How to Enjoy E-books Without Buying an E-Reader

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Don't own an e-reader? Here's how to enjoy e-books on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets and computers.

It’s not something that e-reader companies tend to advertise, but you don’t need to buy an e-reader to enjoy e-books.

A variety of free apps from reputable companies — including e-reader companies — enables various devices to double as e-readers. That includes smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

Let’s take the well-known Kindle, Amazon’s line of e-readers, for example. You don’t need any of them to be able to access, download or read Kindle e-books or other e-reading material that’s available on Kindle e-readers.

For example, if you download the free Kindle app to your iPad, you’ll be able to access, download and read all of the same e-reading materials via your iPad.

Additionally, such free e-reading apps generally come with digital reading tools similar to those that come with e-readers.

The free Kindle app, for example, allows you to:

  • Change an e-book’s font, font size and background color.
  • Organize your e-books and other e-reading materials into categories.
  • Get the definition of any word in a book by tapping on the word.
  • Get character information by tapping on a character name.

Of course, e-readers have screens that are optimized for reading. That might not be true of the screens on your phone, tablet or computer.

For some people, though, that may be a small sacrifice to pay for not having to buy an e-reader — a Kindle can cost up to about $300 — or not having to lug around an extra device.

So we’ve rounded up free e-reading apps and listed the devices for which each app is available.


You can download the free Kindle apps to any of the following devices:

Browser-based alternative: Amazon also offers what it calls the Kindle Cloud Reader, which is free cloud storage space for Kindle e-books. It’s accessible online, meaning you can read Kindle e-books from the web browser of most any device — no need to download an app.


Nook is Barnes & Noble’s line of e-readers, but you don’t need one to enjoy e-books.

Downloading the free Nook Reading App to the following devices will enable you to read e-books on them:


Kobo is a line of e-readers from Rakuten Kobo, a subsidiary of e-commerce company Rakuten. But again, you don’t need a Kobo e-reader to enjoy e-books.

Downloading the free Kobo App to the following devices will enable you to read e-books on them:


iBooks is a free e-reading app by Apple. It enables you to read e-books on:

  • iPad tablets
  • iPhones
  • Mac computers

The app comes pre-installed on Apple devices with certain operating systems, and it can also be downloaded from iTunes.

Google Play Books

Google Play Books is a free e-reading app by Google. It enables you to read e-books on:

Browser-based alternative: Books you download from the Google Play store are also accessible at the website. That means you can read them from the web browser of most any device — no need to download an app.

Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe Digital Editions is a free e-reading app by software company Adobe Systems. It allows you to read e-books on:

  • Android phones and tablets
  • iPad tablets and iPhones
  • Mac and Windows computers

Have you used any of these apps? Let us know what you thought of them by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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