The best Android ebook app for you mostly depends on where you want to buy your ebooks. Each ebook app works for a specific type of ebooks, so you need to match up the type of ebooks you own to the type of app you need. The apps below are the most popular for Android users and cover most main ebook sources that people use today.
The Aldiko Android App is the best alternative to apps from big ebook sources (like Kindle or Nook) because it allows you to read PDF and ePub ebooks from independent ebook sources. It supports Adobe DRM and non-DRM ebooks, so you can read ebooks that you purchased at places like ebookmall.com, ebooks.com, or diesel-ebooks.com. You can also import your own content and create your own ebook catalogs.
Download: You can get a direct download from Aldiko.com or find Aldiko in the Google Play Market.
Android OS Version Supported: Android OS 2.1 or higher
eBooks Supported: The Aldiko Book Reader supports Adobe-DRMed ePub and PDF as well as non-encrypted ePub and PDF formats. Get eBooks anywhere ePub and PDF eBooks are sold or available for free. You can also get ebooks from your public library (where supported).
Amazon Kindle Android App
The Kindle App for Android lets you read all of your Kindle ebooks on an Android device, even if you don’t own a Kindle eBook Reader. If you do have a Kindle, you can read your ebooks on both the Kindle and Android device. Your reading progress will be synced between the devices with Amazon’s “Whispersinc”. You can use the Kindle Android app to borrow ebooks and view free samples.
Download: Go to the Kindle for Android page on Amazon. Or, while on your phone you can search for “Kindle” in the Google Play market.
Android OS Version Supported: Android OS 2.2 or higher
eBooks Supported: Amazon Kindle ebooks in the AZW format that are only sold at Amazon.com/Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook Android App
The Android Nook App from Barnes & Noble lets you read all of the Nook ebooks on your Android device without having to own a Nook eBook Reader. Nook for Android gives you access to over 2 million books, magazines, and newspapers. You can try newspapers and magazines for free for 14 days and sample lots of Nook ebooks for free. You can also start reading an ebook on one device and continue at the same place on another device.
Download: Get the Android app at B&N’s Nook for Android page by scanning the barcode shown with your phone. Or search for “NOOK” in the Google Play market.
Android OS Version Supported: Android OS 2.1 or higher
eBooks Supported: If you want to read ebooks using the Nook App, then you should get ebooks from Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.
Kobo Android App
With the Kobo Android app, you can buy ebooks from inside the app and download them directly to your phone. Take your entire library with you on the go. You can find all of your favorite titles and authors in Kobo’s large ebook selection of over 2.5 million books. You can also get personalized recommendations.
Download: Go to the Kobo Android App webpage to scan the QR code. Or search Google Play for Kobo.
Android OS Version Supported: Android OS 1.6 or higher
eBooks Supported: If you want to use the Kobo Android app, you should download eBooks from the Kobo eReader store.
The Sony Reader Android app comes pre-loaded with three classic titles and three excerpts from bestselling ebooks. You can sync your reading position, bookmarks, and highlights to Reader Daily Edition (PRS-950SC with firmware 2.0). Like the other apps, you can also read Sony Reader ebooks even if you don’t have a Sony Reader.
Download: Go to the Sony Reader for Android webpage and scan the QR code. Or, search for the app in the Google Play market.
Android OS Version Supported: Android OS 2.2 or higher
eBooks Supported: If you want to read Sony Reader ebooks on your Android device, get them from Sony’s Reader Store.
The big ebook companies have now released tablet versions of their eReaders. Amazon has the Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble has the Nook Tablet, and Kobo has the Kobo Vox. They are all Android tablets and come with a lot of apps pre-installed. However, unlike normal Android tablets, they don’t have full access to the Android Market. Instead it seems that each company has come up with their own smaller app market, where you can choose from a specific selection of apps.
This is significant because it means that if you bought eBooks from other ebook stores that use Adobes DRM, you wouldn’t be able to open them in the correct app on your tablet (which is usually Aldiko). Aldiko and other ebook apps are, not surprisingly, left out of the pre-approved list of apps. However, it seems that people are already finding easy ways around this.
For one thing, I noticed that on the Aldiko website they will now email you a link to download their app if you sign up. You can see that at http://aldiko.com/download.html. I don’t know for sure, but I think you could use your tablet’s browser to go to the link they send you and download it directly to the tablet. If anyone has tried this, I’d be interested if you could leave a comment and let me know how this worked.
I also saw on the blog Good Reader that they posted a way to get Aldiko on your Kobo Vox. Check that post out at How To Copy eBooks With DRM To The Kobo Vox. Their method involves downloading the app from a link that they have on their website where they host the file. I’m not sure if this is condoned by Aldiko, but they probably don’t care.
On Google+ I found a post from Aldiko saying that you could download the app and sideload it onto your Kindle Fire. There is also this post from a user who says he did it successfully and it was easy.
