Top 10 Free iBooks Alternatives (Reading Apps) For Your iOS Devices
Ever wanted to use your iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini as an eReader? Maybe you’ve tried doing that by using Apple’s iBooks but Apple’s ‘bookstore’ does not have a wide range of books unlike the more well known eBook retailers. Therefore, we’re here to give you a few iBooks alternatives that has added features for an overall better eReading experience.
We will showcase a list of reading apps that have features like Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) where you can browse free resources or catalogues of eBooks within the app and a few other apps that support different eBook file formats; because let’s face it, if you want an iBooks alternative, you would want to compare a complete list of apps – here are the top reading apps for iOS.
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Stanza is a versatile app that boasts over 4 million book downloads as it supports many file types including ePub, PDF and CBR/CBZ in languages other than English. You can insert a download link of a supported file format which can then be downloaded and saved into your library.
There is also the option to add public OPDS (Open Publication Distribution System) catalogues where you can browse and download free eBooks.
With Stanza, you can change the theme or ‘paper’ of the book, use the ‘night theme’, where the text is white while the background is black, or customize the background and text colors to your preference.
To flip pages, you can tap the left or right thirds of your screen, or swipe left and right as well as jump between chapters through the table of contents. Because it is a standalone reading app, there are no syncing features between devices.
Kobo requires you to register for an account on their website in order to browse and download their catalogue of free books. It supports the ePub file format really well and can detect chapters and table of contents, displaying the amount of pages in each section.
There is also a social side to the app as you can earn achievements and milestones while reading books on the app. Share your achievements with your Facebook friends.
To help with your reading experience, the text of your eBook can be resized and the fonts can be changed. There is also a night reading mode and the app even allows you to select between left or justified text alignment.
Your library of books can be sorted by author, title or recently read. The results can be viewed by book cover image or a list view of the book covers. You can also surf their website for more books and whatever is added to your library there will be sync’ed on your mobile devices as well.
If reading ebooks is your thing, you’re bound to have stumbled upon Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US. eBooks purchased from them can be read on their dedicated ereader or on your iOS devices with this app.
With the app, you can search for text within a supported file, add annotations or notes, highlight text and even use it with an in-built dictionary, which can be downloaded separately. You can also make changes to the text, changing the font type and size, line spacing and page margins to suit your reading comfort needs.
Not only does the app have the night theme for a better reading experience, you can also customize your own theme by picking the colors of text, background, links and color for your highlighted text.
This app however does not support Japanese text when tested with an .ePub file. In addition, you can’t really browse their bookstore through the app as it is merely a full featured eReader.
If you don’t own a Kindle but want to shop for books on Amazon.com then this is the app to get. With an Amazon account, all your eBook purchases can be accessed and opened via the app. Without the app however, you need to use an app like Dropbox to ‘Open’ the file on the Kindle app. You’re now able to fully utilize the app as it also recognizes files imported through iTunes.
Note that you cannot browse the Amazon library with this app to make new purchases.
This app supports .mobi files, an eBook file format and also has support for Japanese character for vertical text and even manga. You can change the font and its sizes, and choose a normal, night or sepia theme. What’s nice is that there is a brightness control within the reading settings.
Text can be highlighted or shared on Facebook or Twitter; you can also add notes, and all your notes can be saved in a list which can be viewed and accessed under the book information page.
ShuBook comes pre-loaded with OPDS sources where you can browse through many free eBooks in multiple languages (Chinese, Japanese) – no registration required. It also supports .ePub files and Microsoft Office files like .doc, .xls, .ppt, and .rtf.
You cannot import files through iTunes as you have to pay for that feature, but a way around it is to use another app like Dropbox and opening the files with ShuBook.
Your library can be sorted by title or author, and you also can search for words within the text, change text size and font, and determine text alignment, and spacings between paragraphs, lines or letters.
If you like to pace your reading, this app allows you to put multiple bookmarks in the same book, all of which can be viewed under the book information section. As this app is merely a reader, there is no syncing between devices feature available.
This app is connected to more than 18,000 libraries worldwide, so if you’re a member at your local public or college library, you could rent an eBook through this app. This app also allows you to import ePub and pdf eBook file formats.
