Top 10 Free iBooks Alternatives (Reading Apps) For Your iOS Devices

Posted by Harshad

Top 10 Free iBooks Alternatives (Reading Apps) For Your iOS Devices

Top 10 Free iBooks Alternatives (Reading Apps) For Your iOS Devices

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 01:19 AM PST

Ever wanted to use your iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini as an eReader? Maybe you’ve tried doing that by using Apple’s iBooks but Apple’s ‘bookstore’ does not have a wide range of books unlike the more well known eBook retailers. Therefore, we’re here to give you a few iBooks alternatives that has added features for an overall better eReading experience.

We will showcase a list of reading apps that have features like Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) where you can browse free resources or catalogues of eBooks within the app and a few other apps that support different eBook file formats; because let’s face it, if you want an iBooks alternative, you would want to compare a complete list of apps – here are the top reading apps for iOS.

1. Stanza

Stanza is a versatile app that boasts over 4 million book downloads as it supports many file types including ePub, PDF and CBR/CBZ in languages other than English. You can insert a download link of a supported file format which can then be downloaded and saved into your library.

There is also the option to add public OPDS (Open Publication Distribution System) catalogues where you can browse and download free eBooks.


With Stanza, you can change the theme or ‘paper’ of the book, use the ‘night theme’, where the text is white while the background is black, or customize the background and text colors to your preference.

To flip pages, you can tap the left or right thirds of your screen, or swipe left and right as well as jump between chapters through the table of contents. Because it is a standalone reading app, there are no syncing features between devices.

2. Kobo

Kobo requires you to register for an account on their website in order to browse and download their catalogue of free books. It supports the ePub file format really well and can detect chapters and table of contents, displaying the amount of pages in each section.

There is also a social side to the app as you can earn achievements and milestones while reading books on the app. Share your achievements with your Facebook friends.


To help with your reading experience, the text of your eBook can be resized and the fonts can be changed. There is also a night reading mode and the app even allows you to select between left or justified text alignment.

Your library of books can be sorted by author, title or recently read. The results can be viewed by book cover image or a list view of the book covers. You can also surf their website for more books and whatever is added to your library there will be sync’ed on your mobile devices as well.

3. Nook by Barnes & Noble

If reading ebooks is your thing, you’re bound to have stumbled upon Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US. eBooks purchased from them can be read on their dedicated ereader or on your iOS devices with this app.

With the app, you can search for text within a supported file, add annotations or notes, highlight text and even use it with an in-built dictionary, which can be downloaded separately. You can also make changes to the text, changing the font type and size, line spacing and page margins to suit your reading comfort needs.


Not only does the app have the night theme for a better reading experience, you can also customize your own theme by picking the colors of text, background, links and color for your highlighted text.

This app however does not support Japanese text when tested with an .ePub file. In addition, you can’t really browse their bookstore through the app as it is merely a full featured eReader.

4. Kindle

If you don’t own a Kindle but want to shop for books on Amazon.com then this is the app to get. With an Amazon account, all your eBook purchases can be accessed and opened via the app. Without the app however, you need to use an app like Dropbox to ‘Open’ the file on the Kindle app. You’re now able to fully utilize the app as it also recognizes files imported through iTunes.

Note that you cannot browse the Amazon library with this app to make new purchases.


This app supports .mobi files, an eBook file format and also has support for Japanese character for vertical text and even manga. You can change the font and its sizes, and choose a normal, night or sepia theme. What’s nice is that there is a brightness control within the reading settings.

Text can be highlighted or shared on Facebook or Twitter; you can also add notes, and all your notes can be saved in a list which can be viewed and accessed under the book information page.

5. ShuBook

ShuBook comes pre-loaded with OPDS sources where you can browse through many free eBooks in multiple languages (Chinese, Japanese) – no registration required. It also supports .ePub files and Microsoft Office files like .doc, .xls, .ppt, and .rtf.

You cannot import files through iTunes as you have to pay for that feature, but a way around it is to use another app like Dropbox and opening the files with ShuBook.


Your library can be sorted by title or author, and you also can search for words within the text, change text size and font, and determine text alignment, and spacings between paragraphs, lines or letters.

If you like to pace your reading, this app allows you to put multiple bookmarks in the same book, all of which can be viewed under the book information section. As this app is merely a reader, there is no syncing between devices feature available.

6. OverDrive Media Console

This app is connected to more than 18,000 libraries worldwide, so if you’re a member at your local public or college library, you could rent an eBook through this app. This app also allows you to import ePub and pdf eBook file formats.

A fun feature of this app is the option to make your text multi-columned, for that newspaper column reading experience. This makes it easier to read on an iPad screen in landscape mode.

