Best Ebook Readers for Android Tablets

Turn your tablet into a top notch eBook reader

Books on bookshelves

Johner Images / Getty Images

Traditional books are nice, but they take up a lot of space. E-books are more convenient and easier to carry. There is a problem with battery life, but that's why they invented charging cables. 

It's worth noting that most e-readers also allow you to read magazines and newspapers from the same app. You can subscribe to your publication of choice and have new issues pushed out to your device. All of them allow you to sync with multiple devices and pick up on the page where you left off.

Here's how the major readers rank. If you've already started a digital library, you'll probably want to stick with the app you started using, although it's possible to transfer most books into another reader with the exception of Amazon Kindle. In that case, it's possible, but difficult. 

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Kindle App

Kindle app for Android

What We Like

  • Kindle is tied to your Amazon account.

  • You can also buy books while browsing Amazon.

  • There are sites for finding discount Kindle eBooks.

What We Don't Like

  • Kindle doesn't support ePUB.

  • Kindle books contain restrictive DRM.

The Kindle is the best selling eReader, and the Kindle app for Android tablets will let you read all your Kindle books. The app itself has a few things it could improve for usability, such as adding a two-page layout when you turn your tablet horizontally, but it's still a stable and very usable app. 

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Google Play Books

Google Play Books for Android

What We Like

  • Tight integration with Android.

  • Buy books from the Play Store.

  • Large selection.

What We Don't Like

  • Not as many books as Amazon.

  • Lacks the self publishing community of Kindle.

Google Play Books was built into Android tablets, and it's clearly meant to be the Android answer to iBooks. You can purchase books through your Google Play account, and you can download purchased books for offline reading. There's even a handy widget you can use to flip through the books in your library. Ratings in Google Books are tied to Goodreads.

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Kobo for Android

What We Like

  • The Kobo app has the easiest method for importing ePUB books.

  • Reading Life shows you statistics on the books you're reading.

What We Don't Like

  • Not nearly as popular as Kindle or Google.

  • Kobo doesn't offer a two-page layout.

Kobo is tied to the Kobo online bookstore, and it many ways you can think of it as "the Canadian Kindle." Kobo was originally tied to Borders, but it is now owned by Rakuten. Their portable eReader may not have had the most stellar reviews, but the Android app is actually pretty nice.

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Nook app for Android

What We Like

  • Two-page layout is a huge plus. 

  • Turn page-flipping animations off. 

  • The Nook allows you to use a lending feature called LendMe.

What We Don't Like

  • The LendMe feature is only available once per book.

  • Future of Nook is uncertain.

The Barnes & Noble Nook tablet uses Android, and their Android app provides a pretty solid experience. In recent years, the Nook has also partnered with Samsung for a Nook/GalaxyTab combination beyond a simple eBook reader. The Nook does show a two-page layout when you turn the screen sideways, and it allows you to sideload ePUB books you check out from your public library or buy from other vendors. It's slightly more difficult, because you have to copy the files to your My Documents folder yourself, but it's still fairly painless.