A quick guide to reading books on Samsung Galaxy Tab
This article should help you easier pick up the best app for reading books on your Samsung Galaxy Tab.
There are two ways to start reading ebooks on Samsung Galaxy Tab:
- use the default application offered by Samsung,
- pick up a book reading application from Google Play Store.
It’s the basic decision, but it will affect how you’ll experience reading books on Galaxy Tab in the future.
Usually, picking up the tool already preloaded on a device is a guarantee of a seamless experience. However, having in mind the attitude Samsung had so far towards book apps, this option is both seamless and risky.
Default e-reading application
Since July 1, 2014, the default application for reading ebooks on all Samsung Galaxy Tab models is Kindle for Samsung.
In this post you’ll learn more Kindle for Samsung. Below there are just the essentials to let you better judge the possibilities and risks.
To use the application you’ll have to sign up on Amazon, as the app is running in the Kindle ecosystem. To use extra benefits, specific only to Samsung, you’ll also need to sign up and be signed in with your Samsung account.
These extra benefits are called Samsung Book Deals. Each month, four bestselling books are made free, and when you use Kindle for Samsung, you’ll be eligible to download one of these books.
Sounds cool enough? Wait. It’s not the end of the story. Relying too much on Samsung in the area of book reading may at some point get really disappointing.
Before Kindle for Samsung, the default e-reading solution for Samsung Galaxy Tabs was Reader’s Hub.
Reader’s Hub had two major stages:
- first generation – run by Kobo ebookstore,
- second generation – run by Samsung.
As you see, Samsung is still looking for the best solution, and, unfortunately, this is happening at the expense of the users.
The company hasn’t offered any way to migrate books from Reader’s Hub 2.0 to Kindle for Samsung.
In other words, users had to do it themselves, by copying the files from the tablet, using Android file manager app. Then they had to convert these files from epub format to mobi format, if they wanted to open them in Kindle for Samsung.
If the user hadn’t done it before July 1, 2014, the files were lost. It’s not a surprise that many users, especially those who bought books via Reader’s Hub, got extremely disappointed.
On the other hand, if you start using Kindle for Samsung, you are in fact not relying on Samsung, but on Amazon. Even if you stop using the Samsung app, you can still access your Kindle books via Kindle application for Android.
It’s not clear yet whether Samsung Book Deals will be accessible directly via Kindle account, but the rest of the books from the Kindle Store, and all your personal books and documents will surely be there.
If you can live without Samsung Book Deals, go for Kindle app from Google Play Store. You’ll be able to benefit from deals offered by Amazon any time:
Applications from Google Play Store
Another reason for using the Android Kindle app is that it’s much more advanced than the one developed for Samsung.
Among many features, Kindle for Android supports Whispersync for Voice. Users can switch from reading a book to listening a corresponding audiobooks from Audible in just one tap.
Comparing Kindle for Samsung and Kindle for Android is a first step to optimize the e-reading experience for your personal needs. One app may have a better user interface, the other one may be more stable.
Once you start the process, you can discover in the Google Play Store a plenty of other book reading applications. You can browse them in Book & Reference category.
There are two groups of Android book reading apps:
- the ones connected with specific ebookstores: Kindle, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd, Nook, to name a few,
- independent apps: you can download ebooks from different sources, but there is one condition – the books have to be DRM-free or compatible with Adobe DRM.
No matter which book app you use, you can add your own titles to it. There are several ways to do it, usually using:
- file manager,
- the browser,
- by sending a mail to yourself and opening it on a tablet,
- Dropbox app, or any other app giving access to your cloud storage account.
Most of book reading applications support modern ebook format called epub (Kobo, Google Play Books, Aldiko, FBReader).
The only exception is Kindle, which comes with a separate mobi format – and can’t read epub. This is why moving from Reader’s Hub to Kindle for Samsung was so painful. It had to include two steps: backing up the books, and converting them from one format to another.
If you want to have a freedom to read both epub and mobi ebooks, you should go for Moon+ Reader.
File protection, called DRM (Digital Rights Management) is another thing to keep in mind. Most ebookstores use DRM, and that means the book purchased in one ecosystem can’t be easily read in the other one.
Luckily, Kobo and Nook ebookstores use the same DRM system, that requires to register an Adobe ID. Once you do it and once you authorize your Samsung Galaxy Tab with the ID you got, you should be able to cross-read books from both ebookstores.
You can also collect all your epub books, including the ones from Adobe DRM-supported stores in a variety of other apps, naming only Aldiko, Mantano, or txtr.
Obviously, you can add pdf files to the e-reading app of your choice. While it’s fine on a big screen of 10.1 Galaxy Tab, you may find it hard to read pdf files on the 7-inch tablet.
That’s why it’s good to make a decision to start collecting books in one of the modern formats, like epub or mobi, that let adjust font size and reflow text for maximum reading convenience.
The content for Kobo, Kindle or Nook app you’ll get from respective ebookstores. Apart from geographical and format restrictions, you may expect differences in prices.
Amazon puts an extra fee on Kindle books bought from outside US. Also, some publishers set different prices for different regions/countries.
Apart from ebookstores, there are a couple of great sites, where you can get ebooks for free. First of all, you should check out the list of free public domain books.
A tablet is more flexible than dedicated e-reader. On your Samsung Galaxy Tab you can buy/download books to different applications, and ebook platforms associated with them.
An app that requires registration usually offers synchronization of your ebook library. It’s one of the most wonderful benefits ebooks have. You can end reading a book on your smartphone in a subway, and open it on a tablet in the evening – exactly on the same page.
What’s more, you can get synced not only the furthest read location, but also bookmarks, notes, and highlights.
Some applications limit full sync only to books purchased in their own ebookstores. That’s the case of Nook or Kobo. On the other hand, Kindle can also sync the side-loaded books.
• • •
Each of the topics could be explained in more detail, but I wanted to keep this post short and simple, not to overwhelm you with too much information.
To recap: try Kindle for Samsung. Compare it to Kindle for Android. Explore alternatives. Make a decision.
• • •
Recent posts about Samsung:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S by the numbers (infographic)
- 8 things you should know about Kindle for Samsung
- Barnes & Noble and Samsung launch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook in August
- Galaxy Tab 4 for schools comes with a tough case and educational apps
- Kindle for Samsung to replace Readers Hub on July 1, 2014
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