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Reading ebooks on a computer used to be a last resort, but with newer, lighter Windows 8 tablets hitting the market, like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, getting some reading done on your computer is a much better experience. But then, which app should you use? The biggest names in eBooks right now are the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Both of these brands make some fabulous eReaders, including the Kindle Paperwhite which has received an upgrade since we reviewed this Amazon eReader Kindle Paperwhite Review & Giveaway Kindle Paperwhite Review & Giveaway The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon's current flagship reader, and one that we've been wanting to review and give away for quite some time. If you already own a Kindle or a different eReader, you may... Read More , but if you’d rather not clutter yourself up with a bunch of different devices, reading on your Windows 8 tablet is simple thanks to apps from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Let’s take a look at these two top eReading apps.

Amazon Kindle

The user interface on the Kindle app for Windows 8 is astoundingly simple. You’re presented with your books on the left, and if you scroll a little to the right, you have the Kindle Store. Swiping from the top or the bottom will open up the options menu, but there’s only one option: sync.

The check boxes you see on the books below indicate that those titles have been downloaded to my device for offline reading. You can also select any book by tapping it and pulling down, which gives you the option to pin it to the Start menu for quick access.


Clicking on the Kindle Store will bring you to a slightly more busy screen with some recommendations front and center, and a column of sections to the right. I really like the design here and think that it makes it very easy to find books to read.



Clicking on a book brings you to a screen with pricing, description and reviews as shown below. It uses big cover art and text, making it ideal for a touchscreen device. Being the largest eBook brand to date, Amazon is bound to have any book that you’re looking for, as well as many that its competitors don’t have.

Whereas Barnes & Noble eBooks are distributed in standard ePub format and thus easy to find, Amazon’s proprietary Mobi format means you are mostly locked into their store. Sure, there are a few other websites where you can find Mobi eBooks 5 Websites Other Than Amazon to Find Great Kindle Books 5 Websites Other Than Amazon to Find Great Kindle Books With the availability of so many free or affordable e-reader programs and devices for both Mac, PC, and mobile device users, you can find some good free ebooks - especially classical literature - to download... Read More , but they’re limited. It’s a good thing their store is as good as it is.


Once you actually get into reading the book, you will find a whole host of customization options available to you. Swiping in from the top or bottom reveals all of the options that otherwise would disappear to allow for a clean reading experience.


You can search within the book in the top right, view your notes or customize the look in the lower left, and the lower right has options for skipping around within the book, syncing, and pinning the book to your start screen.


The customization options are wonderful. By default, it allows for two columns of black text on white background. However, I tend to prefer a black background on white text with skinnier margins, so I changed it up a bit as seen below.


Tapping on a word will quickly pop up the definition, as well as give you some options for highlighting the text or leaving a note. The dictionary feature is really my favorite; what is a better way to learn new words than through reading?

The great thing about both Kindle and Nook is that their apps span nearly every device imaginable. If you’ve got any iOS devices, check out how to get the Kindle app set up Setting Up Kindle On Your iPad & Other iOS Devices Setting Up Kindle On Your iPad & Other iOS Devices The iPad makes for an awesome paperless device, for reading eBooks, webpage articles, PDF documents and the like. Likewise, the Amazon Kindle Store offers probably the widest, relatively affordable selection of eBooks for iOS devices.... Read More to read them on there.

Barnes & Noble Nook

Upon first inspection, the Nook app appears very similar to the Kindle pendant, except that it has a white theme. Scrolling to the right you will find that it is far more cluttered, with bunches of categories from the Nook store.


Clicking on books will bring you to the Nook store, the equivalent of the Kindle store shown earlier.


This is another horizontal scrolling list of categories, and you can choose categories from the drop down menu at the top. It’s definitely functional, and it doesn’t look bad, but I have to say that I prefer browsing through the Kindle store.


Above you can see that The Fault In Our Stars is actually a bit more expensive than on the Kindle Store ($5.49 vs. $3.99), but that’s not always the case. I’ve found that prices are generally the same as in the Kindle Store, but if you want to check, you can use Leatherbound to compare eBook prices Leatherbound - eBook Price Comparisons for the Kindle, Nook & iBookstore Leatherbound - eBook Price Comparisons for the Kindle, Nook & iBookstore Read More and find the cheapest one.

The interface seen above isn’t as nice as the Kindle Store’s, in my opinion. The text and cover art are smaller, and it just looks boring.


The Nook app behaves similarly to the Kindle app in that the option menus are accessible from swiping in from the top and bottom. From there you can see your progress, search within the book, view the table of contents, customize your reading experience, add a bookmark, view details of the book, or pin it to the Start Screen. Up top, there are options for annotations and bookmarks, as well as shortcuts for going Home, to the Shop, or to your Library.

One note about the actual reading experience: both apps allow you to turn to the next page by tapping on the far right side, which is what I usually do, but if you prefer to swipe and have a nice animation, you’re going to prefer the Nook app. While it doesn’t have the full fake page-flipping animation, the Nook app does show one page sliding away as the next one slides into view, whereas swiping in the Kindle app just makes the page disappear and the next page appear with no animation at all.


Above, you can see the reading experience after being customized a bit. The Nook app offers a wide range of text customizations options, even allowing for the font to be changed, which the Kindle app does not. It also has options for highlighting, adding notes, looking up a word in the dictionary, or finding it within the book.


Which app you like the best comes down to personal preference, but I’m going to side with the Kindle app here because of it’s much better library of content, and because I believe the Kindle brand will outlive Barnes & Noble’s Nook brand in the long run.

