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10 Best Book Reading Apps (Ideas & Inspiration for App Founders)

When futurists in the early 90’s predicted that one day we would read books on computers, critics laughed and scoffed. After all, nobody could imagine reading an entire book on those early, low-resolution monitors that strained their eyes.

They pictured people sitting in their desk chairs and staring at a blinking cursor, rather than curling up with an iPad on the sofa. Since the naysayers failed to predict other changes that would create an entirely different User Experience (UX), they dismissed the prediction outright.

Today, printed books still outsell e-books, but e-books have captured one-third of the book selling market, which is pretty amazing if you think about it. We went from assuming nobody would ever give up that visceral feeling of holding a book in their hands and turning the pages, to one-third of the world swiping along on a virtual page.

What’s responsible for this change? Some of it has to do with the hardware. Tablets and e-readers are lighter than ever and the resolution is amazing, with imagery that doesn’t strain our eyes. The rest of the change, however, comes down to the software and the unique features that the best reader apps provide. This is where you should pay attention.

Why Every App Entrepreneur Should Study the Best E-book Reader Apps

Every app entrepreneur should study reader apps, no matter what kind of app they’re thinking of selling!

See, you can learn a lot about designing a solid digital product by studying the best book reading apps on the market. What features do they offer that keep their users coming back? What is it about their UX design that makes consumers choose these apps over countless other options?

We’ll take a careful look at what the best reader apps have to offer, exploring how a strong mobile app development strategy enhances the mobile user experience and generates serious revenue.

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10 Best Book Reading Apps for Android and iOS

Here are the top ten most popular book apps—the ones that have created a UX so impressive that their users keep coming back. We have also listed the key features of reading apps for each app to highlight what works.

1. Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle book reading app

Android Rating: 4.0

iOS Rating: 4.8

A 1990’s Newsweek article joked that Amazon.com would have to change its name to “Toast.com” after Barnes & Noble announced they’d be getting into the online book selling business. Yet another bold prediction that proved ridiculous in hindsight.

Kindle, the book reading app by Amazon, is the undisputed leader of the digital reading app market. You can easily download the app on your smartphone or buy its proprietary device to store all your ebooks. The robust and well-designed Kindle app gives you access to over seven million ebooks.

Key Features:

  • Kindle unlimited membership availability
  • Text page customizations are available
  • Brightness and background customizations are available
  • Offers a built-in dictionary for all the Kindle books
  • Reading progress tracking
  • Book synchronization across devices

Download: Android, iOS

2. Nook

Nook book reading app

Android Rating: 4.6

iOS Rating: 4.8

The creation of American bookseller Barnes & Nobles, the Nook readER app, offers a digital reading experience that can rival the Kindle. Kindle, of course, remains more popular due to Amazon’s market dominance, but the Nook has a strong following and high ratings on both the Android and Apple stores.

This mobile book app supports an online repository of over four million ebooks across several genres (fiction + non-fiction), magazines, comics, and graphic novels.

Key Features:

  • Built-in recommendation system for the book reader app
  • Choice of wide and varied fonts and page styles
  • Social sharing options are available
  • Synchronization across devices
  • “Read and record” feature for reading stories to kids
  • Can add bookmarks, highlights, and notes
  • Can organize your personal library under categories

Download: Android, iOS

3. Google Play Books

Google play books reading app

Android Rating: 4.1

Google Play Books is the best way to read ebooks on Android devices. The app supports ebooks, comics, and audiobooks. You can download books from the Google books platform, which features over 130 million distinct titles. Google Play Books is a free reading app with no subscription required. Just pay directly for each book you read and you’re good to go.

Now, we should note that Google Play Books’ success is not just a result of a well-designed UX. One advantage that Google has over its competitors is that it has indexed all the books in its library. In other words, if you do a search for a quote that appeared in, say, Physicist Richard Feynman’s autobiography, there’s a good chance that page in the book will pop up as a sample you can access. If it does, there’s a good chance you’re more likely to buy the book from Google Play.

This may seem like an unfair advantage, and some authors have complained that it’s a copyright infringement, but Google won their Supreme Court Case on the issue.

Key Features:

  • Built-in recommendation engine
  • Access to audiobooks for listening on-the-go
  • Can preview free samples of books before making a purchase
  • Bubble zoom feature brings comic book art to life
  • Can take notes that you can sync with Google Drive
  • Night-light setting for comfortable reading at bedtime

Download: Android

4. Scribd

Scribd book reading app

Android Rating: 4.5

iOS Rating: 4.7

Scribd is one of the best book reading apps you’ll find on the Android and Apple app stores, especially if you’re looking for a variety of material. It offers an ad-free experience combined with a free trial offer for new members. The app supports millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and sheet music for musicians.

Key Features:

  • Massive sheet music collection
  • Supports document library for research, government reports, and case studies
  • Can customize the narration speed for audiobooks
  • Download option to read or listen, even offline
  • Ability to set a sleep timer
  • Can add notes and bookmarks
  • A choice between vertical and horizontal page scrolling

Download: Android, iOS

5. Apple Books

Apple books reading app

iOS Rating: NA

Apple books is one of the best book reading apps out there, but it’s available only on iOS devices — iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc. The app offers access to millions of ebooks and audiobooks with a few clicks. All you need is an Apple ID, an internet connection, and (of course) an Apple device to get started.

