Achieving a realistic reading experience on your computer and for free

In this post I aim to convince readers that a realistic reading experience can be achieved when reading an eBook. I actually refer to the experience as a realistic reading experience with privileges as eBooks offer some features that are not possible with printed books. To accomplish this realistic reading experience all that is needed is a computer and one of the many free applications that already exist. You do not need to buy a physical eBook reader and do not need to pay anything for an application to read an eBook on your computer.

Please do try out the applications that I demonstrate in the video accompanying this post. You may even enjoy the experience and be converted over to the world of eBooks. It really isn’t “the dark side”, but interestingly it does allow you to read in the dark.😀

If you are an avid reader, you may find it beneficial to eventually fork out some cash and buy a dedicated eBook reader. A plethora of dedicated hardware devices exist out there: Kindle, iPad, Kobo, YellowStone etc. This post provides a means to test drive the realistic reading experience that can be achieved when reading books in an electronic format. Try before you buy, so to speak.

eBook versus paperback

“But I prefer the look and feel of printed books”. This is a statement I often hear. And believe me when I say I know exactly where you are coming from. This isn’t my preference but I do understand how others may be so inclined.

It is very true that reading books electronically will never match the tactile feel of skin on paper nor can it replace the smell that accompanies a paperback book. There is also no analog to “cracking the spine” of a new book. If you are really into those sensations, then reading books electronically may not be completely your cup-of-tea. For everyone else, I firmly believe that once you have tried reading books electronically, and you find out what a realistic reading experience it can be, the vast number of advantages the electronic format offers will make the experience pleasurable. Give it a go, I think most people will enjoy it.

Personally, I prefer reading books electronically. My persuasion in driven by many things such as:

  • The convenience of takingĀ  your entire library with you (on a laptop, tablet PC, ipad or physical eBook reader).
  • Being able to bookmark places of interest.
  • Search and find capabilities.
  • Adding annotating without defacing the contents.
  • The quality of an eBook does not deteriorate over time.
  • And many other facets that are not possible with printed books.

Storing eBooks “in the cloud” offers you access from any computer, anywhere in the world. You don’t need to take your library with you, it is at hand anywhere that provides access to the internet.

Video demonstrating eBook reading tools for your computer

I have created a YouTube video that demonstrates some of the free tools available to assist you with reading eBooks on your computer. These tools create a realistic reading experience that I hope will persuade even diehard book readers to give eBooks a go.

Please note: this video makes use of screen shots of my entire computer screen so it is best viewed in the its highest resolution (720p) and in “full screen” mode. The video runs for 18 minutes, so settle in and hopefully enjoy what I trust will be an informative video demonstrating how to install and use some free applications to achieve a realistic reading experience.

Applications referenced in this video

My video demonstrates the following free applications to assist in achieving a realistic reading experience with eBooks:

  • Calibre – this is a real cool free application that is available on pretty much every hardware platform. Refer an earlier post of mine for more info on this.
  • Acrobat Reader – This ubiquitous application should be known to all. In my video I show some settings that help when using Acrobat Reader when reading eBooks.
  • Soda Pdf 3D Reader – I found this application when making my video. It is dedicated to providing a realistic reading experience when reading pdf formatted books.
  • Kindle Reader – this application is available from http://www.amazon.com and mimics a physical Kindle Reader. It gives you a Kindle Reader at no additional expense.
  • iBooks – MacOS users will be familiar with this application that is included as part of the MacOS install. This application also exists for ios devices hence turning an iPad into a portable eBook reader that is book-sized and extremely easy to carry around. Not only that, pages are turned with a finger swipe that causes the page to fold over on itself just like the printed page does. In its default set-up, a sound of crumpling paper plays as the on-screen page turns. Now that is a realistic reading experience.


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