When I started this series, I intended to have reading and book apps in the education post, but I just had too many. They warrant their own post. Plus, I am still collecting reference sources for the big masterpost. So. Reading!
I had an early Sony Reader back in the day and swore that tablets wouldn’t replace it–but then I got an iPad through my first college and suddenly had more convenient access to books and class uploads and fanfic. Now my beloved reader is sitting in a box collecting dust. But more than half of my tablet and phone time is reading now, across a variety of apps.
I may be biased as one of the top 1% of Pocket users, but, uh, I think being in the top 1% should say how much I like Pocket. Just save a webpage in your browser and you can read it later in a much cleaner interface. I do this with fanfic. Lots and lots of fanfic. (Really, they should market this app to fangirls because it’s so good for fanfic. It’s not great with Ao3, though, just as a note.)
Speaking of fanfic, Wattpad has inexplicably become both a hub for One Direction fanfic and budding New Adult authors? I’ve used it a little for reading Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition, but I definitely prefer Pocket. It’s part social network and part book/fanfic reading app.
Where can you find reading lists of recommendations, library book clubs, user-generated reviews of your favorite book, sometimes free book giveaways, and an absurd amount of weird author drama? Goodreads. It’s like a social network for Amazon reviews! Want to be Goodreads friends? Let’s be Goodreads friends!
ebook Reader Apps
There are plenty of ebook reader apps but few of them have many customization options or support for DRM-enabled ebooks like library books. Bluefire is not the prettiest of apps, but it has some font and color choices and it lets you read Adobe Digital Editions locked library books on your phone. That’s hard to find.
It’s not a free app anymore (well, it’s freemium; you can only read one book at a time on the free version), but Marvin is my favorite iOS epub reader. It doesn’t support other formats or even the Adobe Digital Editions ebooks, but there are so many font and layout customization options and it’s so pretty.
Since I got a Kindle Unlimited subscription for my smut-writing career, I’ve been pretty loyal to the Kindle app this year. Honestly it’s one of the best ebook reader apps out there and it comes with the Kindle store recommendations built in.
Each of the following ebook stores have their own collections, and they use different coupons and sale cycles, so they’re worth monitoring if you want to get the most bang for your buck with your book money:
- iBooks iOS | Web
- Play Books iOS | Android | Web
- Nook iOS | Android | Web
- Kobo iOS | Android | Web
- Scribd iOS | Android | Web
I know, more Amazon. They have the market cornered, much to everyone’s chagrin. But Audible’s great for listening to bestsellers if you don’t feel like waiting for the holds to clear on Overdrive.
You probably won’t find (m)any bestsellers, but if you want to listen to some classics, LibriVox is an amazing resource for amateur-narrated audiobooks and radio dramas.
After moving around a lot and always registering for a library card, I have access to a lot of different online library catalogs and collections. Libraries are my favorite way to try out new books and lately audiobooks. Why buy books when you can get them from the library or… wherever?
If I had to rank my reading apps, I would probably say 1) Pocket, 2) Kindle, 3) Overdrive. I use Overdrive a lot because it lets me plug in all of my library cards so I can choose the shortest hold list or use a different collection. It’s the most popular library ebook app so I consider it pretty essential to my reading list.
I started using 3M when I moved to Podunk, Pennsylvania because for some reason the library didn’t have Overdrive? It’s not my favorite because so few libraries use it, but I’ll have it as long as my library card there is still active. Sometimes it has books that Overdrive doesn’t, so why not have it if you’ve got a library card that uses it?