Google Play Books
Sometimes, simpler is better. Google runs its own bookstore out of Google Play, which means it’s already likely integrated into your smartphone out of the box. You can buy new books, audiobooks, and comics right from the Play Store and pick up some regular deals and sales, then download them right to your device for offline reading.
The app is also very functional, offering all the standard features you’d expect from a reader app. You can control text size, add bookmarks and notes, and more without having to set up any extra accounts or stores. Thanks to Google’s standardized design language, it’ll also fit in better with all of your other Google apps, which is always a nice touch.
If you want to start building a book collection, you can’t go wrong here. The service is available across Android, iOS, and the web, so even if you switch up your devices in the future you’ll still be able to read all of your books no matter what platform you’re in.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you have an Amazon Prime subscription. You might even have an Amazon package out for delivery as you read this article!
If you’re deep in Amazon’s ecosystem, you’ve probably seen their Kindle bookstore offerings, building off what kickstarted Amazon’s business in the first place. Amazon offers an enormous library of Kindle books and audiobooks, and if you’ve previously purchased any of them through Amazon’s website, you’ll immediately have access to them here.
And if you’re a Prime subscriber, like we mentioned earlier, you can even read tons of free books with Prime reading. These books are included in your Prime subscription, and if you’re looking for even more, you can set up Kindle Unlimited for one of the best all-you-can-read subscriptions around. The only kicker to the Kindle app is that you can’t make any digital book purchases from the app; you’ll have to actually buy things through a web browser, although everything will still be accessible when you go back to the app.
Amazon’s reader interface is also excellent and incorporates their X-Ray feature from Prime Video that lets you quickly see important annotations, images, and more. You can create your own notes and bookmarks, build decks of flashcards for important information, and try Amazon’s word runner feature that helps you read more quickly.
While it’s not as cleanly integrated into Android, it’s hard to argue that Amazon hasn’t built one of the best reading experiences on mobile.
If smaller stories and community are more important to your reading experience, you might want to check out Wattpad. The service doesn’t offer many major published works, but it thrives on user-generated content. You can sign up, start writing, and publish your own stories for anyone else to read, skipping all the headaches of regular book publishing.
While that may not be for everyone, the smaller scale of Wattpad has a ton of charm. If you’re really into werewolf robot fiction lately, there’s no better place to search for that than on Wattpad. And if your niche doesn’t seem to exist, you can immediately work on the genre’s next great novel and get it up by the end of the week for anyone to read. This also means that you can consume a nearly infinite amount of books; Wattpad says they have over 660 million uploaded stories in total, which is a huge amount to work through. You’re sure to find something you like.
There’s a good mix of totally free stories to read, and you can buy coins to purchase the premium options. Wattpad also offers a premium subscription that gives you access to two premium stories per month, plus a few other perks like ad-removal. It’s free to sign up, however, so definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something new to get into.
If you already have a collection of books and files over the years and don’t really want to get tied into any one digital book store, an app that can handle your existing library is the way to go. Fortunately, the Play Store houses one of the best readers around in Moon+ Reader.
The app can be a little simpler than some other options on this list. It can sync up some online book sources but doesn’t offer an integrated store to buy more books. Instead, it’s designed to quickly get you reading your own files with a huge list of supported formats, including everything from basic HTML and markdown to ePub, PDFs, and even zip files. Load your library onto your phone, point Moon+ reader at it, and start reading. What’s not to like?
This also makes Moon+ Reader an excellent option for old magazine scans, video game manuals, and more that you can’t buy from an online store anyway. The Pro version of Moon+ Reader has some extra features like ad-removal and some UI tweaks, and it also happens to be included in Google Play Pass if you’re subscribed there.
Some more avid readers probably could’ve expected Amazon to appear on this list again. Goodreads is one of Amazon’s subsidiary companies that focuses more on the social and discovery aspect of reading, helping you find that next great book and keeping you updated on what your friends are reading and recommending.
To get started with Goodreads, you’ll set up your account that ties in with your Amazon/Kindle account, then tell it a few books you liked and how much you liked them. If you’ve ever used Letterboxd, you’ll know exactly how this goes. Afterward, you can add your friends and contacts, then work through Goodreads to see what book you might like to check out next. If you like something, it’ll give you a handy link to add it to your Kindle library and even sync up your Kindle notes and highlights across apps.
There’s no actual reading to do on Goodreads besides the reviews for books you might be interested in. But much like Letterboxd can be invaluable for finding those hidden gems and resurgent movies from the last decade, Goodreads is an excellent complement for working through the hundreds of books you’re thinking about reading but can’t quite decide on.
That’s our choice of reading apps for Android devices, but undoubtedly one or two slipped our net. Do you have a favorite reading app we haven’t mentioned in this guide? If so, let us know in the comments below why it’s your chosen app.