OverDrive Media Console

Other settings include the ability to choose fonts and its sizes, and you can place multiple bookmarks within a single book. Your library in this app is sorted by recently added books, title or expiration date – the date when the books are due to be returned to the libraries.

While browsing a library, you will also receive suggestions of other similar books at ‘Additional eBooks’; browse and download free eBooks without any sort of membership with libraries or ‘expiration date’.

7. Books

Books has over 20,000 classics in its database of free eBooks. Some examples of their popular downloads are autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. After searching for a book you’re interested in, you can read a description or reviews of the book before deciding to download it into your library.


The app also supports ePub and pdf file formats which can be imported via iTunes or an app like Dropbox. Books can be emailed and downloaded as a pdf file. As for reading settings, you can only change the font size and color schemes (night mode).

The free version of the app may serve a few ads, but none of them would hinder your reading.

8. Ebook Reader

This app is associated with eBooks.com, a website where you can search and purchase books from. The app won’t open any other files or import books through iTunes. By making an account and purchasing a book from the website, your purchased book can be sync’ed to this app. The app comes preloaded with a few full books like Moby Dick and Beowulf.

Ebook Reader

The app lets you save multiple bookmarks in the same book, make notes and highlights, all of which can be viewed in a list. You can skip through pages using the table of contents, and changing the font type, color and size as well as background color is possible.

Your bookshelf can be sorted by title or authors, and you can view your collection by book cover or book cover with title.

9. MegaReader

If you prefer to browse through free books or those in the public domain then MegaReader is your answer. The app comes pre-loaded with 25 full ebooks to get you started, but you can download more than 2 million other books from sources like Project Gutenberg, Smashwords, Feedbooks and others. Furthermore, the app works with Instapaper, which allows you to save web pages to read later.


You can filter through the books by title, author, category or based on the recommendations of other readers. The app also has a highly customizable interface: choose preset color schemes, or personalize them along with font options and sizes, margin width, line spacing and text alignment for a better reading experience.

It is also the first ebook to let you see through your book to watch where you are going as you walk while reading.

10. Zinio

Bored of books? Want a reading app for magazines instead? We got you covered with Zinio, "the world’s largest newstand and bookstore’" With online publications under 11 broad categories including Science & Tech, Sports, Lifestyles, Travel and more, you are spoilt for choice with the thousands of issues available, plus daily offerings of free magazine previews.


You can read the magazines in high-fidelity mode, complete with their full, rich colors, interactive content and other multimedia enhancements, or switch to plain text mode for a toned down reading experience.

Manage your bought subscriptions and issues with your iTunes account and sync them to all of your devices. With the app, you can also bookmark your favorite pages, articles and even photographs, or share them to you friends via sharing options.


Ibis Reader

Ibis reader is a web app that can be accessed via their website ‘m.ibisreader.com‘ . Add the web app to your Home Screen for fast access. The app serves as a browser and reader for their database of eBooks. You need to register for an account to manage your eBooks, which can be sync’ed on all your other devices.

Ibis Reader

You can view the table of contents under the book info and save multiple bookmarks as well. As for reading settings, you can pick the font and make the text larger by 1 size. There is no sorting option on your library.

The app remembers where you left off the last time you read a particular book. You can also add a download link to import your own ePub file format eBook. Note that since it is a web app you will need an Internet connection to read your books.


Wattpad is a place where a community of writers band together to read works by aspiring authors: themselves! If you register, you can manage your library and start writing your masterpieces. Without an account, you can just browse through tons of books and read to your heart’s content.

Books are rated and commented on by other members of the community so you know that you’ll be reading something worth your time.


There are 2 ways to read with this app, you can flip pages by tapping the left or right third of the screen, or you can scroll up and down, or even opt for auto scrolling. Font sizes and colors can be changed; the level of brightness and background colors are customizable as well.

You won’t be able to open any sort of eBook file formats with this app – think of it as a social reading/writing club.

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5 Steps to Migrating Website Without (or Minimal) Downtime

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 01:38 AM PST

Numerous emerging technologies make it exceedingly easy to move a website from one host to another. However, no matter how fast the speed of transfer, the average customer may experience some downtime during the transfer process. Depending on what goes on behind the scenes, the transfer of DNS servers between the old and new web hosts can cause a domain to go dark for between for 12 to 72 hours after the request for such a change is submitted to the new registrar.

(Image Source: Fotolia)

Combined with the need to transfer website files, restore important databases, and get every software installations and subdomain configurations in working order, it can take up to a day of inactivity before your site is fully functioning again. There are, however, some pretty great tricks to avoid disaster when transferring a website to a new host server. These tips are relatively easy to do as long as the site’s administrator has a general understanding of cPanel, IP addresses, and more advanced FTP login routines that will enable them to work on a new web hosting plan’s configuration before DNS is altered and transferred to the new host.

