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 Basic Information
Format Issues

Facts to take on board

Free e-Reader Software

E-Reader Software Requiring Purchase

Speciality e-Reader Software

Software to assist e-publishing

Free File Conversion Software

File Formats List


Basic Information

*How - and with what - do you read an e-book?
This is really two questions, involving hardware and software.

1. The hardware answer is that you read a digital or electronic book in one of as many as six ways (more may be evolving as you read this). The first three means are longer established, and are described in this paragraph. You may use a desktop or laptop (notebook) personal computer, or the variations of notebooks known as netbooks and ultrabooks, either online or offline to the Internet. Or you can read on a handheld device designed specifically for the purpose, known as a dedicated e-reader, such as the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony Reader etc. Thirdly, you can read your e-book on any of a large number of general handheld devices. These older platforms have been known traditionally either as PDAs (= personal digital assistants), or as pocket computers.  Examples are Palms & Handsprings, Pocket PCs and Psions, and there are many other varieties of these.still in use.

Further varieties of e-reading devices include Web tablets (including the iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet and Samsung Galaxy Tab), and the combined phone/PDAs also known as smart phones. In fact, the evolution of mobile (cell) phones is such that any recent generation mobile phone with internet connectivity will usually be a potential e-reader as well. Another broad category of devices designed primarily for music and games may also be used as e-readers. These include iPODS, Play Station Portables (PSPs), the Nintendo Wii & DS, and similar devices.  MMCs (mobile media companions) and UMPCs (ultra mobile PCs) are two other additions to the field of e-reading. By the way, you don't have to read your books necessarily, you can listen to them instead as audiobooks if you prefer. For example a large number of novels have now become available as mp3 files, some read by prominent actors, others by ordinary people donating their time.  In addition, some devices will "read" your book to you using "text to speech" software, although this is a monotonous, synthesised voice, not a real human reading.

2. Apart from your hardware, you always read an e-book with some sort of software too. Which software? That depends on the format, or file type, in which the e-book is presented. So in that sense the choice may be fixed, but you may also have additional software options available to enhance your reading experience. *A limitation with e-books at present is that in many cases the reader - either human or electronic - cannot simply convert file formats to other file formats. Therefore if an e-book is not offered in a format type that you have e-reader software already installed for, you may not be able to read it at all. Or you may need to obtain extra software first. Most e-reader software is available free however, and even the kinds you have to buy are usually not expensive.*It is important, though, that you be well aware of software issues before you purchase any e-books, or even try to read free ones. The information below will help you understand these issues. In addition, links are provided so you can obtain a variety of (mostly free) e-reader software.

Rocket e-reader small image

Format Issues

The existence of different file formats has both good and bad features. Examples of the good are that particular formats may have various advantages suitable to particular types or styles of books (e.g. novels, textbooks or illustrated children's books). As well, their rivalry stimulates the development of better software overall.

However, as frequently happens with new technology, the issue has also become a problem, as a result of intense competing commercial pressures. The biggest difficulty is caused by the failure of the rival "players" in this field to agree on common underlying standards, or to arrange for the inter-convertibility of formats for books that are commercially available (in so far as this could be possible). Note however that it may often be possible to successfully convert e-books that do not have DRM copyright protection encrypted into them with softwares such as Calibre.

There are several scenarios that might eventually resolve these difficulties. For example, all or most e-books could be offered in multiple formats (many e-booksellers offer at least two or three at present). Alternatively, everyone could agree to use one particular format (the emergence of the ePub format may be a step in this direction. EPub is now almost into its third version, with ePub3.0 specifications released in March 2012. They incorporaed multimedia, interactivity, and global language support). Or again, just one format - or a very few formats - could emerge as dominant in the marketplace. Or lastly, a technical & commercial mechanism could be established to facilitate the easy inter-convertibility of various formats through a trusted intermediary. The .epub format mentioned above offers a potential basis for such a mechanism at some future time, but the commercial considerations of key market participants make this unlikely in the near future.

While some major corporations are still hoping that that their own product will win out over all others, there are also at present trends in e-publishing towards the first and fourth solutions. Viewed historically, e-books are still in their infancy, so it is too early to predict with any confidence what the final outcome will be.

For the curious or concerned, there is a list of most file formats likely to be encountered in connection with e-books at the base of this page.

Palm 5 PDA  small image

In the meantime, it helps to take these facts on board:

i) If an e-book is offered in HTML, or plain text, you will be able to read it immediately with your web browser on your personal desktop or laptop computer, or on other devices with full browser functionality. There is also extra software available to read the pages of such works outside your browser (but still on your computer) in a more book-like experience, with additional features that a printed book can never offer. Examples are the ability to change the font size or style, or even the background texture; hyperlinks in the text (so you can jump straight to selected locations in the text or even on the Web); the ability to search the text in various ways; and an inbuilt dictionary.

You can also read HTML book files on various handheld devices that are equipped with modified web browsers, or various other e-reader software. Or you may be able to add such software to them. Check the information that comes with your device.

ii) If an e-book is offered in a format other than HTML or plain text, such as ePub, PDF, Microsoft Reader or eReader (Palm) formats, you must first download & install particular (free) software on your computer or handheld device in order to read the book. In some cases, computer users will already have at least one of these installed on their PC. Most commonly this will be some version of the Adobe Reader for .pdf files. Meanwhile, many handheld devices do come with some variety of e-reader software pre-installed, or supplied available for installation. Some devices such as the Kindle have their own proprietary reading software and book file format, and you have no other choices in that regard.

iii) Just because you have a particular operating system on your device, this does not mean that all e-books that seem to come from an "opposing" system cannot be read. For example you can read eReader (formerly Palm) format e-books on a Windows or Mac PC, or on a (Windows) Pocket PC. Similarly you can read PDF format e-books on a Windows, Mac, Palm, PocketPC or Symbian OS device. However, in such cases you must first install the appropriate e-reader software to make this possible.

NB: Some e-books are presented as a standalone ".exe file" , which makes them similar to an independent program or "app". Such books could potentially carry viruses, trojans or other security threats. Therefore, if you download any of these try to ensure they come from a reputable source. In any case, it is recommended that you scan them with an anti-virus program before opening them for reading. For most people with the appropriate software installed, this will be most easily done by right-clicking on the file, and selecting the AV scan option presented.


NB: There are sometimes different varieties of such software to suit various devices, and you should always download the correct one in order to read your e-book satisfactorily. So you should carefully study the information provided, before you download any e-reader software.

What if there is e-reader software already installed on my device?

Some devices have proprietary e-reader software already installed, or reserved to the buyer for individual installation. You need to know the implications of this, as explained below:

a) Where the software is the only one the device will allow - for example with the Kindle device - the only books you will be able to read on the device are those that are offered in that format. So there you need to be careful, as if the books you want aren't offered, or the companies that support the e-reader stop offering books in that format, the device may not be of so much use to you.

b) Sometimes a device may have its own proprietary format reader installed, but also allow you to install another type of e-reader software. For example the Franklin eBookman has its own Franklin Reader with a limited variety of books available, but you can also install Mobipocket Reader on it, which allows you to read a much larger variety of books.

c) Some handhelds may not come with any particular e-reader software, but may allow you to install one (or more) of your own choice. Or they may include one of the more popular ones, but allow you to uninstall it and add another instead.

So then it's up to you to judge which one you want. You can experiment, of course. One person may for example like a particular type of software because of all the useful features it offers. A second individual may prefer another variety because of how simple it is to use, while a third person may choose a different e-reader software because they can find so many of a particular type of books they like in that format. It's your choice. You can also ask your friends for their opinion - or be the pioneer who sets the trend in your circle. Whichever, happy reading!

