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I’ve been reading more nowadays, so I thought it would be a good idea to find some free books apps that allow me to read without breaking the bank. After all, frugality is the name of the game here.
Besides, I’m not one of those people who enjoys the whole experience of cracking open a hardcover book or whatever.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but I personally prefer the convenience of being able to fit a virtually (pun intended) unlimited number of books on a small, portable device. Personally, I use an iPad because I didn’t feel the need to purchase a separate e-reader like a Kindle.
1. OverDrive App
OverDrive Media Console, typically known as just OverDrive, is a free book reading application. The app is developed by OverDrive, Inc., which has been around since 1986. However, it’s worth noting that the company was purchased by Rakuten in 2015. That is obvious now when you go to OverDrive.com.
Not only is the app free, but it also partners with over 40,000 libraries, according to OverDrive. That means you can also get tens of thousands of eBooks absolutely free by using this app. You will still have to have a library membership to use it, but that is the only requirement.
If you happen to have eBooks you have already purchased, you can view those on OverDrive as well.
2. Libby By OverDrive
Libby is a new reading app developed by the same people who bring you OverDrive. These two reading apps give you access to the same collection of books and have many of the same features. Both work on a variety of platforms.
So, why would you use Libby when you could just use OverDrive? It mostly comes down to preference. As mentioned, Libby is a new e-reader app, meaning it is fast and has an attractive interface. This is the app I currently use on my iPad and I am really enjoying it.
That said, OverDrive is compatible with more platforms, with one of the biggest ones being PC and Mac. Libby is a mobile-only app. Again, it all comes down to what you prefer and how you will be using the app.
If you’ve ever veered into the digital marketing world, you know that the world “funnel” is related to selling products. And, indeed, BookFunnel is intended to help authors sell their books. However, it can still be useful as a reader.
If you’re a reader, think of it as a book discovery app. You won’t read books directly in BookFunnel but can use it to find books from authors who are promoting their books.
The app is free of course, and many authors publish free books, too. Be on the lookout for those!
Currently, BookFunnel only has an Android app.
Alkido? Aldiko? Yeah, that’s it – Aldiko. Honestly, I had a bit of trouble spelling the name of this one at first. Despite my fumbling the name, though, this is an incredibly useful free book app you should definitely consider.
There are actually two apps out there: Aldiko Book Reader and Aldiko Classic. Yes, they are related – both are developed by De Marque. The Book Reader version is very popular on Android with De Marque touting over 30 million users and 200,000+ reviews.
In addition to plenty of books for purchase, there are also a large number of “public domain books” which are totally free. The app is customizable and supports both EPUB and PDF formats, making it a great choice for your e-reading experience.
5. Prolific Works
Prolific Works is another app that’s cool, albeit different from the others. But, of course, the fact that it’s unique is what justifies a spot on this list. It used to be called Instafreebie, which actually gave more of a clue as to what the app is all about.
The reason the Instafreebie name was meaningful is because the app emphasizes book giveaways. Many authors give away books nowadays because they are new, and it may not be easy to get people to pay. However, once people see how good their content is, that can help them build their reputation and authority.
Like BookFunnel, Prolific Works is more of a book discovery app. It doesn’t have its own e-reader but it will integrate with all of the popular ones while helping you find free books to read on them!
Wattpad is an e-book network much like some of the others mentioned on this list – with a slight twist. Namely, the app is a self-proclaimed “social storytelling platform.” This makes you feel connected to others just like you would be while telling stories around a campfire.
You’ll be able to share your thoughts about books on Wattpad with the community in more than 50 languages. As you read, you are able to comment on different parts of the story and see what others have to say about it, too.
7. Apple Books
As you might expect, this app is exclusively available for Apple products. Note that it was previously called iBooks but has since been renamed to Apple Books, or just Books.
That said, if you do have an Apple device, the app comes pre-installed. Plus, there is a whole section within it dedicated to special offers and free books:
Also as expected (because it’s Apple), Books has a beautiful, clean interface. Your e-books can be synced across Apple devices so you can read and track your progress regardless of which one you happen to be using.
8. Google Play Books
Google Play Books is about the closest thing to the Android counterpart of Apple Books. Depending on your manufacturer’s choices, the app may or may not be pre-installed on your Android device. If it isn’t, you can easily find it in Google Play.
Google Play Books doesn’t have a free books section, but it does have a section for “page-turners” under $5 (and audiobooks under $10):
If you are an Android user, this app is certainly not a bad place to start.
If there is only one name you know on this list, this might be the one. The app is of course named after the most popular e-reader in the US, the Amazon Kindle.
Of course, the Kindle app won’t necessarily give you access to free books, but you can read all of your books purchased on Amazon here. Plus, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you’ll have access to over 1 million books. Pretty cool deal!
Not only that but when you sign up for Kindle Unlimited, your first two months are free. It’s really not a bad deal, especially if you read a ton of books. I have personally gotten some great books through Kindle Unlimited, such as “The Power of Habit.”
Along the same vein as the Kindle App is Barnes & Noble’s Nook app. And just like the Kindle app, you don’t have to have a Nook in order to use the Nook app.
If you don’t have a Nook account, you’ll have to create one before you can use the app. You will be prompted to enter a credit card number, but you can skip that if you want. After all, the app has free books (as well as cheap ones):
If you’re familiar with Goodreads, you might think of it primarily as a book list/review site. It became popular because it lets users maintain lists of the books they’ve read as well as review them. It can certainly still be used for those features, but there’s more to Goodreads than that!
You can find some free ebooks on Goodreads, although this app is more of a fun way to find new books and interact with your friends. It lets you add your Facebook friends so you can see what they are reading, which is pretty cool because it’s a great way to get ideas for what to read.
Plus, the app has trivia, giveaways, discussions, and reading challenges – lots of ways to make reading fun, engaging, and interesting.
12. 50000 Free eBooks & Audiobooks
This app from Oodles is a great way to get your paws on some free book goodness! This app used to be called Oodles Books. It does come with ads, but, otherwise, it’s tough to find fault with it.
You’ll notice it has both “regular” ebooks for free as well as free audiobooks. What more could you ask for? The app has over 5 million downloads to date on Google Play and over 55,000 reviews.
Kobo is a company name, an app, and also an e-reader. Although it isn’t quite as well-known as its competitors, it has been producing physical e-reader devices since 2010. Also of note, this is another company that is now owned by Rakuten; in fact, Rakuten acquired Kobo in 2012.
Kobo has plenty to keep you entertained without breaking the bank. Within the app, you’ll find two separate sections – one for free ebooks, and one for top sellers at small prices:
14. Bonus: Project Gutenberg
Gutenberg isn’t really an app, and that’s why it’s labeled as a bonus. Wikipedia describes it as “a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to ‘encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks’”.
In other words, no one’s getting rich off of Gutenberg; it’s simply an effort to get more books in digital format, which is great if you’re like me and you prefer digital books to physical ones.
There also isn’t a dedicated app for Gutenberg, but it has a huge selection of books. And their books are in EPUB format, which most e-readers support. As of 2018, there are over 60,000 books, so that number has likely grown since then.
Over to you – what’s your favorite book app? How do you like to consume books in a digital format? Let us know in the comments!