How to turn your Android device into the quintessential eReader
When it comes to distraction free reading, nothing beats an ereader. But when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, the reading apps available for Android make that platform easily the best value.
Between the save for later apps, ebook apps, PDF apps, comic apps, audiobook apps, news and feed reader apps, and web browsers, there are apps for just about all kinds of ereading.
And that’s why I assembled this handy list of apps which you can use to turn your Android device into a superlative ereader.
To start, we have the ebook apps.
eBook apps can be split into several broad categories, including the major apps which support many formats and sell DRMed ebooks, and 3rd-party apps which may or may not support DRM.
- Google Play Books
- iBooks (haha, just kidding)
Most of the following apps support Epub and PDF, and some like FBReader also support other formats. If you need support for Adobe DRm, check out Bluefire or Aldiko.
- 3M Cloud Library
- B&T Axis 360
Save for Later
Sometimes you find an article online which you want to read right away, and other times you want to save it for later. That’s where these apps come in.
Often the overlooked half-sibling of ebooks, audiobooks are available from a wide variety of sources. Please note, the Kindle app also supports audiobooks, and so does the Scribd app.
- LibriVox – over 15,000 free audiobooks
- B&N Nook Audiobook – 15,000 audiobooks
- Audiobook.com – 45,000 audiobooks
- OverDrive – for checking out audiobooks from your library
- Audible – 150,000 audiobooks
- Downpour.com – 20,000+ audiobooks to buy or rent
- Audiobooks – 2,800 classic audiobooks for free
Comics & Manga
Please note that many of the reading apps mentioned above also support digital comics, and that there are two subscription services focused on comics.
(Apps which sell comics)
(Apps which let you read DRM-free comics)
PDF is arguably the oldest and one of the most widely supported ebook formats. There are more apps which support it than you can shake a stick at, including the apps listed below as well as Kindle, Nook, office suite apps, and most of the ebook apps mentioned above.
- Adobe Reader
eBook Subscription Services
Over the past year multiple tech companies launched services which let readers access vast catalogs for a monthly fee. Please note, the Kindle Unlimited service is available through the Kindle app for Android.
- Kindle Unlimited – 750,000 titles for $9.99 per month
- Scribd – 500,000 titles for $8.99 per month, including audiobooks
- Oyster – over 600,000 titles for $9.95 per month
- Skoobe – 80,000 titles for € 9.99 per month (and up)
- Blloon – (not yet available for Android, but coming soon)
- Bookmate – 400,000 titles
- 24symbols – 15,000 titles, with a free service limited to public domain titles
- Marvel Unlimited
News and Feed Readers
Even after splitting out the magazine style apps like Flipboard, there are more news reader apps than you can shake a stick at. Here are some of the better ones.
- The Old Reader
- LinkedIn Pulse
Magazines, Newspapers, and Aggregators
This is a pretty broad category that includes apps released by a single publication, apps which aggregate articles from multiple sources, and apps which sell you either single issues, subscriptions, or Netflix-style access.
Please note that several of the ebook apps mentioned above, including Kindle and Kobo, also support magazines and newspapers.
I’m not shy about saying that I think Android is currently the best mobile platform, and now that it is starting to show up on more ereaders I get to have the best of both worlds.
For more details on Android on E-ink, check out my companion post on the T68 Lynx, which has a 6.8″ E-ink screen and runs Android 4.0.
Robert Nagle November 27, 2014 um 11:26 am
Good list. Add to Save for Later: Evernote.
Nate Hoffelder November 27, 2014 um 11:33 am
Good point. I thought of Evernote Clearly, but that’s a Chrome plugin. I didn’t think of Evernote itself.
derdide November 27, 2014 um 12:22 pm
Could you write a late review of the T69 after 4 months? Because it seems that most users mention worsening experience – your post about the latest firmware upgrade was not very comforting. And if spec-wise the T68 is probably the most appealing device (an e-ink tablet running Android), the various feedbacks are quite mixed to say the least.
Nate Hoffelder November 27, 2014 um 1:41 pm
I can try, but I don’t know if I’ll have the same experience as longt erm users. My T68 was reset, so it is effectively running brand new software.
Guillaume November 27, 2014 um 3:27 pm
Anyway, before T69, we’re still waiting for the T62’s review 🙂
Ana November 27, 2014 um 5:45 pm
I just wanted to mention that Mantano also supports DRM epubs, and the last update mentions something about amplifying their support to add bookstores thatallowe ebook downloading whithin the application, although I haven’t tested it myself, I side load all my ebooks whith Calibre Companion, another useful app of you have a large library already organized in Calibre.
lordmax November 28, 2014 um 9:08 am
You forgot Menestrello
The perfect app for reading+listening Audio-eBooks.
