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For the last few decades, reading printed books has been on the decline year to year. Some part of the change can perhaps be attributed to the rise in other forms of entertainment (e.g. Netflix and iTunes), but mostly it’s just been all of us collectively deciding to switch to a variety of book reading apps.
In 2011, Amazon announced that they were selling more electronic books than physical ones through their Kindle platform, which was available on all Kindle devices, as well as smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Apple with the iBooks ePub reader for Mac, iPad, and iPhone was not too far behind. The rest of the apps for reading books were generally created by smaller third-party startups.
While reading on dedicated devices, such as Kindle, Nook, or Kobo, now takes the top spot, with smartphones and tablets coming in second, reading books on Mac also has its own benefits, which have long been overlooked. Let’s see how and why you should read more on your Mac.
What Are The Best Book Apps For Mac
Reading on your Mac has a few advantages over specialized readers or your smartphone. First of all, you have enough screen real estate to easily process a book of any kind, especially if it involves illustrations and graphs, which you can enlarge and modify as needed.
Second, reading on Mac doesn’t lock you into a specific format, such as .mobi, .epub, or PDF. If you’ve been wondering how to read book online, it’s practically only possible on Mac.
Third, as you read on your Mac, taking notes and annotation becomes so much easier. Reading could be a truly educational experience, which in turn could elevate the quality of your reading material.
Luckily, all the best book apps are available on Mac for less than the price of a single magazine. Most popular app examples include Kindle, iBooks, and MarginNote.
Is Kindle reader for Mac a good choice?
The most widely used reader for Mac is the Kindle app from Amazon. Undoubtedly, its best feature is the access to millions of Kindle-compatible books in the .mobi format. Besides, Kindle for Mac boasts an adjustable interface, where you can change your preferences as to fonts, line-spacing, and background colors.
The drawbacks of using a Kindle reader for Mac is mostly being restricted to .mobi format, available only on Amazon. Plus, the Kindle app doesn’t make it easy to upload your own books that you got somewhere else. For years, the Kindle reader for Mac has been avoiding the idea of bringing hyphenation to the platform, which makes text lines more uniform and easier to read. Although the platform supports hyphenation now, most of its books still don’t.
You can try and download Kindle for Mac on the official Amazon website or in the App Store. Kindle’s main competitor as of now is Apple’s iBooks app. Let’s see how they differ.
Why use iBooks for Mac?
Without a doubt, the iBooks app (now called Apple Books) is convenient simply because it already comes pre-installed with your Mac. You can use it to buy any book in the Apple Book Store, which carries nearly all the popular titles.
Unlike Kindle, Apple Books is the best ePub reader available on the market, although it also does support other formats, most notably PDF. You also have more adjustment options, particularly, hyphenation works much better in the iBooks app than it does on Kindle.
The latest updates to iBooks also included the support for audiobooks, which has expanded a straightforward book reader app into a full entertainment and education experience available at any time, whether you’re driving or relaxing at home.
How to read with MarginNote
The third popular book reader app is MarginNote. While it supports ePub and PDF just like iBooks, its unique features lie in advanced annotations, mind-mapping, and flashcards that allow you to better absorb all the reading material.
Annotations let you highlight text and make quick notes on the margins, whether to explain certain concepts or to save ideas for later use.
Apr 02, 2017 'Audiobus is the most essential audio app on iOS.' - Charlie Sorrell, Cult of Mac 'The New MIDI routing and effects set to open up a whole new world of apps!' - Tim Webb, Discchord.com 'Audiobus is one of the most intriguing and powerful additions to the iPad's music ecosystem.' - Federico Viticci, Macstories.net. In the Audio MIDI Setup app on your Mac, in the sidebar of the Audio Devices window, select a device. Note: For iOS and iPadOS devices, first click Enable, then select the device. You may be asked to unlock your device with a passcode or to trust the device. Feb 23, 2017 You can use your Mac as the hub / interface of your MIDI synth setup without opening up your DAW. MIDIrouter is a free app that makes it simple to quickly set the MIDI In and Out ports. It's wonderful having access to the millions of functions most modern DAWs like Logic Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools and Ableton Live provide. Feb 28, 2015 musicIO:: Audio and MIDI over USB between your iOS device and your Desktop DAW. The app is designed for the Mac, but also works with most Windows DAWs. One easy-to-use, professional app. Easily send audio from your iOS device to your desktop DAW using USB; musicIO lets you integrate Inter-App. Nov 12, 2018 Here's how to test your MIDI setup with the Audio MIDI Setup app. Connect your MIDI controller (such as a keyboard) to your Mac. If you're using a MIDI interface, connect the interface to your Mac, and connect any controllers to your MIDI interface. Open Audio MIDI Setup, located in the Utilites folder of your Applications folder.
To make an annotation with MarginNote:
- Simply highlight the text by clicking and dragging your cursor
- Choose one of the available options: either make a note, add a tag, highlight with a certain color, or look up the sentence online
- If you’ve selected to make a note, use all the tools in the pop-up window and click on the icon in the top right when you’re done
To use the app to include an excerpt of text in a mind map:
- Choose one of the available excerpt tools from the top bar
- Highlight the part of the text you’re interested in
- Click Add to MindMap
To make a flashcard in MarginNote:
- Highlight the text as before
- Click on the share icon in the top bar
- Select Add to Card Deck
Finally, you can export all your notes into Evernote, Anki flashcards, iThoughts mind-mapping, or print.
MarginNote is an indispensable ePub reader for Mac if you’re a student, professional researcher, lawyer, or just like to read challenging books that need some breaking down for better retention.
Make reading experience more focused
In the end, no matter which app you choose for reading, you should hope for a good, distraction-free reading experience, where you can focus on one thing at a time.
