List of five free apps that offer you e-book reading abilities on your iPhone. So pick the one that suits you, get a title downloaded, and drift off into good-book bliss.
1. B&N eReader
This free app from book selling giant Barnes & Noble comes with five free “classic” e-books (which we’d probably save for those so-bored-you-could-poke-yourself-in-the-eye-for-amusement moments) and a free copy of Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary. Any titles you download are stored in the cloud, so you can access them from a Mac or PC as well as different handheld devices.
The ability to change the background and text color to a scheme that suits you is very welcome on a non-e-ink display, while the swishy wow factor comes in with Cover Flow-style book browsing as shown in the screen grab above. Incidentally, Barnes & Noble also owns Fictionwise, the company behind the eReader app, which is also available for free in the App Store.
2. Kindle for iPhone
This app can be used by those who are Kindle-less, but really shines for those that have bought into the Kindle ecosystem, as it offers Amazon’s clever “Whispersync” feature. It allows for seamless switching between the Kindle device and Kindle for iPhone. Whispersync knows where you are in a book, so you can read half a chapter on the bus, and when you get home, your Kindle device will give you the option to pick up where you left off, which is pretty clever. Another nice touch is the ability to lock the screen in portrait or landscape mode, so if you want to read in bed, the accelerometer won’t drive you nuts.
Although other e-reader apps support such titles, Stanza makes access to the 50,000 free e-books of Project Gutenberg and Feedbooks easy, and offers a similar number of titles you can pay for though partner stores.
Highlights of the Amazon-owned app include the ability to slide your finger across the screen to turn the page — a real winner for those not quite prepared to turn their back on the paper book experience. The option to make the background black and text white, therefore allowing you to read in the dark, appears to have saved many a marriage if the reader reviews are to be believed.
4. Wattpad 100,000+ Books
The iPhone version of the online e-book community, Wattpad is a popular app with over 4 million downloads to date. What differentiates Wattpad from similar apps is the user-generated content. The system offers a publishing platform, meaning the novels, short stories, poetry and essays available through the app are more likely to be written by “Joe Bloggs” than J.K. Rowling. If you’re not one for amateur or fan fiction, or you work for the U.S. Copyright Office, you might want to skip this one.
5. eBooks by Kobo
One to watch, with its Borders team-up promising new e-reading hardware in the future, Kobo is a good looking e-library with a focus on new books and best-sellers. Its glossy, image-laden interface is backed up by discounts on current titles (“up to 65% off!” claims the blurb) while one new (and current) e-book is offered as a free download each week, making this app a great option for a casual, or light reader looking for a regular and inexpensive literary entree.