1. iBooksThere’s no way that the folks behind Apple, the company that made nerdy cool, were going to let this opportunity to cash in on the digital book bonanza pass them by. So they’ve given us iBooks. This e-reader app lets you download, read and store books and comes with the iBookstore, where you’ll find many current and archived titles. One aspect of practical reading that iBooks mirrors is the ability to sample the goods. iBooks helps solve the “analysis paralysis” we readers often confront when considering digital books by offering a free sample of any book to download and read so you can make an informed decision. And let’s face it, that’s part of the fun of picking out a new book. Download:
2. WattpadWattpad has one of the coolest approaches to tapping the digital reading market. This app, which is available at no cost for iOS devices, Android, Windows 7, BlackBerry and Samsung phones, distributes content written by professional writers, as well as undiscovered, amateur writers. Calling itself the “YouTube for e-books,” Wattpad allows users to upload their own material to share with the Wattpad community. And it’s a thriving one, with users dropping around a billion minutes on Wattpad every single quarter [source: PRWEB]. Download:
4. Mad LibsOh come on, this would be so perfect for a road trip! That said, I think I might test out the free version and see whether or not it’s really worth it to buy the whole “Goofy Mad Libs Application.” You might do one Mad Lib and then realize that there’s a reason you haven’t done this since elementary school. Another downside: the paid application apparently offers “over 20 silly, goofy and crazy Mad Libs stories for hours of fun!” Um, hours? I feel like I could do 20 Mad Libs in, like, 30 minutes. Ah, well. Download:
5. Audiobooks from Audible
If you’re not into ebooks but prefer the audiobook variety I highly recommend Audible. While the app is free you will need a membership to audible.com to purchase books. I’m a big fan of audiobooks. I listen to book when I’m in traffic or traveling and I was very excited when the app became available.
6. Marvel Comics
Being a bookworm doesn’t mean you stick to the classics. Comic books are as popular as ever, and many readers prefer their stories told one colored panel at a time. Today’s smartphones are equipped with display screens just as advanced as the phone itself. High pixel density and vibrant colors provide a visually rich viewing experience, and that’s a lot of horsepower to waste on printed words alone. This ability to deliver sharp, crisp images in a mobile form factor is a marriage made in heaven for comic book geeks. That’s why publishers including DC and Marvel have launched mobile sites and create content specifically for handheld devices.
Goodreads is a combination virtual library and online book club, bringing a social networking element to mobile reading. Launched in 2006, Goodreads boasts more than 5 million members who have added 170 million book reviews [source: Goodreads]. Here’s how it works: A reader signs up and selects people that he or she would like to become friends with, growing a network of contacts. As you finish a book, you write a review that all of your friends can see. The idea is that people are more likely to read a book that someone they know recommends rather than reading what a stranger thought about it on a typical review Web site.
If you’re not the book reading type but want to keep up with your magazine addiction without carrying around a stack of magazines at all times then you may want to look into subscribe to your favorite magazines through Zinio. The magazines you subscribe to will be saved in your account for use on multiple devices.
9. Archie Comics
If you are a more serious comic fan, there are also Marvel and DC comic apps. However, I myself love Archie and it’s the kind of thing you don’t get very emotionally invested in (will he pick Betty? Or Veronica? Will we ever know for sure??) and nobody’s going to complain that the graphics suffer from being on a tiny iPhone screen. You get four free Archie Comics with this, then have to purchase subsequent titles.
10. Bluefire Reader
This reader app is unique in that you can read books in multiple formats. The other branded ereaders require you to purchase books from their store. Through iTunes you can sync PDF files to read in BlueFire. I had a few PDF variety ebooks that were from websites or sent to me to preview books before they are launched and I can now read them on both my iPhone and iPad. Because I read from the PDF file it doesn’t remember my place (small price to pay for flexibility). BlueFire is your answer to reading DRM books – see article on sidebar about library books.