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4 Android e-reader apps: The latest word in reading

Lee Schlesinger | Feb. 10, 2014
Sometimes even a tablet is too much trouble to tote. These Android smartphone e-reader apps will make it easy to enjoy your favorite book wherever you go.

The app has a day/night toggle that switches between two sets of font and background settings; the day/night setting can also change the brightness of the screen.

Cool Reader can display a status bar, which it calls a title bar, at the top of the screen — there's no way to display it at the bottom. You can configure the title bar's typeface, size and color. It can show you (optionally) the book title, page number, page count, chapter marks and percentage read, as well as the device's battery level. (The app displays its Eastern European origin by its use of a comma rather than a decimal point in the percentage-read number). Unfortunately it doesn't show your progress within your current chapter or story, as Moon Reader+ can.

The app also has an optional toolbar (that you can display on either side of the screen) that contains icons that take you to your library, the book's table of contents, search, options and other settings.

When reading, you can choose to use a document's internal style settings, but if you'd rather control styles yourself, Cool Reader gives you direct access to a wide range of format settings for paragraphs and other elements, such as titles and links.

The app also gives you a lot of options for gestures to control your reading experience. Cool Reader divides the screen into a 3x3 grid, and you can specify two actions for each zone, such as next or previous page, forward by 10 pages, or toggle day/night display. You can change screen brightness by flicking up and down on the left or right edge of the screen. You can select text to copy it to the clipboard, find it in the dictionary, add it as a bookmark or search with it. And you can set any of three page-turning animation options.

In Cool Reader, tapping on the center of the screen or the menu button brings up more options than does a similar action in the other programs. You get nine icons that take up the bottom third of the screen, one of which, "More," leads to 10 additional icons. Collectively, these icons let you control the app's operations — navigate within a book via search, go to a bookmarked page, jump to a particular page or see progress percentage, and more. One of the icons, Options, lets you change the app's settings.

Cool Reader's process for selecting a word or a phrase is awkward. Rather than using a long press, you must tap one of the pop-up icons to toggle selection mode. You highlight your selection, and Cool Reader then displays icons that let you copy the text to the clipboard, look it up in a dictionary, bookmark it, share it or search for it within the document.


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