Key Features:

  • Built-in recommendation system
  • Can add your preferred books to the “Want to Read” section
  • Can listen to ebooks from your Apple Watch
  • Easy to read page colors and font customizations are available
  • Auto-night theme available to keep you from straining your eyes
  • Family sharing option available for up to five members
  • Organize books into a personal collection

Download: iOS

6. Kobo Books

Kobo Books reading app

Android Rating: 4.3

iOS Rating: 4.6

Kobo is a free book app that offers more of an indie shop experience, offering books in over nine languages. The app also has an impressive search feature that provides easy access to your favorite books based on author, title, topic, and genre.

Key Features:

  • Gain Kobo super points with every purchase
  • Reading customization available, including night mode settings
  • Time left for completion feature available for audiobooks
  • Can set a timer when listening to audiobooks
  • Device synchronization available

Download: Android, iOS

7. Audible

Audible audiobook app

Android Rating: 4.5

iOS Rating: 4.8

Audible is Amazon’s go-to source for audio books, featuring all the latest editions for millions of best sellers.

Even though it’s not a traditional “reader” in the truest sense of the word, Audible has become immensely popular, allowing book sellers and authors to reach a wider audience. Everyone from daily commuters to gym-goers can enjoy books they otherwise might not have time to enjoy—all in an audio format. The app can also keep users updated with news articles from the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Using a subscription model, Audible is a powerful source of recurring revenue for Amazon. Each month users get a certain number of credits based on the plan they purchase, and those credits allow them to download books they’ll have access to for the rest of their lives. All these features make it the most popular audio book app on the market.

Key Features:

  • “Download and listen” option for offline access
  • Maintain access to your library for life—even after you cancel
  • Swap option for exchanging audiobooks
  • Can set a sleep timer to stop listening
  • Audible Daily Deals for affordable book pricing
  • Wide variety of narrators available

Download: Android, iOS

8. Moon + Reader

Moon+Reader book reading app

Android Rating: 4.3

Moon+ Reader is only available for Android devices and is considered one of the best book apps for Android. The app was even selected for Google Play’s Editors’ choice for 2018 for the value it offers its users. It supports thousands of books across many genres and over 20 ebook formats.

Key Features:

  • Numerous page customizations are available
  • Day- and night-mode switcher
  • Five auto-scroll modes are available
  • Availability to trim down unwanted whitespaces
  • “Keep your eyes healthy” option to reduce eye strain
  • Supports four screen orientations
  • Highlight, annotations, and dictionary available

Download: Android

9. PocketBook Reader

PocketBook-Reader book reading app

Android Rating: 4.6

iOS Rating: 4.4

PocketBook Reader is a free books app for reading ebooks, magazines, comics, articles, and much more. The reading books app supports nearly 26 ebooks and audio formats and offers an ad-free experience. Also, special formats are available for comics.

Key Features:

  • Built-in text-to-speech engine
  • Cloud-enabled app for synchronizing books and audiobooks
  • ISBN Scanner for finding books with the help of a barcode
  • Easy navigation and minimalistic (flat) design
  • Supports two night-reading modes
  • Page-turning animation can be customized
  • Can create widgets on the home page for easy cloud service access
  • Built-in dictionary and translator available

Download: Android, iOS

10. OverDrive

OverDrive book reading app

Android Rating: 4.6

iOS Rating: 4.6

This one-of-a-kind app lets users borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and even videos from their local library’s digital collection. OverDrive attracts support from across 40,000 libraries worldwide, making it one of the best book reading apps available. All users need is an active account through supported libraries or institutions.

Key Features:

  • No late fees—the book is automatically returned on the due date
  • Can create holds and wishlists to queue up your favorite books
  • Also offers audiobooks for listening on-the-go
  • Movies and TV shows are also available
  • Variable speed playback for audiobooks and videos
  • Reading experience customizations available
  • Quick and easy navigation for better customer experience

Download: Android

Countless Ways to Serve Your Customers

You probably don’t work for a bookseller, and chances are you aren’t planning to go into the e-reader business since it’s mostly dominated by international booksellers. That said, hopefully you see the value in studying the best book reading apps—no matter what kind of online business you want to create.

If you’re interested in creating any kind of app, it helps to look at established industries and see what the very best apps are doing to serve their customers and create an unforgettable User Experience. In fact, we’ve created a series of blog posts that do just that. We have blog posts exploring: the best dating apps, the best food delivery apps, the best rideshare apps, the best fitness apps, and more!

E-readers are a mature industry. And a “mature” industry in the tech world is one that has been around for five years or more and has plenty of competition. Competition sparks innovation, as product teams rush to deliver new features that set them apart from the rest. All this makes studying the leaders an essential practice for anyone who wants to sell their own app, no matter what kind of app they want to create.

Working with a Software Development Team

Do you have an idea for an app? If so, you can hire a software development team like Net Solutions to bring it to life. A qualified team of designers, business analysts, and software engineers can help you create a product that serves a niche and generates a profit.

A top-notch team will have a solid sense of UX principles, but of course, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want to achieve as well. Again, that’s where studying quality apps that serve a variety of markets will help you achieve your goals. So what’s stopping you from choosing the right mobile app development company for your business?

Have an Idea for an App?

Talk to our experts to see how we can make your vision a reality.


Amandeep Singh

About the Author

Designation: Technical Developer, iOS
Forte: iOS Technologies
Likes: Listening to Music and Developing apps that create an impact
Dislikes: Buggy apps
Claim to Fame: When my own technical language debuts
Biggest Tech Blunder: Thinking iOS efforts for one app can be duplicated in a different niche
: Write my own globally used technical language

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