Forget about dedicated e-readers — the best ebooks apps let you read everything from books to articles to comics directly on your smartphone or tablet. Apple's Books and Google Play Books already do a great job as stock apps, but specialist reading apps bring additional features to the fix — highly configurable settings, support for odd formats and read-all-you-can subscriptions just to name a few.
Check out more than a dozen of the best ebooks apps, from convenient, all-in-one marketplace-reader combinations to feature-packed and customizable standalone readers, as well as subscription-based unlimited reading services.
The best ebooks apps to download today
1. Kindle (Android, iOS: Free)
Amazon's Kindle app is a multi-platform e-book juggernaut, featuring marketplace, reader and library management features. More than 1 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.
One of the best things about the Kindle app is Kindle Unlimited program. Through that program, Kindle users are able to access to thousands of audiobooks and e-books for a monthly fee. Overall, Kindle provides an excellent mix of usability, legibility, value and variety to feed your reading habits.
2. Realm (Android, iOS: Free)
It used to be known as Serial Box, but a name change to Realm hasn't changed the app's approach to getting a good story. You don't have to shell out for a complete audiobook, with Realm instead offering shorter, episodic content in bite-sized chunks of novels. If you've resumed commuting, Realm's installments are just about the perfect length.
You can pick from a range of genres — drama, fantasy, sci-fi and more. The first episode is usually free, with subsequent installments costing $1.99. You get both text and audio versions of a story, and discounts on the full version are available with 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, Realm is an interesting take on digital books.
3. 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.
4. tiReader (iOS: Free)
Think of tiReader as an 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
5. 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 takes Overdrive's popular digital media management system and lets 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.
6. 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
7. Madefire Comics & Motion Books (Android, iOS: Free)
Like other comic readers, Madefire gives you access to enough comic books to choke Galactus. But some of them also move, along with adding lashings of atmosphere with 3D elements and audio.
These aren’t cartoons — you get traditional panel layouts. But parts of the image transition in a manner that draws your eye to certain elements. Your reading pace is slowed, helping you take everything in. And the action is joined by rumbles and dark music in the likes of Hellboy, or iconic transformation sounds in Transformers.
This may be a gimmick — and it’s unlikely to tear you from your comic reader of choice. But as a glimpse into a different way of presenting comic stories, Madefire’s well worth a look.
8. KyBook 3 (iOS: $14.99/year)
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, comic books or RPG rules, KyBook's likely to do a solid 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 — $14.99 for a year, though three-month options are available — allows you to sync your ebook metadata and files across devices.
Download KyBook: iOS
9. Comixology (Android, iOS: Free)
Comixology is one of the most popular digital comic platforms online, featuring titles from major comics publishers such as Marvel, DC and Image. Readers can buy their favorite issues and series from the Comixology website and read them in the app, which in addition to being a top ebooks option is also one of the best comic book readers.
Of particular note Comixology's the Guided View mode, which is great for reading on a small screen. US customers benefit from an 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.
10. Chunky (iOS: Free)
If you already have a collection of DRM-free comics, you may want to check out Chunky instead of Comixology. Chunky is 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. For the cost of a $3.99 pro upgrade, the app can connect to Mac or Windows shared folders, FTP or SFTP servers, ComicStreamer, Calibre or Ubooquity libraries for sharing files in and out.
Download Chunky: iOS
11. 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.
Comicat 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
12. 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 $6.99 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
13. FBReader (Android, iOS: Free)
FBReader supports EPUB, RTF, DOC, HTML, MOBI and other formats on both Android and iPhones. While it doesn't feature an attached store like some other best ebooks 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.
There is a pro version of FBReader that sheds some of the limitations of the free version — you can store more than 10 books and the translation feature is enabled. That costs $6.99 of Android users and $4.99 on the iPhone.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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 boasts several 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.
In addition, you'll find a solid set of organizing tools, allowing you to sort into collections, choose from list or cover views, collection sorting and more. The app also supports iOS features like Split View on the iPad. There are also premium features require a $4.99 in-app purchase.
Download Marvin: iOS