NB: The above information is provided free as a general guide & public service only, without liability of any kind. No responsibility is taken for any difficulties that may be encountered, and this website cannot offer assistance with individual enquiries. Note that new versions of operating systems may not yet be supported by some current e-reader software. However if an indicated software does not seem to support your current OS, you should check the relevant website's download page in case a newer e-reader software edition is now available.

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Free e-Reader Software

       For HTML and plain text e-books      For ePub format e-books

For Android OS devices               For PDF format e-books

        For Microsoft format e-books            Multi-format readers           

   Comics & manga viewers                  For Blackberry devices

For eReader format e-books    

  For Windows Phone 7               Other format or OS readers



Note: If you are unable to find the exact software information you require on this page, feel free to query Google in the search box below.
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For HTML and plain text e-books  (.html, .htm, .txt)

NB: Your Web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome etc.) will support reading of these e-books, and you need nothing else. In addition though, there are a number of other e-readers you can install for an enhanced reading experience. Examples follow.   

iReader for Firefox A useful extension for reading long articles on the Web. This add-on installs an "R" icon in the Address Bar. When this icon is clicked the Web article appears in a single, scrollable window without advertisements or other "extras", and in a large font. iReader for Firefox will work with Firefox browser versions 3.5 and above, under Windows XP, Vista, & Windows 7 OS's. Note that printing is problematic so far, and options few at present.

Tom's eTextReader This free (freeware) program lets you read plain text files - e.g. Project Gutenberg e-books - in a book-like manner. You can select Window size, font style and font size. Page breaks are then inserted automatically. You can also set bookmarks and search for character strings. A simple text editor is included as well. A memory-lite program, the latest version should run under any Windows OS. Thanks to Thomas Fellner of Vienna, Austria.

yBook, from Spacejock. The yBook takes plain text (.txt) or HTML files and displays the contents as if they were printed in a paperback novel. You get two pages side by side & can click the pages to turn them; you can also change the typeface/ & re-size the fonts 8 to 24 points Other features too. Another pleasing -and Aussie - creative achievement from one of the "small-fry" who often outperform the "big guys" on the Web.
yBook software image

In order to keep your computer protected from malicious code, ensure you are using up-to-date antivirus software

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For ePub format e-books (.epub files)

Adobe Digital Editions ADE will read DRM-encoded* ePub titles (these are most often ePub format books available for sale from commercial e-booksellers). As at November 2010, Adobe Digital Editions v. 1.7.2 has versions for both Windows (for XP with Service Pack 2, & above OS), and Mac (Mac OS X v10.4.10, or above), with a Linux version still awaited. The download is 18.3MB for the Windows version. Useful features include the abilities to change font size, add bookmarks, make text notes and highlight passages. Adobe Digital Editions also offers a library mode and a bookshelves feature. It is currently offered in eleven language versions, and can display content in a wide range of languages.

Bluefire Reader A well-featured app for authorising and reading Adobe-DRM'd ePub and PDF books on the iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch. Requires iOS 3.0 (or higher). Bluefire Reader settings include thirty text sizes, five font faces, a brightness slider, four page turn options, five page margin choices, night mode toggle etc. Available as a free download from the iTunes Apps store at
There's also a version for Android available from Google at:
For more general information about Bluefire Reader, go to:  
The FAQ at also answers some important questions.

EPUBReader for Firefox This Firefox add-on allows you to read non-DRM ePub files directly in your browser - just click on your ePub file link, and the rest is automatic. You can still save the file to disk if desired. EPUBReader is available in some 23 different languages, and will work with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, & Maemo operating systems.

To read ePub e-boooks on a Blackberry device, you can use the Mobipocket Reader Desktop to convert them to .mobi files. A beta ePub Reader for BlackBerry (it may still have bugs) is also available from

OverDrive Media Console app for iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch This app gives users direct wireless access to EPUB e-book and MP3 audiobook loan titles from participating libraries. Features include bookmarking, 1-click, automatic downloading, page orientation setting & a lending countdown. Note that WMA files are not supported so far Participating institutions include more than 13,000 public and academic libraries in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and nine other countries. The latest version requires iOS 4.0 or later. Download at the Apple AppStore, at:
To check if your public library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit this URL:

*DRM = Digital Rights Management, a coding (encryption) to prevent illegal copying etc.


For Microsoft format e-books (.lit files)

Microsoft Reader download image  
Microsoft Reader for Desktop and Laptop PC
Free software, available in English, French,German, Italian or Spanish versions. If you have an older version already installed, be sure to uninstall it first.

Microsoft Reader for Pocket PC This reader software comes pre-installed on most Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 devices, and may not be compatible with older ones. Before downloading it you should read the relevant Microsoft webpage information carefully. Available in English, French,German, Italian or Spanish versions.

Microsoft Reader for Tablet PC  Microsoft Reader for Tablet PC is designed specifically for computers running Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. It is not designed for any other operating system or device. Available in English, French, & German. A version for UMPC (Origami OS) is also available from this download page.

Microsoft Text-to-Speech Package  For desktop, laptop and tablet Windows OS PCs. Designed to allow for an audio e-book experience, through text to speech conversion. Comes in English, French, & German varieties. Note that you must have Microsoft Reader 2.0 installed on your machine first, for this additional software to work.


For Windows Phone 7 & 8

Windows Phone 8 succeeded Windows Phone 7 in June 2012. As Windows Phone 8 is designed for more sophisticated devices, it is not offered as an update to existing smartphones running Windows Phone 7. However another update, Windows Phone 7.8, will be available for those and will include several features of the "8" edition OS, such as the redesigned home screen.

Windows Phone editions are the Microsoft mobile operating system replacing Windows Mobile OS from late 2010. However, pre-existing phones running Windows Mobile OS are not upgradeable to the new OS. Windows Phone editions support multiple languages, multi-touch technology and Flash Player 10.1 and above; feature user "hubs"; and offer Bing as their only search engine via a version of the Internet Explorer Mobile web browser. Icons are replaced by "tiles", and the "homescreen" may be personalised.

Adobe Reader for Windows Phone 7 For reading PDF books and documents. See the entry under Adobe Readers.

Kindle app for Windows Phone 7. Read Amazon's Kindle e-books on your WP7 OS phone. This free app supports synchronised reading with other devices. Download it on your Windows 7 phone from Microsoft's app store, Marketplace for Windows Phone 7, under the "New" section of the "Books and References" area.


Windows Mobile: Windows Mobile OS Version 6.5 is the current & last version of the Windows Mobile OS. Features of this last version include: access to Windows Live services; improvements to email functionality; support for Microsoft Office features previously available only on full version PCs; a smart calendar bar; & synchronization with Windows Vista.

* Windows Mobile OS 5.0 is the previous version, and was released in May 2005. It supports flash memory, plus landscape displays, 3G networks and Wi-Fi on smart phones. This OS also contained new mobile versions of Word, Excel & Outlook, and included a PowerPoint version and Windows Media Player 10. In addition: enhanced support for Bluetooth, USB 2.0, and integrated hard drives, & it also features improved security.

* The Windows Mobile OS version prior to Version 5.0 was Windows Mobile 2003 SE (Second Edition).

Orneta Reader is a heritage document reader for older Windows Mobile-based smartphones that reads text and PDF files (without graphics). It will read files of any size, and will open a document at the same place it was last closed. Text size and fonts are adjustable for easy reading. Text is displayed by flowing the document without using scrollbars: An automated playback mode scrolls by word, page, or line. A download site for Version 1.0.6 for Windows Mobile 2002 is:,
and for Windows Mobile 2003 Phone Edition and Windows Mobile 2005 is:


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For eReader format e-books (.prc, & .pdb files), and Palm Doc e-books

eReader for Android A beta app, for devices running Android OS version 1.0 or later (1.5 or later recommended). First read the information at this page, then download directly to your device (you can email the URL) from:

eReader for BlackBerry Again, read important information, then download directly to your device from:

eReader for Linux The eReader for Linux is a beta application used to read eReader eBooks on devices using Ubuntu 9.0.4 and later. Download it from:

eReader for Macintosh for any Macintosh computer or laptop.

