Forget about dedicated e-readers — the best ebooks apps let you read things directly on your smartphone or tablet. Apple's Books (with a new Reading Goals feature in last fall's iOS 13 update) and Google Play Books already do a great job as stock apps, but specialist reading apps can add numerous extras, from highly configurable settings, support for odd formats, read-all-you-can subscriptions and more.
Check out more than a dozen of the best ebooks apps, from convenient, all-in-one marketplace-reader combinations to feature-packed and highly customizable standalone readers, as well as subscription-based unlimited reading services.
The best ebooks apps to download today
Kindle (Android, iOS: Free)
Amazon's Kindle app is a multi-platform e-book juggernaut, featuring marketplace, reader and library management features. More than a million titles are available in the Kindle store, from the latest bestsellers to free classics. A customizable display lets you set font size, brightness and other settings. Also, Kindle syncs your last page read, bookmarks, highlights and notes between devices and platforms. A new addition is a Kindle Unlimited program that gives Kindle users access to thousands of audiobooks and e-books for a monthly fee. Overall, Kindle is the best ebooks app.
Serial Box (Android, iOS: Free)
Now available on both Android and iOS — it used to be an iOS exclusive app — Serial Box brings a new approach to getting a good story. Instead of paying out for a complete audiobook, you can get shorter, episodic content in bite-sized chunks of novels that are perfect for your commute or break time. Serial Box offers a range of genres, from drama to fantasy and sci-fi, with the first episode free and subsequent episodes costing $1.99 — that includes both text and audio versions. You can get the full story at a discount via a season pass. With offerings such as “The Witch Who Came In From The Cold”, “Bookburners” and “Tremontaine” and a highly configurable reader and audiobook player mode, Serial Box is an interesting take on digital books.
Scribd (Android, iOS: $8.99/month)
While Amazon boasts of its Unlimited program, it wasn't first off the bat in providing an unlimited access program for books. Scribd offers an unlimited access program for ebooks, which was compared to a "Netflix for books."
Scribd features a library of more than 500,000 books from 900-plus publishers across a variety of genres. The app features a customizable display as well as curated editorial collections, personalized recommendations based on your reading history and the ability to download books for offline reading.
tiReader (iOS: Free)
tiReader is another all-in-one iOS ebook reader option for consuming your DRM-free ebooks, audiobooks, and digital comics. The app supports a broad selection of formats, such as epubs, PDFs, cbrs and cbzs, as well as photos, archives, and more.
A customizable reader includes bookmarks, annotation tools, day and night modes, library management and search filters, as well as cross-device syncing. tiReader also includes cloud support for ebooks that you store online, as well as OPDS support for publicly available ebook libraries and public domain content.
The free version of this top ebooks app lets you try things out with a five-document maximum in the library (you can keep deleting files if you want to add new books). The $4.99 in-app purchase upgrades you to the unlimited version of tiReader.
Download tiReader: iOS
Libby by Overdrive (Android, iOS: Free)
Why spend a ton of money on ebooks if your local library already has a digital media lending system? Libby is the latest incarnation of Overdrive's popular digital media management system, allowing users to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from participating libraries. Simply sign in with your library card and then you can browse your library's digital media collection, allowing you to search for titles, set holds, borrow ebooks and audiobooks with a tap, and return or extend a lend just as easily. You can preview books from the app, downloading borrowed titles or streaming them to your phone or tablet if you prefer to save space.
FullReader (Android: Free)
FullReader is an all-in-one Android ebook reader, supporting numerous formats, such as epub, PDF, CBR and CBZ, as well as office files like RTF, .doc, .docx and even MP3s (great for audiobooks). Users can sort their files into collections or simply use the built-in file explorer, and the app also includes cloud storage support as well as OPDS compatibility for exploring libraries of free online content.
The reader itself is clear and easy to navigate, with access to bookmarks, the table of contents, text-to-speech, and the ability to make notes and annotations. The app is free and ad-supported, with an in-app purchase disabling advertising.
Download FullReader: Android
KyBook 3 (iOS: Free)
KyBook 3 is one of the best ebooks apps because this all-in-one e-reader supports DRM-free formats like epub, RTF, DJVU, PDF, CBR and CBZ. Whether you're looking to read poetry or prose, comicbooks or RPG rules, KyBook's likely to do an OK job.
You can configure the viewer's fonts (including supplying your own font files), themes, and other layout settings like margins and line spacing. Readers can upload files through iTunes, or access their ebooks in supported cloud services like iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Yandex Disk. There's even support for OPDS catalogs, allowing you to access tons of free and public domain content online. A premium subscription allows you to sync your ebook metadata and files across devices.
