If you thought reading books was becoming a forgotten pastime, think again. Not only are people reading more than ever as they spend more time at home, they are also increasingly adopting e-book apps as the new medium for reading books.
The e-book market was valued at $18.13 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to reach $23.12 billion by 2026, hitting a CAGR of 4.95 between 2021 and 2026. Estimates show that 191 million e-books were sold in the United States in 2020
That’s a lot of e-book reading and book lovers are happy all over the world. After all, reading is the most natural way of social distancing and finding joy in solitude.
E-book apps offer unmatched advantages for modern readers voraciously consuming books. They easily carry thousands of books, offer in-built dictionary, adjustable font, eye-friendly features, and the biggest pull by far is the immediacy with which readers can download and read any book they want. Also, real books are expensive, prone to wear and tear, and hard to store and maintain. Those are some of the reasons why increasing number of publishers are going digital and offering bespoke reading solutions to their readers through e-book apps.
Even though Amazon Kindle and Apple Books flex their monopoly muscles in the ring, a number of new e-book apps have not only thrived, but are presenting fierce competition to these giants, with their innovative thinking and crowd-pleasing features.
- Audible swept the market by letting readers listen to immersive narration of their favorite books.
- Binkist won by offering top books engagingly summarized for quick reading.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the best e-book reading apps available for download in 2021 that are wooing book lovers with their unique digital offerings, revolutionizing the way we read books and in the process, making impressive profits with books.
So let’s take a look at the best e-book apps you can download in 2021.
Jump to your favourite:
1. Audible – Listen to your favorite books narrated by authentic voice actors, anytime, anywhere
2. Kindle – Biggest library of books with many affordable options and easy checkouts
3. Apple Books – Secure and elegant interface with vast collection and native iOS experience
4. Madefire – Highly interactive, sound and animated comic-book reading
5. Blinkist – The wisdom of your favorite book distilled in 15 minutes
6. Goodreads – Social network for readers, authors and book lovers
7. Scribd – Netflix of books! Read or listed to thousands of books for one monthly fee
8. Epic – Attractive, highly interactive books, quizzes and videos for children
9. Wattpad – A platform for readers and writers to interact, share ideas and discuss
10. Overdrive – Save money on books by digitally borrowing from your library
Books that speak to you. Sounds like a winner right? Sure is, thanks to Audible’s elegant design, vast library of books and remarkably talented narrators. Audible is an app that for a monthly subscription fee, allows users to listen to richly narrated, HD sound quality audio books for very affordable prices. Uses can download these books and listen to them anytime they like, weather on a jog, on a commute or just lounging on their couch.
Audible was founded in 1995 by creator Don Katz. In 1997, the company under Katz’s leadership launched a digital audio player. Later in 2003, Audible became the exclusive provider of audio books to Apple on the iPod and iTunes. The services of Audible grew so popular that both Apple and Amazon showed interest in buying Audible. In 2008, Amazon bought Audible for $300 million.
While reading books is the traditional way to go, and the way most e-book apps were being read over the past decade, audio books are an extremely addictive technology. It frees up users from the dreaded screen-time that is becoming a massive concern in our times. Also, it lets users catch up on their reading while they go about other essential activities like exercising or performing chores.
In fact, a number of users on popular forums reported that listening to audio books while driving helped them drive slow as they wanted to listen in on the book. Users have reported successfully losing weight and getting fit with Audible to keep them company on their runs.
The best part of the Audible app is that even if users cancel their subscription, they can still continue to listen to the books they downloaded. In addition to millions of popular books, there is a large selection of original content to listen to, and it’s unlimited with the affordable monthly fee. Another remarkable feature is that the app can pair with your Apple Watch so you can comfortably listen on your jog with your air pods.
The mention of e-books is impossible without Kindle. While Amazon’s signature e-reader with its revolutionary paperwhite technology made e-books eponymous, it is the Kindle app that made book lovers gush and throng. With the Android and the iOS app, Kindle can be enjoyed by users on any device from anywhere in the world. You could read on a tablet or a laptop and easily resume reading on your smartphone when on the go.
There are many reasons that make Kindle app so popular among app lovers. The superbly rich library with almost every book that can be read, an extremely smooth buying experience that gets your choice of book downloaded on any device of your choice in seconds and some remarkable screen and font settings that makes reading a pleasure are just the top of the list.
The built in dictionary makes reading easier by displaying meanings and pronunciations just by long pressing a word. Kindle’s ease of purchase is unmatched. The app UX has been designed to eliminate as many barriers to purchase as possible, making the formalising and reading experience extremely seamless and conducive. The flipping of pages feels ever so real and alternate screen colours like sepia and grey save the eyes from strain of prolonged reading. For users who have an Amazon membership or the Kindle unlimited membership, there are a number of discounts, perks and even free books to be enjoyed. Undoubtedly, one of the most loved e-book apps, Kindle makes for one heck of a reading experience book lovers can’t deny.
3. Apple Books
For Apple users, Apple Books offers a native app experience like no other. Free of any major bells and whistles, Apple Books app pleases book lovers by its simplicity and security. It has an inclusive library just like iTunes and its music collection. So you can find any book you like here and to download, you can make easy payments from your card stored on iCloud. This way users feel secured about making payments as there is no sharing of details with any other third party.
The app interface itself is clean and uncluttered. Books can be searched by genres and categories. Users make use of timely deals and promotions, specially curated lists, editor’s picks, featured lists and popular choices.
