15 Best Apps to Read Books for Free

best Apps to Read Books for Free

With the advent of smartphones, tablets, and ebooks, physical bookshelves are nothing more than beautiful backgrounds for Zoom calls and YouTube videos. Why should you worry about picking up a physical book when your tablet is a more robust device for doing what’s essentially the same thing?

Come to think about it: when you come across an unfamiliar word in a physical copy of a book, you’ll have to consult a dictionary. With a laptop or tablet computer, just double-click or press down on the word and you can summon hundreds of definitions in seconds.

There are disadvantages of reading books on a smartphone or tablet, some of which I will discuss later in this article, but that’s not our focus for today. Here, I’ll show you 15 apps to read books for free from your smartphone or tablet. Without further ado, let’s jump in.

Pros and Cons of Reading Books through Apps

There are two main operating systems for mobile devices: Android and iOS. Both Operating systems have an array of apps to read books for free without having to drop your phone, but how do the benefits of these apps stack up against the potential problems?

Here are the pros and cons of apps to read books for free on mobile.


The biggest benefit of reading books on your smartphone or tablet is portability. While you can’t carry your bookshelf in your pocket, your phone fits excellently in your pocket, carrying all the books you’ll need in the process.

Another big plus for smartphones is storage space. Even if you could carry your entire bookshelf in your pocket, it would be unable to carry a tenth of the number of books your phone can carry. Apart from being insanely portable, your smartphone is also the most efficient way to carry your books everywhere you go.


While your phone is capable of carrying plenty of books, it’s also your medium of communication and it serves as your primary medium of social interaction. Both of those may sound like benefits, until you recall that your phone draws your attention to calls and messages a bit too often, drawing you away from your books.

Since your phone is also pretty good at entertaining you, you’ll spend more than a couple of minutes on another app each time you click away from a book you’re reading. On the other hand, physical books can’t transmit social media messages and calls, so, putting away your phone will dramatically improve your focus.

Also, physical books have a somewhat distinct feeling that you can’t replicate with digital books. Seeing non-backlit words on a page and sniffing the smell of a new book are feelings that our phones are still too dumb to replicate.

best Apps to Read Books for Free

Where Can I Read Any Book for Free?

If this is your first introduction to the world of reading books on your smartphone or computer, you may wonder: where can I read any book for free? However, that question is so broad that you probably can’t get an answer to it. However, I’ll try to find the most straightforward answer to it.

When you try to play games on your smartphone, you don’t download a single app that lets you play every game on the planet. Instead, you sideload some games, install some from alternative app stores, and get others from friends.

It’s somewhat the same with books. No app will let you read every book for free, but if you’re willing to dig deep and use several apps, you should get useful apps to read books for free.

For suggestions of the best apps to read books for free, you can refer to my compilation below.

15 Best Apps to Read Books for Free

1. Amazon Kindle

Kindle needs no introduction; it’s the reading app from Amazon that everyone uses; there’s even a physical device of the same name that you can use to read ebooks. The app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac making it available on pretty much every device you have around.

Since you have the app on all your devices, you can always pick up your books where you left off, regardless of what device you carry with you. Also, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read while listening to the audiobook from Audible for a more immersive experience, making it unarguably one of the best apps to read books for free across all your devices.

2. Goodreads

Goodreads claims to be the biggest platform for readers and book recommendations, but it also doubles as one of the best apps to read books for free, except for its tiny library. Some books are free, but you’ll need to click away from the apps to buy the premium ones.

In addition to book recommendations, you can also link up with friends, see what they’re reading, and take cues from their reading history.


NOOK from Barnes and Noble is another app that lets you access a surprisingly large collection of your favorite books for free. Since the bookseller knows a thing or two about books, you can expect this app to be excellent. Barnes and Noble also sell the NOOK tablet, which is a dedicated e-reading tablet, just like the Kindle e-reader.

4. Scribd

Scribd offers thousands of books and audiobooks for a $9.99 monthly subscription, which isn’t bad, given that some books cost as much as that. The app gives new users a free trial for the first month, after which they’ll have to pay the subscription fee to keep accessing the service. Technically, the free trial qualifies it as one of the best apps to read books for free.

5. Wattpad

Wattpad is a pretty unique reading app for one reason: it focuses more on user-generated content, so you should only expect to see indie books on the platform. For that reason, most of the books on Wattpad are free, and you can interact with writers to give them honest feedback about their stories.

