Enjoying a good book on your Windows Phone

Windows Phone Central App Roundup: eReaders

We have a mixed bag of Windows Phone reader apps for this weeks Windows Phone Central App Roundup. We have one of the cornerstones in electronic reading, an audio book centerpiece, one that doubles down, and one that is more genre specific.

These apps not only come in handy for those who like books but also for those looking for something to pass the time with other than games. There's a healthy selection of readers in the Windows Phone Store and we tapped four that stood out by name, reputation and ratings.

If we've overlooked your favorite Windows Phone reader app, feel free to spill the beans below in the comments.

Manga Reader (free): Manga Reader is a graphic novel reader for the popular Japanese comic book genre. There are sixteen sources of Manga content that access thousands of titles.

You can search the libraries by keyword, stream content or download the publications for off-line use.

Additional features of Manga Reader include marking publications as favorites for quicker access, pinning titles to your Start Screen and Single or Continuous viewer modes.

If Manga series is your cup of tea, it might be worth checking out the Manga Reader. It's a free app for your Windows Phone 7.x and 8 device and you can find Manga Reader here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.

OverDrive Media Console (free): OverDrive Media Console is a Windows Phone app that lets you download eBooks and audiobooks from over 18,000 libraries worldwide.

You can search for libraries by address, zip code or region. Once you locate a library it can be added to your Library List. Just tap on the library listing to access that libraries digital collection.

From there you use your valid library card and download the audiobook or eBook. And don't worry about over due books. The title automatically expires in the app after the lending period.

Your progress through eBooks and audiobooks is saved so you can jump right in where you left off at, a sleep timer is available for audiobooks and email alerts to notify you when titles become available.

OverDrive Media Console is a free app for your Windows Phone 7.x and 8 device. You can find OverDrive Media Console here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.

Audible-Audiobooks (free): As you can guess, Audible-Audiobooks taps into Audible.com's (opens in new tab) vast library of titles and delivers them to your Windows Phone.

You'll need an Audible.com membership to dig into the library of audible books. You can set up an account through the app or from the Audible.com website. If you're on the fence, the app includes access to eight excerpts from various authors to let you get a feel for things.

From there, all you need to do is sign up for the free membership and browse the Audible Mobile Store. Audible book's range in price from a few dollars on up and there are free titles scattered about.

Titles are downloaded to your phone and Audible-Audiobooks tracks your listening stats, and badge progress (achievements). You also have bookmarks, sleep timers and audio commands to help in your audiobook experience.

Audible-Audiobooks is a free app that you can find here (opens in new tab) in the Windows Phone Store.  It's available for both Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices.

Amazon Kindle (free): You really can't discuss eReaders without mentioning the Amazon Kindle app. With over a million eBooks in the library, Kindle has become a cornerstone in mobile reading.

Features for the Kindle Windows Phone app include:

  • Amazon's Whispersync that automatically syncs your Kindle books across apps to let you start reading on your Windows Phone and finish up on your laptop or tablet running the Kindle app.
  • A progress indicator is but a tap away to display how much of the book you've read.
  • Along with the pay titles, the Kindle library contains thousands of free book titles.

The Kindle app does require membership but you can use your Amazon.com membership to log-in as well. The Amazon Kindle app is laid out nicely but it's weak point has to be the access to the Kindle Store. You basically are sent to the Amazon.com website to sift through the library. I found it far easier to purchase books from a desktop/laptop and then sync your library to your Windows Phone. It's not a deal killer but an area Amazon can definitely improve upon.

The Amazon Kindle app is a free app for your Windows Phone 8 and 7.x device. You can find Amazon Kindle here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.

Electronic readers, be it audio or eBooks, are a great way to keep in touch with books while on the go.  Of the group, I like how the OverDrive Media Console taps into your local library collections to help with the cost of electronic titles.  Amazon Kindle's strength is the versatility or mobility of being able to switch devices and not lose track of your place in the story.  

