They say that the Internet and the digital world are slowly killing books. But services such as Google Books and the plethora of book repositories available on the web tend to contradict this belief. For those unwilling or unable to give up book reading there are plenty of alternatives to keep on going with this habit. GooReader is one way to get the books provided by Google on your computer and browse them as if they were stored locally.
The application works like a desktop client for the online service, allowing you to search and view content outside the web browser. The environment for displaying the book is conceived to resemble as much as possible the actual reading process.
GooReader has reached its second edition and is absolutely free of charge. Installation is no complicated thing as it is a click-through process all the way. Looks have been adapted to the familiar view of a bookshelf. The moment you start a search the selves are populated with the results of your query.
As not all content in Google Books is fully viewable the application set up color codes to mark the items with full view and partial view. Thus green is assigned to books with no restriction, while yellow is for partial previews. Results with no preview at all are marked with red.
The search function in GooReader is no fancy thing, but it can return filtered results containing only books you can fully view. By default the app displays ten finding per page result, but you can adjust the value from the configuration panel.
Once a book is opened you have access to a set of controls that permit you to adjust the size of the book to the desired reading comfort, rotate the pages clockwise or counter-clockwise as well as navigate through the pages. More options are available in this screen giving you the possibility to view information about the book, such as quality details or publication date.
If the item has a table of contents you can access it at any time from GooReader and jump to a different section. Unfortunately you can move to a specific page in the document by typing in the page and hitting Enter, just like in Adobe Reader.
The application comes with a library, a special section where you can keep your favorite books. These are not stored locally, so Internet connection is required if you want access to content. When you close a book stored in this area GooReader automatically places a bookmark on the page you were on so you can easily resume your reading.
If you open a document straight from the search screen the application can also remember the page you were on, but only temporary. If you start a new search or decide to quit GooReader the bookmarks for all books outside the Library are erased.
One interesting option available in the program is its ability to export the books. It can store them as PDF on your hard disk, but in this case you have to pay up the upgrade fee for the paid version of GooReader
. The less elegant solution is to store the currently displayed pages to an image format (JPG, PNG, BMP, TIF or GIF). If you’re looking for a function to export the entire book to images you are out of luck as there isn’t any.
Additional export options include the possibility to select a snippet of the text (cropping) or choose to save only the left or right page of the current display. These may not look like much, but should be enough for an avid reader to extract the essential of a book.
The configuration panel of the program should not pose problems either. It is a simple screen featuring choices for the amount of results that should be displayed on the search page, page width and resolution for the PDF export. Additionally, if you require proxy authentication to connect to the Internet this is the place to provide your credentials. The Good
It comes with support for PDF files, so you can add any digital documents saved under Adobe’s format. The application connects you to a huge database of documents and offers the possibility to filter results to benefit of full view books only.
It automatically places bookmarks to documents you start reading and are stored in the Library section. The interface imitates a bookshelf and page turning tries to mimic the real-life action. The Bad
Even if the current version has come a long way, the rack of features is still a bit underdeveloped. Search function does not store the results and there is no option to buy the listed results. The Truth GooReader
offers almost the same functionality available in Google Books online service but the environment is much more user-friendly. There is still plenty of room for improvement, and some of the options we’d like to see added are control over the lighting over the document or support for hyperlinks.
All in all the application makes for a good digital substitute for the actual book reading and allows you smooth navigation that mimics the turning of the pages in a real book.