Ebook Readers for Android

Good news for anyone with an Android phone. It also doubles as an eBook reader. Yes, I know, it's a small screen. However, if you try out an eBook reading app, you may discover that your Android turns out to be a pretty good pocket reader. There are also at least three popular eBook devices that have compatible apps for your phone, so if you decide you'd like a larger screen later, you can still access your electronic library.

Want free books? You can download free eBooks for every one of these readers. Most books are classics now in public domain, but you'll also find the occasional promo.

All of the apps below should be equally available no matter which company makes your Android phone, including Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

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The Kindle App

Kindle App logo

Amazon.com's Kindle reader is a huge hit. One of the things that make it so popular, aside from access to a huge library of Kindle books on Amazon.com, is that Amazon.com offers an app for most mobile devices, including: Android, iPhone, and laptops running Windows or Mac OS. The Kindle app also remembers where you left off from any Internet-connected device, so you can start reading on your iPod and finish on your Android.

The thing to keep in mind as you build an Amazon.com library is that Amazon's books are meant to stay in Kindle readers. They use a proprietary format rather than keeping with the industry-standard ePub format, and that locks you into only buying books from Amazon.com.

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Google Play

Free books

Google Play Books is a bookstore from Google. They have apps for Android, iPad, iPod, computers, and just about every smartphone or eBook reader available, except for the Amazon Kindle. The Google Play Books eBook reader offers similar features to most readers, including the ability to start reading on one connected device and continue on another. The bookstore itself features a large selection of free books that use Google Book's large database of scanned public domain library books.

If you are reading DRM-free books that you purchased from another store, you can also transfer those books into your library on Google Play Books and read them there. 

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The Kobo App

Kobo App

Kobo Readers were the choice of Borders bookstores. Remember Borders? However, Kobo was always an independent store, so the Kobo Reader did not die when Borders did. The Kobo app can read ePub formatted books as well as Adobe Digital Editions, which means you can potentially use them to check out books from the library. Kobo has some traditional eBook readers and a few Android-based color tablets. It also allows you to loan books to other Kobo owners, although the Android app does not offer this feature at this time.

The Kobo Reader ships with 100 free eBooks, most of which are public domain classics. You can also buy books outside the Kobo store, so long as they are DRM-free ePub books.

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Aldiko App

If you don't want an app tied to a major bookstore or platform, but you do want a full-featured reader capable of reading open ePub books, Aldiko is a solid and popular choice. It's easy to read, and very customizable. However, the Aldiko reader is a choice that involves more fiddling. Unlike the other readers mentioned here, it is not tied to a tablet, and it doesn't sync with a reader. You could run the Aldiko app on an open Android tablet, but your bookmarks will not transfer to your phone. There is also a way to sink your books with Calibre, but it involves rooting your phone. 

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The Nook App

Nook App for Android

The Nook Reader is Barnes & Noble Books' eReader. It comes with either a mainly black and white e-Ink display and color strip on the bottom or as a full-color tablet. Nook uses a modified version of Android, so it's unsurprising to learn that you can get the Nook app to run on your Android phone or another device. Nook, like Kobo, supports ePub and Adobe Digital Editions. 

Barnes & Noble has recently discontinued support for the Nook App Store, and it has shut down the Nook UK bookstore. This signals that the Nook reader may not be long for this world. If this happens, readers would probably not be left without their books, but it may be wise to use a different reader just in case. Google Play is a safer bet.