I'll be honest and admit that I know about as much about Manga comics as I do about giving a Formula One race car a tune-up.  However, first impressions of the Manga Reader are good.  Audible-Audiobooks comes in just behind the Kindle app but I suspect Kindle's library is a tad larger (could be wrong).

We've only scratched the surface on what all is available in the Windows Phone Store.  You have comic book (or should I say graphic novels) readers, religious oriented readers as well as the more literary apps (fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, etc). The one app I would have like to have included in this roundup was DC Comics but they got cold feet and jumped ship.

Electronic readers for our Windows Phones may not tickle everyone's fancy and if we've missed your favorite, please share in the comments.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Lol, Kindle hasn't been feature-updated since it was released back in 2010. Only a few hotfixes here and there.
  • you're right. I actually use "legimi", it's the only one that allows you to underline the text.
  • I want a Nook app. I get all my books in my e-ink Nook and Surface RT Nook app. I thought we would get one after Microsoft invested in B&N years ago? And a Comixology app would be amazing also.
  • This. So this. I've been waiting for M$ to get off their asses and actually put a nook app out. I have a nook. M$ bought nook. Where the Frick is my nook app for windows phone???
  • Completely agree. I love my Nook and the Nook ecosystem, and I don't understand how MS hasn't made this happen yet.
  • B&N's lack of activity on Windows Phone is reminiscent of Skype's attitude after they were acquired. Seems that once Microsoft purchase or invest in a company, said company is apt to give Microsoft platforms the finger for a while.
    I too am a little disappointed at the lack of a B&N app. I have a large ereader/fictionwise library amassed on Windows Mobile and since converted to Nook (since B&N took them over) and now only access that library on an iPad. Would be nice to have Nook on Windows Phone.
  • They're really blowing it. I'd have preferred Nook, but by now I have hundreds of $ in Kindle books. Hard to imagine why I would bother with a Nook App now. Just can't figure these business Geniuses out!
  • I can't even log in my Amazon Kindle account in the Kindle app.
  • I find Nokia's own Nokia Reading app to be fairly nice
  • I totally agree loving the easiness of it
  • is it available for wp8? if so, how about a link?
  • Try this:
    You should also find it under the Nokia collection when you launch the store on your Lumia phone.
    It does books as well as RSS feeds. Can also buy books from the app
  • thanks, but not available in my area (US).
  • The link I shared was from the GB store. Like I said, try launching store on your phone and look for it in the Nokia collection
  • Freda
  • +1
  • +1
  • Freda lets me read my DRM free O'Reilly books. Way cool.
  • +1
  • i've been using freda since wp7. Freda
  • Agreed. Freeda is my favorite.
  • Tried several, ended up with Bookviser.
  • THIS. I've used Bookvisor for a while. Love it!
  • THIS
  • No screen orientation lock on the kindle app. Boo.
  • Although to be fair this is more of an MS failure than Amazon. This belongs in the OS and should have been there day 1. Easiest thing to fix in the world and two years later we still don't have it.
  • I'll give you my 920. Its accelerometer stopped working. I have orientation lock in everything, whether I want it or not!
  • I also use Freda, it gives you access to any books you may store on Skydrive, which is nice but does not yet sync with its Windows 8 app.
    Also Bookmate, which I have but not yet used...
  • Definitely second Freda, (I use Freda+ http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/freda/b49bcf1c-4523-e011-854c-00237de2db9e) So far, it is the only ereader that lets you load in your own books.
  • Not just Freda, BookViser (my fav) allows it as well. EPub Reader is another option that can read from SD card or books imported via web browser, or email attachment or by dragging and dropping after connecting your phone to your desktop.  None of the options in the article support those that roll-your-own solutions. These unfortunately only support in app purchases. At least they were when I looked for a epub reader back when I used to use a Nokia Lumia 900.
  • I use Bookviser, good app.
