Take Your Reading Anywhere! The 6 Best E-book Apps You Can Get Now

Take Your Reading Anywhere! The 6 Best E-book Apps You Can Get Now

An overall societal shift to mobile-focused business models is affecting every type of consumer, but readers are especially changing their habits. Book lovers are increasingly putting down the physical books and picking up iPads and Kindles, but the best e-book apps or free reading apps let you read everything – from books to articles to comics – directly on your smartphone as well.  

What is an e-book? 

Electronic books, or “e-books”, are files that you can read on a digital device like a tablet, smartphone, or computer. Other files can be read on digital devices (i.e. word documents) as well, but e-books have specific characteristics that differentiate them.

 

E-books are not editable. An e-book should always be converted into a format that ensures its contents cannot be altered. In order to qualify as an actual e-book, the text should not be able to be changed in any way, just like a paperback book.

 

Except for PDF formats,  e-books are reflowable. This means that no matter what the size of the screen you’re viewing the e-book on, it will always fit your screen; text will remain formatted with line breaks, and chapters and images will resize to fit the proportions of the device you’re reading on. 

E-book Formats

EPUB (.epub)

An EPUB, or electronic publication, is the most widely supported format and can be read on a variety of devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and most eReaders (except Kindles). EPUB files are reflowable, which makes them true e-books and easier to read on small devices.

AZW (.azw)

AZW files were developed by Amazon for its Kindle eReaders. These files can store complex content like bookmarks, annotations, and highlights. But the use of AZW files is limited to Kindles or devices with Kindle apps, and they can only be accessed from the Amazon online bookstore.

PDF (.pdf)

A PDF, also known as a portable document format, isn’t technically an e-book by definition, but it’s the format most people are familiar with. Created by Adobe, PDFs are known for their ease of use and ability to hold custom layouts. Because they hold their format and aren’t reflowable, they can be difficult to read on a small screen. Despite this, they are still one of the most commonly used e-book formats, especially by marketers.

Pros and Cons of E-books

While browsing a bookstore to buy a gift for someone (or yourself), you may be faced with a tough decision: should you buy the e-book version, or the physical copy? Choosing the best option depends on a number of factors. To help you decide, we’ve listed some pros and cons of the e-book below:

Pros

Convenience

Most smartphones have apps automatically installed to read e-books along with many free apps you can download – and will also automatically ‘save your place’ when you stop reading. This makes it convenient when you’re on the move – no need to remember to grab that paperback you’re only a third of the way through!

Sustainability

While few things in life make me as happy as that ‘new book’ smell, being more environmentally conscious is at the forefront of many consumers’ choices. E-books are digital, which means there’s little environmental impact in their creation. While the written word on paper is still magical, we also need to be practical.

Audio Assistance

Some e-books come with audio files to help enhance your reading experience, or to assist the visually impaired. Unfortunately, not all e-book formats provide this. Audiobooks can make all the difference if you want to hear what the dialogue sounds like – or how to pronounce an unfamiliar word or name in the book!

 

Cons

We Retain More Information From Paper

There is evidence that reading on paper might actually be much better for data retention and focus. The tactile sense of paper is what gives it an edge for information retention. 

 

Because the book’s weight shifts from right to left as you progress, the brain is more engaged and focused on processing all this data at once, helping it retain as much information as possible. Feeling the weight of the book shift dynamically while you’re reading the story makes it easier for your brain to visualize plot points and other story details.

Eye Strain

One of the biggest drawbacks of e-books is their screen luminance. Tablet readers that have low-light screens are still emitting artificial light, which interferes with a person’s ability to sleep and puts strain on their eyes. Reading from an e-book reader at night can also impair your body’s production of melatonin.

Nostalgia

The smell of books, the ink, the paper (oh, that wonderful smell of paper)! Few things in life make bookworms as happy as that ‘new book’ smell.  The nostalgic process of peeling each page back to uncover another beautiful set of unread words on actual paper is often missing when you read digitally.  

Free Reading Apps

Goodreads 

Goodreads is the first platform in many rankings of best apps for book lovers. It has plenty of information for various purposes: recommendations for you, recommendations from your friends, different collections, a list of quotes, and a field for reviews. Goodreads also unites authors and readers, having 40 million users in general and more than a billion books, and offers a mobile barcode scanner that allows adding paper books to your digital “to read” list. 

Libby by OverDrive

If you miss your favorite public library, welcome to EPUB versions of its books in Libby! This app from OverDrive digitalizes the process of borrowing books, so it takes just a couple of seconds. If you use Libby in connection with Amazon, you can also enjoy the collection of audiobooks from your public library. Old-fashioned bookworms who can’t make it to their public library can enter their library card information to feel the complete process of borrowing a book. 

Wattpad

Wattpad is much more than just an app; it’s an entire community. On this platform, you can share your talent in writing and make friends with other people interested in reading and storytelling. Wattpad is one of the best iPhone apps for book lovers. Amateur writers can join a niche to connect with special interest peers.

 

Inkitt

Inkitt is an app from a publishing house that allows accessing numerous books online for free and keeps them in your offline digital library. Inkitt encourages the self-promotion of new authors. The great design and usability make this app one of the best Android book apps. With a huge library of free books in different genres, this free eBook app is great for readers and writers alike.

Shelfie

If you like to buy books in different book stores, this app is just for you. In Shelfie, you can browse books and arrange your already bought samples and reading notes in one place. The app syncs your library with other devices, so you can instantly access it anytime you want – and prevent yourself from buying something that wasn’t on your book purchase list. Simply point your phone’s camera at a book and let one of the top iPhone apps for book lovers work its magic!

Litsy

A social media app for book lovers, Litsy is a place where each feature is developed to help you socialize. You can see the “reading moments” of your friends, favorite authors, and popular influencers. This in-app community makes you feel connected with other people while reading. And of course, you can share your thoughts about books with them.  Create groups with other users enjoying this one of the top Android apps for readers. Also, it supports hashtags.

 

 

Download one – or all – of these apps if you want to expand your digital library, are just getting into reading, or need to take a few literary options along with you on your next vacation.  Free e-book and free reading apps are here to stay, to take with you wherever you may go!

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