Tech Desk

From the Tech Desk

Best Mobile Apps for Book Fanatics
With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus officially on the market, many mobile users are trying to figure out clever ways to get out of their current mobile contracts and get their hands on Apple’s newest hardware. Because of this, we at Independent Publisher thought it would be an appropriate time to round up a list of all the mobile apps that book lovers absolutely need to have on their smartphones and tablets. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have the latest iPhone, or even if you use Apple or Android. The following list encompasses essential apps on every operating system and for a range of purposes, from simple eBook readers to book discovery apps. Enjoy!
 
Reading Apps
 
The Amazon Kindle app isn’t necessarily the best reading app available for mobile platforms. However, if you have an Amazon tablet and an Apple phone, or vice versa, it’s the best way to make sure that you can read your eBook files on all of your devices. The mobi/epub file format war is one of the more annoying things about the eBook revolution, but if your allegiances lie with the former, then the Kindle app is a must-download application for your mobile device.
 
Of course, if you have an Apple device, you already have iBooks installed, and it will work just fine for you if epub is your file format of choice. It’s also the perfect reading app for someone who has grown accustomed to Apple’s iTunes format over the years. Not only is it a cool place to catalog your eBooks, but it also makes it very easy for you to download new eBooks directly to your device.
 
Remember that Amazon and Apple-approved programs are not your only reading app options, though. Moon + Reader is a great Android app that allows you to customize your reading and bookshelf interfaces more than any of the more popular readers will; Bluefire, available for iOS and Android, can read Adobe DRM PDF and epub files, and allows you to change text size and color for easy reading and annotating; and Aldiko, another popular Android reader, is like a reader and a cataloging app all in one, allowing you to organize your library with tags and more.
 
Cataloging Apps
 
One of the best things about mobile devices for book lovers—other than the ease of reading on the go, of course—is that fact that they make it much easier to be social about the reading experience. Case-in-point is Goodreads, a popular reading-focused social network that becomes even cooler when you get the mobile app and start cataloging your personal library or “favorite books” list with the included barcode scanner. Whether you are looking to interact with fellow readers, find new books to read, rate or review your favorite titles, or simply keep a running tally of your personal collection, Goodreads is a perfect app for the job.
 
Again though, while Goodreads may be the most popular book cataloging app, it isn’t the only one. Perhaps an even stronger application is iReadItNow, which seeks to “record your reading life in rich context.” With this app, you can maintain lists of the books you have read (or want to read), keep track of when you read those books, share your reading activity on Facebook, and even archive your favorite quotes or passages so that you can always find and remember them. The iReadItNow even creates statistical graphs charting your reading behavior. In short, if you’re someone for whom reading isn’t just a hobby, but a way of life, then this app is a must-have.
 
Miscellaneous Apps
 
“There’s an app for that” is a statement that could—and has—been applied to just about everything, and it certainly holds true for books. You could spend hours on the Apple or Google Play app stores, just searching around for literary-minded apps, and come up with countless results. 
 
For instance, if you’re taking a class on Shakespeare, skip buying the texts and head for your mobile app store. The PlayShakespeare.com app packs 41 plays, 154 sonnets, and 6 other poems—“the complete works of the Bard,” in other words—into a single program. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in Shakespeare in the modern age.
 
Speaking of literary courses, if you’ve got a long car ride ahead of you and want to knock out some required reading, try out Audibly. Like PlayShakespeare, Audibly collects a huge range of public domain texts—2,947 classics, to be exact—into one core database. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to The Count of Monte Cristo, summer reading just got a whole lot easier.
 
If you’d rather actually read your books, forego Audibly for Classics. As you might expect from such a simply titled app, this program just collects a wide range of well-known titles into an anthology of eBooks. 
 
Even once you have all 10 of the apps listed above, there are still so many more options available, from collections of book club discussion questions (Book Club Mobile) to databases of indie book stores (Indie Bound). Got any book-centric apps we didn’t list? Share them in the comments section!

Craig Manning is currently studying English and Music at Western Michigan University. In addition to writing for IndependentPublisher.com, he maintains a pair of entertainment blogs, interns at the Traverse City Business News, and writes for Rockfreaks.net and his college newspaper. He welcomes comments or questions concerning his articles via email, at manningcr953@gmail.com.


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