  • I like Bookviser but was annoyed that it didn't let me follow links within my epubs the last time I used it. Has that been fixed?
  • I don't have any links in my books collection now, why don't you check it as its just a 1MB app and can access books through your skydrive account.
  • I second that.
  • Freda because it does an excellent job allowing you to import your own books and editing metadata, is highly customizable, and has supported MS from the Windows Mobile days.
  • +1 for Freda. It's been around for a while and does a great job importing your epub files. Combine that with Calibre on the desktop for managing your files and it's a pretty good combination.
  • Definitely Freda+. Nokia's own reader is well designed, but also a terrible drain on the battery, heating up the phone in the process. It is a well known issue that Nokia has never managed (or cared) to resolve.
  • Freda is the top choice on the store, can't believe it was left off.
  • Tiny eBook reader & Kindle (i own a 'real' kindle) but legimi looks nice too after a first short glance.
  • Nokia Reading beats all of these in my opinion, but hey, what do I know...
  • I prefer Amazon Kindle BUT Nokia Reading is also a good option EXCEPT that Nokia Reading ISN'T available worldwide. I had to switch region to UK to be able to download it.
  • Not a book reader, but wanted to comment on your avatar's shirt. I LOVE BORDERLANDS!! :)
  • Miss Swedish Librarys in OverDrive Media Console.
  • What a poor excuse for a roundup, did the author even bother to research what is available and popular in the store?
  • If u don't include bookviser, Nokia reading and Freda, then u know this is not much of a list....who reads manga anyways??
  • I do but I prefer to do so on a tablet. :-)
  • I do...and loads of other people!!!
  • I miss the late, lamented DC Comics app. I suspect that Comixology, the parent company, only made it to fulfill some contractual obligation with DC. They ignored it and updated it only once. But still, it was nice to read Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, etc. on my phone.
  • There's Freda, Bookviser and Legimi. I prefer Freda the best because it has tons of customization options. Please check these and update the article.
  • Enough of all this ebooks. How about something usefull for audiobooks.
    I borrow lots of  books from the library but i cant seem to find a nice app to play them in my wp8.
    The once i find now, i need to upload to skydrive and then download to the phone. That is just wrong.
    So, devs listen up. We need a good Audiobook player !
  • http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=25bef109-9a3a-44a4-ba58-177cd642d143 "Bookviser" is one of thousands of great applications for Windows Phone. See more at WindowsPhone.com!
  • I love how they cherry pick their screenshots to show the app in its best light (as do all apps, of course).  I literally just downloaded bookviser, after not trying it since it was first released.  I had one major problem with it back then (it required you to have a bookviser account and upload your books to them -- kinda shady, and not really something I would trust).  That's no longer the case, but the reader itself is still primitive compared to Freda.
    Issues with getting books OPDS catalogs that require a username/password are broken.  Yes, there's a login option, and that allowed me to see the top level of my personal OPDS catalog.  But I could not go any deeper than the top level.  I use calibre, so it's not like it's some esoteric system The web browser interface wouldn't let me download a book from my calibre web server, either.  Though strangely it didn't prompt me to log in (I assume it reused credentials from the opds browser?). Ultimately, I ended up having to upload a book to skydrive.  Once I got a book into the app, the fun really started.  I loaded the same book I'm currently reading in Freda (a very large fantasy book that includes chapter heading illustrations).  The rendering was horrible, to put it mildly.  As best I can tell, it just stripped the raw text out of the document, attempting to preserve paragraph line breaks, and that was it.  HTML entities like headings were ignored.  HTML constructs like "<p><span>F</span>irst letter of a chapter gets styled separately</p>" ended up with an extraneous space where the <span /> was removed, like "F irst letter ...".  The span itself didn't get styled (the first letter should've been bigger).  Page breaks were not honored, even when they're physical breaks (aka, separate html files in the epub per chapter).  Everything just ran together into one big mess.  Links were stripped.
