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Bookviser Reader (Windows Phone) review: All you can read, DRM-free

The Good Bookviser Reader is free, customizable, and gives you quick access to hundreds of great DRM-free books.

The Bad Book selection pales in comparison to retailers like Amazon, and the page-turning animation can be a bit choppy.

The Bottom Line Despite its sluggishness, the Bookviser Reader for Windows Phone is a great way to get free classic literature on your Windows Phone.


7.1 Overall

Bookviser Reader is free app for Windows Phone that gives you access to thousands of e-books, all DRM-free. Unlike retailers like Amazon or subscription services like Scribd and Oyster, you'll need to track down books yourself. But that's okay! With simple access to e-book sources like FeedBooks, Smashwords, and the Project Gutenberg library, Bookviser makes it easy to load up your Windows Phone 8 device with great things to read.

The book selection is limited compared to Amazon, and the app did behave a little sluggishly during my time with it, but if you're looking for a great, free e-book readerfor Windows Phone 8, this is it.

Your books, your way

Bookviser Reader helps you track down and ready plenty of great classic books, for free. Nate Ralph/CNET

Bookviser Reader supports text, fb2, and ePub files. Don't worry if those sound arcane to you: they're file formats that serve as containers for the books you want to read. Why choose ePub books and their ilk? Simple: they're DRM-free. Consider the Amazon Kindle. In some far flung future where Amazon either doesn't exist, or no longer supports its own older file format, all of the e-books you've spent your hard-earned cash on might end up lost for good. This isn't too far flung a notion (remember Yahoo Music?), and while we'd hope that companies have learned from past mistakes, trusting that our DRM-laden purchases will always be around is something of a gamble. DRM-free file formats like ePub circumvent that entirely.

Your first stop will be to find some books to read. Bookviser doesn't have a storefront of its own, but the app will point you towards some excellent sources, including Smashwords and the phenomenal Project Gutenberg library, which is home to a plethora of great, classic literature, all for free. Chances are you aren't going to be able to fine the latest and greatest bestsellers, as these sources generally cater to independent authors. But you'd be surprised: George R.R. Martin's Game Of Thrones series is available on Feedbooks, for example.

Amazon might have a fresher library, but you can't beat the classics. Screenshots by Nate Ralph/CNET

And the best part of going DRM-free is that you can get your books from any source you'd like -- plenty of authors make their works available directly, often for free. You can read these files on any device you own, and if you own a Windows 8 PC or tablet, you can sign up for a Bookviser account (also free) and synchronize your library between all of your Windows devices.

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