

There’s a few different choices for reading ebooks that don’t need either either a computer or an ereader.  Two have been around for a while, and one is new:

1. Smartphones

2. iPods

3. Tablets – Android or iPad.

Since my Sony eReader went belly-up over a year ago, I’ve been using my smartphone.  I actually prefer it, because I always have my phone on me, and it’s always charged.  And the great thing about the smartphone is that I can download and install every ereader software program out there, so there isn’t an ebook format I can’t read.  Whereas with the Sony I was limited to ePub and PDF.

What do you have available to you already?  There’s a pretty good chance you’ve got one of these three devices.

If you don’t, then another alternative is a mini-laptop or netbook computer — one of the ten or eight inch long ones that come with no disk drive and no moving parts.  I’m not suggesting you buy one, but if you have one already, they make good temporary ereaders if you have none of the above, because they’re mobile, and not all that unweildy.  Plus, you can load them up with all the reader software, too.

Any of these devices make good ereaders – either temporary or permanent, or secondary.  One of the sweet things about the Kindle software, for instance, is that it syncs your books across your desktop, cellphone, netbook, ereader (if you have one), and “the cloud” – the online reading location if you read your books online — plus any other devices to which you download and install the Kindle software.

Once you figure out what you want to read ebooks on, then it’s just a matter of downloading and installing the software for the various readers.  Mac computers and devices usually come pre-installed with great readers that handle just about any format, but if you’re deficient in any way, you might have to fill the gaps.

Here’s the links to make it easy.  Once you get there, you’ll have to pick the appropriate device and operating system for you.

Kindle for Cloud Reader, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android cellphones, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry Smartphones, Windows and Mac computers, iPad and Android Tablets.

FBReader for Android Phones

Adobe Digital Editions (Windows and Mac OS) – reads PDF and ePub very nicely.

Mobipocket Reader (Windows PC, Blackberry, Windows mobile, Symbian OS, Palm OS) – reads Mobi and PRC formats

Nook for iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac – reads ePub, and the older versions will also handle eReader format (PDB).

Once you’ve installed the software for all the popular formats (Kindle, ePub, Mobi/PRC is probably all you need these days – and they all read PDF), then you get to do the really fun stuff:  pick and choose really cheap books to download and read.

And there’s also a whole slew of free ones, too.  Here’s the free ones at Amazon to get you started.

Do you know of any better readers than the ones I quoted?  I like poking around new software…

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2 Comments

  1. Robyn Larson April 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    did you know that the Kindle has a Mobipocket format? You can buy books else where download to computer or tablet and then transfer to Kindle. I had an ereader since 2004. The ereader had a mobipocket format, so when my reader died an old death I had to find a new one to transfer my 800+ books to. Welcome Kindle, they actually bought mobipocket for their format.

    • Tracy April 6, 2012 at 6:50 am

      Hi Robyn:

      Yes, it’s cool, isn’t it? The Mobipocket format is actually identical to Kindle, except for a switch in serial format. Which makes life a little easier for me when I’m formatting my books for sale on Amazon, because I can use Mobi-Creator.

      What ereader were you using back in 2004? There weren’t too many around back then! You were a true pioneer!

      t.

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