Reading is an immersive experience on the Apple Books app. Fonts, colors and backgrounds can be adjusted. Users can add highlights and bookmarks, as well as sync across devices.
So we’re not always reading the classics and Edwardian literature, are we? For those of us who revel more in visual, graphical, adventure experiences called comic books, there is a fantastic app called Madefire.
Madefire is a one of a kind app for e-book readers. It enhances the comic book experience with animations and sound effects. Not like an animated movie, Madefire stays true to the comic book medium by animating cell by cell, as you read through the app. So when you touch a cell of the comic page, you can view the action being animated as well as associated sounds. Truly takes reading comic books to another level.
What’s more? Madefire offers a vast collection of comic books from the Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, DF, Blizzard, Valiant and all other major comic productions. Madefire offers well over a thousand comics right now and new ones are being added every day. To add fuel to the Madefire, if you will, you can even enjoy your favorite comics on your TV with this incredible app.
There’s nothing quite as amazing and educational as reading a book. However, not all people have the luxury of time to dedicate hours or weeks to read a book. For those of us looking to extract the wisdom of books in a more ‘to-go’ fashion, Blinkist offered a solution and ran with it.
Blinkist has become a highly sought after e-book reading app among busy readers. Instead of having to read 200 pages of articulate wisdom, Blinkist offers readers easily digestible book summaries that distil the book’s key points within a quick 15-30 minute read, or listen. As you can imagine, this shortcast format works best on non-fiction books. Blinkist currently houses over 4,500 non-fiction bestsellers that are available as a text or audio.
Blinkist currently offers thousands of books that can be filtered by genre or topic and can be downloaded to read at any time. There are curated lists based on your reading history, facilitating better discovery of books. The app offers simple, minimalist user experience entirely focused on the content.
Even though this isn’t an online book reading app, you’ll hardly be surprised to find it on this list. Goodreads is a much loved app among book lovers, serving as a popular social networking site for readers, writers and book aficionados.
You ever read a book and love it so much that you just want to run to your book club and discuss about it? Only, you’re not in a book club, and people around you haven’t read that book. Goodreads is the place every ardent book lover goes to when that happens.
Goodreads is the app readers go to when they are looking for a new book to read or wondering if a certain book is worth their time, by looking at credible reviews from like-minded people. It is a great app to make lists of books you wish to read, have read or are currently reading. Watching others read and talk about the books helps you keep your pace and meet your reading goals.
The most enticing thing about Goodreads app however is its 40 million users who make a really vibrant community with some truly endearing discussions about books you love, plot twists, critical commentary and even connecting with the authors. It is undeniable that Goodreads is one app book lovers truly love.
Fondly called the Netflix of books, SCRIBD combines the best of both worlds by letting book lovers read, or listen to books on the same platform. For a monthly subscription of $8.99 a month, users get unlimited free books to read or listen to. In addition to ebooks, it also has a vast collection of magazines, articles, newspapers and even sheet music.
The SCRIBD app offers a minimal, clean interface allowing users to easily find and download their favorite books. It is available on both Android and iOS. With a 30 day free trial, users can get a feel of how the app works for them. For under 9 bucks a month, unlimited access to text and audiobooks sure sounds a worthwhile app for book lovers.
The pandemic has been especially hard on children. They’ve been out of school for months, in some places, over a year now. The demand is sky high for quality children’s books that not only help their education but also make up for their lack of social experiences and keep them occupied and not go insane in this lockdown.
Epic is an app targeted at young readers. In addition to a rich collection of books that appeal to children, epic also has a remarkably engaging interface designed to attract children who are more drawn to visual medium than text walls.
For a subscription fee of $7.99 a month, Epic app offers books, quizzes and learning videos. It is available free for educators and focuses strongly on inculcating a love for reading among children.
Wattpad is an app for book lovers of both kinds – the readers as well as the writers. It offers a platform for readers and writers to interact. Users can follow their favourite writers, appreciate their work, offer comments and share ideas with them. Of particular interest is its community feature that offers readers and writers of a niche to interact and discover each other.
Wattpad uses advanced machine learning to observe your reading history and recommend suitable suggestions for further reading, working as a great discovery platform.
Readers can easily transition to writers by writing their own stories. While the quality of stories varies because of the freestyle platform format, Wattpad is still a great choice for all book lovers.
If you’re a voracious readers, the cost of your passion quickly adds up. Books aren’t exactly cheap and you may be thinking about keeping the cost low without giving up on the reading that you love so much. Well, there’s an app for that.
Overdrive is an app designed to help book lovers borrow books from their local library (if it has a digital option). You can register an account using your library card and virtually checkout books to read on your device. This includes audiobooks too, giving you a lucrative pick. The app specific components such as interface, ease of access, navigation and checkout prices are in fact at par with Apple standards and gives book lovers a pocket friendly alternative to enjoy unlimited books.
So those are 10 apps for book lovers we tested thoroughly, to bring you the best ways to read books on your device, wherever you are. If you love to deck your library walls with your literary conquests, nothing beats a nostalgic paperback out hardbound copy of your favourite book. However, if you want to take the library with you at all times, read anytime you like, be it bright or dark, and change fonts to a size of your, you’re sure to find a favourite in one of the above apps.
If on the other hand, you’ve tried all these aid and feel that there’s something missing in the e book reading experience, maybe you’re the one who can gift book lovers an even better app. Hit us with your app idea and let’s uncover the next big app for book lovers.