At the end of the day, if the average customer is completely unaware of any changes being made behind the scenes, then the mission is a success!

1. Complete Your Move Before Cancelling

Do not cancel an existing web hosting plan before the move is complete.

The most common mistake made by web tie administrators who are new to web hosting in general, or new to transferring their websites between servers, is that they almost immediately contact their old host to inform them of their decision to move their services to a new company’s servers.

(Image Source: Fotolia)

While it’s certainly a good idea to inform the old web host in a timely manner about future changes, doing so before the transition has been expertly executed can result in not just downtime, but a complete loss of files and database information from the moment a cancellation is requested.

Hold that Call

Web hosting companies generally cancel a plan almost immediately – as in as soon as the customer’s call has ended – without waiting for the expiry of the current month’s service or subscription fee. This is seen as serving the consumer’s best interest, as they get an immediate and prorated refund of any remaining fees.

However, it also means that the company will virtually trash every shred of information that has been uploaded to the server during their time with the company. There will be no opportunity, in many cases, to retrieve these files and move them to the new web hosting company’s server or shared hosting plan in time.

That’s the kind of downtime that is extremely hard to recover from, as it potentially means a loss of all content and subscriber data, as well as commercial losses and customer payment details for some websites.

What To Do

Once a new hosting plan has been secured, transfer all files before canceling the existing hosting plan held by the old company. It might be a good idea to allow the website to run on the new company’s servers for a few days just to ensure that nothing was overlooked during the move.

When everything has been verified as properly transitioned, only then should the old hosting plan be cancelled.

2. Downloading your Backup Files

Login to cPanel and obtain compressed backups of website files and database information.

For pure ease of use, customers moving to a new web host should ensure that both the new and old hosting companies employ the same web-based administration technology. Typically, this will be a choice between cPanel and the slightly less-popular PleskPanel website control panel.

Aligning the technology employed by both hosts is the easiest way to ensure that data can be quickly backed up and restored in just as quick a fashion. For the cPanel control panel option, which is virtually the standard in web hosting, customers should navigate to their domain with the 2082 port number attached.

For reference, it looks like this in a web browser’s address bar: http://my-site.com:2082. Alternatively, http://my-site.com/cpanel might work for some websites:

Locate the Backup Page

After successfully logging into the cPanel interface, locate a group of settings and control panel pages labeled “Backup.” This contains tools to backup the site’s main “public_html” folder as well as any subdomains. Additionally, the tools here will assist web hosting customers in the backup of their MySQL databases for restoration to the new server.

Find the “Download Backups” option within this grouping, and click through to the relevant cPanel administration page.

Downloading Backups

On this page, cPanel will break down the available backups by type. A full-site backup is available; they should download that file so that it can be uploaded to a different host later. There will also be backup files specific to every subdomain within the website. These are generally optional, since the full website backup will contain all of that information, but to be safe, you can download these as well.

In a separate area on the same backup downloads page, customers can secure a compressed backup of every MySQL database individually. Each database should be downloaded in its compressed format. These will be uploaded to the new server to create matching database names at a later time.

Do not Decompress!

During this process, be sure not to decompress any of the downloaded backup files. This is because this process will be completed by the new server when the file is uploaded by the customer.

For Mac OS X users, ensure that Safari is not set to automatically open so-called “safe” file extensions after download. Doing so will ensure that the file remains uncompressed and ready for quick restoration. When all of the compressed backup files are secured, log out of the old host cPanel installation and head over to the new host’s version of the popular website administration software.

3. Making the Transfer

Begin uploading the compressed backup files to the new server.

Virtually every web hosting company will, after receiving the first month’s fee, send an email bearing information like the domain name servers and IP address details for the new hosting plan. This IP address can be used to view the website’s content before DNS propagation, and to access the individual FTP account and cPanel administration interface before changes are made.

Logging In

Find this email and look for the relevant IP address. If a cPanel link has not been specifically included, assume that either “/cpanel” or the “:2082″ port suffix can be added to that IP address in order to enable an administrative login.

Upon logging into the new server’s cPanel iteration, locate the backup tools mentioned in Step 2 then navigate to the Backup Downloads page. At the page, locate the file-upload box associated with the full-site backup. This will often be labeled as a “Backup Restore” feature. Select the full-site backup file that was downloaded from the old web hosting company to begin the upload process.

After the file is completely uploaded, the webpage will refresh and file-specific details will be displayed on a line-by-line basis as each file is moved into place. When this second page stops loading, the process is complete. Locate the browser’s “back” button to return to the previous page and begin the database restoration process in pretty much the same fashion. When all of the information is transferred, it’s time to adjust some settings and begin the actual seamless transition process behind the scenes.