Download KyBook: iOS
ComiXology (Android, iOS: Free)
ComiXology is one of the most popular digital comic platforms online, featuring content from major comics publishers such as Marvel, DC and Image, which readers can purchase and read from the ComiXology website. The company's mobile app also serves as one of the best comic book readers, allowing users to download and read their ComiXology purchases.
Of particular note ComiXology's the Guided View mode, which is great for reading on a small screen, as well as a new Unlimited mode that works as a "read-all-you-can" subscription. On the downside, you can't import in an existing comics collection or make in-app purchases on iOS.
Chunky (iOS: Free)
On the other hand, if you already have a collection of DRM-free comics you may want to check out Chunky, a free and feature-packed comics option for the iPad. On the technical side, Chunky supports CBR, CBZ and PDF comics, as well as metadata tags from ComicRack and ComicBookLover. A smart upscaling mode renders even low-res files as crisply as possible, while multiple view modes let you read however you like. There's even an auto-contrast/tint fix to adjust for faded comic scans. The app can download comics from your cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, straight into the app's self-organizing library. Plus, a parental lock allows you to flag and hide titles behind password protection. It's a fantastic free package whose only fault is a lack of iPhone support.
Download Chunky: iOS
ComiCat (Android: $2.99)
For DRM-free comic reading on Android, check out, Comicat, another app that blends a comic book reader with the best ebooks apps have to offer. This premium Android comic book reader gives you a ton of features and customizability for less than the price of a single comic issue.
The app auto-scans your mobile device (or selected library folders) for comics in supported formats (such as CBR, CBZ, and PDF). It then automatically sorts them into series in a nice bookshelf view which you can manually organize. Once you're in the reader view, the interface is unobtrusive, with long press or slide controls bringing out options and settings. The app supports cloud storage folders, password protection, manga-style right to left displays, image enhancement to correct contrast, brightness, and saturation among other tweaks.
Download Comicat: Android
Moon+ Reader (Android: Free)
Moon+ Reader is a nifty Android e-book reader app known for its highly customizable interface. While it may not come with a dedicated marketplace, Moon+'s UI makes it stand out from the pack. You can set font styles and sizes, backgrounds, spacing, paging modes, autoscroll, multiple view modes and more. The app is free, but a pro version is also available to remove ads and add PDF support, as well as other extra features. If you already have a sizable e-book collection and are just looking for an Android app to read with, then consider Moon+ for your e-book reading needs.
Download Moon+: Android
FBReader (Android: Free)
FBReader for Android devices supports EPUB, RTF, DOC, HTML, MOBI and other formats. While it doesn't feature an attached store like other apps, FB Reader makes up for it with its highly customizable nature. Users can tweak text fonts, size, hyphenation, text colors and backgrounds, margins, page animations and more. External dictionary support, a browser/downloader for finding books online, language localizations and plugin support for PDFs and library syncing round out an impressive free package.
Download FBReader: Android
Aldiko (Android, iOS: Free)
Aldiko is a neat e-book reader app that supports EPUB, PDF, and Adobe DRM encrypted e-books. A clean and customizable interface includes settings for text size, margins, page layouts, brightness, fonts, colors and more. A library management system allows you to easily sort your material by tags and collections. The core reader is free, but a Premium version includes the ability to add notes, highlights, notes and an ad-free experience.
Kobo Books (Android, iOS: Free)
While not as well known in the US, Kobo is especially popular in Canada and France. Featuring a library of more than 5 million ebooks and publications, Kobo lets you access content from its online store while also letting you import your own content. The app supports numerous formats, such as EPUB, PDF, CBZ and CBR. Obligatory view and text customizations let you get comfortable, and the app syncs across devices and platforms.
Marvin 3 (iOS: Free)
Marvin is a feature-packed and extremely configurable iOS reader app for DRM-free EPUB files; it also supports CBZ and CBR comics. As a reader, Marvin comes packed with great reading features, from a variety of fonts (including a specialty font for dyslexic readers), a night mode and customizable themes, highlighting, annotation and dictionary tools. You'll also find numerous format tweaks ranging from text justification, to paragraph indentation and spacing. Marvin comes with a solid set of organizing tools, allowing you to sort into collections, choose from list or cover views, collection sorting and more. It also supports iOS features like Split View on the iPad.
Download Marvin: iOS