Top 6 Apps for Reading on the iPhone

Find the eBook Reading Experience That's Best for You

Woman reading on her iphone

 

Christian Vierig / Getty Images 

A good ebook app offers a convenient experience for reading a good book, and there are several app options available. Each app offers a slightly different user experience and features to go along with your read (you may want to adjust your iPhone screen for easing reading).

Finding the best ebook app for your iPhone can be a trial and error process in which you stumble onto things you like and shortcomings in each. Save your self a little time when narrowing down your search for your favorite reading app by checking out our overviews of each below.

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Amazon Kindle

Kindle app icon
AMZN Mobile LLC

If you’re a fan of the latest bestsellers, Amazon's Kindle app has the most competitive ebook prices on new releases. It also has a huge selection that goes beyond the traditional publisher offering, giving access to the burgeoning independent and self-publishing world. Amazon's selection of small-press and self-published content is unmatched, and they even keep a large collection of free Kindle books.

The app is very easy to use, lets you adjust text size and font style, change line spacing, define unfamiliar words with instant access to a dictionary, change the paper color, scroll through several pages at once, add bookmarks and notes, automatically return where you left off, and copy text.

However, the purchasing process isn’t ideal; you actually have to leave the app and go to a web browser to buy books for your Amazon account. The only exception to that rule is free samples, which you can request, download, and read without ever leaving the app.

The Kindle app also offers a unique feature called Send to Kindle. This allows you to upload documents, such as PDFs and Word documents, to Amazon, which then makes these available to read in your Kindle app.

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iBooks

iBooks app icon
Apple

Apple's iBooks app is a compelling option when looking for a free ebook app for your phone and it's already installed on your iPhone. It has excellent typography—especially when combined with a hi-res Retina Display screen available on iPhones—and its flashy page-turning animations and text annotation feature makes it an excellent choice that should top anyone's list of free ebook reading apps.

While the iBooks Store that provides content for it doesn't have quite the same selection as Amazon's (it doesn't have access to Amazon's exclusive books that are available through its Kindle Unlimited program), iBooks does offer plenty of great books paired with a sophisticated and pleasing-to-use app.

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NOOK

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 essential reading and customization features you expect from a good ebook reader app, and it integrates nicely with Barnes & Noble's webstore. There's a search function for specific words in the book, a rotation lock, font size and style changer, and the ability to bookmark pages to easily find again later.

It would be ideal if you could buy books from the 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'll need to use a computer or mobile web browser. There are plenty of free NOOK books you can grab for your NOOK app.

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Classics

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 US$4.99 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 updated the books offered since 2009, it's safe to call this abandonware.

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Scribd

Scribd app icon
Scribd

If you're a voracious reader, Scribd is going to thrill you. Think of it as the Netflix of books. The app is free to download, but there is a subscription for the service. With a paid subscription (US$8.99 per month), you can read a large number of books, comics, magazines, news, sheet music, articles, documents, and more in the app each month. You also get access to audiobooks and an Apple Watch app for greater audiobook listening convenience.

Notice we did not use the term "unlimited" when referring to how much you can read in a month. If you're a voracious reader, you may find your access to some books restricted until a later date. Scribd has reserved the right to limit your access if you're reading a large number of titles. How many is "a large number?" It is not defined and is at the discretion of Scribd.

The titles available aren't limited to obscure books 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.

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Serial Reader

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 and bound as 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.

The Serial Reader app is free and has an optional premium plan that lets you read ahead, pause serial delivery, sync your reading across devices, and more.