Little 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.
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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.