Best Android Apps For Book Lovers
Since Gutenberg invented his printing machine, like his Oriental predecessors did with paper, printed word spread dramatically, and even in the digital era, with all those interactive and multi-dimensional entertaining tricks, we still read books.
Maybe there’s no other art interacting with you in this two-sided way. And we don’t even mention non-fiction books that are totally irreplaceable.
The selection of book-reading apps is hard to embrace, so we selected five ones worth your attention. Though the apps are free, the content may be paid. Two of the apps below are connected to bookstores while the others suppose you obtain your books from other sources.
Of course, there are more apps for book lovers, but we’d rather spend our time on more books.
It’s like getting the reading app and the bookstore – two in one. Amazon is first of all a content provider, and there’s a great variety of books in different languages available in its store.
Simplicity is the way: you can purchase, download, and read the book within the same app. There’s no risk of losing your library as it’s stored on your Amazon cloud account that also helps sync your library across your devices.
The books with expired copyright are available for free, other ones will cost much less than paper books, even paperbacks. You can get your impression about a paid book by reading its first chapter; Amazon thinks that judging a book by the cover isn’t right.
There are also sales with chances to get an audio version for free or the whole collection by author or by setting or genre for much lower price. Amazon Kindle reader app for Android can also provide your subscription to newspapers or magazines.
The reading app by itself is good. It’s not that rich in functions, but you can adjust brightness, font type and size, background, and volume buttons to turn pages. Most users won’t need more.
The greatest inconvenience is being tied to the books purchased on Amazon. Yes, there are tricks to overcome this; you can manually put the books you’ve bought elsewhere to the /kindle folder on your SD card. But Amazon Kindle only supports .mobi and .pdf files, so your books from, say, iTunes would have to be converted.
Google Play Books
As Google Play Books combines a reading app and a book store, it looks similar to Amazon Kindle from the beginning. First, you have to select your preferred genres. Then, if somehow you haven’t activated your Google account on the device, you’ll have to register, and the library is open to you.
Another difference is significant to those not speaking English as a native language. Google Play Books has many more books in other languages and its propositions are based on your system settings, while Amazon is mostly English-oriented. So Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese and other readers will get more books in their native languages. Most books are paid, though still cheaper than paper editions. And yes, Google gives you the first chapters for free.
The reading app itself is rather simple. Here's what you can do with this app:
- scroll pages fast;
- adjust font size;
- switch to the night mode with a dark background and white letters;
- search for keywords within the book;
- add bookmarks;
- store your bookmarks and notes on Google Drive;
- use online services like a dictionary;
- read books aloud with a TTS engine;
- upload your own books to your cloud as it’s integrated with Google cloud services.
Google Play Books supports .pdf and .epub files, so it’s easier to switch to it from Apple reading apps.
Moon+ Reader has become sort of famous after it was deleted from Google Play following a complaint from the Russian online bookstore LitRes. The booksellers pointed at the fact that the app has an activated OPDS feature providing access to many online libraries, including pirated ones. There's still OPDS support, so you can connect to open libraries and download books from within the app.
The app is great if you like modern interfaces and use different book formats. It can open most popular file formats like .pdf, .mobi, .epub, .fb2, .chm and others. There’s also integrated EPUB3 support with embedding videos and sounds into books, a dream of the 90s’ readers.
The strongest part of Moon+ Reader is the visuals. It has an Eye-Saving mode, a customizable virtual bookshelf, and fully adjustable text modes where you can control fonts, intervals, text and background color, alignment, shadowing and so on. In landscape mode, you can enjoy the dual-page view as if you were reading a real paper book.
If you like different books to look different on your screen, Moon+ Reader is the reader for you. Just switch different themes for your books, and you’ll get a visual experience similar to reading various paper ones.
The app with a great and long history has been popular since first Windows Mobile communicators. Today it's more than a simple reader.
This app also supports a great lot of formats, including:
While some of the above are for those who have been collecting their libraries since Palm era, it's still a pleasant inclusion.
The interface of AlReader is easy and minimal. But possibilities are great. While reading you can independently adjust brightness, enlarge or shrink text with zooming gestures.
There’s a great lot of small features making user experience superb, like archives support, TTS, auto scrolling, external dictionaries support, OPDS access, advanced display control, text search within a book or throughout the library.
There are also up to 9 tap zones acting like invisible buttons upon the screen that you can set up for quick commands.
The local library is as easy and visual as in other apps connected to bookstores like Amazon and Google. You can sort books by their:
- and a host of other parameters.
The developer claims the app collects the info on books being read for creating online tops and ratings. There are other online functions like syncing the library and bookmarks on your devices.
As it’s clear from the name, this app has been initially developed for .FB2, an independent file format for fiction books. The app was meant specifically for it first, but then it has become a versatile reading tool.
Just like the .FB2 standard, the app is completely free and is distributed under a GPL license. It’s been extremely popular in the Symbian and Windows Mobile era, and now it’s available for Android.
The functionality of FBReader is similar to that of AlReader, including view adjusting, external dictionaries support, color schemes and so on.
The only reason to complain is a limited range of supported file formats. But the most popular ones like .epub, .mobi and .pdf are all here. So if you use a certain store app to purchase books, you can read them with FBReader and find it better.
But there are also new functions like expanding functionality with plugins. A Google Drive-based cloud service allows you to sync your library across your mobile devices and PCs. FBReader is a cross-platform app, so you’re not bound to one device with your library.
There’s no built-in bookstore, but you can add free or paid OPDS catalogs manually. You can also obtain books anywhere, be they free or paid libraries, authors’ sites and stores, and put them to /Books on your SD card, the app will fetch them automatically.
Have anything to add to this story? Love a different app? Share it in the comments below!