People have moved on from traditional books to eBooks. Although reading an eBook is far more comfortable and convenient than a paperback, it has its own set of prerequisites. For traditional reading, you only need a book in hand. To read an eBook, you need more than just an eBook. You either require a dedicated eReader or a reading app on your mobile device. eReading applications work only on specific operating systems that it is designed for. And that is why you need a cross-platform eBook reader.
eReading applications are designed to be run on different devices. But there are some which might run only on one particular operating system. In order to avoid switching applications and re-organizing the eBook collection, readers must opt for a cross-platform eBook application which will accept most types of file formats and can run on more than one operating system.
Listed below are some of the best cross-platform eBook readers.
Kitaboo is an interactive eBook reader app. It is compatible with Windows, Android and iOS operating systems. Students can download the eBook and read them anytime on their devices with its offline reading feature. This application accepts most of the file formats. Kitaboo has an autoplay option which will open the book and read aloud page by page. You can make notes, bookmark pages, highlight texts, etc. Kitaboo reading platform also supports video, audio and images to provide an interactive learning experience to the readers.
Lucidor mainly runs on GNU/Linux and Windows platforms. This reader application supports e-books in the ePUB file format and catalogs in the OPDS format. It is a free app which allows you to read and manage your eBooks with ease. You can browse the OPDS catalogs on the internet and download books online. This tool also converts the web feeds and web pages into ePUB eBooks. You can customize this app as per your liking. It lets you highlight and adjust your texts, search words within the content. Lucidor lets you open multiple eBooks at once with the help of its tabbed interface.
FBReader (Favourite Book Reader) app is a cross-platform eBook reader available for iOS, iPhone and Android, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. It allows you to read your eBooks on a desktop as well as handheld reading devices. This application supports most of the eBook formats, such as ePUB, Mobi, FB2, RTF and more. One of its main features is synchronization. FBReader allows students to sync their eBooks and bookmarks across multiple devices and platforms. This app is localized for 29 different languages. You can even read comic books with plugin support if you are using the free application. If you opt for a premium edition, there’s built-in support available for PDFs and comics. You can access popular dictionaries like ColorDict, SlovoEd, Fora, etc. to look up words.
4. Cool Reader:
Cool Reader is an open source eBook reader software that runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Android devices. It supports a range of eBook file formats such as ePUB, CHM, PDB, MOBI, HTML, FB2, TXT, RTF, DOC, TCR. It has a fully customizable palette, allowing you to change the look and feel of the eBook as per your preference. The cool reader has an auto-scroll feature which will automatically turn your page for you. Other features include bookmark system, text adjustments, text to speech and night mode option.
This eBook reader works well on Android and iOS devices. It is a cloud-based application, which lets you sync your devices to the app to retrieve your books and annotations from other devices. It allows you to bookmark and highlight text, change the font size and background colors etc. Bookari is compatible with PDF, ePUB2 and ePUB3 formats and the Adobe DRM technology. It offers text to speech feature which underlines sentences as it is being read. You can download and store all your eBooks on Bookari library and read them later. The number of devices that can be synced depends upon the subscription plan that you opt for. The free app only allows partial synchronization between two devices, while a premium subscription can let you synchronize notes and annotations between 30 devices.
This cross-reader application is well supported on iOS and Android systems. It requires iOS 10 or newer version to play on your Apple devices. If you are using an Android app, then you require a device with Android 4.4 (KitKat). You can access a number of eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, sheet music and more on Scribd. Scribd supports a variety of file formats such as PDF, txt, ps, rtf, ePUB, key, odt, odp, docx, etc. You can annotate, highlight, bookmark, and save books in the app for offline reading.
7. Bluefire Reader:
The Bluefire Reader is available for Apple iOS, Android, and Windows PCs. It allows you to highlight, annotate and bookmark texts, search, share and more. You can read DRM protected as well as DRM free eBooks with this application. It supports PDF and EPUB file formats. Its analytics feature provides information about your user’s reading patterns. Its sync feature lets you move between multiple devices without losing track of the current page.
8. Libby by Overdrive:
Libby is compatible with iOS, Android, Window 10 devices. This application lets you borrow eBooks and audiobooks from the library’s OverDrive collection, which has thousands of options to choose from. It lets you sign into multiple libraries and manage all your books and audiobooks in one place. You can download books and audiobooks for offline reading. Libby also lets you synchronize your bookmarks, notes and reading positions across all devices.
How can we forget Kindle-the platform that started it all? Kindle is available on iOS, Android and PC. You can browse through their wide collection of eBooks, magazines, newspapers and more. It supports AWZ3, Mobi, PDF file formats. The Kindle app has many interactive features like bookmarks, text highlights, making notes and it also lets you synchronize your eBook to another device. But, Kindle allows you to download or purchase eBooks only from the Amazon library.
Educational institutes introduced eBooks in classrooms because they want the students to have a holistic learning experience. What could be better than finding all your needs at one place? Your notes, reference materials, annotation tools, etc. can all be found in one small compact device- the eBook. All possible learning content can be put together in the eBook, making the learning process as convenient as possible for the students. With so many eReader platforms available, students have a wide variety of options to choose from.
However, before you choose an eBook reading application, you must find out if it runs on multiple operating systems. It is highly unlikely that students would keep switching between devices to view their eBooks. That would totally defeat the purpose of having an eBook. So, it is better to have an application that works on two or more platforms, just to provide more flexibility to the user in terms of reading experience.
Related: Importance of eBooks in education