While the benefits are numerous, you’ll also notice some issues if you look deeper. For one, there’s a big chance that your favorite story will disappear from the platform as soon as a publisher is interested in working on it. Also, both writers and the owners of the platform want to make money for their work, and the only way to do that is either by bombarding users with ads or asking for a subscription, and trust me, you must choose one.

Even with all those issues, it still remains one of the best apps to read books for free.

6. Aldiko

Aldiko works in a very interesting way and is one of the must-have apps to read books for free on Android, tablets and iPads. Technically, all it does is provide an ebook reader while relying on you to find the books you want to read within the app.

However, the app also includes a browser that lets you see book catalogs from tens of sites that let you access books for free. If you find books that you love, you can easily download them to Aldiko and start reading like the book was from the app, but it isn’t. Since Aldiko doesn’t have you pay to read, it’s still one of the best apps to read books for free.

7. Audible

Audible is somewhat of an outlier in this list, as you can’t really “read” books on the app; rather, you listen to them. However, with Audible being one of the most popular ways to access pretty much any book, excluding it from a list of the best apps to read books for free would be a blunder. If you’re invested in audiobooks, try Audible.

8. Project Gutenberg

While Project Gutenberg isn’t an app per se, the way it works makes it a crime to not include it among the best apps to read books for free, especially since I’ve included Audible. In short, it’s a collection of over 60,000 books you can download and read for free online! When you download a book from the website, you can read it on your device without downloading any external e-reader apps.

9. FBReader

If you’re keen on reading books on your Android device, you should already have the FBReader app on your smartphone. The app’s name stands for Favorite Book Reader, which is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it will grow to become just that after extensive use. While FBReader does have a tiny collection of books, the app does expect you to upload the books you want to read, making it one of the best apps to read books for free.

10. Apple Books

Apple Books is Apple’s equivalent of Google Play Books, but it’s only available for iPhones and other devices in the Apple ecosystem. Like Google Play Books, Apple Books also supports both ebooks and audiobooks, if you ever need that. If most of your devices are from Apple, you may want to adopt Apple Books for synergy and continuity.

Not all books from Apple Books are free. However, since it offers a significant portion of its catalog without requiring you to pay, adding it to a list of apps to read books for free isn’t farfetched.

11. Kobo Books

Kobo Books also focuses on indie writers, but it has a pretty decent selection of books from published writers. While most of the books on Kobo are premium, there are several free books if you’re not willing to pay, qualifying it to be on a list of apps to read books for free.

In addition to ebooks, Kobo also makes e-readers that you can use to consume the content it offers.

12. Oodles

The Oodles app is weirdly named “50,000 Books and Audiobooks,” both on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. That name already describes all you need to know about the app, as it simply lets you access up to 50,000 books and audiobooks for free.

Since you’re accessing an entire library for free, you should expect to see all your favorite books, as most copyrighted books will be unavailable. However, you can import most ebook formats to read your favorite books, even if they’re unavailable on Oodles, making it one of the favorite apps to read books for free.

13. Comixology

Firstly, I want you to know your obsession with comics isn’t weird; it’s the same with a lot of people, including yours truly. If you’ve noticed, none of the apps mentioned earlier is excellent for comics, and that’s why this entry is necessary for a complete list.

If you’re into Manga, Manhwa, and Manhua, ComiXology should work excellently well for you. The company has partnered with VIZ Media to bring the latest comics to your phones and tablets, including Naruto, One Piece, and Dragon Ball. For ComiXology’s very specific audience, it’s clearly one of the best apps to read books for free.

14. Google Play Books

Google Play Books works exactly like Apple Books, except that it’s available on more devices. While Apple Books only lets you read books on devices within the Apple ecosystem, Google Play Books will let you read books on pretty much any device you own, as long as it runs a browser.

Compared to a similar offering from Apple, Google Books is an obvious winner, making it one of the best apps to read books for free.

15. Epic

Epic is a dedicated reading platform for kids available for both iOS and Android devices. While the app is available for free, you may have to pay to access it. However, Epic makes access free for educators, and if you’re not one, you should be willing to pay for your kids’ books.


You can access an unbelievably extensive collection of books on your Android phone or iPhone if you have the right apps. If you’re wondering what the right apps are, stop wondering: simply go through this compilation and see the best apps to read books for free.

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