eBook Collections Usage Guide: Useful Software

A comprehensive guide to using the Marriott Library's ebook collections.

Choosing The Best Software For Your Device

No matter what operating system or device you are using, there are many applications that you can use to read ebooks. The following list gives some examples of good ebook software for a variety of platforms. The list is not comprehensive, and is designed only to provide a few reliable suggestions for each platform. There are tons of great programs out there, so if none of these work or you just want to try something new, you can probably find one that will work elsewhere.


Adobe Acrobat Reader

Acrobat Reader is supported on virtually every platform, and is built into many portable devices. Many ebooks are in PDF format, and Acrobat is the reference PDF reader. If you need to read a PDF, this will almost always be the best choice.

Adobe Digital Editions (Windows/Mac OS X)

Digital Editions is very similar to Acrobat Reader (and both are made by Adobe), except it is tailored specifically towards reading ebooks, and offers additional support for Adobe's Digital Editions DRM. If Acrobat Reader cannot read one of your ebooks because of file restrictions or DRM, try using Digital Editions instead (see Downloading and DRM for setup instructions).

Nook & Kindle Applications

The Nook and Kindle are both physical e-reader devices, but also have associated software applications by the same names. Both applications are tailored towards reading ebooks purchased from their respective vendors, but have limited support for other formats. If you have ebooks purchased from Barnes & Noble (Nook) or Amazon.com (Kindle), there is most likely a version of their software for your device. 

Bluefire Reader (iOS/Android)

If you need to read ebooks that are in PDF format with Adobe's Digital Editions DRM, Bluefire reader will work. It requires some setup to get working correctly (see Downloading and DRM), but is currently one of the few applications for iOS that supports Adobe's DRM.


No Windows-only ebook software is listed here yet.

Mac OS X


Papers is a program that integrates very well into academic environments, and is designed primarily for use with online research databases. It will work just fine with PDF-based ebooks, but does not support Adobe Digital Editions DRM. While it doesn't offer as much in the way of file format support or ebook-specific functionality as other applications, the way it interfaces with academic research databases makes it worth a look if you will be reading a lot of PDFs from our collections that are not protected by DRM.


No Linux-only ebook software is listed here yet.

iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)


GoodReader supports a wide variety of file types besides ebooks, but works very well as an ebook reader also. It does not support Adobe's Digital Editions DRM, so it cannot read PDFs that require Digital Editions. GoodReader also allows users to annotate their PDFs, so you can leave notes for yourself while you read (especially useful for academic workbooks or other school-related PDFs).



Aldiko is an ebook reader application for the Android operating system. It supports most popular ebook formats, and also supports Adobe's Digital Editions DRM. If you need to read an ebook on Android, this is a good choice for a compatible program.

If you do not see a piece of software listed here that you think should be included, please feel free to email the guide author using the box on the upper right of this page.

Guide Author

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Mary Ann James
Electronic Resources Manager
J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
801 581 8077
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