If you are a voracious reader — even if you will never give up the pleasure of paper — you may be considering an eReader device. But wait!  You don’t need to commit just yet. You can try before you buy.

“After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast — up approximately 70% last year,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. “In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a bookseller, up just 5%. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection.”

But just because the eBook is exploding doesn’t  mean you need to buy a new device to experience this new frontier in reading. Alternatives are cropping up all over, and most of them have the best price of all – free.

You don't need an ereader device with ereader alternatives - image in creative commonsThe Smart Phone as eReader

If you have a Smartphone, consider adding eReader to its roster of features. eBookstores are rolling out apps, and there are options for any device and carrier. Take a look at the Kindle App, Kobo App, Nook App, and iBooks – or search for eReader in your devices App store to see the latest trending native programs.

If you’re independent minded, there’s Stanza, an iPhone phenomena – or snag Eucalyptus, which comes preloaded with 20,000 books.

eReading on the Desktop

We’ve explored the beauty and ease of Calibre, and it still stands as this reader’s desktop-library of choice, but you do have more options.

Google Books is partnered with the Partner Program and the Library Project to bring you hundreds of thousands of titles searchable with Google’s best-of-the-best engine. In addition to the myriad of full, free books available, Google Books functions much like a bookstore – browse chapters (and even search to see if it fits your needs!) then purchase the book through Google Play.

Mantano is the eReader desktop of choice for Academic institutions – if you need a user interface focused on managing citations and e-learning, this will quickly become your eReader alternative of choice.

If the digital reading bug hasn’t bitten you yet, maybe one of these programs will do the trick!

Do you have a favorite eReader alternative I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!

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