4. Make Sure the Databases Work Properly

One thing to note is that the database backup files do not contain information about the usernames, passwords, and permissions associated with each MySQL database. This information will need to be entered within the MySQL Databases interface within cPanel.

Prefix Matter

Also, note the prefix assigned to each database within cPanel. In case of discrepancies, (e.g. "jsmith_wordpress" vs "jsm_wordpress"), the prefixes will need to be changed in the configuration file of each software application which connects to that database.

All Relevant Info

Add all of the relevant users, passwords, and permissions, and then make any necessary edits to system files by logging into the FTP account via the website’s IP address. This will ensure smooth operation of the software once the domain name has been transferred to show the new host’s files instead of those located at the old company. Once that is done, everything is in place and ready to function perfectly.

All that needs to be changed now is the information which tells the domain which of the two hosting accounts’ files to display to the end user.

5. Switch To New Name Servers

Tell the domain registrar to use new domain name servers

The final step of the process is simply to tell the domain name to show files and data on a different server than the one in current use. This is done by logging into the domain registration control panel provided by the domain registrar (services like GoDaddy or Hover, for example).

Within this control panel, a heading or sidebar item named “Domain Name Servers” should show up, and the current information placed into that area should look like this:


These need to be replaced with the new name servers (also found in the email) for the new host. (If this information is not found, navigate to the host’s support section, browse their documentation or get in touch with a representative who can provide the server details.)

Changes to the DNS records will take effect in 12 to 24 hours in most cases, though some have experienced as little as six hours. During this time, both the new and old websites will function properly, and customers will see identical content no matter which hosted files are presented.

Wait For Complete Propagation

Do keep in mind that posting content before propagation is complete might result in lost content or data after the new host files are active. While downtime won’t be an issue, website owners should refrain from making any changes to a site’s design, files, or content, until they’re completely sure that the process is complete and they’re accessing the new host server.

When that becomes the case, the process of transferring a website seamlessly to a new web hosting provider is complete and users will have survived the transition without a second of downtime.

Wrap Up

Be sure to test the website and ensure that all features are working properly; when everything is working just like it used to, then you can cancel the old hosting plan. That’s all there is to it!

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Turning your Twitter data into Infographic [Quicktip]

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 01:10 AM PST

Twitter is a social platform crowded with real-time data that moves so fast, you are most likely going to miss information that is important to you. There are however a number of ways to find out the most trending topics or news on Twitter within the Twitter site or by using third-party web applications. There is also that added feature of finding out how people reacted to tweetfeeds, particularly yours.


Having a tool to convert all this information into presentable graphs would be ideal. This is where Vizify plays a role. Vizify is a twitter tool that make it easy for you to turn your Twitter data into an infographic that displays your most retweeted posts, best followers, your tweet activity and how your tweets impacted followers geographically.

Create your own Twitter infographic

To get your own Twitter infographic, visit the Vizify Tweetsheet page and click on the “Get Your Own” button.

Tweet Sheet

Twitter will prompt you to authorize Vizify’s access to your account, so they will be able to crawl through your data and turn it into an infographic.

authorize twitter access

Once authorized, your Twitter infographic will appear promptly.


Understanding your Infographic

The twitter infographic may look simple but the data shown could help you understand more deeply the impact you have on your followers. The ‘Tweet Activity’ shows how much you have tweeted previously (Twitter only allows Vizify to crawl through a maximum of 3200 tweets at any one time) and how many of them get replies.

Tweet Activity

The ‘Most-Retweeted Posts’ will help you identify what type of tweets are highly likable so if you want to reach more audiences, perhaps this can be useful.

Most Retweeted

The map on your infographic will visualize your Twitter geographical impact. It tells you the location of the people who mention you the most; the darker the color means more mentions from that place.

Geographical Impact

There is also the ‘Best Follower’ infographic where you will be able to see who mentioned you the most on Twitter. This is derived from your conversation tweets with your buddies, or retweets (RT) done by any one of your followers.

Best Follower

And last but not least is the ‘Favorite Theme’ which will tell you the keywords mentioned most in your previous tweets. You may not notice it, but almost every tweet you make leaves some characteristics that can be measured.

Favorite Theme


Personal marketing has become quite common these days. With every businessperson trying to market their own product, or attract audiences for one marketing purpose or another, the data provided in this infographic could help them, and you, to reach or gain more audiences through proper impact study and analyses of tweets.

Although the data provided is not in detail, it is still useful to corporate companies or businesses that are in need of measuring client or customer engagement. And if gaining more audiences does not really matter to you, at least the ‘Best Follower’ feature will let you know that someone out there cares about your tweets.

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