Three eBook Readers for the Linux Desktop

29 December, 2019

When I read ebooks, I do it on my phone or with my Kobo ereader. I’ve never been comfortable reading books on larger screens. Strangely enough, articles aren’t a problem …

Having said that, I know that many people regularly read books on their laptops or desktops. If you are one of them, or think you are, then I’d like to introduce you to three ebook readers for the Linux desktop.


Bookworm is billed as a simple, focused ebook reader. And it is. Bookworm has a basic set of features, a set that some people will pooh-pooh it for being too basic or for lacking functionality (whatever that word means). Bookworm does one thing, and does it well without unnecessary frills.

The application’s interface is very clean and uncluttered:

Reading a book with Bookworm

You navigate through a book by pressing:

Some of Bookworm’s other features include the ability to annotate portions of a book, insert bookmarks, and change the size and spacing of a book’s font.

Bookworm’s support for ebook formats is quite good: EPUB, PDF, MOBI, FB2, CBR, and CBZ. I’ve only tested Bookworm with the first three formats. PDF files, while readable, are rather ugly.


As far as features go, Foliate is a step or two above Bookworm. It has several more features, and more options. You get all that in a zippy, clean, and uncluttered package.

Reading one of my books with Foliate

Like Bookworm, you navigate through an ebook using the space bar, arrow keys, or page up and page down keys.

With Foliate, you can also annotate text, look up and translate words and phrases, and look up the meanings of words. If you have a text-to-speech application installed on your computer, Foliate can use it. And, of course, you can change the font, size, and spacing of text in a book.

You can read books in these formats using Foliate: EPUB, MOBI, AZW, and AZW3. The support for the latter three closed formats is understandable: those are the formats used with Amazon’s Kindle.

E-book viewer

E-book viewer is a component of the Calibre ebook management tool. Like its parent, E-book viewer isn’t the prettiest piece of software out there.

Reading an ebook with E-book viewer

Don’t let that put you off. It’s a solid desktop ebook reader.

Navigate through an ebook using the arrow and page up/down keys, or the space bar. You can also look up words in an online dictionary, and you can add bookmarks throughout the text.

One interesting feature of E-book viewer is that you can apply your own CSS file to your ebooks. CSS, in case you’re wondering, is a way to format web pages (which is what many ebooks are made of). If you’re a dab hand with CSS, you can copy and paste your CSS file into the User stylesheet tab in E-book Viewer’s preferences window. That’s the ultimate in customization.

E-book viewer, according to its developer, can display all the major e-book formats. If you’re wondering what those formats are, here’s a list. I’ve only tested it with a few of those formats and have had no problems.

Final Thought

Whether you’re looking for a simple ebook reader or one with bells and whistles and whatever else, the three the applications that I looked at in this post are good choices. They can make reading an ebook on a larger screen a lot easier.

Scott Nesbitt