The Best eBook Reader Apps for Android [January 2020]

Posted by William Sattelberg on January 6, 2020

If you went decades back into the past, you’d probably see dozens of people in public enjoying a good book. Whether a novel, a collection of short stories, or a biography, millions of people would bring a book with them on long car rides, on public transportation, or just out in the park, enjoying the sunshine of a lovely summer day. Sadly, it’s much less common in 2020 to see people out with a paperback in their grasp. Thanks to major advancements in consumer technology, those same readers are likely on their smartphones or tablets, playing a mobile game or checking up on their social networks. Sure, you’ll still see people reading paperbacks on the go, but it’s much less frequent than it was just a few decades ago. It almost seems like the traditional book has been replaced by shorter forms of entertainment.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that reading is dead. In fact, those same gadgets that have seemingly taken away from the paper book industry have also led to a brand new way of reading on the go. While nothing could ever beat the tactile feel of a real book in your hand—or, barring that, a physical eReader with e-Ink to give the feel of a real book—but thanks to the added convenience of your smartphone, you can keep a collection of hundreds of books in your pocket for on-the-go reading without ever having to worry about misplacing your novel or carrying an additional object on you during the rest of the day. There are dozens of eBook applications for Android that make it easy to customize your reading experience, and while it might not compete with the feel of reading an actual novel, it sure can come close. With phone displays growing larger and larger each year, reading a book on your digital device has never felt more realistic than it does today.

But which eBook application should you choose for your Android device? Of course, if you already have an eReader, you should choose the corresponding application that can sync your library of books over the web. If you have yet to choose a service for your digital library, you’ll want to look for the largest library, the best prices, and of course, the most customization options when it comes time to read your book. For that, we’ve got a few suggestions. Let’s dive into our top picks for January 2020.

Everyone else

It’s important to remember when comparing eReader applications that not everyone requires an extensive store of eBooks in order to make the most of the application. While both the Kindle store and the Google Play Store offer readers deals and savings on purchasing new books—and Google even allows you to take your books with you to other platforms—some people already have their own collections of eBooks purchased through online stores or rented through their local library’s collection of digital books. Though Kindle and Play Books both offer the ability to import books from other sources, albeit with some limitations on the Kindle side of things, many readers want a basic reader without including recommendations or stores.

That’s where Media365 (formerly Universal Book Reader) comes in. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity to this app, with the option to load eBooks found on your device, along with an easy way to keep them organized on your feed. A store option does exist, but is hidden within its own map and is easily ignored if not required. The interface is solid, if a bit uninteresting overall, and the app supports nearly every eBook format you could hope for. Universal Book Reader is ad-supported, but it does have a Pro upgrade to remove ads. This app remains a favorite among Android diehards, and it’s easy to see why. With the flexibility of importing your entire eBook collection into the app, it’s easy to read for hours with Media365.

For years, it seemed like the Nook was the only true challenger to the Kindle’s throne. With the backing of Barnes and Noble and some underrated hardware, the Nook competed with the Kindle in the physical eReader space for years, and though the brick-and-mortar book giant still sells their devices online and in store, it seems the fight against Amazon has been lost for the time being. Still, plenty of people use B&N to purchase eBooks online, and the Nook app for Android is a pretty solid reading experience overall. The shop is colorful and fun to browse, though it occasionally suffers from long loading times, and the actual library view feels much more modern than older versions of the Nook app on Android.

The reading experience is customizable, as we’ve seen from most Android eBook applications, and there’s even a custom reading more for comics, allowing you to zoom through panels one at a time. Overall, Barnes and Noble has actually developed a solid reading app over the last few years, and it’s unfortunate it’s been so overshadowed by Kindle. Still, Amazon’s deals are far better than the ones offered by B&N, so if you’re looking to build a collection from scratch, you’d be better off living in Amazon’s ecosystem.

We’ve previously covered Moon Reader on our guide to the best PDF readers on Android, since it functions as both a PDF reader and as an eBook reader. In our eyes, it isn’t quite the best at either category, with PDFs presented as eBooks making it easy to read your collection on the go. Still, Moon Reader is a solid offering for those looking to bring eBooks found online to their collection, and can actually be a great offering for anyone looking to use an eReader to take notes in class.

Since plenty of college courses, especially English courses, now use PDF files to pass out shorter readings online, Moon Reader can make your PDFs feel a bit more like an actual book instead of a basic document. It isn’t quite our favorite app for reading traditional eBook documents—that honor still belongs to Universal Book Reader for documents purchases online—it’s still a solid offering, one definitely worth checking out for yourself. Like Media365, Moon Reader is ad-supported but does have a premium version available in the Play Store.

Wattpad isn’t a traditional eBook reader, but it’s earned special mention from us thanks to its offering of free, independently-written books on its online marketplace. As a free online community focused on telling original stories (along with fanfiction, or stories based on non-original IP), Wattpad is a great way to check out up and coming authors that start writing online for free before eventually either going down the independent publishing route or selling to a full-fledged publisher.

The Wattpad app for Android allows you to sync and download your favorite and saved stories to your device for reading on the go, and with a customizable reading experience, it may be the definitive way to read your favorite Wattpad stories. But that’s not all—Wattpad also allows you to write your own stories on the go, even publishing them to the web for other Wattpad readers to check out. Wattpad may not be a traditional eBook reader, but when it comes to reading free, downloadable titles online from independent authors, Wattpad is the best source out there today.

Sure, Comics may not be a direct eBook reader application, but when it comes to reading comics, you can’t quite beat the experience offered by ComiXology. Now, it’s worth noting that ComiXology was purchased by Amazon back in 2014, but the app does maintain its own identity away from Kindle, just as Audible has managed to accomplish. ComiXology has pretty much every comic you could imagine from both the major franchises (Marvel and DC), smaller but no-less-known enterprises (Dark Horse, Archie), as well as comics from independent publishers. You’ll also find a large collection of manga to read here, complete with translations, and a ton of graphic novels, like the Scott Pilgrim collection or several different Batman graphic novels that tell a complete story.

Comics are available by both issue and collection, making it easy to read at your own pace. Finally, like we’ve seen with apps like Nook, Comics has a built-in grid-based reading system that makes it easy to read your comics one panel at a time. ComiXology is the biggest name in digital comics today, and it’s easy to see why. Their collection is large, their app is solid, and they have the backing of Amazon behind them. Definitely grab this one today.

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