Palm Reader image
eReader for Palm OS
(formerly Palm Reader & originally Peanut Reader). Basic e-reader software for Palm OS devices. such as PocketPCs, Windows Mobile or Symbian Smartphones, MAC OS, Unix or OQO. The eReader for Palm either comes with your Palm or other Palm OS devices (e.g. Handspring, Sony Clie) or may be added in by download & installation. Available in English, French, German, Italian & Spanish. From:

eReader for Symbian There are seven varieties available, suitable for the Symbian OS on various Nokia, Samsung & Sony Ericsson smartphones. Find yours by clicking on the Symbian link, then selecting from the drop-down menu on the right at:

eReader for Windows Currently available for Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0/2000, XP, Vista & Windows 7.

eReader for Windows Mobile Smartphone (also, PocketPC 2003 or Later)

eReader for PocketPC 2002 or earlier:

eReader for Windows for OQO

Check for the version suitable for your handheld device at:


Palm Doc

CspotRun   Free reader for documents in the Palm DOC format. Download to PCs with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 OS; for Palm OS v2.0. Available in Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, or Turkish editions.

HandStory Basic reader for "Palm Doc" and HandStory eBooks. HandStory Basic is a freeware, limited features version of HandStory Suite. There is also a Japanese version, and versions for Mac, PocketPC, & an upgrade for Palm OS 5.2 and above.

Qvadis Express Reader Lite For reading Palm Doc e-texts on Palm OS 3.0 & above. A reduced
but still well-featured & impressive version of the purchasable Qvadis Express Reader. This software has a very small "footprint" (memory requirement).

NB: Many people get confused between two similar sounding but different file formats, both available for Palm devices These are the ubiquitous Palm Reader format (.prc files) and the somewhat less common Palm Doc format (.pdb files). Each has its own e-reader software. The essential point to remember is that the Palm Reader (now known simply as eReader) software can read both Palm Reader and Palm Doc format e-books, but e-books formatted for Palm Reader cannot be read with Palm Doc e-reader software.


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For PDF e-books (.pdf files)


Adobe Readers             Other Readers  

1.Adobe Digital Editions (NB: Also supports .epub e-books) Adobe's "Digital Editions" Version 2.0.1 (released 15 July 2013) has versions for both Windows (for Windows 7, Vista, or XP with Service Pack 2 or 3) and Mac (Mac OS X v10.4.10, or above), with a Linux version still awaited. You can also install Adobe Digital Editions on a Windows 8 device, but you will need to ensure .NET 3.5 is turned on ( go to Control Panel -> Programs -> "Turn Windows features on or off"). Like its predecessor the Adobe eBook Reader, this is a much smaller software than the Adobe Reader, and is specific for e-books. The download is 5.7 MB for the Windows version and 16.3 MB for Mac. Digital Editions software will now read not only PDFs but also the new, fluid ".epub" file specification. Useful features include the abilities to change font size, add bookmarks, make text notes and highlight passages, while SWF multimedia files are supported too. Digital Editions also offers a library mode and a bookshelves feature. It is currently offered in eleven language versions and can display content in a wide range of languages. NB: Please note the minimum system requirements.

New version:  Adobe Digital Editions 3.0 was released on January 22, 2014, and includes better support for vertical text and CSS text properties, plus security updates. Version 3.0 was designed with support for full keyboard controls (tab navigation and shortcuts), improved text enlargement, and support for high-contrast modes. It is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional versions. Check here for supported devices. Download Version 3.0 from:

.Get Adobe Digital Editions image


2. Adobe Reader   The Adobe Reader is a large, fully-featured software for general use with reading PDF files. To find the most recent Adobe Reader version compatible with your desktop or laptop operating system (see notes below for mobile versions), proceed as follows: go to this Adobe page. Your OS type will be displayed and you will be informed of the highest Adobe Reader version you can update to. If the OS type and/or version displayed is incorrect, go to this page instead and select the correct one. NB: It is advisable to read the General Adobe Version Notes below before initiating your download.

If you have an old Windows operating system installed: If your OS predates those shown as required for this download, you should retain your existing version of Adobe Reader. Specifically, If you are running Windows ME or 2000, ignore any upgrading hints the Reader may give, and do not go beyond Adobe Reader 7.  If your Windows is 95, 98, or 98SE it is unwise to go beyond Adobe Reader 6. Note that although dire warnings may flash up, most PDFs will still display successfully with Adobe Reader 6 or above.

General Adobe Reader Version Notes:

*The latest Adobe Reader version is Reader XI (11). Reader XI has been updated to Version XI 11.0.06, the latter on 14 January 2014. The download size is 49.3 MB for the English language version for Windows, and 76.9 MB for Mac (an all languages version is also available for Mac, size 97 MB). The Mac version is for Mac OS X v10.6.4, v10.7.2, or v10.8. For Mac version Mac OS X v10.5.8, continue with the Reader X version. Adobe Reader X (10) continues to be available, and continues to be updated at least quarterly (last update 14/1/2014). Adobe Reader 9 received its final update on May 14. 2013. Be aware that there are additional security risks if you run Reader versions prior to Reader X (10).

There is also a mobile version of the current Adobe Reader for Android and iOS devices, available from: From Australia, download it from here .

For the iPad, iPod Touch or IPhone (with iOS versions 6.0 or later), download mobile version 11.2.0 of the Adobe Reader from the iTunes store here. The download size is 11.1 MB, and the app is currently available in English, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish versions.

The app for Windows Phone 7 may be downloaded from here (official Windows Phone site).

For Windows Phone 8, download from here (official Windows Phone site).


NB: Beware of scam emails claiming to inform you of (bogus) new versions of the Adobe Reader. These are not from Adobe, and are malicious in nature. Do NOT click on links in them, as they may compromise your computer or mobile device, and install malware. Instead, delete such emails without hesitation.

OS Requirements: To use Adobe Reader X (10) or XI (11) on a Windows OS PC, you need Windows XP SP 2 or 3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 or 8. For Mac users, Mac OS X v.10.5.8 or 10.6.4 is required. For Android OS, versions 2.2 or above; and for Symbian OS Version 1.1. There are other system requirements (e.g. processor level, available memory, browser type), so you should be sure you can satisfy these before upgrading to or introducing latest version software - otherwise it may work unsatisfactorily, cause various problems, or even fail to work altogether.These requirements may change with updates, so be sure to correctly specify your OS on the Downloads page drop-down menu before proceeding.

Security note: The Adobe X & XI downloads will automatically include a free version of McAfee Security Scan Plus software, unless you uncheck the small box in the upper RHC of the download page. If you don't have any AV software at present, your computer security will be improved by leaving the box checked and installing that software after downloading it. HOWEVER, If you already have good anti-virus software, allowing & installing this download may only cause problems. If you are unsure about the various anti-virus softwares available and thinking of purchasing one, this page will allow you to compare the claims of the major brands available. You can then use Google, Bing or Yahoo to search for critical reviews thereafter, if desired.

* New features of Adobe Reader 11 (often written with Roman numerals as .Adobe Reader XI): Fuller commenting features; fill, sign, save & send forms; store files "in the cloud" at, & access these from multiple devices; create or export PDF files to Word or Excel online; support for Mac OS X Mountain Lion & Windows 8, including new "touch-mode" for tablet interaction.

