Read Free E-books Without an E-readerIt is amazing to me how few people realize that e-books can be viewed without the need to purchase an additional electronic gadget.

This point was driven home to me this past weekend when I was privy to a conversation in which two individuals expressed their belief that, because they didn’t own an e-reader, they couldn’t receive free e-books. This was despite the fact that both of these individuals owned computers and tablets. In fact, one person stated that not having an e-reader was one reason they continued to purchase paperbacks and hard cover books. This made me consider how much of these misconceptions were fueled by the e-reader marketers versus users just not understanding how they can gain access to free e-books. That, in turn, led me to write this article as a way to eliminate these misconceptions.

Free e-readers available for all

Because the industry is changing so drastically, many providers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, are offering free software and applications as a way to introduce end users to this new technology. For example:

  • Amazon offers free software for many popular devices including Apple iPads, iPhones, and iPods; its Kindle software focuses on making this new technology available (for free) for desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, netbooks and even Mac computers. This means that, since these programs are available for free for almost any currently manufactured electronic device, reading e-books from Amazon has never been easier. With these programs, Amazon also offers what it calls ‘Whispersync’ technology, a feature that allows you to automatically save and synchronize all of your page readings, your bookmarks, notes, and highlights. Once saved, all of these will then be displayed on all of your selected devices. The major advantage of this feature is that you can then start to read an e-book on your desktop computer or other device and finish reading it on any other device on which the Kindle software is installed.
  • If you choose to use one of the Barnes & Noble applications, you will find that the company, like Amazon, offers free software for all popular computing, tablet, and smartphone devices. Also, like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble offers free books for your reading pleasure and will transform many electronic devices into free e-readers.
  • So, while the two above are probably the most well-publicized producers of free e-books, Sony also offers free e-reader software for many popular devices including PCs, Macs, Androids, and Apple’s entire popular lineup of devices. To support its application, Sony also offers a selection of free e-books.
  • However, one mustn’t forget the ever-popular Apple products such as the iPad or iPhone. For these devices, Apple offers free books from its very popular iBook store.
  • Last, Google has jumped into the market by offering its free e-book reading software that will work for its popular Android devices.

One other option is to search out third-party software, such as Kobo. Kobo supports not only the aforementioned electronic devices but also BlackBerries. An additional advantage to this software is that it not only offers an extensive library of free e-books for its free e-reader, but includes the option to purchase those e-books for which the author is charging a fee to read. Remember that, since e-books don’t require a printer, they are usually less expensive than purchasing a soft bound or hard bound copy of the same material.

While this article is aimed at helping you, the reader, to use this new technology and save yourself some money, I am hopeful that it will also encourage those of you who aren’t currently receiving free books to search out the proper free e-reader for yourselves. My opinion is that no one needs to spend their hard-earned cash on yet another electronic gadget if they can enjoy the exact same thing on a device that they have already purchased.

Comments welcome.

Sources: Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, iBook

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Constance Wiebrands