5 Best eBook Readers For iOS (iPhone and iPad)

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EBook readersLittle by little, smartphone owners from all over are increasingly using their devices to read books and novels. Of course, iOS device owners are among the top of this list, with excellent alternatives to read books available across all their devices. What makes things even better of course is Apple’s own iBooks and its iBook Store, which has stepped up the competition and made other apps in the App Store even better.

So if you read a lot on your iPhone or other iOS device and you are looking for the app that offers the best reading experience/prices/options, read on as we take a look at the best 5 free ebook readers available on the App Store.

Kindle

The Kindle reading app for iOS has improved dramatically over the past few months and now provides the best experience for book lovers on many fronts. To start, the Kindle app boasts the vast Amazon book catalogue, which is by far the most complete ebook store on this list. In order to purchase books however, users need to do it from a web browser. But this slight annoyance is rapidly forgiven once you start using the Kindle app, which offers easily the most comfortable reading experience with customizable fonts, an easy-to-access dictionary and different backgrounds.

Kindle reading  Kindle app

Additionally, Amazon’s ebooks tend to be always slightly cheaper than any other competing platform, plus they can be read on almost any device, including your Mac or PC both on native apps or online, something that our next alternative can’t do.

iBooks

iBooks was introduced a couple of years ago by Apple as a response to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other ebook sellers of the time. Since its very beginning iBooks has been a great app for reading ebooks. The interface is very good (although not as clean and simple as the one on the Kindle app) and the iBooks Store offers a more impressive catalogue every day. Books can (obviously) be purchased from within iBooks itself and the app syncs seamlessly via iCloud no matter if you use your iPad, your iPhone or your iPod Touch to read.

iBooks library  iBooks reading

The one major drawback that iBooks suffers from is that Apple’s is yet to release a desktop app for users to be able to read their purchases somewhere else other than on their iOS devices. On the positive side, iBooks supports the EPUB ebook format, which Amazon’s Kindle does not.

Nook

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Barnes & Noble’s ebook reading app follows the same strategy as Amazon’s. Sell books through the store’s website and have them accessible on any device, including on Macs and PCs through the web. The Nook app also offers compatibility with the EPUB format, making it more versatile than the Kindle app. However, the reading experience is slightly below that of the Kindle and iBooks apps mainly due to the use of a somewhat overcomplicated interface. In addition to that, Barnes & Noble’s ebooks tend to be slightly more expensive than Amazon’s.

Nook library  Nook reading

Kobo

Lately, Kobo has become very competitive and its ebook reading app clearly shows that. The app supports EPUB files and most importantly, native Mac and PC apps where you can read all your purchased books. Its most interesting feature however is its social integration, which allows you to see what your friends are reading, what they think about books, the time a book has been read and finished, reviews from other readers and more, all without exiting the app.

Kobo menu  Kobo other menu

Goodreads

To really appreciate the value of the Goodreads reading app, you will need to become a member of their website (we’ve done a review of it too). Once that is done however, you will enjoy what is perhaps the best and most complete book sharing service. The app allows you search and download from a catalogue of around two thousand books that you can enjoy for free.

Goodreads main menu  Goodreads reading

Reading in the app is quite pleasant but nothing revolutionary. The app’s real strength lies in its ability to allow you to share comments and opinions about your favorite books, as well as providing you with a very convenient way to classify the books that you are reading now, that you plan to read and the ones that you already finished.

There you have it. Kindle and iBooks are easily the best ebook reading apps as we’ve already mentioned before. They both have their drawbacks, but unless you are already heavily invested on any of the other alternatives, you can’t go wrong with either Apple’s or Amazon’s alternatives.

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  • Mike Wendell

    Wish this article had a date on it so that we could understand how current your review is. For example currently I’m one of the folks getting hit by iBook’s bug about not remembering the last read page which is why I’m looking for a new reader.

    There’s also no mention about reading ebooks from other sources such as your local library. You just discuss the reader’s stores. As someone who has hundreds if not thousands of local copies of epubs, finding a reader that reads local versions instead of purchased ones is a pain. With iBooks, you have to specifically send them through iTunes.

    • http://www.guidingtech.com Abhijeet Mukherjee

      Mike, this post was published a few months ago, sometime last year. We recently removed the dates because it was creating certain technical issues, and because majority of our posts are evergreen and timeless. But I get where you are coming from. Alvaro will get back to you on the specific question that’s troubling you.

      • D

        This sounds like total bullshit. Nobody’s articles are ever “evergreen and timeless”. It may be valuable information for a few years, but eventually everything will become dated. Even if you think this article will last for a while (which it definitely didn’t) you should put the words “As of 2012…” before certain statements so people have a point of reference for their information and aren’t reciting outdated info.

        Most of the times when I can’t determine the date from the URL or at the top of the article, I simply go back and skip to the next search result. I am sure that we aren’t the only two guests who care about dated articles, just the ones who are vocal.

    • http://www.guidingtech.com/ Alvaro Bernedo

      Hi Mike,

      I also happen to have hundreds of epubs on my computer. Here’s is what I do to put them on my iPhone without using iTunes:

      – I simply put them in Dropbox or I send them to myself via Email. Once I get the file, I tap and hold on it (or tap on it and then tap on the share button) and my iPhone gives me the option to open them directly on either iBooks, Nook or Kobo, all of which support epubs and syncing.

      – I tend to read mostly on my Kindle (their syncing is by far the best for me), so what I do is convert my epubs to the MOBI format using Calibre (here is a post on Calibre: http://www.guidingtech.com/20629/remove-drm-kindle-ebooks/) and then I transfer them wirelessly to my Kindle (or the Kindle app on my iPhone) using the Send to Kindle tool from Amazon (we also wrote about that one here: http://www.guidingtech.com/18885/make-pdf-readable-iphone/)

      Hope this helps! Thanks for asking.

  • Judith Boel

    Which of these ibook epub readers allows me to download from my public library? And how do I do that? thanks