Bill November 28, 2014 um 9:10 am
Just FYI, I’ve tried the mentioned PDF readers. I read a lot of large PDFs, many with embedded images, and have found the mentioned ones are slow in rendering large files, especially ezPDF. The one I found to be the fastest so far is EBookdroid. It is regularly updated, too.
Nate Hoffelder November 28, 2014 um 9:13 am
How big were the files?
I tried a 200MB graphic novel in RepliGo and it was pretty fast (on a 1GHz CPU, no less).
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Hanako November 28, 2014 um 3:51 pm
With regards to the PDF readers on my Kobo Arc, I found that the best app is definitely the free Mantano Reader – like the UI, the book management and it’s really handy now that I have over a 100 PDF journal articles for my dissertation to read. Really easy to highlight, add notes and then extract the entries into a separate notes file.
Also tried the Kobo collections Save For Later feature and it’s really good for saving website bookmarks.
Still wish there was a way of combining the features of Kobo and Kindle, the tablets and readers would be fantastic.
Taro February 23, 2015 um 6:50 am
Any Android e-reader with support for ink to be used with annotations?
Nate Hoffelder February 23, 2015 um 7:12 am
There are a bunch of models, yes. Onyx makes several, including the M96C, the T68, the After Glow 2, to name a few.
I’m also fond of a cheap 6″ Android ereader made by a Chinese OEM.
If you search my blog for "android ereader", you’ll find more posts.
Taro February 23, 2015 um 7:15 am
Sorry, my bad. It should read Android app, hence an Android app that supports inking.
Nate Hoffelder February 23, 2015 um 7:28 am
You can try the PDF apps. I thought that RepliGo worked well when i tried it on my Android ereader.
Also, Onyx supports inking in its reading app. But as I recall that only works with PDFs, and not Epub.
Taro February 23, 2015 um 7:42 am
I will give those a try, appreciate the advice.
Taro February 23, 2015 um 7:48 am
Hmm, neither of those appears on my searches. Geofenced?
Nate Hoffelder February 23, 2015 um 7:55 am
I’m not sure where you’re located, but Onyx-boox.com is a European site which carries Android ereaders and will ship to me. It should also ship to you.
Taro February 23, 2015 um 8:03 am
Again, I’m not talking about e-Reader devices but android apps that function as an e-Reader, such as Moon+ or Mantano but also with support for inking so I can make handwritten annotations like in a paper book. I want to use the app on my Samsung Galaxy Note and make it into a dedicated eBook device now that I have a newer phone.
Nate Hoffelder February 23, 2015 um 8:59 am
So you want an Android app which supports reflowable text and inking?
I don’t know of any off hand. Most PDF apps support inking, but I’m not sure that’s what you want.
If you want a PDF app, iAnnotate just launched a new version which is free. RepliGo has similar support for inking.
Taro February 23, 2015 um 8:08 pm
I have PDF annotating in EZPDF, what I don’t have is inking in e-pub. For some reason none of the available apps supports it, but they do support note taking, just wish that one of those would have ink support in its note taking feature.
Nate Hoffelder February 23, 2015 um 8:42 pm
As I understand it, inking is difficult in reflowable content because it has to be anchored to an absolute position. That might be possible with fixed layout Epub, but it’s very difficult to accomplish with reflowable Epub.
BTW, I saw your question over on MobileRead. I am watching it in the hope that someone can answer that question.
And sorry about confusing the issue earlier. It was just too early for me (before the affiance kicked in).
Taro February 24, 2015 um 6:22 am
So just like a typed note is anchored to selected/highlighted text, couldn’t handwritten text be anchored the same way?
Nate Hoffelder February 24, 2015 um 7:10 am
Yes, but I think most people would want to ink between the text, and not in a not attached to it.
That would be closer to the way things work with paper.
jafmaw February 24, 2015 um 9:13 am
Mantano reader has extensive note-taking and highlighting features for epub and pdf, including being able to highlight a word or words, and attach an inked or typed note to it. (I have the premium version, not sure if the free version includes this feature.)
Taro February 25, 2015 um 12:51 am
Inked note, now we are getting somewhere I have Mantano so let me see what I can do with it, think I might have the free version but sure willing to pay for that feature.
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