Although the Nook app for Windows 8 is a very strong contender and beats out the Kindle app in several ways, Barnes & Noble still can’t compete with Amazon’s grip on the industry. However, which app you decide to use may simply come down to which service you’ve invested more in.

Which eReading app do you prefer? Or is there a third option to be considered? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. GRFN9er
    January 7, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Was a diehard Kobo fan on my Goggle Nexus but received a Windows tablet at Christmas. So far I am favouring the Nook app as the Kobo Windows app is terrible and nowhere near the Android app. i have tried several and all seem less user friendly than android versions. But so far Nook seems to be the best in my opinion.

  2. Gary
    June 26, 2014 at 5:23 am

    This may be true for a basic user, but once you start really using it, the Kindle Win8 app is seriously flawed. I have functionality on my old Kindle2 that is missing from this latest and greatest reader app. What is this functionality, it is collections, or the ability to put books into categories to organize your library by subject. This is one of the 3 basic way to find books in a library (title, author and subject). Without the collection function, anyone with more than 100 books on their device will have an irritating process to find your book to download and read. And when you have over 1,000 books in your library, it is downright painful.

    BTW, the Kindle Cloud reader also lacks this collections functionality.

    So you CANNOT organize your library, you just have a single pool of books that you can sort by title or author. And what of the books that the subject is not in the title, well you have to slog through all the books in your library to find it.

    BTW2, I cannot side load a document into the Win8 Kindle app to read it. This functionality exists for my old Kindle2 and even the Kindle for PC app. Another case of someone at Amazon reducing the functionality of new products.

  3. SR Ferretti
    April 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Overdrive for epub (also connects to library for borrowing ebooks) and mobipocket for mobi. It works fine on my Venue pro 8 in fullscreen mode and links (footnotes) that won't work on other readers, work great!

  4. Mita
    April 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Best free ebook reader apps to read books on Windows Phone

  5. smartmobili
    April 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I have developed an epub reader application (also support pdf, cbr/cbz) called UnderCover . it's very basic but epub rendering is good. Test it and do not hesitate to tell me what can be improved.
    A windows phone version is in progress.


  6. chris
    January 26, 2014 at 2:55 am

    ebook droid on android!

  7. Aleksandra H
    January 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm


    • MParentWetmore
      January 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Yes Calibre! Love it.

  8. Jonsson
    January 7, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Disagree completely with this article. First of all it only looks at two readers out of the ones that are available. Nook may be a good reader, I cannot say, but it is unusable for me since it does not respect the language settings of Windows 8 and you cannot tell it that you want English books even though you might live in another country.

    Kindle however is a total disaster. It is buggy as hell. Force closes every so often (especially if you open something else), generally fails the first time you want to go to the Amazon Store, often doesn't sync correctly between devices etc...

    The statement that "The customization options are wonderful." is just...unbelievable. They have what, 5 font sizes to choose from? Same for margins etc... I am unable to get a setting that is really comfortable for me while reading and since I need reading glasses it is rather important for me to get a comfortable setting.

    There are many readers out there that are much better in terms of reading comfort although many of them do not have such a slick interface as Kindle. I have to admit that they got that right at least.

  9. Caroline W
    January 4, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Hi. This is interestingly coincidental as I downloaded the Win8 Kindle app recently only to realize in order to read them on my Sony reader I would have to download the Laptop version in order to convert the books; now, the Kindle app doesn't provide that ability. So despite the Laptop version being really only for up to win7, luckily it works on 8, I can do the said conversion job.

    On both my Androids I have Kindle and I'm very happy with it. I like the screen/font customization and the general feel of it. However, I have not tried Nook. But by pure guessing, it sounds more catered towards the American market - I could be wrong - and I don't even know if it's available in the UK.

    Anyway, I like the free Kindle books on offer but don't want to get rid of my Sony just for a limited ebook format Kindle. So conversion is the best of both worlds just not possible through the Win8 Kindle app.

  10. max
    January 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Although I buy a lot of other stuff from Amazon, when it comes to books I always buy my ebooks from Barnes & Noble. Why? Because I love brick & mortar book stores. If Amazon drives B & N out of business, we will lose our one remaining country-wide bookstore.

  11. me
    January 3, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Kindle for sure! I find it infinitely easier to find free books on the kindle, and I like their interface better. It helps that I already have a Prime account for the shipping, so I also get a free book a month on kindle.

  12. Alex D
    January 3, 2014 at 12:32 am

    I prefer Nook myself, biggest bias being my preference to the eReaders themselves. I have a Nook Simple Touch, which I love and much prefer over the Kindle. Now I'm not a Barnes & Noble fanboy, 90% of all online shopping I do is through Amazon, I just prefer the Nook brand. Plus, the conveniences of the bookstores is nice as well, seldom as they may be. Amazon, I love you, but you already get a ton of my money. I feel like I should spread the wealth. Both apps service very well on Windows and Android alike in my opinion, but I still want to stick with Barnes & Noble.

  13. Peter
    January 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    While not tied directly to a store, I've used Freda for some time. It handles ePub files pretty well and the speed is quite acceptable. I found that with the Kindle app if the book wasn't properly formatted to work with the Metro app, it took longer to use - sometimes seconds just to turn a page. (Or maybe that's the Kindle app overall for Win8 - not 100% sure) I tried BookViser, but it just wasn't as fast as Freda. I may give that another try before giving up on it, but still end up using Freda the most.