With the arrival of the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook, this is the perfect time to showcase one of my favorite pastimes. I love using my PlayBook for reading eBooks each and every day whether I'm on the train commuting to and from work, or just relaxing on the couch.
The PlayBook is hands down a great device for reading ebooks. If you're looking for some applications to peruse your DRM free library, discover new authors, or just browse through a store to purchase new titles then these applications will help you get started on your digital journey. All of these applications vary with functionality but their purpose remains the same, to make sure all you bibliophiles out there access all those wonderful stories.
OverDrive Media Console by OverDrive, Inc.
OverDrive Media Console may be an android port but it delivers on the go access to eBooks and audiobooks from your local library's digital collection on the web (public, school, or college library) right to your BlackBerry PlayBook. There are more than 18,000 libraries worldwide that offer current and classic titles so all you need to do is find a library near you, browse through their selection, enter in a valid library card, and download the title. If you already own DRM-free EPUB eBooks you are able to read them in the application.
Each EPUB eBook and MP3 audiobook does have a lending period as if you went to the library in person. Best part is the title will automatically expire so there are no late fees to worry about. It even comes with a handy countdown clock to let you know. OverDrive is available for FREE for the BlackBerry PlayBook and most smartphones running OS 4.5 and higher.
PlayEpub Book Reader by Jesus Iglesias
PlayEpub Book Reader offers real book-life pagination (tap screen to flip page), full image, support, text highlight, autorotation, and other great features to let you read non-DRM protected epub, Kindle and FB2 books. It has an easy to navigate interface that lets you easily browse and view your entire library. Once selected, you can change the font type and size, enable day/night/sepia mode, use gestures when reading, and adjust the brightness.
In addition to all of the above you can also sync files from your email account, download daily news sent by Calibre, create notes, share selected text on Facebook or Twitter, look up definitions with the built-in dictionary, and sync your articles with Google Reader, Instapaper, and Pocket (ReaditLater) accounts. While Kindle file support is only in beta, it does offer a variety of features to give you one of the best reading experiences on the PlayBook. PlayEpub is available in BlackBerry App World for $1.99.
Book Reader for EPUB and Kindle Books by Untangled Development
Our forums contain a vast wealth of knowledge and if you happened to visit the PlayBook Apps and Games section no doubt you've come across Book Reader. This application supports DRM-free eBooks in EPUB, MOBI (Kindle), FictionBook FB2, TXT and Microsoft CHM formats so that you are able to use multiple sources to compile your library.
Book Reader allows you to choose from any font available on the device, switch between predefined reader skins (fonts and background colors), and it remembers your place if you exit the application. What everyone loves is not only the functionality but the professional looking interface and how easy it is to use and customize. This is a solid ebook reader for the PlayBook, is highly recommended, and is available for only $.99 in BlackBerry App World.
Kobo Reader for PlayBook
Kobo comes preinstalled on your tablet (if not you can pick it up in BlackBerry App World) and while it may not allow you to add your own titles, it does offer a vast selection of free and paid books in their store including Newspapers and Magazines (limited to certain regions) so you'll never be without something to read.
There are various ways to customize this application as well. Kobo lets you adjust the font and font size, switch on Night Mode so that the background becomes black and the text white, as well as letting you dog ear the pages and view the table of contents. The application is FREE to download and if you don't want to carry around multiple devices is worth a try.
Wattpad by WP Technology
During the BlackBerry PlayBook Experience in NYC, I had a chance to check out this application that is "YouTube for eBooks." It's a great way to discover fresh faced new authors and unlimited original stories by connecting with readers and writers from around the world. While you can't load your personal library, it does allow you to download short stories, novels, partial chapters, and more from their site and read them from without utilizing another third party application.
Wattpad is available for BlackBerry Smartphones running OS 4.5 and higher and the BlackBerry PlayBook running OS 2.0 and is FREE in BlackBerry App World.
Kindle Cloud Reader
For those you haven't sideloaded the kindle App on their PlayBook, just fire up the browser and go to http://read.amazon.com. Once you enter in your credentials you'll be able to view your entire Kindle Library and choose whether you wish to download the book for offline reading or just open the book to read right then and there. It lets you sync your bookmarks across all of your devices and adjust the font size and color mode, and select your place.
While it was designed for another platform, you don't have to worry about losing all of your existing purchases or carrying around multiple devices. Please note it does work best in Portrait Mode.
Nook for Web
While there is still no word of a native Nook app, they recently announced that customers can read their library via the web similar to the Amazon Cloud Reader. While it works best and is recommended on your PC or MAC, you can access and read your entire library through the PlayBook's powerful browser.
Just like its counterpart discussed above, users can simply enter www.nook.com/NOOKforWeb into their browser to get started. Simply click on my library in the upper right, enter in your credentials, choose a book and you're good to go. Nook for Web lets you view the contents, adjust the font and page layout, and recommend or rate/review all from the browser. Books can be sampled for free and it will even sync the last page read for you in case you go back to your Nook to finish.
Not to be left out, users who downloaded or purchased books through Google Play can now read them via the full screen web reader. It features a slider at the bottom to easily scroll through different sections and automatically re-sizes if you switch from portrait to lanscape mode or vice versa.
Google books can be accessed by pointing your browser to http://play.google.com/books. Simply login to your google account to shop for new titles or to browse your existing library. Google's Web Reader lets you access the table of contents, add margin notes, change the viewing settings, search for specific words or phrases, and view additional information.
Don't forget there are many sources on the internet to download free and legal (DRM-free) eBooks including Project Guttenburg, which is filled with thousands of books whose copyright has expired. For those with existing accounts, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, and Google Play all offer free eBooks for you to download in their respective stores.
Are you looking for additional ways to read on your PlayBook? There are more apps to be found in BlackBerry App World. If any of your favorites didn't make the cut feel free to add them in the comments below.