A fun feature of this app is the option to make your text multi-columned, for that newspaper column reading experience. This makes it easier to read on an iPad screen in landscape mode.
Other settings include the ability to choose fonts and its sizes, and you can place multiple bookmarks within a single book. Your library in this app is sorted by recently added books, title or expiration date – the date when the books are due to be returned to the libraries.
While browsing a library, you will also receive suggestions of other similar books at ‘Additional eBooks’; browse and download free eBooks without any sort of membership with libraries or ‘expiration date’.
Books has over 20,000 classics in its database of free eBooks. Some examples of their popular downloads are autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. After searching for a book you’re interested in, you can read a description or reviews of the book before deciding to download it into your library.
The app also supports ePub and pdf file formats which can be imported via iTunes or an app like Dropbox. Books can be emailed and downloaded as a pdf file. As for reading settings, you can only change the font size and color schemes (night mode).
The free version of the app may serve a few ads, but none of them would hinder your reading.
This app is associated with eBooks.com, a website where you can search and purchase books from. The app won’t open any other files or import books through iTunes. By making an account and purchasing a book from the website, your purchased book can be sync’ed to this app. The app comes preloaded with a few full books like Moby Dick and Beowulf.
The app lets you save multiple bookmarks in the same book, make notes and highlights, all of which can be viewed in a list. You can skip through pages using the table of contents, and changing the font type, color and size as well as background color is possible.
Your bookshelf can be sorted by title or authors, and you can view your collection by book cover or book cover with title.
If you prefer to browse through free books or those in the public domain then MegaReader is your answer. The app comes pre-loaded with 25 full ebooks to get you started, but you can download more than 2 million other books from sources like Project Gutenberg, Smashwords, Feedbooks and others. Furthermore, the app works with Instapaper, which allows you to save web pages to read later.
You can filter through the books by title, author, category or based on the recommendations of other readers. The app also has a highly customizable interface: choose preset color schemes, or personalize them along with font options and sizes, margin width, line spacing and text alignment for a better reading experience.
It is also the first ebook to let you see through your book to watch where you are going as you walk while reading.
Bored of books? Want a reading app for magazines instead? We got you covered with Zinio, "the world’s largest newstand and bookstore’" With online publications under 11 broad categories including Science & Tech, Sports, Lifestyles, Travel and more, you are spoilt for choice with the thousands of issues available, plus daily offerings of free magazine previews.
You can read the magazines in high-fidelity mode, complete with their full, rich colors, interactive content and other multimedia enhancements, or switch to plain text mode for a toned down reading experience.
Manage your bought subscriptions and issues with your iTunes account and sync them to all of your devices. With the app, you can also bookmark your favorite pages, articles and even photographs, or share them to you friends via sharing options.
Ibis reader is a web app that can be accessed via their website ‘m.ibisreader.com‘ . Add the web app to your Home Screen for fast access. The app serves as a browser and reader for their database of eBooks. You need to register for an account to manage your eBooks, which can be sync’ed on all your other devices.
You can view the table of contents under the book info and save multiple bookmarks as well. As for reading settings, you can pick the font and make the text larger by 1 size. There is no sorting option on your library.
The app remembers where you left off the last time you read a particular book. You can also add a download link to import your own ePub file format eBook. Note that since it is a web app you will need an Internet connection to read your books.
Wattpad is a place where a community of writers band together to read works by aspiring authors: themselves! If you register, you can manage your library and start writing your masterpieces. Without an account, you can just browse through tons of books and read to your heart’s content.
Books are rated and commented on by other members of the community so you know that you’ll be reading something worth your time.
There are 2 ways to read with this app, you can flip pages by tapping the left or right third of the screen, or you can scroll up and down, or even opt for auto scrolling. Font sizes and colors can be changed; the level of brightness and background colors are customizable as well.
You won’t be able to open any sort of eBook file formats with this app – think of it as a social reading/writing club.
Author: Brian Voo
Brian is a Mass Communication graduate with a passion for everything related to technology, minimalistic designs, and every kind of gadgetry.