And to round it out, The Digital Reader has a post saying that the Nook Tablet can run Aldiko in much the same way: by installing it through the browser.
The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t require anything like hacking, and should be easy enough to do even for someone who isn’t a big techno geek. If you are reading this and have installed Aldiko on any of these three devices, please leave a comment with your experience. I think that would be a great help to others who are interested in doing this.
According to these reports, the Sony Reader T1 uses a modified version of the Android OS. I wasn’t aware of that at all – I thought that was only used on more tablet-like devices. An anonymous hacker has figured out a way to get into the operating system and make it so that you can install Android apps. Now people who use this hack can install the Kindle app and read Kindle ebooks on it. Before this, that was only possible on devices that were expressly supported by Amazon.
The problem with this is that the Sony Reader has an e-ink screen, which was not designed for Android apps. Those, for the most part, are all designed for LCD screens like the ones you see on tablets such as the Motorola Xoom or Samsung Galaxy. E-ink was made mostly just to display the text of a book. Because of this, there is no real hope of turning your Sony Reader into a real Android device. But the idea that you can put Kindle ebooks on it is interesting, if you’re the type who wants to go against the rules just for the sake of going against the rules. Personally, if I wanted to use Kindle ebooks I’d just get a Kindle.
I made a new Squidoo Lens: Tablet Comparisons. This one is similar to the eBook Reader Comparisons lens, but obviously about tablets instead. It lists tech specs on each tablet so that you can reference them all in one place, hopefully making it useful as a shopping guide.
Right now the tablets covered are: iPad 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, Blackberry Playbook, Toshiba Tablet, and BeBook Live.
I plan to keep it updated as new tablets come out and as new models are released for the current available tablets. If you know of a new tablet that should be included, feel free to leave a comment to suggest one (either here or on the lens itself). Sometime soon I’ll be updating the eBook Reader Comparisons lens to include the new eReaders that I wrote about in my last post.
I was looking through the stats for this blog and noticed some themes in the search terms that people use to get to this website. I know that posting those just perpetuates the same information, but I want to make sure that people get to the correct pages to find answers to their questions.
Adobe Digital Editions and ACSM Files
The bulk of the search terms have to do with Adobe Digital Editions and .acsm files. I wrote an entire post about what .acsm files are because I know that people are very confused about them. This is a sampling of the related search terms:
acsm files to epub
convert .acsm to .pdf
adobe digital editions how to save to another format
how to open acsm file
ascm what support e reader
how many devices does adobe digital editions allow
can you authorize more than one device to adobe digital editions
download failed. content has already been authorised to another user. adobe error
Adobe has a big list of all of the e-reader device types that they support. Check that to see if your device is included.
As far as I know, they allow you to authorize up to 6 computers and/or devices with the same Adobe ID. If you’re getting an error message that says the ebook was already licensed to a different user, that means you’re using the wrong Adobe ID.
Another group of search terms has to do with Android-powered tablets.
what ebook reader to use on my xoom
importing ebooks from pc to aldiko android
androide adobe drm ereader
samsung galaxy for reading e books
how to put ebook on android tablet
iOS DRM eBook Apps
There are similar search terms that indicate people want to know how to read DRM ebooks on iOS devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Examples:
drm ebook apps for ipod touch
adobe ebook to itunes
For that, I recommend Bluefire Reader. Like Aldiko, it supports DRM and non-DRM Adobe ebooks.
Other General ebook Stuff
Then there are also general search terms related to ebook usage, such as:
ebook reader v tablets
why ebooks have grown in popularity
software for .azw readers for computers
See my fabulous Squidoo lens for information about eReaders vs Tablets.
Why have ebooks grown in popularity? I think the biggest boom came when Amazon released newer versions of the Kindle. After that, more and more e-readers became more popular. eBooks have been around for a long time, but Amazon managed to make the Kindle a household name, and that boosted the entire ebook industry.
.azw is the file extension of a Kindle ebook. If you want to read that on your computer, you can use the Kindle app.
If you just want to learn about “possible ereaders” then you should check out my eReader Comparisons page for an overview. My eBook Software page covers all of the ereader formats that I’ve reviewed so far.
I usually don’t like to repeat news stories that I’ve seen on other websites. That’s not really the purpose of this blog. But I thought it was worth mentioning that it’s been reported that there will be a version of Bluefire Reader for Android.
I like Bluefire Reader because it’s compatible with Adobe DRM ebooks and library ebooks. It was the first real solution for Adobe DRM on iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod). It is easy to use, has all the same features that are now expected of ebook reader apps, and it’s free.
Android devices are quickly becoming popular and widespread, first with the many Android mobile phones that were released, and now with Android-based tablets that are coming out like the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy.