    The only thing that's "better" about Bookviser since I last tried it over a year ago is that it supports inline images now.  Woo.
    After having tried almost every reader on the market and seeing the exact same issues in all of them but Freda, I can boil it down to this -- either you can have a pretty catalog management UI (bookviser, raccoon, etc) or you can have a well-rendered reader page (Freda), but not both (though Freda has come a very long way in terms of UI since its early days in WP7).  Since I spend 99% of my time in an ebook reader actually reading, I will always choose the latter over the former.
  • Hey George how can you mention eBook readers and not mention freda I don't understand!
  • AmazonKindle app doesn't even have a search function.
  • I'm assuming that books I've bought for my Kindle via amazon are not readable on any other ereader.
    Is that a correct assumption?
  • Point Reader is my favorite reader. It is a bit different as it only displays on word at a time, the rate is adjustable. I sold my ereader once I got used to it.
  • Chinese users will be more familier with Anyview and Mohoo Reader. They are typical Chinese apps with numerous features including countless display settings, SkyDrive synchronization, multiple format supporting (txt, EPUD, UMD etc) and in-app downloading of books (all free, and of course, you know about the copyright issue)
  • Freda x Skydrive is the best
  • Nokia Reading is a best app when reading the PDF in Windows Phone.
    How to download:
    1. In the Windows Phone settings change the region as UK.
    2. Restart the phone
    3. Goto the Store and download the app 'Nokia Reading'
    4. Place the PDF files in the skydrive.
    5. In the Nokia Reading app goto the Mybooks and press the download button, give the Skydrive credentials.
    6. Download the books to the mobile and read.
        Nokia reading nicely do the Text reflow for the PDF files to read in the Windows Phone 8. Lumia 920 is awesome for this.
    Ebook Reader from Ebooks.com is a fantastic app for reading books, but only the books purchased from that site can be read.
  • If you listen to MP3 audiobooks, good luck finding an easy program to bookmark and read MP3's. The best way to do it is setting them up as a podcast. It's tricky, but doable finally with the new release of the Desktop program. Add RELEASETIME meta tags and copy them into your Podcast folder, and then sync. Works like a charm. Here is a detailed writeup on how to do it:  
  • Thank you Warren.  I have been looking for a way around this for a long time.  It's true, none of the Audio players in the marketplace have a simple bookmark feature.  Extremely frustrating. I'll give it a shot when I get home tonight.
  • Actually with the new Desktop Sync program you don't need to go through those steps.
    All you have to do is, create a new Library called "Podcasts" in File Explorer, then drop in folders with the MP3's you have. Make sure MP3's are named in some sort of chroniclogical order (personally I use --$num(,2)- in MP3tag for file names).
    Then when you run the "Windows Phone App for Desktop", select "Podcasts" on the PC side, you have directories (aka Podcasts now) you can select and sync to the phone. Go back to your phone, Music, Podcasts, and you have MP3's you can play with remember last location, etc.
    The only issue I can't figure out, is the lack of Album Art. The MP3's have them in there, but they won't show up on the Phones Podcasts.
  • I couldn't get mp3 files to work unless the RELEASETIME metadata existed. But an easy way to do it is to follow the old WP7 trick and use ElWPAudioBooks.exe (Elastep’s Audio Books for WP& Creator) and Zune to create the files.
  • You couldn't pay me to read books on an LCD screen, but Audible is my favorite app. Pair that with a Bluetooth headset like the LG Tone+ and it's like a camel pack for books. All downtime becomes reading time.
  • In my case, for reading comics I prefer Comic Time http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=c150ba2a-b8ec-493f-a754-37b0433e0ed5
  • I know this is an older post, but are we on Windows Phone 8 ever going to get updated to version 3 or 4?
  • The best,  "eBooks Reader", is brill too fast. http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=56561478-adfc-4c84-8228-5439dc06baac