Top 6 Apps for Reading on the iPhone

Best Book Reading Apps

Woman sitting on a couch in a white room reading a book on her iPhone.
Getty Images

A good ebook app is a necessary companion to a good book. If you don't have a great app for reading on your iPhone, it can be hard to focus on the ebook apart from all of the app's shortcomings.

Some of the best book reading apps for iPhone provide a smooth page-turning experience, let you adjust and fine-tune the most important settings, and give you an ebook library big enough to find exactly what you're after.

Tip: Learn how to adjust your iPhone screen for easing reading. 

Kindle app icon

If you’re a fan of the latest bestsellers, Amazon's Kindle app has the most competitive ebook prices and widest selection.

The app is super easy to use, lets you adjust the text size and font, change the line spacing, check definitions, change the paper color, scroll through several pages at once, add bookmarks and notes, automatically return where you left off, and copy text.

Amazon's selection of small-press/self-published content is unmatched, and they even keep a large collection of free Kindle books.

However, while new releases are usually just around $10 USD, the purchasing process isn’t ideal since you have to switch between the app and a web browser to actually purchase or download books into your Amazon account.

The only exception to that rule is free samples, which you can request, download, and read without ever leaving the app.

Price: Free

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iBooks app icon

Apple's iBooks apps is a compelling option when looking for a free ebook app for your phone.

With its excellent typography—especially when combined with the hi-res Retina Display screen, its ability to annotate text, and its flashy page-turning animations, it's definitely a choice that should top any list of free book reading apps.

While the iBooks Store that provides content for it doesn't have quite the same selection as Amazon's, iBooks does offer plenty of great reading via a sophisticated app. 

Price: Free

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Nook app icon
Barnes and Noble Nook

The NOOK app for iPhone is a major improvement over Barnes & Noble's earlier effort, called Reader. NOOK delivers all the basic reading and customization features you'd expect from a good ebook reading and app and integrates nicely with Barnes & Noble's webstore.

There's also a search function so you can find specific words in the book, the ability to bookmark pages to easily find again later, a rotation lock, and font size/type changer.

It would be ideal if you could buy books from that store right from the app, but for now, much like with Amazon's app, NOOK only lets you download samples in-app. To buy a book, you need to use a computer or mobile web browser.

There are also plenty of free NOOK books you can grab for your NOOK app.

Price: Free

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Classics app icon
Andrew Kazmierski

The Classics app from Andrew Kazmierski has a gorgeous interface and well-designed ebooks complete with pictures and stimulated page turns (plus sound effects!).

Classics is as close to reading an actual book as you can get on your iPhone. Unlike the other ebook apps, you’ll have to pay for this one and it only comes with around 20 ebooks.

The developer has promised more books in the future, but since the app hasn't been updated since 2009, it's safe to call this abandonware - no more books are coming.

Price: $4.99 USD

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Scribd app icon

If you're a voracious reader, Scribd is going to thrill you. Think of it as the Netflix of books.

For the price of one month of a subscription, you can read unlimited books and comics in the app.

What's available here aren't just obscure titles by authors you've never heard of. You'll find big names like Stephen King and George R. R. Martin alongside up and coming new voices and midlist authors. 

Scribd also delivers audiobooks and an Apple Watch app.

Price: Free (requires an $8.99 USD /month subscription)

Serial Reader app icon
Michael Schmitt

In the 1700s and 1800s, it was common that novels were serialized in magazines and newspapers before they were collected in books. Serial Reader delivers that same experience.

The app lets you read a section and then requires that you wait for the next one to arrive, just like those old print copies.

Serial Reader sends classic literature, the kind that would have been serialized originally, to you in small, daily chunks. You'll find classic works like those of Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, and more.

There are currently over 500 books available and more are added every week.

Price: Free (the optional premium plan lets you read ahead, pause serial delivery, sync your reading across devices, and more)