- Access to lots of free ebooks
- Plenty of formatting options
- Useful text search
- New releases are expensive
- No free chapter previews
- Bland interface
eReader (Fictionwise, Free) is an ebook app that allows you to read books directly on your iPhone. While eReader is easy to use, it doesn’t stand out against the competition.
The eReader app is from Fictionwise, a popular ebook retailer, so the app provides an interface for reading ebooks from their store. You can also download free ebooks from ManyBooks.net, which provides access to titles from Project Gutenberg.
It comes with two free ebooks, The Last of the Mohicans and Tarzan of the Apes. Like most iPhone ebook apps, you have to launch the mobile Safari browser to download new titles. Fictionwise has an excellent selection of new releases and New York Times bestsellers, but their prices are higher than Amazon’s or Barnes & Noble’s ebook apps. For example, U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton is $9.99 at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but $20 at Fictionwise. Prices for classics or older books are more comparable. There are also no free excerpts to help you decide if you want to buy the full book, which is a feature I really appreciate.
The reading experience is pretty good. The pages are nicely formatted in most cases, and ebooks download relatively quickly. I only have two minor complaints. First, the pages can be slow to turn when the book is still loading, so you can’t start reading the first chapter while the rest of the ebook loads. Secondly, the cover art isn’t the best - some covers, including those that come free with the app, look a little fuzzy.
There are several nice touches, including an easy-to-use text search and the ability to choose from eight fonts. There are also several color combinations (black on white, light blue on dark blue, red on tan, etc.) so you can experiment to find one that works for you. You can use the eReader app to read any ebook in the PDB format, so you’re not limited to content available at Fictionwise or ManyBooks.net.
The Bottom Line
Fictionwise eReader is a fine iPhone ebook app, but it doesn’t do much to set itself apart from its competitors. The interface is well designed but plain (Stanza has Fictionwise beat on this front). You can download popular new releases, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble have better prices. If you mainly read free ebooks from Project Gutenberg, this app will do fine. Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
What You’ll Need