* New features of Adobe Reader 10 (often written with Roman numerals as .Adobe Reader X): Protected Mode to view PDFs more securely; enhanced commenting tools; improved user interface including two viewing modes (reading mode or dual page spread); more effective Find function; ability to open/view contents of a PDF Portfolio; allows electronic form submission; display/interact with more PDF-rendered "rich media content" including CAD designs & geospatial maps, drawings, spreadsheets, videos. Allows reading out loud for PDF text; will reflow PDFs on mobile devices to screen width, and will reorient a PDF to landscape or portrait view.

NB:* Since the full release of Digital Editions (see above) Adobe Reader Versions 8 and above will not themselves read DRM-protected PDF e-books, although Digital Editions can be launched from within Adobe Reader 8 and above. However, if you want to continue reading DRM-protected e-books & don't want to install the Digital Editions software, you can stick with earlier versions of the Adobe Reader (warning, doing so may entail security risks).

The next previous Adobe Reader version was the Adobe Reader 9 (released July 2008).To use Adobe Reader 9 on a Windows OS PC you need Windows XP or Windows Vista. * New features of Adobe Reader 9 were: fully supports the newest PDF file versions. Can interact directly with Adobe Flash software. There are useful improvements to search abilities too.

Get Adobe Reader image

Earlier version notes

*Adobe Reader 6 and the earlier Acrobat eBook Reader can coexist as separate general PDF and e-book readers, or you can migrate most e-books previously acquired to Adobe Reader 6 using the eBook Migration Utility.

*Adobe Reader 6 united the Acrobat eBook Reader and the Acrobat Reader. All e-books acquired  after installing Adobe Reader 6.0 or above versions download to your Adobe Reader.

*Note also that Netscape 4 web browser versions did not support Adobe 6, so if you are still (???) using any of these old versions of Netscape do not go above Adobe 5 to read PDF files.

* For the record: The fastest-loading Adobe PDF reader was actually Acrobat Reader 4.05.

Prior versions

If you prefer an earlier Acrobat Reader version, or want a version for a different OS, go instead to:


Adobe Reader for Windows Phone 7 OS For viewing Adobe PDF files on Windows Phone 7 OS devices your software is available free on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace (note the system requirements). Features include the ability to open PDF files from your email, Web browser or offline; three methods to zoom and navigate; use multi-touch gestures; portrait or landscape modes. If you have Zune installed you may download this viewer from:
Or, do a barcode scanner download at:



Non-Adobe PDF Readers

Foxit Reader
A memory-lite, nimble software compared with the Adobe Reader, comes in both standard free and purchasable Pro* versions. Enables you to view, search and print PDFs. Fast launching and fully featured. Use with Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista.
*The PRO version includes a PDF to TXT (plain text) conversion option, and extensive PDF annotation features.


AlternateReader: a free DjVu & PDF reader for Symbian OS 9.2, 9.3, 9.4.  P.I.P.S. & openc SSL v1.6 (also available) are required. Three versions of this 3.8MB file are available from:

Bluefire Reader for the iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch. See entry under ePub Readers.


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for Android OS devices

NB: These free e-reader softwares for Android phones, tablets and other mobile devices with the Android operating system can usually be downloaded directly from the Android Market. Or, you can also scan the QR code online with your Android device's barcode scanner at some of the links included below.

This software will run on any Android phone. Aldiko has won high praise for being user-friendly and for its multitude of features, many customisable. Note though that Aldiko only supports books in the ePub format. However, by using (free) Calibre software it is possible to convert books to ePub from many other formats, including fb2, html, .lit, mobi, pdf, .rtf, txt, and prc, and then import them into Aldiko. Aldiko's other major limitation was that it did not support DRM, so it could not be used to buy many e-books. However a new 2.0 version allows buying & reading Adobe-DRMed ePub and PDF files, and importing many public library e-books. Note that Aldiko Version 2.0 requires Android OS version 2.1 or above (Aldiko Version 1.2 is still available for earlier Android OS versions). The standard free version is fully-featured, but includes ads. A premium version, for a modest price, is ad-free.
Download Aldiko 2.0 from:
Download Aldiko Version 1.2 from:

Adobe Reader for Android.
Available for Android 2.1 OS and above only. For PDF format e-books & documents. Offers multi-touch gestures: pinch-and-zoom, double-tap-zoom, flick-scrolling and panning. Includes a "reflow" mode to automatically wrap the content of wide, text-heavy documents on smaller screens. Supports both landscape and portrait mode. Most features are fast, but zooming is reportedly slow. Download from:

An audio book listener for Android devices. This Finnish software app currently works on Android OS versions up to Android 2.1. BookDroid supports all audio files available to the Android OS, and will also automatically extract archive zip files. It supports features such as skip seeking, track seeking and specific "jump to" seeking. Only the trial version is free however.

eReader for Android A beta app (2012), for all devices running Android OS version 1.0 or later (1.5 or later recommended). More features and improvements are scheduled. First, read the information at this page, then download directly to your device (you can email the URL there) from:

FBReader for Android supports the e-book formats epub, rtf, fb2, html, plain text and (partially) mobipocket. Direct reading from zip archives is also supported. Versions are available for Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich); Android 3 (Honeycomb); Android 2 and Android 1.5/1.6 devices.

Kindle for Android
Available for Android1.6 and above. Connects to Amazon's huge Kindle online e-bookstore, for books in the Kindle format. Generally adequate, plus special further features include the ability to add, edit or delete notes and highlights; search inside the book (for words or phrases); and look up words on Wikipedia and Landscape or portrait screen orientation is offered.

Kobo for Android Available for Android1.6 and above. The current app version allows reading ePub format titles from any source, provided they are not DRM protected (the previous version only allowed titles from Kobo). Download from the Android Market .

Nook For Android
Available for Android 1.6 or above, this app reads ePub format books. It allows access to the large Barnes & Noble e-bookstore from Android OS devices. Features include page-flick or animated page turn; page & bookmark sync to other devices; LendMe book share; and customisable text fonts (eight) & sizes (five). Nook For Android may be downloaded from the Android Market under NOOK. For more information see:

OverDrive Media Console app for Android tablets and phones (for library loans of e-books & some audiobooks)
Gives users direct wireless access to the EPUB e-book and MP3 audiobook loan titles of participating libraries - note that WMA files are not supported so far. Features include bookmarking, 1-click downloading, page orientation setting & a lending countdown. .Supported devices include Motorola Droid X, Samsung GALAXY Tab, Cruz Tablet, and HTC EVO 4G.NB: This app may not work on some Android OS devices/ OS versions. Participating institutions include more than 13,000 public and academic libraries in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and nine other countries. Download the app in the Android Market. Also available by barcode swipe at:

To check if your public library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit

Sony mobile e-Reader app for Android
This software supports Android OS versions 2.2 and above only. Be aware of the large (8MB) storage memory required. The app will read books in both EPUB and PDF formats from the Sony e-bookstore, including titles with Adobe DRM, but not external library DRMed e-books (so far). Features include adjustable font size & screen brightness, text search, highlighting and bookmarking, It also includes six free e-books. Note that it also allows synchronised reading with an Android device for Sony Daily Edition (PRS-950SC) owners. Download from the Android Market, or by barcode swipe from the Install link at:

uBook for Android is an e-book reader that lets you read a number of formats, including HTML,PML, TXT, RTF, and unencrypted (not commercial) PRC (Palm format) and PDB (Palm DOC format) e-book files. It will also read text inside ZIP, .CHM and .RB files. uBook is free as a "nagging"/trial version (auto scrolling will not work in the free edition), or $US15 for a licenced copy. There's a version for Android 1.5, and another for all Android versions above that. Find the downloads near the base of the page at:


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For Blackberry devices

eReader for BlackBerry Improved software to read eReader e-books on your Blackberry device. Will read Palm (PDB file format) and some Palm Doc books; multiformat (unencrypted) and secure eReader titles from; and all e-books available at Note that you must install eReader for BlackBerry directly from your device's built-in browser. Download available at:

Kindle app for BlackBerry Reads Amazon's Kindle e-books on a BlackBerry. This free app also supports synchronised reading on other devices.
To download, go to, and under the Kindle link at left click on Free Kindle Reading Apps.

