Which e-book reader apps are best for Android?
Whether you want to bring your entire collection to the beach with you, or you want to re-read the Song of Fire and Ice series in digital form on the morning train to work, there's a great reading app for Android available for you. Here are our favorites.
- Google Play Books
- Moon+ Reader
- Amazon Kindle
- FBReader: Favorite Book Reader
- Universal Book (UB) Reader
- Cool Reader
- Aldiko Reader
Google Play Books
Chances are, this app came pre-installed on your Android device, so why not check it out? It's really not too shabby, and you get to stay within Google's ecosystem.
Google Play Books gives you access to a vast book store. Some of the books are free. You'll also find some textbooks, although we'd like to see the textbook selection improve in the future. You can read books offline, use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words, and have your notes and place in the book saved across multiple devices through your Google account.
The free version of Moon+ Reader is a solid eBook reader. It has control gestures and the ability to set it so pages will automatically turn themselves. It is very customizable, so you can set whatever font type, background color, etc. you want. It also provides some interesting stats, like how many words you've read per minute on average.
Plenty of file types are supported, like .epub, .zip, .html, .mobi, and .txt and also includes several Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) catalogs. pre-loaded with free books to download. You can also add your own catalogs.
Moon+ Reader Pro gets rid of the ads and adds important features such as support for .pdf files and optional password protection when opening the app.
Note that while it will read .mobi (Amazon Kindle) files, it will not open Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected Kindle books.
Moon+ Reader is the app you want if you already have an extensive library of books in multiple formats that you want to organize and access through a single app.
Barnes & Noble offers a selection of books, newspapers, and magazines in its Nook app. Of course, Barnes & Noble would like you to mostly buy stuff from them, but they've also made it possible to add your own .epub and .cbz files to the app.
It's pretty easy to adjust font size, brightness, line spacing, etc. You can bookmark your place, too, and sync your position (and your library) across any devices to which you have this app installed.
Another benefit with the Nook app is that it allows you to create multiple profiles, so your entire family can use it without your kids stumbling upon your racy book collection.
Don't have a Kindle? No worries — you can shop the Amazon Kindle Store and read Kindle books on your phone or tablet with the free Kindle app from Amazon.
Amazon has a vast library of Kindle books — some are even free to download. You can also take advantage of Amazon Prime and find some textbooks as well. You're able to customize fonts, margins, line spacing, and organize the books you've downloaded into collections so that it's easier to find the book you want to read
Another benefit is that lots of local libraries will actually lend you copies of books via the Kindle app. Click here for more information on finding the nearest library that supports Kindle.
FBReader: Favorite Book Reader
FBReader: Favorite Book Reader is a basic e-book reading app that gets the job done. Its User Interface (UI) is nothing fancy, but for a completely free app that has zero, count them, zero ads, it'll do just fine.
Features-wise, it's no slouch, offering the ability to change the background color of the book and flip pages by using the volume up and volume down buttons on your device. Of course, you can customize other things, as well, like font size and type.
You can get books from Open Publication Distribution (OPDS) catalogs, such as Free Books Hub and Smashwords, and you can manually add your own. It's compatible with plenty of different file types, like .epub, .doc, .html and .rtf and lets you add books from your device's storage and/or SD card. However, it will not open Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected files
Universal Book (UB) Reader
Universal Book (UB) Reader is a basic e-book reader with a polished user-interface (UI) that supports .epub and .pdf files — even ones protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM).
You can add content from your device's storage or SD card, or you can download books, both free and paid, via the Feedbooks store.
The only knock on this app is that it won't let you add additional e-book catalogs from which to download content. However, since it's one of the few e-book readers that can open DRM-protected files, this may not matter to you.
The free app does have ads, but they are minimal — a simple banner at the bottom of the page and the occasional full screen ad without sound. You can get rid of the ads by purchasing the Premium edition via an in-app purchase for $4.99. The Premium edition also has some additional features, such as a text-to-speech option, the ability to password-lock individual books, and more.
Cool Reader is an absolutely cool reading app because it is free and and has no ads anywhere. It supports most e-book formats, such as .epub, .fb2, .txt, .rtf, .tcr, .html, .pdb, .pml and .mobi, but will not open files protected with Digital Rights Management (DRM).
You can add books from your device or you can grab fresh content via its pre-loaded Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) catalogs such as Feedbooks, Project Gutenburg, and Internet Archive.
Aldiko is simple and clean. It's easy to switch between night and day mode and alter text size and margins just by tapping on the screen when you're reading. You have access to the Feedbooks Store, and you can also add your own custom catalogs. Oh, and you can also import your own .epub and .pdf files with this app.
Expect to see some banner ads on the free version. Get rid of the ads, gain widgets, and the ability to highlight and write notes on .epub files by upgrading to the paid version.
The bottom line
There are a lot of e-book readers available for Android users. Some of them only let you get books from one source, while others allow you get them from multiple sources, and even to curate your own library.
You might miss the smell of fresh ink and pressed paper, but at least all of your books will be in one convenient place in whichever e-book reading app you choose..