Happy Friday, all you lovely people out in the vastness of the world wide web. How are you doing today? I hope you and yours are well and that you have a book to hand to solve a problem or to entertain you.
“Oh, Liz”, you might think, “Some people have to work and can’t read continuously, you know!” Yes, I know, but if you work, you can’t read this post, can you? But if you read a book, you can’t read this post either… ok, I get rather silly now. Let’s check out reading apps.
Do you use them? I know some of my readers prefer the traditional paperback or hardback, and I am with you. However, my budget is limited. And because of a health issue, I do not want to meet too many people. Or unless the pandemic is proclaimed over according to the WHO. I do not trust our governments to judge that properly. That’s why I only believe the WHO.
So my reading is mainly digital or audio, and I wanted to share my main three reading apps. They are rather mainstream, I admit:
- Google Books
I have mentioned Libby a couple of times in previous posts, and I have to admit it is my favourite one. Libby is the library reading app from Overdrive, that was introduced to me last year when our public libraries closed down.
You have to create an account with Libby/Overdrive and log into it when you first use Libby. Then a lovely AI explains to you how Libby works. But also how to add your library and your library card. It also offers more information about Libby, but I never used that part.
Libby had several updates since I started using it. I do not particularly like its current design because I have trouble understanding the logos for different parts of the app. But that might just be me.
You can borrow both e-books and audiobooks, which are for free here in the UK. It is a worldwide app, but I do not know how you use it in other countries. They continuously add new books that they show when you are on the main screen of the app. Then there are your bookshelves where you can find your borrowed books, past books and the books you have on hold because other users are still reading them. It makes sense to have notifications on because they tell you when your books are available.
Reading used to be easy. You just had to tap on the book on your shelf, and it started up. The developers have changed that, so you have to tap in the middle of the menu. I always forget that. But again, that might just be me. You can get it from the iPhone App Store and the Android store, but there is also a browser option to read on your laptop or computer.
You can have borrowed books for two weeks which I often find a bit short. However, Libby asks you a couple of days before you have to give them back if you need them longer and then can have them again. I enjoy with all three apps that you can read in the dark, adjust the fonts, and that there are other feats, too.
Meet Google Books
Well, I assume most of you know Google Books, the book part of the Android store. I do not use it too often at the moment. I think you can only buy e- and audiobooks but not borrow books. However, they have a handy option of having e-books read to you, which I liked at first. Then I tried it, and the computer voice reading the books was so monotone and horrible to listen to. So I gave up on it. The prices of the books are often lower than those of the Kindle, and they offer many self-published authors. That is always a plus in my eyes.
What I also like about Google Books is the main screen that offers you many lists of books to discover in genres you like. That has given me some good new authors to read. You can add “free” in the search bar and find books for free. Although, I am not sure if this is a good thing for authors or not. On the one hand, I have discovered some authors this way and then bought books of theirs. On the other hand, I know from authors how it can impact their earnings. But that is a topic for another post.
I find its interface easy to use. You have three tabs on the bottom. “Home” where they show you book suggestions. “Library” shows your books but also offers a shelf option to organise your reading. And a tab for books that are part of a series so you can explore the other books of the series. And then, of course, the shop which is divided into e-books, audio-books and comics. That did surprise me, but I haven’t tried any yet. My screen on the phone is too small to see images well. And I haven’t tried it on the laptop yet.
You need a Google account to use it.
Meet the Kindle App
I find the Kindle App also easy to use. Even though I find I am more bothered with Amazon wanting to sell me more books than I am at the Google Books App. The Kindle App has offer-notifications on the top right, and the home screen shows lots of books they recommended to me. Google Books has that too, but their suggestions seem to fit better.
However, they offer a library of free books via prime reading, and you can get even more if you are an Unlimited subscriber. Oh, so many books, so little time 😉 .
The library tab shows the books you own. It’s divided in those you have downloaded on your device and the whole library which is located in your Amazon account. Yes, unfortunately, you need an Amazon account. You find the book you last read in the middle of the menu and thus makes it very easy to access. I like that.
I only have a very old kindle reader, so the newer “smart” features aren’t available yet on it. Because I get on well with the Kindle Reading App I am not bothering to buy a new kindle. The other reason is that I do not want to have more “stuff”. The less “stuff” we have, the better for the environment.
So these are my favourite reading apps. Which are yours?
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You can do it!