Kobo app for BlackBerry Features include Night Mode and brightness controls, automatic bookmarking, & Bluetooth support for wireless synchronisation. This app currently supports BlackBerries in the '8' and '9' series through to the 9981 model, with 4.5.0 or higher software.

Note: The Kobo App for the BlackBerry PlayBook Web tablet comes pre-loaded on the device.

Nook (Barnes and Noble) app for BlackBerry  Features include bookmarks; a lookup function for dictionary; portrait or landscape display; and customisable font, margins & page gestures. Note that you must install the B&N eReader for BlackBerry directly from your device's built-in browser. The easiest method is to go to from your phone and click the link "Download free B&N eReader App." More information at:

Mobipocket Reader Desktop for BlackBerry. You can convert most non-DRM e-books to Mobipocket's .mobi format, using free Calibre software, and then read them on many modern Blackberry devices.

*A beta ePub Reader for BlackBerry (it may still have bugs) is available from

Shortcovers The Shortcovers online bookstore also provides a mobile interface for e-reading. If you buy an e-book from them you can synchronise reading it on a Blackberry with reading on a desktop browser or other computer interface.

*Stanza e-books can be transferred into BlackBerry via MobiPocket Desktop.

NB: various softwares will only work with some Blackberry devices. To avoid possible disappointment, please read the requirements listed on the relevant download website before downloading any of these.

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For Comics and Manga

Comic Rack
For Windows - suitable for Windows 2000, XP, Vista & Windows 7 OS versions. Free viewer & organiser software for comic book archive files. Supports digital comics in CBZ, ZIP, CBR, RAR, TAR and PDF formats. Features include multiple display modes, scroll mode, information overlays, colour adjustment, and a magnifier tool. Offers numerous customisable options. Download at:

For Mac OS X.  Requires Mac OS v. 10.4 or later. Supports Mac OS v. 10.6 (Snow Leopard). This adjustable viewer is the fully-operational free trial version of ComicBookLover, & is identical to the purchasable version, except for a small watermark displayed in the bottom LHC. View digital comics in three modes, organise collections etc. ComicBookLover supports comics in CBZ, CBR, RAR, ZIP and PDF formats. Download as a zipped file at:

NB: Versions of ComicBookLover for the iPhone/iPod Touch, and the iPad, are available from the iPhone Apps Store.

For Linux & other Unix OS's. Reads comics in ZIP, RAR or tar archives (also gzip or bzip2 compressed), as well as plain image files. Offers full screen or double page viewing modes, image rotation & enhancement, magnification, bookmarks, library & archive features and more. Available in over 20 different languages. Get it from:


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Multi-format readers

AportisDoc Well-featured software for viewing electronic text and books on Palm OS, Pocket PC
& Windows CE portable devices. Comes in various versions, obtainable from:,6227-order,1-page,1/description.html

Note that a related software, AportisDoc Converter for Windows, can convert web pages, Microsoft Word (.doc), WordPerfect (.wpd), Adobe Acrobat PDF (.pdf), Rich Text (.rtf), or text (.txt) files into AportisDoc (Doc) format, to read on the above OS handhelds.

Blio Reader
The Blio Reader is a new, platform-neutral*, e-reading software, particularly suitable for presenting multimedia. As well as text view, it caters for video, graphics, hyperlinks, and high-quality audio text-to-speech. Translation into up to sixteen languages may also soon be possible (but don't expect perfection in that). In addition to e-books, Blio will fully represent magazines or websites in colour, showing all layout, typesetting and special features. There are a variety of viewing choices available for the high-resolution display, including double page view and 3D effect, and many additional features. Initial versions of the Blio Reader are now available and are free to download, but please note the substantial system & software requirements. More than 1.2 million titles are already available for use with Blio - that includes free public domain books from Project Gutenberg, Google, and Feedbook. Blio was introduced in 2010 by the celebrated Ray Kurzweil, & friends.

* The Blio Reader is available in versions for Windows, Android and iOS platforms

Calibre see entry here

FBReader is a free e-book reader for many Linux-based portable devices and Linux and Windows XP desktop computers. It supports the following file formats: CHM, .fb2, HTML, mobipocket (non-DRM only) OeB, OpenReader, Palmdoc, Plain text, plucker, RTF, TCR zTxt. T More than a dozen varieties are available in 2012, plus several more in beta. There is now also a version for Android.

Mentoract Reader  Free, cross-platform viewer for OEB standard-compliant e-books (provided they are not encrypted). It continues to be improved. Features include: displays animated GIF (.gif) graphics, supports interactive Java applets, plays embedded audio. Supports internationalized characters sets, including correct right-to-left flowing script. Automatic recognition of system-installed fonts for international characters. One-page or two-page displays available for all books, resizing of screen or fonts offered & full text search included.

MobiPocket Reader
Popular, well-featured & multi-platform, the originally French-based MobiPocket (now owned by Amazon) is an e-book & e-news reader for handheld devices and for Windows PCs.  Although Mobipocket Reader is not supported on Mac or Linux systems, you can still install Mobipocket Reader on your PDA/smartphone via a Mac or Linux, by downloading an individual installation package. There are mobile versions that works with Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, and with devices such as the Blackberry, Psion Epoc32, Cybook, iLiad, Nokia 9210, 9290 & various other Nokia, Symbian, & MS model smartphones; Casio BE-300, Palm OS (version 3.0 & above), Windows CE (version 2.0 and above) & some other devices. Mobipocket Desktop eBook Reader is said to recognize any reading device on first connection, and install the appropriate mobile reader automatically.
 Available in both English & a range of European languages. Reads texts formatted as .doc, OEB, .prc, .txt, & HTML, as well as Mobipocket editions. The free version is available from:

Stanza Desktop This free e-book reader software for PC or Mac will support DOC, HTML, PDF & RTF files, and also DRM-free books in EPUB, Kindle (AZW), LIT, MOBI, and Palm Doc (PDB) formats. As well, Stanza can convert PDFs & Word documents to Kindle format (AZW). Further, Web pages and MS Office content (including long documents) can be converted in Stanza to read offline in more comfortable formats, or transferred to a mobile device. Stanza e-books can also be exported to BlackBerry, Pocket PC, Palm OS and some other devices via MobiPocket Desktop. Reader features include text-scrolling, multiple font sizes and advanced column layouts. Note that the "Online Catalog" in Stanza iPhone is not yet available for Stanza Desktop, which is still officially a beta app.
For Windows, download Version 1.0 Beta 18 (52 MB). Requires Windows XP SP2+ or higher.

