GoodreadsEven fans of paper books can admit: Reading apps have plenty of great perks to offer. Apps can put dictionaries, maps, reviews, and libraries into your pocket, and each of these resources makes for sharper reading. Here are some of my favorite apps geared toward the old-fashioned bookworm that can enhance your reading experience.
Related: Easy-To-Use eReaders
1. Book Crawler (Apple iOS, $1.99)
Most books have an ISBN number printed on the back. Book Crawler scans this ISBN number, recognizing the book's title, author, edition, cover art, and so forth. If you want, Book Crawler will then add the book to your digital bookshelf. You can also manually input titles or search for them on GoogleBooks. This is the app's core function: to serve as a personal librarian, organizing and sorting titles for you. After you've scanned or searched for a book, you can pull up its reviews on Goodreads. Like what you see? Click an icon and you can access the iTunes store or check for the book's availability at nearby libraries.
2. Goodreads (Android and Apple iOS, free)
Here's another app that will scan books into a digital library. Plus, Goodreads users are prolific reviewers and raters, so you'll always have the opinion of the crowd to help you select your next read. You can friend other users to follow the books they're reading and reviewing too. Get Goodreads if you love to discuss and write about books.
Related: 15 Must-Have Free Apps
Audiobooks3. Audiobooks (Android and Apple iOS, free)
Download the Audiobooks app and for no cost you will be able to read 4,382 works of literature on tape. The audio files are free because the books they are read from are in the public domain. Audiobooks has recordings from hundreds of the masters, as well as files from writers of prose.
4. American Heritage Dictionary (Android and Apple iOS, $24.99)
Twenty-five dollars may seem a steep price to pay for an app, especially an app without a bar-code scanner or built-in maps. But what I love about this app is that it takes a progressive approach to language, offering concise, precise definitions that account for how words are being used in 2012, not so much 1812. A usage panel of experts - speakers, writers, professors, judges - has the final say on words and offers usage notes to help you best understand the terms the author has used to shape the story.
Related: 3 Sites for the Best Audiobook Deals
Bluefire Reader5. Bluefire Reader (Android and Apple iOS, free)
A third-party e-reader, Bluefire Reader grants users access to "Adobe DRM-protected eBooks," which means that you can get more titles onto Bluefire than you can just about any independent e-reader. Most e-booksellers use Adobe DRM-protected files. So do most libraries. Using Bluefire, you can check out e-books from libraries where you have a membership. If your local library doesn't have a digital copy of the book you want, and you can't find the book in the list of free titles offered by Bluefire or browse one of the independent e-booksellers suggested by the app. Lovers of paper books beware: Bluefire's clean design and painless interface may be enough to convert even you to e-reading.
What are your favorite apps for reading? Let me know in the comments!
- by Christofer Malloy
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