E-readers are trending in the past few years. There have been many e-readers like Nook and Amazon Kindle, which have taken the market by a storm. E-readers do make a lot of sense as it mates books to the power of technology, while eliminates almost all the headache that is associated with physical books.
While devices like Nook and Kindle are revolutionizing the way people read books, there are also apps which are encouraging 21st century citizens to read. There are several apps which do wide variety of tasks ranging from recommending books to saving web content for later reading on your mobile device.
While people who are really into reading will just go ahead with e-readers like Kindle, but for people like me who are occasional readers and don’t want to shell hard earned money, or carry another device around, your Android device will just do fine for the task of serving as an e-reader for the bookworm in you. Below are some of the apps that will convert your Android device into an ultimate reader’s companion.
Pocket was previously known as Read It Later. Along with the new name, it came with a user interface refresh and performance updates to make the user experience smoother. The app is based on the concept of “pocketing”, which means you can save all of the information you want to read, but cannot at the moment. Previously, ReadItLater used to save multiple types of media, but it always failed to differentiate them, thus leading people to believe that it was meant just for saving articles. With the update, Pocket is trying to show users that they can save almost anything on the web, and as far as the confusion goes, the developers have included a filter which automatically groups the items into their respective categories.
With Pocket, you can star items, archive them, and even edit items in bulk, which is pretty convenient feature to have. The developers have gone for minimal interface, which translates to clean and simplified viewing experience with less toolbars and a better full screen mode.
You can download the app for Android from here.
Earlier, Instapaper was an iOS only affair. The app is from the co-creator of Tumblr, and is considered to be the father of all read-it-later apps. Instapaper is now available on Android via Google Play. The app basically allows users to save online articles from sources such as magazines, journals, and blogs in order to read them later. The articles are saved locally, which allows users to read even when they are offline.
Instapaper is very functional and while saving, it strips the content of any the formatting, photos and other clutters, thus saving only the text. The app is capable of storing 500 articles locally at any given time, however, unlimited number of articles can be stored on Instapaper’s website.
It’s worth noting that Instapaper is no ordinary offline reading app and adds several features which makes reading on Android device a bliss. It allows users to personalize the font face, font size, line space measurement, and margin, thus making the reading experience more enjoyable and convenient. Organizing content in order of topic or using custom folders is possible. Users can also specify day and night modes, thus varying screen brightness according to user’s preference.
It’s a pretty function app, but unlike Pocket that I mentioned earlier, Instapaper comes with a price tag. It can be bought from Play Store over here.
Goodreads is an app which satisfies the requirement of serious readers as well as casual readers alike. Goodreads is essentially a web based service which allows you to post reviews of books, receive recommendations and chat to other bookworms among various other things. In short, Goodreads allows you to discover, share, and review books with your friends and millions of others. Millions? Yeah! Apparently they have 8,500,000 members who have added more than 300,000,000 books. That’s a whopping number indeed. The website is great, and so is the app. The app allows you to do most of the things which the website allows to do, but in a mobile friendly manner.
Goodreads does require the user to sign up for an account, but it’s free and requires minimal information to be punched in. It’s basically a social network of bookworms, and they have this amazing recommendation algorithm which is intuitive and works really well. You can search, rate, and review any book in their catalog which has more than 12 million books. You can even use the inbuilt barcode scanner which allows you to quickly scan all your books on your physical shelf onto your Goodreads shelves. It should be noted that you can still use the basic features of this app without a Goodreads account, but then signing in will deliver the best experience possible. You can download the app from here.
Springpad is catching on like wildfire. This app available as a web app, Android App, iPad App and iPhone App, and it picks up where simple note sync programs like Evernote stop. The basic functionality is very similar to that of Evernote, except for the fact that users are allowed to create notebooks for whatever purpose they want. Springpad allows its users to organize their clippings in whatever way he wants. Most common organizing categories include family schedules, meal time planner, date night planner, after school duties, restaurants to stay away from, restaurants to go to etc. Springpad basically wants you to add your data so that it can make something like a custom app for you out of the data. Download it from PlayStore over here.
Evernote, which I will be enlightening next, is massively popular for note taking purposes, however, some would like to have a lightweight client such as Simplenote which is simple and fast. Simplenote is a popular service which syncs text notes, something like Dropbox for txt files. You can use Simplenote in your own innovative ways.
Flick Note is just a simple Simplenote client. This Android app is capable of receiving and syncing your notes with Simplenote servers. The interface has been given a very minimalistic approach and is very natural. You can use Flick Note as a very simple way of keeping a track on books that you want to read, but if you do need more flexibility, Evernote is the app for you.
Flick Note can be downloaded from Play Store over here.
Apps like Flick Note will work just fine for those who take notes by typing, but then there’s another category of people out there who would like to click pictures of book covers or passages in order to save their precious time, and for those, Evernote is a perfect companion to have.
Evernote, like Simplenote, is a massively popular note syncing service, but unlike Simplenote, Evernote supports multimedia. It allows you to sync all of your notes across the computers and devices you use.
It comes handy in situations where typing isn’t an option, for instance, you want a long passage from a book in your device, but typing isn’t practical enough in that particular situation. In such cases, you can just click a pic with Evernote, and the best part is that the app incorporates the OCR technology which allows the user to search for text inside images, thus making the picture searchable from all the linked devices, awesome isn’t it? Evernote is available on most of the mobile platforms including Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm WebOS and Windows Mobile. Android version can be downloaded from here.
The above apps are sure to help you a lot if you’re reading. There may be some more useful apps out there which I may have failed to notice, so do notify me of such apps using the comment form below.