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eBooks offer a lot of advantages over physical books, but to get the most out of them, you need a solid eReader app.

If you’re using a Windows 10 device to get your reading in, your options are mostly limited to the Windows Store. You could still download apps from other sources Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download? Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download? On Windows 10 and 8.1, you can either download and install a Desktop applications from the web, or you can get an app from the Windows Store. We explore the differences between Desktop and Store... Read More , but for the simplest process, downloading from the Windows Store is the way to go.

So what eReader apps are available in the Windows Store, and which one is the best for you? Let’s examine the pros and cons of a few of them.

NOOK

Barnes and Noble’s NOOK brand is probably the largest mainstream competitor to the Amazon Kindle. Because of that, it has a pretty impressive library of eBooks to choose from (though not quite as impressive as Amazon’s).

You don’t need to have a NOOK account to use the app — but you will need it to download any books from the store, even free ones. Without an account, you can still import and read your own ePubs and PDFs. You’ll have to right-click on the home screen or swipe down from the top to see the option to import eBooks.

The reading interface itself is great. You can choose how many columns you want, set the line spacing, adjust the text, and a lot more. All of the controls fade away while you’re reading but can be easily brought up at any time by tapping in the middle of the screen. You can create annotations and bookmarks just like you’d expect.

One weird quirk of the app, though, is that it always runs in fullscreen, unlike most other Windows 10 apps that can be resized like any other window. This is frustrating if you have a device with a larger screen, but if you have a smaller Windows device, it could be an ideal setup for reading eBooks anyway.

Download: NOOK (Free)

Kobo

Kobo is next in line in terms of popularity after NOOK. Its library is noticeably smaller but still has a decent number of titles. You can always import your own ePubs here as well (though no PDFs) if you’ve managed to snag any free eBooks The Best 6 Sites to Get Free Ebooks The Best 6 Sites to Get Free Ebooks If you're a voracious reader, buying ebook after ebook can burn a huge hole in your wallet. Thankfully, there are plenty of websites offering free ebooks, and these are the best. Read More in that format.

The interface is simple in the Kobo app but may be a little too simple. One downfall that a lot of Windows apps share is that their buttons have confusing icons. For instance, the button for importing eBooks in Kobo is along the bottom, and it’s the back arrow nestled in between the refresh arrow and the settings cog.

As far as the reading interface is concerned, Kobo is alright. It has settings for Day, Night, or Sepia as well as adjusting the text alignment, columns, and text size. Its page customization options don’t seem as thorough as some of the other apps, but it’s still plenty customizable.

Unfortunately, you will need a Kobo account to use the app at all. So at the end of the day, this app might be best suited for those who want a companion to their physical Kobo eReader tablet.

Download: Kobo (Free)

freda

freda is the only app on this list that doesn’t make you sign up for an account at some point. It’s entirely based on finding your own eBooks from other sources and loading them up in the freda app, meaning it’s great at importing eBooks in ePub, FB2, HTML, or TXT — though, strangely, not PDF.

freda’s homescreen is extremely crowded. There are lots of icons along the left and along the bottom, and their functions aren’t 100% clear unless you test each one out individually. There’s also a hefty banner ad along the bottom, though it can be removed for about $2.

The reading interface is very customizable — maybe too customizable. It’s certainly less user-friendly due to the vast options, like being able to set custom colors for the paper and the text. Navigating around the whole app just feels a little more jerky and less fluid than it does in other apps.

Overall, freda is a highly customizable app for those who don’t want an account with a large eBook store or just don’t want to be tied down to one platform. It’s just not the prettiest app in the world.

Download: freda (Free)

OverDrive

OverDrive is all about library books. Without a library card or an account at your local library, you’re mostly out of luck here.

It can read ACSM, ODM, ePub, and MP3 formats (I’m assuming that last one is for audiobooks), but everything here is encouraging you to read library books. It has a huge database of library websites and can redirect you to them from within the app so that you can borrow eBooks and immediately import them into OverDrive.

Once you borrow a book, the reading interface is solid. Toggle between Day, Night, and Sepia, adjust the line spacing and the font size — all that good stuff. It’s a perfectly good reading app, but it’s really only useful if you’re willing to rely mainly on library books.

Download: OverDrive (Free)

What About the Amazon Kindle?

Unfortunately, Amazon pulled their Kindle app from the Windows Store in October of 2016. You can still download Kindle for PC, but Kindle for Windows 8 is now officially dead (like a lot of other Windows Store apps How Dead Apps Are Drowning the Windows Store How Dead Apps Are Drowning the Windows Store Dead apps are everywhere in the Windows Store. Why are apps abandoned, how does it affect users, and how could Microsoft solve this dilemma? We analyze the sad state of the Windows Store. Read More ). You can also use Kindle Cloud Reader for reading on any desktop operating system.

Kindle for PC isn’t a bad app; in fact, it might be better than several of the Windows Store options. Amazon’s eBook library is unmatched by anyone else, and the app is fluid and intuitive. The only problem is that you can’t import or read ePubs (though you can import and read PDFs).

Download: Kindle for PC (Free)

Which Is the Best?

There’s no clear winner. They all have some positive and negative aspects. The NOOK app is probably the best in terms of its book library and simplicity. However, freda is great for anyone who doesn’t want to be tied down to one store. And OverDrive is a must for anyone who enjoys checking out library books.

The Kindle app, of course, might be the best choice if you don’t mind downloading an app that’s not in the Windows Store. Amazon’s collection of eBooks is just unmatched, and it syncs with your physical Kindle eReader.

If you’re on a different desktop operating system, check out these eReader apps for Mac 7 Ebook Readers For Your Mac Compared 7 Ebook Readers For Your Mac Compared Read books on your Mac. Sure, tablets and e-ink devices are better ways to read than your computer – but sometimes you need to open a book on your Mac. Read More , or these eReader apps for Linux 4 of the Best eBook Readers for Linux Users 4 of the Best eBook Readers for Linux Users Which Linux eBook readers are the best? Here are four options you should definitely look into. Read More .

Which eReader app for Windows 10 is your favorite? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: mehmet dinler via Shutterstock.com

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  1. likefunbutnot
    May 19, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Calibre is great for management and for converting Amazon books to other formats, but I use Google Play Books in preference to any Windows software. Play Books lets me upload files from a PC and tracks my place in them across devices and browsers. I actually use this most often for PDFs for the professional training I need, but Play Books also supports the other major formats I use, including .CBR.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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

    Best free ebook reader apps to read books on Windows Phone
    http://windowsphonelatest.com/best-ebook-reader-windows-phone-top-free-epub-pdf-apps/

  6. 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.

    Thanks

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

    ebook droid on android!

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

    Calibre!

    • MParentWetmore
      January 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Yes Calibre! Love it.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.