Since Android devices aren’t directly connected to a big book company (such as Amazon, B&N, etc) users aren’t stuck with one ebook source. This makes Bluefire Reader an excellent option for Android because it allows the user to read ebooks from smaller ebook stores.
I haven’t read any specific release date, but I’m sure it will be in the Android Market whenever it is ready to go.
Like my last post about Bluefire Reader (for iOS devices) there is a solution for reading Adobe DRM ebooks on your Android phone or tablet. The app is called Aldiko Book Reader and it can be used on Android OS 2.1 or higher. This is useful because it means that you can get Adobe PDF or EPUB ebooks from sources other than the major sellers like Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble (or even Aldiko itself) and you can read them on your Android device.
Here are instructions for what you need to do to use this app:
Step 1: Install
To install Aldiko on your Android device, scan the barcode on the Aldiko website with your device. Or, search “Aldiko” in the Android Market.
Step 2: Authorize
Just like with Bluefire Reader, you’ll need to authorize your device with an Adobe ID. This is how Adobe verifies that you are the same person who bought the ebook. When you have both your computer and device authorized with the same Adobe ID, you can use your ebooks both places.
To authorize your device, tap on “Adobe DRM” under General Settings. If you have an Adobe ID already, type in your Adobe ID and Password and then tap on “Sign in”. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, just tap on “Register” and you will be linked to the registration page.
Step 3: Import
Here are the options that I gathered from the Aldiko website:
Option 1: Put the ebook in the SD card of your device, then tap on the “SD Card” icon at Home. Check the box next to the file that you want to import (or tap on the menu key of your device and choose “Select All”), then tap on the “Import to Aldiko” button at the pop-up window at the bottom.
Option 2: Create a folder (for example, “import”) in your SD card, and put all the files that you want to import in that folder. Tap on the “SD Card” icon at Home, check the box next to the folder and then tap on the “Import to Aldiko” button at the pop-up window at the bottom.
Option 3: If the ebook files that you want to import are under different folders, tap on the “SD Card” icon at Home, check the box next to the folders that you want to import and then tap on the “Import to Aldiko” button at the pop-up window at the bottom.
If you need help, try Aldiko’s Support website.
Almost everyone has a mobile phone now, and many people have heard of the idea of reading books on them. But there are many misconceptions about this that people form in their mind before they even give it a try.
The screen is too small.
Here’s an interesting thing that I recently realized: If you have a modern phone, then the size of the screen is about the same width as a newspaper or magazine column. That size of text is okay for you to read, right? So what’s the difference if it’s on your phone screen? The only real difference is that you can’t see the rest of the page at the same time. But are you reading everything on the entire page at once? Probably not, unless you have some kind of mind disorder that also makes you a genius.
You know how you can change the font size in a program like Microsoft Word? Well, surprise! You can change the font size in just about any program that displays text, including ebooks. Every ebook app that I’ve ever seen has a way for you to do this.
It costs extra money.
The ebook reading apps that you need are free. The only thing that costs money are the books, and those cost money whether you buy them digitally or on paper. There are ebook apps that cost money, but you don’t have to use those.
It’s too difficult!
It’s really not difficult if you’re comfortable with using the features of a smartphone. If you’ve ever gotten an app for your phone, you can get an ebook app in exactly the same way. A lot of the ebook apps will let you buy an ebook and download it directly to the app without even having to use your computer. If you do need to purchase the ebook on your computer, then you just sync it to your phone the same way you would any other file.
It’s not very convenient.
Downloading an entire book to your little mobile phone is a lot more convenient than driving to a store to get a book, or ordering it online and waiting for shipping.
There aren’t many books available.
Nowadays most book publishers are making their books available as ebooks. There are literally hundreds of thousands of ebooks available from a lot of different sources. You can pretty much take your pick of what you want and where you want to get it.
It hurts my eyes!
Okay, I can’t really disprove that. If it hurts then don’t do it!
Top 5 eBook Apps
If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, check out the Squidoo lens I made for the Top 5 eBook Reading Apps for iPad and iPhone.
If you have an Android phone, get your ebook apps from my Squidoo lens called Top 5 Android eBook Apps.
Sony has released a Sony Reader app, like they promised a while back. I wrote a bit about this at the beginning of December. So far they only have an ebook reading app available for Android (version 2.2+). You can get it on Sony’s ebook website here.
It sounds like it’s pretty much the same deal as other ebook reading apps – you can use it to read your Sony Reader ebooks on your Android phone, even if you don’t have a Sony Reader. It also syncs everything up for you so that you can pick up reading where you left off on your other device.
So, good for Sony. These reading apps are a good idea for all companies that have ebook reading devices, so that people aren’t quite so locked in to the one device.
According to engadget, Sony also has an iOS app pending Apple’s review.
If you’ve used this app, feel free to leave a comment with a review. I don’t have an Android phone so I can’t test it out.