By Tanya Menoni
The best iPhone ebook apps have a good selection of modern and classic ebooks, lots of customizable features, and a well-designed interface. So which e-reader apps meet these criteria? In our test of ebook apps, Stanza and Amazon’s Kindle app earn the highest ratings.
Apple's entry into the ebook space is very polished. With its excellent typography--especially when combined with the hi-res Retina Display screen, its ability to annotate text, and its flashy page-turning animations, iBooks (Apple, free) a compelling option. While the iBookstore that provides content for it doesn't have the same selection as Amazon's Kindle, iBooks offers plenty of great reading via a sophisticated app. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
It’s not always easy to read on the iPhone’s small screen, but the Stanza app (Lexcycle, Free) offers the best ebook experience. Not only is the interface simple to use, but it also has lots of customization - you can change the font and formatting to make the pages easier on your eyes. The only downside is that popular new releases are more expensive at Stanza’s partner ebook stores than Amazon.com, but there are tons of free ebooks available from Project Gutenberg. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
If you’re a fan of the latest bestsellers, the Amazon Kindle app (Amazon.com, Free) has the most competitive ebook prices and widest selection. Most new releases are $9.99, but the purchasing process isn’t the best since you have to switch between the app and the iPhone’s mobile browser to download new ebooks. You can choose various font sizes but can’t switch to a different font. Overall rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Fictionwise eReader app (Fictionwise, Free) is a good choice if you mainly want to read free ebooks from Project Gutenberg. Its ebook store includes popular new releases, but they’re more expensive than Amazon and Barnes & Noble in most cases. I did like that the app lets you change fonts or search through the text, but some of the cover art is a little fuzzy. Overall rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Classics app (Andrew Kaz & Phil Ryu, $2.99) has an absolutely gorgeous interface and well-designed ebooks complete with pictures and stimulated page turns (plus sound effects!). Classics is as close to reading an actual book as you can get on your iPhone. Unlike the other ebook apps, you’ll have to pay for this one and it only comes with 23 classic ebooks. The developer promises more books in the future, but it’s not clear how many or when they'll arrive. Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.