Best 5 Free and Open-Source eBook Readers

Who does not like reading books? Everyone does. We just do not get sufficient time to read books. Yes, that is what I believe. In this rapidly advancing world where everything is shifting to the World Wide Web, so has the books. Bookworms and the seldom-book-readers have taken a resort to online paradigms to quench their thirst for a book reading and take a slight break from their busy daily routines. Carrying a book around everywhere is a thing of the past, the web and mobile applications now incorporate every utility. However, there are still many who prefer books over eBooks, and quite honestly, I as well, but eBooks are without a doubt, hassle-free and way more accessible than the actual books. Due to this reason, many book readers, consider and adapt to the habit of reading eBooks from one of the many available eBook reader applications.

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform related Open Source Software Installation queries.

In this context, we shall look into a list of the best free and open-source eBook software solutions available for the Linux platform. Free and open-source software applications enhance and take the accessibility of software to a whole new level.

1. FBReader

Not to confuse FB with Facebook, FBReader stands for the Fiction Book Reader, a product that was named by its original author from Russia in the year 2018. The commendable eBook reader application is free, open-source and a vast cross-platform compatible software solution.

The application comes equipped with a list of enhanced features such as providing support for a vast list of formats including tar, ZIP, GZIP, and BZIP2 archives, encoding detection capability, ability to generate contents table, incorporates embedded images, support for hyperlinks, position indicator that allows easy navigation to pages, library building, most recent book selection feature, saves and allows user to access last read positions for all previously opened books, automatic hyphenations, text search, list of last opened books, full-screen mode, text-to-speech, allows screen rotation by 90, 180 and 270 degrees and the list goes on.

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2. Calibre

Calibre is a free, open-source, and cross-platform compatible eBook reader solution. The application was released on 31 October 2006 and comes under the GPL v3 license. Written in JavaScript, Python, C, and C++, the software is recommended by many readers and is well-acclaimed and renowned.

The Calibre ebook viewer incorporates and boasts-off many features including the ability to import books in the Calibre library, bookmarks, ability to sync reading progress, dictionary lookup feature, ability to change book styles, accessible book settings, enhanced Calibre e-book viewer mode, the capability of the app to automatically acquaint and integrate itself with popular eBook file formats such as "epub", ability to sort and group different books in the library and the list goes on.

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3. GNOME Books

Developers at the GNOME project have mastered the art and expertise to develop software solutions. GNOME-developed solutions and utilities are there in the best and most recommended software list of every reviewer and user. For eBooks, the GNOME project experts have developed a most refined, free, open-source, and user-friendly solution, GNOME Books that answer every eBook reader’s need. The solution is accessible from the default repositories of most of the GNOME-based Linux distributions. The eBook reader is quite straightforward and though lacks many advanced and complicated features that are provided in the other competitive eBook software solutions. Therefore, for the users who want a simple and a solution without any hassle other than simply allowing the users to open and read a book of choice, GNOME Books is the best choice for you.

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4. KOReader

KOReader is a free, open-source, and cross-platform eBook reader application that is available for Kindle, Kobo, PocketBook, Android, and Linux. It is one of the rare third-party ebook readers that work on e-ink devices like Kindle and Kobo. KOReader features include support for Calibre network library, multiple file formats, provides users ability to change formatting and styles of the books, automatic hyphenation, dictionary definitions, text search, extensive plugin system, translation support via Google translate, and the list goes on.

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5. Foliate

Foliate is another one of the most acclaimed eBook software solutions. Foliate is free and open-source and widely used across the Linux platforms. The software solution was developed in 2019 and comes under the GPL license.

Foliate incorporates a list of advanced and widely used features such as theme-based and fully customizable user interface, hosts different screen formats, supports a distraction-free reading mode, paginated view, capability to show either a single-page view or a double-page depending on user's screen size, supports a continuous scrolling view, brightness, size and zoom options, spacing and margins options, automatic fading effect, comes equipped with a toggleable navigation sidebar, shows a reading time estimate with a progress slider, supports speech synthesis using eSpeak, etc.

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This article covers eBook software applications which are free and open-source. EBook reader applications have seen a rise in recent times. Many people have acquired the means to feed their book-reading habits via kindle, mobiles, or desktops to take their minds off from their busy work schedules and daily routines. In the rapidly advancing world, taking time to go to book shops, buying books, and then taking further time out from the packed schedules to read the books is not an option for many. Therefore, eBooks have been widely adopted by many across the globe. 

You can easily open and read eBook in a variety of formats in these software. The most commonly supported eBook formats in these software include EPUB, Mobipocket, LIT, PDF, HTML, RTF, Plain Text, Comic books, etc. These software provide all essential tools which are required to enhance the overall eBook reading experience. These tools basically include search text, page navigations, go to, zoom in/ out, single page and dual page view modes, rotate, fullscreen view, scrolling options, night view mode, etc. Additionally, you can also view Table of Content and Bookmarks in these software to navigate to specific chapter or section in an eBook.

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