For Mac, download Version 1.0 Beta 18 (35 MB). Requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher (32-bit):

Stanza for iPhone This free application supports e-reading on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. A built-in catalogue contains links to over 100,000 books. E-books are supported in (unencrypted) DRM-free ePub format, DjVu & Comic Book Archive (both CBR & CBZ), plus both encrypted and unencrypted eReader and PDF files. You can also transfer your existing books in the above formats to your iOS device by dragging them into iTunes on your PC or Mac, and dropping the files into the "File Sharing" section of the "Apps" tab. Stanza offers language support for English, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Vietnamese. Features include variable font sizes and colours, portrait or landscape modes, justification, line spacing, & hyphenation. Stanza requires iOS 3.0 or later. CAUTION: The most recent version of Stanza (3.2) works only in iOS 5, not any prior iOS version . If you have iOS4 or below, and Stanza already installed, do NOT upgrade an existing Stanza edition beyond 3.1, or it will cease to function. Further upgrades of Stanza seem unlikely from the new owner (Amazon). .Download this poular 9.6MB app from:

uBook is an e-book reader for Windows OS & the Pocket PC that lets you read a number of formats, including HTML,PML, TXT, RTF, and unencrypted (not commercial) PRC (Palm format) and PDB (Palm DOC format) e-book files. It will also read text inside ZIP, .CHM and .RB file. ,Reportedly also useful for reading large & cumbersome Word documents - simply save the large Word file as an HTML, RTF, or TXT file, & then read it using uBook. Free as a "nagging"/trial version (auto scrolling will not work in the free version), or $US15 for a licenced copy.  There's now a version for Android too.

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Other format or OS readers

DNL Reader Use for multimedia e-books created for PCs and laptops in the .dnl file format. Reads e-books created with DeskTop Author software from the DNAML company. Use with Windows or Virtual Windows only (no Mac so far). Direct dowload link at :
 Get DNL Reader image

eBooksReader  Reads e-books created with the EBooksWriter software.

FlipViewer allows the viewing of online content in a "realistic 3D page flipping book".  Many Flip Books are available on the Net. The viewer is free, but you can also purchase FlipViewer Xpress software to create your own Flip Books. The link below is for Windows, but there is also a Mac version.
FlipViewer download image

Game Boy Book Reader MQP Electronics sponsors a page where enthusiasts teach you how to
load books to the Game Boy device, with a link to some free classic adventure novels also provided.

hiebook Reader for PC This software comes pre-installed on hiebook devices and is no longer available independently. However it is also included on the device CD, so that if you wish to read hiebook formatted titles on your PC you can install it there and do so. There's also HiBuilder software, which you can use to make your own hiebook format e-book, or to convert your personal documents for reading on the hiebook device.

i S i l o free Limited free version of this memory-saving software. Fast searching features & the
ability to display html documents are amongst its assets. Also supports the .pdb (Palm DOC) format for Palm OS devices. You download the full iSilo as a trial version to begin with - after 30 days it drops to the limited free version, if you do not buy it. Varieties available for Palm, Pocket PC, Windows, Windows CE, Windows Mobile Smartphone, Symbian UIQ, and Symbian Series 60.

Kindle For Mac OS
To read Amazon's Kindle e-books on a Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) computer, go to & under the Kindle link at left click on Free Kindle Reading Apps to locate this application.


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e-Reader Software Requiring Purchase

NB: Before you buy or download any software, we recommend you first read the FAQ (frequently asked questions) or other relevant Information on the website in question, to check if the software is appropriate for your needs.

DeepReader For Palm OS devices (OS version 3.5 or higher). Shareware designed by one of those talented individuals who put major corporations to shame.This software supports the Palm DOC (.pdb) format. Features include bookmarks, choice of several easy-to-read fonts, clear paragraph breaks, indenting, "smart" quotes, italics, full justification options, "and more." You can also set text to automatically smooth-scroll at various speeds. Further options for colour screens & advanced- model handhelds like the Sony Clie. Free trial version available, or buy from:

iSilo  E-reader available in different versions for Palm OS devices (Palm OS 3.0 or higher) and for Pocket PC, Pocket PC 2002 & Pocket PC 2003.  iSilo displays documents formatted using HTML & also supports the .pdb format. Features include higher text compression (so uses less memory), supports hyperlinks & high-quality colour images. A free trial download is available. From:

MegaReader Available for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, with iOS 3.0 or above. This iOS e-book reader may be used to find and read a reported 1.8 million legal, public domain or author-authorised free books on the Internet. MegaReader offers customisable features including font style (31 fonts), size (over 100 text sizes), background colour, line spacing, and text justification. It also offers in-app connectivity with sources such as Project Gutenberg, Baen Free Books, Feedbooks, Smashwords, and the Internet Archive. Version 2.0+ includes 22 classic titles, supports multi-column display on the iPad, is offered with English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Chinese language support, and costs US$1.99.

PDF+ Reader The current PDF+ reader is for for S60 3rd and 5th edition smartphones, such as the Nokia N97 mini, the Nokia E72, the Samsung i8910 HD, the Sony Ericsson Satio, the Nokia E71, the Nokia N97 and the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music. As well, there's now a  version for the iPhone and iPod Touch. PDF+ Reader is described as very easy to use, fast, small and packing a lot of features.There are Basic, Standard and Pro versions available for purchase. The previous version worked on all Symbian ER1, ER3 and ER5 PDA's, including the Psion Series 5, 5mx & 5mx Pro, the Series 7, the Psion Netbook, the Revo & Revo Plus, the Diamond Mako, the Ericsson MC 218 and the Oregon Scientific Osaris. There is also a separate version for the Nokia 9200 Series Communicator. For full details see:

Sharp DOC Reader is an older e-book reader for (embedded Linux- based) Sharp Zaurus devices. This version 3.0 software can read .pdb and .prc files in (Aportis) DOC, Ztxt (Weasel), & MobileDB formats. Many useful features are included, e.g. page management, bookmarks, multiple font sizes and word search. The file size is only 99 KB.

TomeRaider TomeRaider is a specialist e-reading software that works (in different versions) with Android, Nokia Communicator Series, Palm OS, Pocket PC, Pocket PC 2002 & EPOC handhelds, Sony Ericsson P 800/900, Symbian S60, & Windows too. It features a simple interface but database-like capabilities, including excellent compression, good indexing, fast navigation, and super-fast searching. Therefore it excels with very large reference works, and in fact is the format for the Internet Movie Database full English version.The TomeRaider file format does not support DRM (encrypted files) however, which means you won't find any current commercial titles for it. However, there are nearly 2,000 free e-documents in TomeRaider format available at MemoWare . Purchase it from:

QVADIS Express Reader Easy to use, well-featured, award-winning, Palm OS centred software. Comes in three forms, all available for free 30 day trial as shareware. These are:
*Express Reader GT for Palm applications only.
*Express Reader DX for Desktop PCs.
*Express Reader Pro/ Express Publisher for both Palm and Desktop PCs. As a PC viewer this last is also an editor/converter that enables you to preview, edit or convert to Palm format from text, rich text, HTML and MS Word.
NB: At last check, the professional QVadis website was not working, However free QVadis Lite versions are available from:




Speciality & Disability e-Reader Software

CAST eReader/AspireREADER The CAST eReader is well known in educational and disability circles. First released for Macintosh in 1995 as a very early text-to-speech conversion software, it had developed to version 3.0 by 2003. The most recent version (4.0, released 2006) is now called the AspireREADER. It reads aloud RTF, HTML, DAISY3, NIMAS and DAISY 2.02 files with human or synthesised speech, plus Web pages and word processor content. The AspireREADER also included many useful features for the deaf, blind or visually impaired; for people with learning and cognitive disabilities; for those with impaired mobility; and for foreign language speakers. Unfortunately, current references to this software disappeared during 2011, and at this point it is not known whether it will be re-released.

Copernic Summarizer is software which "analyses texts, pinpoints key concepts, and quickly produces allegedly concise and accurate summaries composed of the most important sentences. It's reported to work with file types.doc, .txt, .pdf, .rtf, .url, .htm & .html; in English, French, German and Spanish. You can run it on a PDA or integrate it into a Web browser. Free trial version available, fully functional for 30 days.

