When one is a voracious reader, one is frequently in the difficult position of figuring out how to take their books with them. On the subway, to the beach, on planes…Because going somewhere without them? Forget about it. But lugging them all over creation is inconvenient to say the least. Being caught mid-vacation without something to read is my nightmare. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Many reading apps.
Whether you’re Android or iOS, smartphone or tablet, keep your charger close, take your pick of these excellent free reading apps, and you’ll never be without something to read again. (This post was updated in 2022.)
Free Reading Apps
These free reading apps are free to download and also offer free books through their app.
The most interesting feature for this app is its highly customizable reading interface. Enables reading for ePub, PDF, and Adobe DRM encrypted files, and lets you shop for new reads within the app, including many free classics. If you opt to pay for the Premium version, you can add as many audiobooks as you wish, as well as highlight and leave notes as you read.
A great way to discover new authors with freebie chapters, short stories, and even novels. Syncs right into your Kindle Fire.
This is a convenient reading app that can handle basically any ebook format you throw at it, including PDF, EPUB, Microsoft Word docs, and some I’ve never heard of. If you want to read a DJVU file, here’s how to do it. It auto-detects books you’ve downloaded and has adjustable reading settings.
This reading interface supports most popular ebook formats, and is extremely customizable, so that you can create your own online reading environment. Access reads through your library or bring your own books by uploading to Google Drive and connecting to the app. There’s also a premium version with more features.
Another discovery platform, Oodles boasts 50,000+ reads and more than 10 languages. So learn Russian, why not.
This app lets you connect to your local library and access anything within its database, including both ebooks and audiobooks, and even magazines, by simply connecting your library card. This is the same company who made Overdrive, but this app is easier to use and, let’s face it, prettier.
Much like BookFunnel, this network is set up to help readers discover new authors with promotional freebie reads, and syncs to most ereaders.
This network allows authors to promote exciting new works to eager readers, making it a great place to discover new favorites. Geared toward social reading, it allows you to share thoughts via notes as you read.
Android, iOS, Microsoft
Free Download, Pay for Books or Subscription
These are free reading apps to download, but from there you pay for a book subscription. Many are pretty affordable.
Amazon’s audiobook subscription service, with different levels so you can scale based on your listening pace.
Android, iOS, Windows Phone; syncs to any Amazon device, laptops, and many others
Apple’s bookstore for both ebooks and audiobooks. Designed to be simple and accessible across any Apple device.
Another robust app with the usual features like highlighting, custom recommendations and the like. Kobo is not as big as Kindle or Nook, but is about as robust and emphasizes a more “indie shop” experience.
Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows, Desktop
For the Amazon holdouts, the Barnes & Nobles ereader’s companion app will let you sync your reading experience to your smartphone or desktop so your books can come with you anywhere. It also now features a serial reading experience.
Android, iOS, Windows
If you want access to a huge database of ebooks for a monthly subscription fee, this is the service for you. They have over a million ebooks, hundreds of thousands of audiobooks, and over a million magazines and news articles to read.
Android, iOS, Desktop
Looking for reading apps for kids? Get them here.
And here are even more great apps to support your reading life.