Aldiko Book Reader review

Reviews Damien McFerran 17:51, 23 Sep 2009

We review Aldiko Book Reader, an eBook reader for Google Android

From the moment the first computer rolled off the production line we’ve had scaremongers insisting that the printed word would be ruthlessly supplanted by this more high-tech medium, but such downbeat prophecies have so far been proven false.

While its true that devices such as Amazon’s Kindle are revolutionising the way in which we digest text, good old-fashioned papyrus looks like it’s here to stay.

However, even the most blinkered traditionalist will have to admit that technological progress does bring with it one indisputable bonus – you don’t have to lug around several heavy tomes with you for when you fancy a quick read.

With this in mind, it’s well worth investigating Aldiko Book Reader on your Android phone. It’s a feature-packed eBook reader that allows you to download and enjoy thousands of literary classics for free.

eBook readers are certainly nothing new, but what makes Aldiko stand out from the crowd is the amount of time and effort than has been expended in making sure that using it is as pleasurable an experience as possible.

First starters, the presentation is top-notch. The basic menu screen replicates the look of a wooden bookshelf, with your downloaded novels perched on individual shelves. From this menu you can choose to open a book, browse the titles you’ve already acquired or search for new books to read.

This is one aspect of the program that could have been a mess, but perusing Aldiko’s vast catalogue of novels is anything but taxing. The app grants a few predetermined search options to make things easier; for example, you can look for books that have been adapted into films or see the previous week’s most downloaded items. If you already have a title in mind you can eschew such choices and use Aldiko’s built-in search tool.

Once you’ve decided on the piece of literature you’d like to read you can open it up by selecting it from your bookshelf. Each tome has a contents page which means you can skip to a chapter quickly and easily. Turning each page is a simple matter of either tapping with your finger (tap on the left to go back a page and on the right to advance a page) or flicking with your finger.

The first option is the more accurate but flicking does feel somewhat more intuitive; needless to say, you can edit these options in the settings menu and there’s even the choice to use the volume rocker if you’d rather keep your phone’s touch screen free from finger marks.

It’s also possible to edit the size and font style of the text to suit your personal preference; in addition to this you can toggle between day and night modes – the former presents black text on a white screen while the latter is uses the opposite combination.

This is useful if you’re reading in bed and you don’t want to disturb your slumbering partner by filling the room with white light.

Naturally you’re unlikely to finish an entire book in one sitting so it’s comforting to learn that Aldiko comes with a handy bookmark feature.

When you’re ready to shut the book you simply tap the menu button and select the bookmark option, then you’ll be able to return to that position at a later date. It’s even possible to add multiple bookmarks to the same novel, which allows you to pick out sections that are of particular interest.

Naturally because the only books that are offered free of charge are those that are in the public domain, Aldiko isn’t going to allow you to read the latest Dan Brown epic without paying for it.

Still, this is a minor quibble when you consider that you have the complete works of Shakespeare at your fingertips, as well as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, James Joyce’s Ulysses and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

Aldiko is a truly essential download that will enrich your Android experience and become a firm friend on those long and arduous journeys.

It’s also being offered entirely free of charge, although there is a paid-for version available which allows you to reward the hard work of the developer – something you’ll almost certainly want to do after spending a few days with this superlative piece of software.

Aldiko info

Ease of use:

Platform: Google Android

Cost: Free

Version: 1.1.3

Developer: Aldiko

Website/Demo: Aldiko website

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