I do a lot of reading and I’m a big fan of the digital revolution in the world of publishing. Nothing beats the feel and smell of a fresh new book, but on the other side of the spectrum, nothing beats the portability and convenience of an eBook The Kindle was mocked when it first debuted, but now it has become a staple for next generation readers.
I’ll say it up front: the Kindle app for Android is pretty nice. The text is extremely readable, the preferences aren’t too rigid, and it aids in immersing the reader into the story. However, it has its own set of flaws (get around it with DRM removal) that send readers looking for an alternative that’s just as good.
Looking to get away from Amazon, the Kindle, and DRM? Here are some of the best ebook reading apps that I’ve found on Android over the years. I’ve used each of them at some point in my life and I’ve been satisfied with all of them. Hopefully they work well for you, too.
Mantano Reader has been my favorite Android ebook reading app for a long time – almost a year now. If I had to sum up in one word why I love this app so much, it would have to be polish. Everything from the main screen to the book selection to the actual reading, the whole experience just feels top notch and clean. This reader is capable of displaying both EPUB and PDF files. I get that Amazon’s ebooks are in the MOBI format with DRM on top, but if you can find a program to convert to EPUB, you will have a great time with Mantano.
Once you’ve transferred your EPUBs onto your device, Mantano has a quick and easy scan-and-import system that’ll get you ready in mere minutes. The free version has enough customization to satisfy you but not much beyond that. However, just the organization of it all and the design of its interface is enough to win me over. A few additional features include book sorting, annotation (marking with notes), and tagging your ebooks for filtering. The free version is ad-supported and the Pro version costs $7 USD.
FBReader is a huge contender in the free ebook reader category for Android – that much is obvious when you see that it has a 4.5 stars rating with more than 42,000 votes on Google Play. I’ve rarely seen an app get such high praise from so many users, which can only mean that this app is doing something right. FBReader supports more formats than a usual reader would, including EPUB, RTF, FB2, and MOBI.
The app also allows for a good deal of customization: fonts, paragraph settings, text margins, color themes, and more. Yet with all of that available, it’s still blazing fast and doesn’t bog down my phone or drain my battery. If you want to make use of FBReader, you’ll need to transfer your ebook files to your device. The great thing is that if you can strip your Amazon ebooks of DRM, FBReader can read them just fine.
There was a brief period of time when I used Moon+ Reader as my default reader. Feature-wise, it’s fantastic. Aesthetics-wise, it’s beautiful. But something about it just doesn’t click with me, so I prefer to use one of the two readers listed above. With that said, Moon+ Reader is probably the absolute best free ebook reader on the market right now. It supports the most number of formats that I’ve ever seen: EPUB, MOBI, CHM, CBR, CBZ, UMD, FB2, ZIP, RAR, HTML, and TXT.
You can customize almost any aspect of the reading experience, including 10 different themes, paragraphs and margins, page flipping style, swipe gestures, and more. The interface design is smart and efficient, too. Moon+ Reader is free and supported with ads, but you can upgrade to Pro for $5 USD and unlock a whole slew of advanced-but-not-necessary features like reading statistics, Bluetooth control, password protection, etc.
Aldiko Book Reader was my first ebook reader on Android and, as such, it will always hold a special place in my heart. For a few months, Aldiko underwent a stagnant period of no updates and its reputation suffered a bit, but it seems like the development team has brought everything back on its feet. Here’s why Aldiko is so superb: it supports EPUBs, PDFs, and DRM-protected MOBIs from Amazon.
Yes, that’s right – with Aldiko, you can actually read your Amazon-purchased ebooks without having to convert them or strip away DRM (which can violate your Amazon terms of service). On top of that, Aldiko has a fantastic interface, lots of customization, and good performance. The free version of Aldiko is great but supported by ads. You can upgrade to the Premium version for $3 USD, which has a few more features, no ads, and receives updates faster than the free version.
Amazon is without a doubt the market master when it comes to digital books. No other retailer is as large or comprehensive as they are, yet there exist alternatives that aren’t too shabby. Most non-Amazon retailers will sell their ebooks in the EPUB format, and for those you can use the free Android ebook readers listed above. They’re all great and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of them. That said, if there are any other apps that can give Amazon a run for its money on the Android, please share them. I, personally, would benefit greatly from it and I know there are other readers who would benefit as well.
Image Credits: Ebook Phone Via Shutterstock