DAISY (talking book format). The DAISY Consortium is made up of organisations world-wide serving persons who are blind or print -disabled. DAISY is establishing an International Standard for the production, exchange, and use of the next generation of "Digital Talking Books". Here you will find production tools, specifications and other useful information on producing digital audio books. Some information is freely available for downloading, other information is restricted to registered members.

Embiid Reader for Windows  No longer available. The Embiid website has closed. This reader was designed for e-books & documents prepared in the proprietary Embiid file format (.ubk). The software will also read plain text files & simpler HTML. It is a small, quick-loading application allowing selection of font face, colour, size & background colour. The Embiid Reader freeware was designed with the vision-impaired in mind. NB: There is also an Embiid Reader for Palm OS devices (basically "CspotRun" with DRM added).

eMonocle Reader Comes from Ion Systems, the GalaxyLibrary people. It is designed to read e-books conforming to the Open eBook (OeB) file specification, & may also be used with other XML file types. EMonocle provides special assistance to low-vision, dyslexic, scotopic and blind readers. For example font size may be increased up to 144 points, and graphics & online forms may also be enlarged. Background color or contrast settings may be altered too. Single click page turning, & printing in different font sizes are other features.

MultiReader is an Android speech application that speaks Word, Power Point, EPUB, PDF & RTF, text documents in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian & Finnish, currently. For Android 1.6 or higher. Available for purchase from Google Play at::

SmartReader SmartReader is cross-platform, java-based e-reader software specifically designed for use with interactive mathematical, scientific & engineering text. It is claimed to run on any device that supports Java or Personal Java. Versions for Macintosh, Win CE, any JVM (Java Virtual Machine) available. For further information, go to this shareware download page:

SVG Viewer (SVG = Scalable Vector Graphics) A viewer intended for use especially with maps & highly detailed images. Our very own CSIRO developed this software for desktop & laptop PCs, & subsequently for Windows CE handheld devices. However CSIRO advised in 2007 that PocketSVG is no longer available.

Text Aloud Mp3 image    TextAloud The NextUp company provides a boon to the visually impaired with their TextAloud program, which converts e-texts (Word documents, emails, Web pages & PDF Files) into audio books for either immediate use or saving as MP3 files. TextAloud will work with any Windows OS from Windows 95 to Windows 7, and is currently in Version 3, an 18.17MB software. They also offer a GhostReader alternative for the Mac, for Mac OS X Tiger 10.4 or later.  At:

Download tk3 reader image   TK3 Reader Freeware, for Windows and Macintosh computers (Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP and on Mac OS X 10.0 to 10.2). Allows you to read multimedia documents (text, images, or music) created with TK3 Author. Great for kids books & many multimedia situations. The company that created this software has closed down, however if you have TK3 files or are still creating them you can still obtain this reader from CNet at:

TumbleReader TumbleBooks are interactive animated picture books for kids. They include text, music and narration and are designed for the TumblePad device. However the free e-reader for the "TumbleBooks" format is also downloadable to PC's, notebooks and handheld devices. It comes with joining the Tumble Club/Library for an annual fee.




Software to assist e-publishing - general

Smartphone Mag's Software and Hardware Encyclopedia
Browse software by category or by title,
Browse hardware by category
or search the encyclopaedia. Minimalist, but useful, with other valuable resources on site.


Some Individual e- Publishing & File Conversion Software

Adobe Acrobat  For creating PDF e-books or documents. Comes in two main varieties.
For further information view the following pages:

Adobe Acrobat Standard

Adobe Acrobat Professional

Adobe Content Server  A server-side software, designed to package and distribute encrypted (DRM'd) Adobe PDF and ePub e-books directly from your Web site. It can work with dedicated e-readers, smartphones, Web tablets and other mobile devices. The current Version, Adobe Content Server 4.1, is available through resellers rather than directly from Adobe. Adobe discontinued sales of an earlier Adobe Content Server software on November 30, 2004. For more information see:

Desktop Author Creates 'page turning' electronic publications with interactive and multimedia potential, including books, catalogues, brochures, presentations, photo albums, exams, forms etc. A free trial version with limited functionality is also available. Publications created are read with the DNL reader, which can be incorporated if desired or downloaded separately.

eBook Pro This e-book compiler addresses security issues in particular. It uses an HTML source file. You can also incorporate Flash animation, Shockwave sound, Real Audio & Video, Acive X & javascript features. There is currently a base charge, plus a small fee for each "registration code" for copies of your book sold in excess of one thousand. Expect lots of hype, & beware of pop-ups, at:

EBooksWriter Prepare self-extracting, searchable e-books with full password management; copy and print disabling; expire- by date as required. Full visual editor. Online manual, an online forum, & email support. Free trial LITE edition supports a maximum of about 40 pages. PRO edition for complete books available for purchase. French, German & Italian versions also available. Books created are to be read in the free eBooksReader (see free e-readers)

FlipViewer Xpress Creator Software to create "realistic 3D page-flipping" e-books, documents, brochures, catalogues, photo albums, presentations etc., for viewing online on the Web, or offline on CD-ROM. The Flip Books created may include text from PDFs, images, links, multimedia video or audio content, and animation. For Windows or Mac.

HTMLDOC Converts HTML files to PDF or PostScript. Runs on Mac OS X, Windows OS (Windows 95 plus), & UNIX/Linux operating systems. An OS/2 version is also available. Purchasable versions: HTMLDOC with 90 day End-User Software Support; HTMLDOC with 1 year End-User Software Support. Also offered (free) is PDF-o-matic, a PHP script that uses HTMLDOC to convert the web page of your choice to PDF.

Intuitext offered an online text-conversion service from Romanian-based, OEB forum member SOFTWIN. enabled automated conversion of documents to XML and XML-based formats. Accepted input formats included Adobe PDF, QuarkXPress, MS Word, FrameMaker, RTF or Page Maker. The company is still active in other areas

KeeBook Creator Similar to Flipbook Publisher in that it enables the creation of double-page display 3D Web books from HTML documents. NB: you can convert Word documents to HTML using Microsoft Office 97 & above. KeeBook Creator has a free 15 day trial version available. There is also a more expensive fuller-featured KeeBook Creator Pro for professionals, & a KeeBook Creator Education for teachers.


MakePDF for Word If you want to convert Microsoft Word documents to Portable Document Format (PDF) without the full expense of Adobe Acrobat, then MakePDF for Word is a cheaper, if less-featured, alternative. To use, just copy the template into your Word Startup folder to add a "Make PDF" toolbar to Word. Click the toolbar's Print to PDF button to create a PDF version of the Word file. Includes encryption and file-compression options, but not the internal links, bookmarks, password protection, and some other features of Acrobat Acrobat.

Microsoft Reader Ebook Wizard 1.0 Simple software to create MS Reader e-books. Available from:

Mobipocket Creator 4.2 enables you to create e-books, e-news, photo albums, personal databases and more. Simple and intuitive user interface and expandable templates. Allows publishers to create their e-books with a content authoring tool designed for customers who read on their PDAs, smartphones or PCs. Includes Import wizards for Adobe PDF & Microsoft Word text files to import existing electronic files. Also includes Mobipocket Emulator to test and preview the eBooks that you create.

(Palm) eBook Studio is an authoring tool allowing individuals, businesses, publishing companies and online retailers to create, distribute and sell e-books that can be read by eReader software on Palm OS or PocketPC handheld devices, or on Windows & Macintosh desktops. You can either create e-books from scratch, or cut and paste information from existing documents -- such as MS Word or any application that supports Rich Text Format (RTF) -- into eBook Studio. The basic eBook Studio software prepares unencrypted eReader compatible e-books, & is available for both Windows and Mac. It supports the use of graphics and images. If you wish to create protected e-books with DRM (digital rights management) however, then see below.

