Android as E-Book Reader

What a month! November has blown by and I’m just starting to feel less swamped. One of the fun things I’ve been playing with is a new Android smartphone (the Huawei u8100) running Android 2.1. One of the first things I did with it was to download both the Amazon Kindle for Android app and the Aldiko reader. I wanted to continue to read books on this device like I had with my Palm T|X. My initial experience convinces me that the Aldiko on Android is all the e-reader I need.

I’m curious about the Amazon Kindle app but, although it installed, I found the catalog of books a bit limiting and I could never log in to the Amazon site.  I have had an Amazon account for nearly a decade but I couldn’t authenticate via Android.

I turned to Aldiko, which I’d heard about in a recent review by Ars Technica.  It has its own library of books you can add but, perhaps as importantly, it supports the epub format that is available on Project Gutenberg (so is the Kindle format).  I immediately grabbed a copy of the out-of-print-as-far-as-I-can-tell The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved England A Tale of the Great Invasion.  It was referenced in a foreword to Erskine Childer’s The Riddle of the Sands as one of the first spy stories.  That may have been a bit of a stretch, but it’s funny and would be particularly amusing to anyone who has been in Scouts.

In any event, I have been using Aldiko to read Swoop and some other titles.  It’s got a nice clean interface and it’s easy to page forward and backward with a swipe of the thumb across the text.  I appreciate that the bigger e-readers have more screen space, but I have never found screens the size of the Palm T|X or Huawei u8100 to be too small.  When you consider that the price of the u8100 is the same or a bit more than a dedicated e-reader, but you get substantially more functionality, it’s hard to justify a dedicated reader.

The Kindle app is still something I’ll sort out but there’s plenty of time – and a whole lot of e-books to read – before I’ll feel any real pressure to sort it out.