The Mac ebook software market doesn't start and stop with iBooks. Though it's a perfectly useful app, there are a lot of other choices from other developers, and some of them have features iBooks doesn't. Here's a roundup of some of the best ebook reader apps available for the Mac.
Support for common formats including ePub, FB2, DOC, RTF, RTFx, xHTML, Webarchive and plain old TXT files too. Excellent Retina display support, exportable highlighting and notes, text to speech support for the visually impaired, full search functionality, and much more. BookReader's also one of the few — if not the only — ebook readers for the Mac I'm familiar with that has support for the Leap Motion controller, making it possible for you to make ebook reading a completely hands-free experience on the Mac.
- $9.99 - Download now
Calibre comes in especially handy if you're trying to convert ebooks to different formats. It supports two dozen different input formats and can output to almost a dozen and a half different output formats. It also sports a flexible library management system that lets you organize content by a variety of criteria, tags to categorize your collection how you'd like, and more. You can even use Calibre as a web server to serve up your ebook collection no matter where you are, as long as you have an Internet connection.
- Free - Download now
Smartly implemented ebook reader with tabbed view. Drag and drop support for supported formats; just drag the folder containing your ebook files into the Clearview shelf and the app takes care of the rest. You can search by various criteria and search contents for specified text. Clearview supports PDF, ePub, CHM and MOBI formats, print them out, adjust color themes and more. Any annotations you make are stored in an independent file, so your ebook files aren't modified.
- $6.99 - Download now
Apple's own ebook reading software is everything you need to get started with ebooks on the Mac, but it's kind of amazing that it took years for the software to get to the Mac. It's bundled with OS X Mavericks. It's integrated with the iBooks Store, so you can make purchases and downloads right in the app. iBooks includes features for annotation, making it an excellent study partner for those taking classes. There are customization features so you can adjust type size and color of the pages. Parents can restrict the contents their kids can view. iBooks also saves your spot and syncs it with your other devices, so you can pick up your iPhone or iPad and keep reading. Also, iBooks supports ePub and PDF formats, so you can read more than just the books available from the iBook Store if you wish.
- Free - Download now (as part of OS X Mavericks)
Kindle for Mac
Amazon is an ebook publishing powerhouse, so it's no surprise they've made Kindle software for everything including the Mac. The Mac version of the Kindle software is limited — Amazon doesn't want to fork out 30 percent in in-app purchase fees, so there's no way to buy Kindle books from within the app. But if you're invested in Amazon.com content already, you can easily download the books you own and even have them pushed to your Mac when you buy them, once you've set up the Kindle app. If there's a downside, it's that Amazon isn't invested too heavily in updating the Mac app with new features and capabilities, so it gets a bit stale — it was only this past April that they added Retina Display support, for example, even though Retina MacBook Pros have been available since 2012.
- Free - Download now
These are the five I feel most comfortable recommending, but I'm curious to hear from you. Are there other Mac ebook reader apps that you've found to be indispensable, and if so, what are they? Sound off in the comments.