NB: If you wish to sell Palm format e-books with encryption (DRM), you need to enter a licencing agreement in addition to purchasing the product. There are two options for authors/publishers. You should carefully compare costs, advantages & disadvantages and the relevance to your situation before selecting an option: If you wish to sell unencrypted e-books in eReader format, no restrictions apply.

Palm eReader Starter Pak is intended for authors with up to two books who would like to sell them from their own webpage or site. NB: may require considerable effort for a larger text. It has a higher initial charge than the Commerce Pak, but no royalties are payable on the first 2,500 copies sold.

Palm eReader Commerce Pak is intended either for the small publisher or web retailer who
plans to sell a variety of e-book titles in unencrypted form, or for the publisher who plans to distribute his titles through a eReader authorized reseller. You need to enter a licencing agreement in
addition to purchasing the product.

Primo PDF & NitroPDF Pro Software to create, convert, edit, secure, review, and form-fill PDF documents and forms. You can also combine PDF files, shrink them etc. Available for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 OS's. Primo PDF is free, while a free 14 day trial is available for the more fully-featured, 5-star rated NitroPDF Professional.

ReaderWorks Standard (for Microsoft format) Free software you can use to convert MS Word, HTML, OeB & plain text documents into MS Reader format (Lit) e-books. Also allows for .jpg. .gif & .png images. Converted e-books can be read on any Windows-based PC, laptop or Pocket PC with Microsoft Reader installed.

ReaderWorks Publisher Fuller-featured e-book authoring and conversion software to produce commercial Microsoft Reader format e-books, for distribution and sale. Accepts MS Word documents, HTML, OeB Text (ASCII) and JPG, GIF, PNG images.

ReaderWorks SDK A more automated version of ReaderWorks Publisher, SDK is suitable for large publishers, online content portals, or production facilities. May be purchased from:


TextcafeTexterity's Textcafe file conversion service provides simultaneous e-book editions in six OEB-compliant formats, Adobe (.pdf), Gemstar (.rb), MS Reader (Lit), HTML, XML & basic OEB itself. Output to: Open eBook (OEB)1.0, Gemstar eBooks, Palm Reader, Microsoft Reader,
netLibrary OEB & browser HTML . Quotes available from online application.

XML editors
Check out the offerings at:



Free File Conversion Software


Calibre A hugely popular free/donationware, open-source software, useful for downloading & managing an e-book collection, and for converting e-book files to different formats. Format conversions available are from CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, LRF, MOBI, ODT, PDF, PRC, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, TCR, & TXT  to  EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, TCR, & TXT. Note however that a range of problems may occur with such conversions, including reflow and pagination errors.

Calibre can be used as an e-reader too for most e-book formats, but not if they are encoded with DRM (digital rights management proprietary protection). A very large number of additional features are included in this software. Other, often customisable highlights include strong library/catalogue organisation, and structured downloading including Fetch News (for free newspapers and periodicals in many languages). The open-source community continues to create additional plug-ins for Calibre. You can also use Calibre to publish your own (non-DRM) e-books, e.g. by converting a PDF or plain text book you have previously created to the format you desire for publication. Download from:

Lexxia: Scripts for Producing Quality PDF and HTML Files from Plain Text These free, open-source scripts will convert (almost) plain text to very high-quality PDF or ePub documents. Note that the latter are extractable to HTML by renaming the epub files with a ".zip" extension, unzipping them and pulling out the HTML files. Classic book examples are available here too. Thanks to a retired academic from Macquarie University, Sydney. As the name suggests, this is a website offering free conversion of e-books online. You may change a range of book formats into most other formats, including ePub, PDF, LIT, MOBI, LRF, TCR, OEB, FB2, and PDB. For an improved conversion outcome you may also specify your e-reader device type. Please note and respect the conditions of use, including non-violation of copyright, restrictions on the nature and quantity of content etc.

PrimoPDF If you need to create a printable PDF from a Word document, this fast and free software (the free, more limited version of NitroPDF) is worth checking out. A 7MB download, for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 OS's.



Formats List

(this list of file types is not exhaustive)


APABI - special Chinese file format group, also used for the iRex Iliad e-reader.

.azw  -  proprietary file format for Amazon's Kindle device (based on the Mobipocket format).

BBeB (BroadBand electronic Book) - Sony Reader proprietary file format. Sony now uses the ePub format as its main format.

.book - file format for the Japanese "T-Time" e-reader software.

cba .cbr, .cbt, .cbz are comic book files, compressed as viewable archives.

.ceb - A format of the Apabi Reader, from Founder Electronics.

.dnl  - multimedia e-book format; read with DNAML's Digital WebBook software.

.chm - a Microsoft proprietary compressed HTML format.

DOC - AportisDoc format.

.doc   - Microsoft Word document (Word versions up to Office 2003; may be set in Office 2007).

.docx  -default Microsoft Word document in Office 2007 (= Open XML file format).

.ebx   - technical name for the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader file format.

.epub - open format from the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), formerly the Open eBook forum. Formulated from OPS 2.0 (Open Publication Structure). ePub 3.0 is currently under preparation as a new ePub standard, expected during 2011.

.fb2 - Fictionbook. FBReader, AlReader, Haali Reader and okular software will read this file type, which originated in Russia.

.htm or .html - file written in hypertext markup language (HTML) for reading in Web browsers.

.hwp - Hangul Word Processor, a Korean file format.

.imp - Fictionwise company's file format for eBookwise/ REB/Gemstar devices. Note that several other, non-related file types share this suffix.

.kf8 - A Kindle Fire format, supporting advanced properties incl. HTML5 & CSS3. Introduction planned for the latest Kindles & Kindle apps.

.kml  - hiebook proprietary file format.

.lit     - Microsoft Reader format for Windows PCs/laptops, plus Win CE & Pocket PC devices.

.lrf     - General format for Sony Reader and Sony Librie devices.

.lwp  - Lotus Word Pro file.

.mobi - Mobipocket format. Mobipocket Desktop Reader software can convert .chm, .doc, .epub (.ocf), .html, .pdf, .rtf, and .txt files to this format.

OCF - (= OPS Container Format). A distribution format for .epub files.

.odt - Open Office file.

OeB - formulated in full compliance with Open eBook consortium specifications. Now superseded by .epub.

.pdb - Palm DOC. iSilo software also reads this format. Now used by eReader software.

.pdf - PDF (Portable Document Format), for Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader etc. Although first developed by Adobe Systems, PDF has been a non-proprietary format since July 2008.

.pkg - originally a compressed file for Newton OS e-books. Now mostly an Apple format for Macintosh computers, the iPhone and the Sony Playstation 3.

.prc  - format read by Palm OS devices.

.rb   -  proprietary file format for Rocket eBook, REB 1100, REB 1200 e-reader devices.

.sam - Ami Pro Text File.

.sdw  - Star Office text file.

.seb  - Franklin proprietary eBookman format.

.stk   - Star eBook format.

.rtf    - Rich text file. Older, limited format, not so common now.

.tcr   - A format for devices using the Psion operating system.

.tk3  - Multimedia files read by the TK3 reader from Nightkitchen.

.txt    - Plain text format. (ASCII -very limited formatting, special features not available).

.ubk  - Proprietary encrypted file type for the Embiid Reader.

.vbk - VitalBook proprietary file format from VitalSource Technologies Inc.

.wol(f) - Proprietary format used by HanLin e Readers. Other formats may share this suffix.

.wpd - WordPerfect document.

.xeb  - popular Chinese format for the Apabi Reader.

.xmdf - an enhanced mobile document format for smartphones, common in Japan.



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