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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I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


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