Following my post yesterday on turning an Android tablet into the ultimate ereader, I took a look at writing a similar post for Chrome. Alas, that’s just not possible. While there are a few ebook and other apps, the vast selection found in Google Play simply isn’t available in Chrome.
But there are some apps and extensions, and here’s what you can do to read on Chrome.
Or rather, this is what I found in the Chrome web store and elsewhere which is compatible with my Chrome browser.
I don’t have a Chromebook so I can’t confirm how well the following works on one. And even though I haven’t tested this on a Chromebook, this post should still be useful because it includes a number of out of the box solutions.
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Update (16 April 2016): I now have a cheap Chromebook, so I have gone through this post to add details, delete mentions of apps which no longer work, and make sure that all of the recommendations are valid.
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To start, let’s look at Android apps.
Android is Android and Chrome is Chrome, but did you know that you can install some Android apps on Chrome?
Only a handful of Android apps, including Pocket and Feedly, have this option but more are being added all the time. You can find Chrome-compatible Android apps in the Chrome web store.
And for those feeling adventurous, there is also a hack for running any Android app on Chrome. I haven’t tried it, but I did find instructions on how to pull it off.
There isn’t much in the way of true ebook apps for Chrome; two actual apps showed up in the relevant search. But there are a few options, including both a Play Books app in Chrome and the related Android app:
- Kindle Cloud Reader (web app)
Kobo Instant Reader (web app)
- Google Play Books (web app)
- iBooks (haha, just kidding)
There’s also a Nook web app, but it’s so awful that I won’t list it here.
Update (16 April 2016): The Nook web app died when B&N launched its new website.
Save for Later
At this time I could find but a single option for reading library ebooks on Chrome: OverDrive.
Update (16 April 2016): There’s also the Biblioteca Cloud Library app (formerly 3M Cloud Library). It does not work in the Chrome browser, but it is compatible with my Chromebook.
There’s a similar shortage of audiobook apps, but you do have a few options. You can try streaming from websites, and there is also. Also, Downpour.com has no DRM so you could simply download audiobooks there and play them in a media player.
eBook Subscription Services
Thanks to Scribd and Oyster’s support for any web browser, you should be able to use those services with Chrome. Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand, may or may not work with the Kindle Cloud Reader.
- (extension) – 500,000 titles for $8.99 per month, including audiobooks
- Kindle Unlimited – 750,000 titles for $9.99 per month
News and Feed Readers
Here are a few of the feed readers you’ll find in the “news reporting” category in the Chrome web store, but for this type of service you might be better off using the web browser version of these apps.
Digital Comics & Manga
The above lists are (probably) incomplete, so if you know of an app, extension, website, or service which should be listed here please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Not all Chrome extensions are listed in the Chrome web store, for example.)
All in all, if I were going to pick a reading platform today I would not choose Chrome. Trying to find the details in this post was frustrating enough to make me go back to Android; I can’t image what Chrome would be like to use on a daily basis.