As the world is moving towards Kindles, Nooks and other digital readers and many writers are now publishing their books in digital format, how can you read all those books if you do not have a portable digital reader? Well, I wondered the same thing. So I went looking for options.
Of course there is Adobe Reader which will open PDF files, a common format for eBooks as well as many other documents. However, Reader won't open an EPUB book, another popular eBook format. Adobe took care of that with Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe's answer to reading eBooks on your computer, whether it is a PC (Windows 7, Vista, XP) or MAC (OS X). According to Adobe, Digital Editions supports over fifty devices including the Nook and Sony Reader. And it is free!
Adobe Digital Editions has two viewing formats: Library and Reading. When in Library mode your bookshelves are on display. Bookshelves allow you to sort your books into different categories. The default bookshelves include All Items, Purchased, Borrowed and Recently Read books. Bookshelves can be easily added to sort your eBooks into additional categories such as romance novels or science fiction. The default bookshelves cannot be deleted or renamed; however, new bookshelves you add can be renamed or deleted.
When in Library mode you can also view your eBooks as thumbnails or as a list. Thumbnails show the eBook cover, title and author. As a list the title, author, publisher, last read, date added, pages and status of your books are shown. The order of your books on the bookshelves can also be sorted by title, author, publisher, etc. When your cursor hovers over the book in either view a little triangle shows up in the corner. Clicking on the triangle opens a window with Item Option, which allow you to open, delete, or show additional information about the book including location on your computer and publisher permissions.
In Reading mode Digital Editions allows you to copy, print, add bookmarks with notes, and search your book. There are two different reading views depending on which file format you are viewing. With EPUB files you can increase or decrease the text size. PDF files can be viewed in double pane, single pane, fit to window or custom sized. The display window is split with the navigation pane on one side where you can view the table of contents and you can read your book on the other. The navigation pane can also be hidden which will increase your reading view. With Adobe Digital Editions you can also view your eBooks in full color.
After downloading and installing Adobe Digital Editions you will be prompted to "Authorize" your computer and also to get an Adobe ID. What this will allow you to do is transfer books protected by DRM (digital rights management) to other computers and mobile devices. Adobe also has an extensive help section available online.
Overall this reader is a pretty good option for reading and organizing eBooks on your computer. It has been downloaded onto my computer, installed, authorized and I have my Adobe ID. For more information or to download Adobe Digital Editions to your computer, visit: http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/.