To put it simply, if you are a fan of eBooks and have an Android phone, you need to get Aldiko. Even though it is a free application, the look, feel, and functionality of the app are of such high quality and polish that it feels very much like a paid app. From the moment that you open the application, it is obvious that some real love and care has gone into its development. You start off with a few simple options. Your recent reads, your bookshelf, and the ability to download books. Pressing the Menu button on the front page gives these options: Quote: Search - Allows you to quickly search by Title or Author. Import - If you load eBooks onto your SDCard, Aldiko can import them into your eBook database. Tips - Provides handy tips for using the Aldiko application. Share - Allows you to share information about Aldiko with your friends, or to send information to the developers through email. About - Gives you information on updates to the app, the terms and conditions, and how you can support the developers. Recent Reads The books that you are currently working on are available from the first screen, in a simple and intuitive side-scrolling section. This includes the cover art for each of the books, and the title itself. From there, it's a simple matter of selecting the book you are wanting to pick back up. It will open the eBook back to where you left off. Having read through several eBooks with this application so far, I have never seen it get this wrong, always bringing me to the exact page that I had been on. Once the eBook is open, the controls are fairly intuitive and common amongst eReaders. Swipe left and right to move among the pages. There is also the ability to alter the brightness of your screen easily within the app, simply by running your finger up and down the left side of the screen. Run it higher, and the brightness increases. Run it lower, and the brightness decreases. Hitting the Menu button brings up several options: Quote: Contents - This will take you back to the Table of Contents for the book. Bookmarks - Here you can either bookmark the page you are on, browse a list of bookmarks, delete bookmarks, or edit bookmarks. Very useful for quickly finding passages that you wanted to re-read. Settings - Allows you to greatly customize your reading experience, allowing you to alter such things as the theme (colors for background, font, links, and highlighting), font settings, margins, your navigation controls, and several other options. Get Books - Will send you directly to the Aldiko Online Catalog. More on this later. Day / Night - Allows you to switch easily between the Day and Night themes, which are both fully customizable though the Settings. In my experience, there is little need to change them. More - More options for things like Sharing, a built-in dictionary, and to show your progress, as well as other options. My only real gripe with the actual reading experience is simply the load times. If you are dealing with an eBook that is more than a short story, you will have to deal with somewhat lengthy load times for both the book, and each individual chapter. This becomes particularly frustrating if your reading is interrupted by calls, text messages, or really any other reason to leave the app itself. Bookshelf On the main screen of the app, the second option is to view your Bookshelf. By default, this will provide you with a scrollable list of all of the eBooks you have loaded into Aldiko. Each item includes the cover art, title, author, publication information, and a 5-star rating provided by yourself. If you take this into landscape mode, the view changes a little to have three books per "shelf", and only the title and cover art provided. In both layouts, the Bookshelf list is well laid-out and scrolls without noticeable lag despite the loading of cover art. Pressing the Menu button here also provides several options: Quote: Author List - A simple list of the authors that you have eBooks by, allowing you to easily filter a potentially large eBook collection. Tag List - Similar to the Author List, this provides a listing of the Tags that are tacked onto your eBooks. You can change the tags on any particular eBook by simply long-pressing on the eBook in any of the listings, selecting Book Details, and scrolling to the bottom to find the Tags option. Collection List - This operates just like the Tag List, with a different name. This is especially useful if you are reading a series of novels and want to easily navigate through the series. Search - This is pretty self-explanatory. Allows you to search by either Title or Author. Sort - Provides several different sorting options. Includes title, author, download date, last read date, and rating. Home - Simply takes you back to the front page of the application. In my experience, the different List options are pretty vital to your Bookshelf, allowing you to quickly move through what is sure to become a very large database of eBooks. The five-star rating system, however, seems virtually useless. The rating that you provide is not shared with an Aldiko server, so unless you just have poor memory and can't remember how good a book was, it's not particularly handy. Download Books This is one of the big features of Aldiko that really make it shine compared to other eBook applications. Selecting Download Books from the front page of the app will bring you to a list of possible sources, with a very wide variety of books available at each. Each source has its own way of sorting through what they have available, and it's not very reasonable to try to break down each one. What you will find with most of these sources, though, are books that are either in the public domain (meaning no longer covered by copyright), or are published with a Creative Commons license. You will sometimes find books through these sources that do require you to pay, and since I have not personally done so, I can't really comment on the procedures for doing so. I believe the one source that Aldiko uses for this primarily is Smashwords.com, where independent authors basically publish eBooks through them and get the large majority of the profits for each sale. Pressing the Menu button in the Download Books section provides two options: Quote: Custom Catalogs - Here you can actually further expand the list of sources, by giving the URL for a catalog not currently listed. This makes it incredibly easy to download books from your favorite online sources, given that they support Aldiko with an XML formatted list of their books. Home - Again, this simply takes you back to the front page of the app. Overall, the downloading feature is incredibly useful for those just wanting to test out the app, or for those looking for a popular eBook that is in the public domain. It works about as well as you could expect. The Bottom Line Aldiko does eReading right. While there are a few problems with the application and some features that aren't fully realized, and Aldiko only supports the ePUB format, the other features and intuitive navigation system give you a very polished feel at a great price: free!