HazeOver is a lightweight Mac utility that allows you to automatically dim everything on your screen but the currently active app. It lives in the background but is always available in your menu bar in case you need to adjust some preferences, such as the level of dimming.
So when thinking about the best book reader app for your Mac, lean towards Kindle only if you already have a large library of .mobi books. Otherwise, choose the iBooks app for lighter reading materials and MarginNote when you really need to dive into something worth contemplating. Accompany all of these apps with HazeOver to improve your reading experience and minimize any distractions.
Best of all, you can try MarginNote and HazeOver for free via Setapp, a platform of more than 150 Mac utilities that bring solutions to any app-related problems. What’s next on your bookshelf?
Since the popularity of tablets, and subsequently large-screen smartphones, digital book reading has gone mobile. But, reading on a computer is still a popular past time, and for some, it's the best way to digest the classics, bestsellers, and undiscovered gems. If you have a folder full of eBooks and want to know which reader is perfect for your needs, you'll find what you're looking for right now.
I'd like to take a moment to clarify that this list is for apps that you can download onto your Mac. There are some great e-readers that are web-based, but I've decided not to include them on this list. If you have a favorite web browser e-reader, please feel free to add it to the comments section so others can find out about it.
Every Mac comes with iBooks installed. It is perfectly designed to work, not only on your computer but also across all of your mobile devices. So, you can read a chapter or two on your Mac, and pick up on your iPad or iPhone without missing a beat. There is a quick-access button that lets you browse the iBooks Store, where you can download content to iCloud and access on all your supported Apple devices. You can also drag-and-drop PDFs to iTunes from your Mac, so if you've got a great book that isn't in ePub form, you can still read it in iBooks.
As for the features, iBooks on the Mac has most of the same tools and themes as iBooks on iPhone and iPad, like color options, text size and style customizations, highlighting tools, dictionary lookup, notes, sharing, illustration rendering, voice over, and more.
If you are knee-deep in the Apple ecosystem, iBooks is the best e-reader on your Mac. You'll love the ability to sync your eBooks and audiobooks across all of your devices.
The Kindle reader on Mac is ideal for people that purchase, rent or borrow books from Amazon, which supplies the largest digital book collection. When you sign in to your Amazon account, you can access all Amazon books in your library. You can't browse the Amazon books store from the Kindle app, but when you buy a book on Amazon, it will be added to your collection, which you can access from all your devices, whether they are Apple, Android, or Windows. Amazon supports borrowing books, renting textbooks, sampling books, and more. It is especially beneficial to Prime subscribers. Prime reading offers hundreds of free ebooks, magazines, and more. Kindle Unlimited, which is a subscription-based service, lets you read about a million titles (including magazines and newspapers) for a monthly price.
Kindle on the Mac has plenty of customization features, too. You can change the theme to white, sepia, or black, and adjust the font size and style to tailor your reading experience. You can also add highlights and notes. One of my favorite features is the ability to browse through popular highlights from others that have also read the book.
If you have a collection of ebooks you've purchased from Amazon, or if you are a Prime subscriber, use Kindle for the Mac to read and sync your books across all of your devices.
- Free - Download now
OverDrive is the number one app for borrowing digital content from your local public library. All you need is an active library card and a PIN. Just like borrowing physical books, you can browse your library's entire collection of digital content and check out multiple titles at the same time. When you borrow an ebook or another item, you can download it on your Mac and access it as much as you want during your loan period. When your ebook is due, you don't have to worry about returning it to the library on time, it will automatically be removed from your Mac when your time is up.
The OverDrive Read app on Mac is actually a web browser supported software program, but it's on this list because it is the officially supported app for borrowing books from public libraries.
Although you have to access the OverDrive Read on Mac from a web browser, you can download content for offline reading, listening, or watching. You'll need to bookmark the page so you can access it without an internet connection, but if you remember to download the content while you're online, you can continue reading while offline.
OverDrive Read includes tools for changing the color, adjusting the size and style of font, adding notes, highlighting, and voice over for some titles. It also supports fixed-layout digital books (like comics and magazines) so your favorite illustrated content doesn't look weird on your Mac.
If you want to read digital books, but prefer borrowing from your local library, OverDrive Read is your go-to app for accessing your loans on Mac.
- Free - Download now
Adobe Digital Editions
Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) is an ePub reader that makes it super easy to read digital books on your Mac without having to drag them into an app or upload them to a cloud server. Once ADE is on your Mac, you can select it as the reader for any ePub file, so you can get started reading right away. I use ADE for ebooks that I get from HumbleBundle. I occasionally use it for ebooks I download from my public library, too. It supports all ePub formats and PDF files.
You can add a bookmark and highlight text. You can also add notes to pages and passages. Searching a book for a specific word or phrase is as easy as using the Find feature on your Mac.
If you download and store a lot of ePub files, and don't want to upload them to iCloud for reading in iBooks, ADE is the next best thing.
- Free - Download now
BookReader is the e-reader for all files. It supports EPUB, MOBI, PRC, AZW, FB2, Microsoft DOC, RTF, RTFd, xHTML, Webarchive and TXT. No matter what type of ebook you have on file, you can read it on BookReader. It only supports DRM-free files, though, so make sure your digital books don't have digital rights protections before you try to use it.
You can store all of your books in one bookshelf for easy access. It also has a few features that make book reading on the Mac a pleasant experience, like realistic page flipping, hypertext support, Text to Speech, and a fully customizable color option. You can make the font, background, and book border any color available on the spectrum.
If you tend to download a lot of different types of eBook files, you'll be happy with the level of support BookReader has. You can download a free, seven-day trial version to decide whether you want to invest further.
- $9.99 - Download now
Do you use a specific e-reader as your go-to app on Mac? Let us know what it is in the comments and tell us why it's your favorite.
Best App For Free Books
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