While there is already a Kindle app for reading books in Windows 8, that had been it until now. I’m reviewing the Alexandra Reader now, but will post a review of the other reader available now as well in my next review, called appropriately Free Books. This will give you some comparison of the two free offerings.
As you can well imagine you will not have the newest books showing in this app. This is for the classics. All the books shown are free and included with the app. This initial view does not give you much to see. I prefer the “List” view which you have as a choice when you right-click. There is also no semantic view which I think this app would have benefitted from.
If you want to know about a book you are able to click on its cover and get a short description and the option to click Read to start reading. You’ll see here as well that since I have begun a book, it will show you how far you have read in each book. This is only available in the “Home” view. You will have no visual hint that you are reading a book otherwise.
As far as reading goes it is quite nice. It provides you several options for text size, text font and color of text/background. There would be more choices, but nice to have choices. You can jump to a specific section using the “Contents” button. Also you could choose to pin it to start to more easily continue reading this book.
If you choose to snap the app, it works as far as displaying a few of the books available. You cannot get a full view of the small choice of books. You also cannot read any book this way (though don’t know why you’d want to).
The live tile rotates between two views showing a few of the books available. It isn’t very easy to read the titles except for the larger one as seen below. I think it would be better if it showed any books you are reading in the live tile.
There isn’t an option to add your own books or choose other free books. In fact this reader is fairly limited in the number of books it has. It only comes with 20 books. This could be due to Windows 8 not being fully released yet so only a sampling of what the app will include. However, unless you want to read the classics. This app isn’t for you.
One last screenshot though to show an area that was overlooked. Sharing. It does share which commendable since some apps don’t use this charm. However, when I tried to share in an email, it only added an advertisement for the reader, nothing about which book I was reading. I tested tweeting it and it did show which book I was reading, however, it also ran out of characters, by a few. By a 119!! So needless to say some aspects of the app need some work.
This app has some nice features and on par with the Kindle app there, although the Kindle is better in text adjustment (one nice settings window, not a separate one for each choice). For free books, if you haven’t read the classics, it can’t be beat (though we’ll check out “Free books” next to see if it is any better). It remains to be seen whether it will add more books or other abilities. I tried to check out the website but the link in the store doesn’t work. Doing a search for the developer “eFabric” comes up with fabric for clothing, etc. This app really isn’t ready for prime time.