Ebooks provide a convenient way to read digital content on an Amazon Kindle, a smart device, tablet, laptop, desktop machine, and more. The popularity of ebook readers for these multiple platforms shows that digital formats are replacing physical books. In this post, we’re run through the best ebook reader apps for various devices.
1. Amazon Kindle (Windows, macOS)
It’s not the most obscure suggestion, but the official Kindle ebook reader app is a continuation of the hardware device, so that Kindle books can be read across multiple platforms. A big part of the Kindle app’s appeal is that you can bring up your notes, view your libraries, and continue reading between multiple devices.
The Kindle is the trendsetter and driving force behind modern ebook reading. As such, you are able to customize the layout in terms of backgrounds, font types, and accessibility options. You can also access your Kindle library through the browser.
2. Calibre Ebook Reader (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
The Calibre ebook reader is one of the best ebook management tools to help you read and organize your entire library. Calibre is portable and cross platform, so it’s available on nearly every device you own.
A solid ebook reader, Calibre can help you convert and manage your ebook collection. It can pull in book covers, publishing dates, and other metadata. In our opinion, it’s an elegant way to manage your ebook library offline, regardless of your device.
3. Sumatra (Windows)
Sumatra is a popular, free, lightweight, and portable PDF and ebook reader for Windows 10. While it may not be cross platform, Sumatra has a a few other aces up its sleeve.
For example, it supports the ePUB ebook format (unlike other tools). What’s more, Sumatra also supports a variety of other file formats, such as PDF, MOBI, CHM, XPS, DjVu, CBZ and CBR. This is fantastic if you like to consume ebooks and other digital publications.
Being a simple application, the user interface itself is pretty minimal. What’s more, Sumatra does lack some advanced features. Bookmarks, highlights, and other typical features aren’t in the box. Even so, Sumatra is a great choice as a capable and lightweight application that just works.
4. Favorite Book Reader (iOS, Android, Onyx)
The Favorite Book Reader (FBReader) is a free app that used to be open source. As such, it used to be available for a multitude of devices but now caters to iOS and Android users. There’s also a beta version in development for the Onyx reader.
FBReader supports many different file formats, such as ePUB, MOBI, fb2, and more standard text-based formats. It appears to be one of the few apps that allows you to import HTML.
In its default setting, FBReader appears as though you’re paging through a physical book. It helps to better connect you to the book than some other apps. We also like the robust library management on offer.
5. OverDrive (Windows, macOS, iOS, iPadOS Android, Kindle Fire, Chromebook)
OverDrive is one of the most popular ebook readers for Windows, Mac, and other formats. It looks slick and includes all the features you’d expect, such as bookmarks, the ability to change the font type and size, dedicated library management, three predefined color schemes to suit different lighting conditions, and more.
OverDrive can also act as a capable audiobook reader. It has the typical features you’d expect, such as the ability to forward and rewind, add bookmarks, and increase the reading speed. If you maintain a collection of ebooks and audiobooks, OverDrive may be the application for you.
6. Kobo Reading App (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android)
The Rakuten Kobo is a rival to the Kindle that more users should consider, in our opinion. While this entry isn’t focusing on hardware, the Kobo is a fantastic ebook reader, and the app is no slouch either.
You can find the app for a number of devices – desktop, iOS, and Android – and much like many other solutions, it includes handy features and functionality. For example, you can adjust font sizes, use a built-in dictionary, add highlights, and more. There’s also a dedicated day-night mode to help you read in different ambient settings.
We think the Kobo interface looks arguably better than Amazon, and what’s more, you also get sync functionality. This lets you pick up where you left off between devices without missing a page.
7. Nook App (Windows, Android, iOS)
Barnes & Noble are obviously a major player when it comes to physical books. Its Nook app is also a top solution to read ebooks. It’s a lot like the Kobo in that there’s a hardware Nook device and a companion app for Windows, Android, and iOS.
The app itself looks nice and welcoming. You can adjust font sizes, margins, line spacing, and more. This lets you tailor the reading experience to your own needs – perfect if you have specific requirements.
The Nook app is free regardless of the device and will also sync across all versions. If you’re a regular Barnes & Noble customer, the Nook app will be ideal.
8. Adobe Digital Editions (Windows, macOS)
Many major ebook stores use Digital Rights Management to restrict the devices you can use your purchase on. Many of these same stores also recommend Adobe Digital Editions to verify your purchase.
As it turns out, it’s a dependable and solid app for Windows and macOS, although there are no apps for smaller screens. Still, it’s going to be a fantastic way to read your ebook in the most optimal way. This is because Adobe Digital Editions is part of a publisher’s proofreading workflow.
As such, because you will likely use Digital Editions to verify the purchase of your ebook, it could be your go-to app for reading them too. The biggest positive is that you won’t need to install a second app to begin reading.
9. Scribd (iOS, iPadOS, Android, Kindle Fire)
This next in the list of ebook readers for Windows, macOS, and more is something different to the rest. You can think of Scribd as a cross between a Kobo or a Nook and Amazon’s collection of services.
It’s a subscription service for mobile devices that along with ebooks, includes audiobooks, magazines, sheet music, and more. You’re able to customize the reading experience much like other apps on this list. There’s also different page orientations, a way to create notes and bookmarks, and offline downloading.
While the reading app itself excels in functionality, we think Scribd’s library is more of an appeal. As such, we recommend it if you want to consume a lot of different content within a solid and functional interface on your device.
10. Wattpad (iOS, Android)
This ebook reader app is unique in that it looks to foster a community of writers and readers through the app. Wattpad is an interactive way to create stories and share them with an audience.
The reader itself is gorgeous to use and is available on iOS and Android. It’s a bright and modern app that includes a host of options to help you read content from the community. It’s not as in depth with regards to features as other solutions, but like Scribd, the experience trumps all.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I get my “third-party” ebooks into my reader app?
This is a tough question to answer because you have to consider the format of the ebook, the developer of the app, and the workflow within the app itself.
For most third-party ebook purchases, you’ll have an ePUB format with DRM included. For some stores (Humble Bundle being one), there’s no DRM. In these cases, you can drag the ebook into the app as you would any other.
For ebooks with DRM, there’s often a workflow that includes Adobe Digital Editions. Here, you can import the book into the app, then export it and load it into your chosen reader.
2. Should I consider premium ebook readers for Windows or macOS?
In our opinion, there are enough good ebook readers for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and even in-browser that you won’t need to opt for a premium solution.
We’d go as far to say you should often use the ebook reader of your favorite ebook store. This is going to give you the greatest “bang for your buck” and a more seamless experience.
3. How can I convert ebook formats in order to view them on various readers?
Our advice here is to choose an ebook reader, such as Calibre, which can convert to various formats. However, you may also want to consider online solutions, such as Online Ebook Converter, eBook DRM Removal, and Ebook Converter.
Note that modern Amazon formats, such as AZW3 and Kindle Package Format (KPF), are tough to convert. In many cases, KPF formats have strong protection against conversion.
A good ebook reader can make the experience of sitting down with your favorite stories enjoyable. It’s fortunate that there are so many ebook readers for Windows, Mac, and more on the market to choose from. What’s more, you can adapt most to your own needs and requirements. Now that you’re all set with a list of ebook readers to choose from, if you’re looking for content, check out this list of sites where you can buy ebooks.