We Reviewed 7 of the Best Reading Apps

Here’s How Different They Really Are
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We Reviewed 7 of the Best Reading Apps

For a lot of people, how they read is just as important as what they read. For some, a book just isn’t really read unless they feel each sheet of paper graze their fingers from the front cover to the final word. While for others, the ever-popular reading app – in all of its convenient glory – has taken the place of print. But what app is best?

If you’ve been thinking of dabbling in the world of reading apps, we have you covered. Here are 7 of the most popular reading apps and how they stack up:

1. Amazon Kindle
Available On: Android iOS
Price: Free
Rating: 4.2 /4.8

If you’re already familiar with the Kindle e-reader, then you might also be familiar with the free app, which has a generous selection of complimentary eBooks to build your collection on. A big benefit of this app is that you can sync your eBooks across multiple devices, making it easy to continue your reading journey wherever you choose. You can also adjust font style, font size, screen brightness, and page colour, and get instant translations and definitions of what you’re reading.

Best For: Those with an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited account, as they can easily download purchased eBooks directly to the app.

2. Apple Books
Available On: iOS
Price: Free
Rating: N/A

Formerly known as iBooks, this recently-renovated iOS app is included with iOS 12. New features include a Reading Now tab to easily jump to your spot, personalized recommendations based on what you’re reading, a customizable library, a new Book Store, and audiobooks.

Best For: Since Apple Books is only available for iOS, the obvious answer is that it’s best for iPhone and Apple product users. But it’s also great for night owls, with an Auto-Night mode that automatically switches to white-on-black text when it gets dark, and adjusts back to normal when it’s light again.

3. Libby, by OverDrive
Available On: Android, iOS
Price: Free
Rating: 4.1 /4.7

OverDrive’s Libby app connects you to your local library via your library card, giving you the ability to borrow books without leaving the house. You can sign into multiple libraries (if you have multiple cards), borrow audiobooks, and download your eBooks to read offline.

Best For: Local readers who are already set up with their nearby library – and Kindle owners! If you have a Kindle e-reader, you can send books from the app to your device to read them there.

4. Google Play Books
Available On: Android, iOS
Price: Free
Rating: 3.9 / 4.0

Surprisingly available for both Android and iOS devices, Google Play Books has both audiobooks and eBooks available. The app also has a Night Light setting that automatically adjusts the brightness and background colour to make it easier on your eyes. It’s also easy to sync titles to multiple devices.

Best For: Digital comic book readers. A really cool feature of this app is called Bubble Zoom, which allows readers to zoom into each speech bubble one tap at a time, adding an interactive element and seemingly bringing the comic to life!

5. Kobo
Available On: Android, iOS
Price: Free
Rating: 4.2 / 4.6

Have a Kobo eReader? Their matching app will have familiar features, like customizable font sizes and styles, and a Night Mode. It also has a pretty wide selection of freebies, plus free eBook previews, audiobooks, and device syncing so you can read across multiple devices.

Best For: Anyone with a Kobo eReader. The app’s ability to sync up to other devices makes it easy to download books wherever you are and read them on your Kobo device instead of on your phone or tablet. This provides a better reading experience and less eye strain thanks to Kobo’s electronic ink screen.

6. Audible
Available On: Android, iOS
Price: Free + an optional membership
Rating: 4.5 / 4.8

Both the highest rated and most expensive app in our list – if you’re counting the optional $14.95/month membership – Audible is one of the most popular reading apps today. You can download the app for free and get audiobooks without a membership, but there are some great perks to paying the extra fee, like getting 30% off titles. The app also has offline access, customizable narration speed, and a helpful sleep timer.

Best For: A reader on the go. You can sync titles from the app to your Apple Watch through Bluetooth, making this the perfect choice if you want some entertainment while you’re commuting, jogging, or running errands.

7. Instaread
Available On: Android, iOS
Price: Free + subscription options of $8.99/month or $89.99/year
Rating: 3.8 / 4.4

So many books, so little time. It’s a universal problem, and Instaread has the solution – well, sort of. This app lets you read or listen to key takeaways and insights from bestselling non-fiction books in 15 minutes or less, giving you everything you need to know about the book in a sliver of the time it would take to read it from cover to cover.

Best For: Busy readers who want to read, but just don’t have the time. The app wouldn’t have the same success if it featured works of fiction, but its content is perfect for the type of reader who loves finding new ways to improve, learn, and grow – and wants to do it quickly!

Have you tried any of the above reading apps? Did we miss your favourite one? Tell us about it by contacting us here!

Ratings are based on reviews from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Shannon Hodgen is a lifelong writer, DIY enthusiast, and homebody. She satisfies her need to put pen to paper–or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard–as an agency copywriter, blog contributor, and freelance editor in Toronto.

Favourite Book: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Favourite Brunch Spot: Dirty Food Eatery in The Junction


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