Free Epub Book Readers for Mac OS X

It’s convenient to have books to read on the iPod Touch. The iPod Touch is portable and capable of storing thousands of ebooks. Ebook reader apps tend to offer options to adjust the screen brightness, font faces and font sizes, and text and background colors. A good ebook reader app could let you bookmark pages, take notes, and look up definition of words without leaving the app.

I switched to the iBooks app on my iPod Touch after the Stanza app became unusable after I updated to iOS version 5 on the iPod Touch.

What happened to Stanza? It appears Stanza was bought by Amazon and has since died from neglect. Read and find out how and why: Amazon Killed Stanza.

Since Stanza’s death on iOS, I’ve been using Apple’s iBooks app. I disliked iBooks app at first because, compared to Stanza on iOS, iBooks felt sluggish. But the app has since grown on me.

Page 1 of Henry David Thoreau's "Economy" on the iBooks. Apple's iBooks is a great app for reading books on iOS. But how do you read epubs on Mac OS X?

Despite the portability and other conveniences of reading books on an iPod, when I get home, I still wish I could read my book on a bigger screen. Is there a way to read ebooks on Mac OS X?

Read what apps I’ve found for reading epubs on Mac OS X after the jump.

On the Mac, opening PDF files is not a problem. The Preview app, preinstalled on Mac OS X, does a great job of opening PDFs. For reading comics in CBR and CBZ formats, there’s are the free apps Simple Comic and Comical.

If you’re interested in free public domain ebooks, one good place to look is Project Gutenberg.

Reading epub files on a Mac that presents a bit of a challenge, since it’s not that easy to find a great and free epub reader.

I have a number of ebooks in epub format. Epub is a free and open e-book format and readers are available for various platforms, including iOS and Android. But I’ve been on the lookout for an application to use on Mac OSX.

There are some powerful ebook readers for Mac OSX. There are two free apps that I have found useful and sort of become my favorites: Stanza and Calibre.

Sort of, because these two apps do not actually compare with their mobile counterparts as readers. Both are powerful apps that have a variety of functions and are available for several platforms.

  • You can read more about Stanza for Mac OSX here: Stanza on Macupdate website. The download link is dead, though, so it seems the only option available Mac OSX now is Calibre.

Calibre aims to be a comprehensive ebook manager, with which you can keep track of your ebook library, read ebooks of various formats, and convert ebooks into various formats. Now that’s powerful.

The look and feel is un-Mac-like, to say the least. Reading epubs on Calibre is simple but you will have to set up the app the first time you launch it.

Follow these steps to download and install Calibre.

  1. Click here to download Calibre for Mac OS X.
  2. After the download has finished, double click the downloaded DMG file.
  3. DMG file will open as a disk image to show Calibre app. Drag app to Applications folder.
  4. Eject the Calibre disk image.

Drag Calibre to the Applications folder to install the application.

Now you’ve got Calibre installed. Calibre will ask you to follow a few steps the first time you launch it.

Launch Calibre for the first time and set up the app by following the instructions below.

  1. Go to applications folder and double click Calibre to launch it.
  2. In Lion, you will be given a warning that Calibre is an application downloaded from the Internet. You will be asked if you want to open it. Click open.
  3. Choose your language and folder you want Calibre files saved. The default language is English. By default, Calibre will create a folder in your home folder called Calibre Library. Click continue to keep these settings.
  4. You will be asked the brand and type of device you want to use Calibre for. You may keep the default settings (Manufacturer: Generic; Devices: Generic e-ink device). Click continue.
  5. Then click done.

Calibre has been set up and is now open. You may now use Calibre to open epub files.

Calibre is a powerful ebook management app for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX.

Do the following instructions to read an epub file on Mac OSX.

  1. Go to your epub file. Drag the file into Calibre’s main window. Your epub file will also be automatically added to the Calibre Library folder. In Calibre’s main window main showing books you added to Calibre, will appear in a list.
  2. In the window showing your list of books, double click the ebook you just added.
  3. The book will open in a separate window.

You can now read your ebook on your Mac.

Calibre doesn't have the look and feel of a typical Mac app, but it does the job.

Here is how you can navigate your book once you’ve opened your epub file in Calibre:

  • Press the space bar to turn the page,
  • Use two-finger scrolling to scroll up or down the book, or
  • Use the toolbar on the left. The left and right arrows in purple circles turns the page forward or backward.

That’s it, all you need to know to read epubs on your Mac for free. Calibre may not be pretty to look at but it’s free and it’s powerful. You can use it to keep track of your ebook collection and convert ebooks from one format to another. And if all you need to do is to read your epubs on your Mac desktop or laptop, well, Calibre can do that, too.


16 thoughts on “Free Epub Book Readers for Mac OS X

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  9. Callibre is a bad solution for me. Surely there should be a small lightweight EPUB reader for Mac OSX which is just used for reading ebooks. I already have another program for managing my ebooks which automatically opens them with the appropriate reader. I don’t need another ebook manager. This is one of the things I miss about PC the readily available software

    • What did you use on the PC? Calibre does look a little unwieldy as an ebook reader. It seems its strength is as a converter of different file formats.

  10. Thanks, some good tips there. I also noticed an attractive one in the App Store called Murasaki, but it’s a bit expensive. If I get serious about ePubs I’ll probably buy it but I don’t have many.

    • Thank you, too. Murasaki epub reader does seem interesting, for one, it can open several epub windows at once. Now I also like Ehon. It’s a comic book reader but it seems to be a competent epub reader as well.

  11. Pingback: The best free ebook readers for iOS | Mac Mojo

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