My search for a PC EBook reader started when I decided to get more serious about reading books in 2015. After reading more than 20 books both Epub and PDF on my smartphone this year it became obvious I needed a different way to read.
The main reasons for my change here was my focus when reading non-fiction on my phone was poor and I found my phones five inch screen too small for viewing PDF’s. It was at this point I decided reading on my Laptop would better suit my reading needs.
What I was looking for in an EBook reader was multiple format compatibility, simple to use. Also, I already had a lot of EBooks and wasn’t too fussy about an inbuilt Bookstore or access over multiple devices. I just wanted something I could use to read for a few hours straight without Apps and Notifications constantly distracting me.
I first tried Calibre’s inbuilt EBook reader but my gut told me after a few minutes of use it was far from ideal for my needs. After piling up similar mixed results from a few more readers I tried I was considering throwing in the towel and sticking with what I had.
My fortunes changed when I came across Icecream Apps, a software company producing several free media and entertainment products in multiple languages. One of their offerings included the Ice Cream Ebook Reader with generally positive reviews and testimonials. Being your typical man I gave it a try, felt it solved my problem well and stuck with it ever since. As long as Icecream Apps don’t switch things up anytime soon they’ve got a new customer.
Features, Look and Feel
Design and features is where this Software really shines and this is a trend I notice Icecream Apps execute impressively across their product range. Yes, there’s no dedicated book store some of you may cry, however it makes up for this in other areas. To me no limit on the amount of books you can add to the library whilst having multiple formats under one roof from Epub to PDF’s to Comics more than make up for this lack.
On first opening the software you’re met with a Table or Bookshelf view of the Library showing the Book Cover, Title, Author and Progress or just the Book Cover respectively. In the bottom-left hand corner the designers thoughtfully placed a button to continue your last bookmark or where you left it. Other options and settings are placed in such a way that everything’s easy to find and use. If I could use three words to describe the layout and menus I would pick minimalist, clean and effective.
When it came to actually reading I felt the settings and features allowed me to maximise my reading experience. No matter what I was reading the way everything was located and functioned ensured little or no distractions. From the settings to the book information to the shortcuts all were designed to seamlessly be out of sight when not in use and there when you needed them.
Apart from an option to switch between single or double page view I found the three different themes; Day, Night and Sepia made it easier for me to read in different lighting conditions. Full Screen mode got a lot of use from me as did the Zoom when viewing PDF’s and reading comics.
A novel feature is the “Panic Button”, where pressing the H key when in the main Library menu or reading will minimise the program to the Taskbar. I’ve never had much use for this though I can see how useful this can be reading in public spaces or where someone’s looking over your shoulder.
What I Liked
I’m going to be direct here and say the look and feel of this product is what I like the most. The reading experience itself was great and I found all the functions and settings easy to use. Being multi-format (Epub/PB2/MOBi/CBZ) was great as it eliminated my need for other Software for various book formats. Finding fault is hard for me here as the effective simplicity of everything just makes the experience all the better.
What I didn’t Like
I maybe singing praises loudly and that doesn’t mean I didn’t find fault. My first surprise was having to switch from double to single page view and back again every few pages because whole paragraphs went missing. For some reason a book would only show as “finished” if you were reading in single-page view and not double-page view.
A few times I imported a book directly from my PC’s File Explorer only for the book to show up as “finished” then not open when clicked on. The only solution to this was deleting the book and importing it again via the built in Import Books function. Deleted Books go into a “Deleted” folder where I discovered to that you can only manually delete books one-by-one and not all at once. Adding insult to injury a Dialog Box, minus a “Do not ask me again option” asks you to confirm your decision every time you delete a book. Trust me when I learnt this the hard way.
It’s for these I give Icecream Apps EBook reader 3/5. I feel it does its job better than other EBook readers I’ve tried but its faults just downright annoy you at enough not to look the other way at times. This would be a way better product if these rough edges are polished off to let it really shine.
After nearly 3 months daily use of Icecream Ebook Reader I feel I can pass judgement on their product objectively. Will the glitches test your patience? If you’re not a Stoic, Yes. Are there better EBook readers out there when it comes to features and access to books? Yes. Did Ice Cream Apps meet my expectations with their product? Err… Yes. It does what it says on the can, even with the bugs.
Would I recommend it to you? It depends. If you want a simple EBook reader for your PC that handles multiple formats and you’re not fussy about a Bookstore or access on multiple devices then this is ideal for you. If reading on your Computer isn’t for you then Amazon, Kobo or the other big EBook reader producers will likely have something for your needs.
As a final note to the guys at Icecream Apps if you’re reading this you made product here that I and others really enjoy. I however feel these bugs I’ve listed above really chip away at the positives of a well-made product.
Click here to download the Aldiko Ebook Reader free for Windows.