Android smartphones and tablets seem to be everywhere you look these days. But out of all the things that you can do with an Android device, the best educational activity that these devices allow you to perform is reading books (boring to some, but gold for others that understand and appreciate the value of the written word). With this in mind, this article aims to uncover the 10 best eReader apps for Android.
Given that there are a bunch of e-reader apps for Android available in the Google Play Store (and even outside Google’s app catalog), choosing the one that fits best to your personal needs might seem a daunting task. Furthermore, there are two components that need to be considering when analyzing e-reader apps: first is the quality of the app itself (layouts, preferences, supported formats, the ability to import your own books), but then you also have to add the book catalog that these apps allow you access to.
At a first glance, it could seem impossible to find the right e-reader app for Android, but don’t worry, by the time you’re done with this article, it is very likely that you’ll find the app (or apps) that works best for you. If you’re on the lookout for more Android apps, check out our top 50 Android apps of 2013 article.
Google Play Books
The first thing that should be mentioned about Google Play Books (the official e-reader app for Android, if you will) is that although Google has recently made Play Books available in more countries, this app is not available everywhere in the world. The main attraction of Google Play Books is instant access to over 4 million titles, covering everything from bestsellers to books that not plenty people know of.
There’s a decent selection of free books available too, but unfortunately you’ll have to verify your country of residence by confirming a credit card before downloading free books. Google Play Books also allows you to import your own books (up to 1000 books in either PDF or EPUB formats), but you’ll have to upload the books from a computer first. The app allows for three color schemes (day, night and sepia), while another useful option is to have the app read the book aloud for you. Here is the official download link for Google Play Books.
Kindle for Android
Contrary to popular perception, you don’t actually need a Kindle device to gain access to Amazon’s impressive collection of e-books. Just download the Kindle app for Android and you’ll be granted access to Amazon’s selection of more than one million books (some interesting titles are available for free).
One very useful feature of Kindle for Android is the built-in dictionary that allows you to instantly obtain definitions for words you don’t know. The Kindle app also allows you to change the size of the text, the spacing between lines, the size of the margins, as well as one of three color schemes (white, black and sepia). Unfortunately, one major flaw in the Kindle app for Android is that does not allow you to import your own books. Here is the official download link for Kindle on Android.
Nook for Android
To complete the triad of major e-book publishers, we are now going to talk about Nook for Android, the official e-reader app from Barnes and Noble. Just like with Amazon’s Kindle app, you don’t need a Kindle device to gain access to Barnes and Noble’s collection of more than 3 million ebooks (1 million available for free). Unfortunately though, the app is available for US users only. Transferring your own ebooks is an easy thing to accomplish with Nook for Android, as long as your books are in PDB, PDF, secured PDF, or ePub formats. Just like most apps available here, there are multiple display options available. Here is the official download link for Nook on Android.
Aldiko Book eReader
Outside the three major publishers that we’ve talked about so far, the Aldiko Book eReader is by far the most popular e-reader app available for Android. The interface is not as polished as with other apps, but the functionality is simple: browse your smartphone’s files to import books (or purchase one from the limited selection that is available in the Aldiko store), check out the books you have imported in shelf view, then go right in and read exciting new titles. Change the size of the font, the margins and the background (only white and black are available), and you’re all set to go. Here is the official download link for Aldiko Book eReader.
Better World eReader
Better World eReader is an e-book reader app with a unique twist: while the app does not allow you to import your own books, any purchase you make from the Better World eReader e-book store will be used (in part) to help raise literacy across the world. The selection is not as impressive as that of Amazon, Google or B&N, but this way, when you read a book, you’re also helping others learn how to read one as well. Here is the official download link for Better World eReader.
While Cool Reader does not come with a built-in app store, this is the best e-reder app for Android if you want to thoroughly customize your reading experience. You can set the font (you can even import your own fonts), size, margins, or even export bookmarks to text file. The Cool Reader app also allows you to set the page background and can even turn the pages automatically (you can set the speed at which the pages turn). The Cool Reader app for Android supports epub (non-DRM), fb2, doc, txt, rtf, html, chm, tcr, pdb, prc, mobi (non-DRM), pml formats. Here is the official download link for Cool Reader on Android.
If you’re looking for an e-reader app for Android that allows you to socialize with your friends on the topic of reading books, look no further. With Kobo eReader, you can share your favorite passage online, check out who is reading the same titles as you are (and then share ideas), add the book your are reading to your Facebook timeline, or even track your reading habits and earn awards for reading. The Kobo e-book store covers more than 4 million titles (out of which more than 2 million books are offered for free). Here is the official download link for Kobo eReader.
Although it is not an eReader app that you can use to read books, Zinio is the one of the best apps for reading magazines on your Android devices. Zinio for Android features a collection of more than 5000 magazines that you can purchase and a free new magazine each day. Browse the collection, purchase the magazines you like and share them via Facebook, all seamlessly integrated in Zinio. Here is the official download link for Zinio.
Scribd for Android
Although the Scribd app for Android can be used for reading e-books in either PDF or EPUB formats, the main attraction of Scribd for Android is its ability to browse the Scribd database in search for various documents hosted on the platform, such as spreadsheets, study guides, how-to guides, recipes, analyst reports, and business presentations. Here is the official download link for Scribd on Android.
The tenth and last app on this list is best known for having a huge selection of free books (some from renowned authors, some from relatively unknown writers), author updates and stories that you can browse and read at no cost. In addition, those of you with a passion for the written word can use the Wattpad platform to distribute their own stories or books. Here is the official download link for Wattpad on Android.
A final word
There you go! These are the 10 best e-reader apps for Android, ranging from apps developed by the biggest e-book publishers to apps destined to browsing magazines and on to huge selections of free books and short stories.
Did we miss your favorite e-reader app for Android? Drop us a comment in the section below and let us know which is your favorite e-reader app and why! We’ll make sure to include