Nothing beats picking up a paper book, feeling the pages and admiring the cover art. But avid readers know that e-books are way easier to travel with, ideal for those living in small spaces and a good way to keep all your highlighted passages in one place.
The good news is that if you already have an iPad your tablet computer makes a fantastic e-reader. The large screen of one of the best iPads provides an awesome way to read your favorite books, magazines, and other content, like comics and reports.
Apple has its own Books app, but there are plenty of other e-reader apps to choose from, and these are our top picks whether you're going to be using an old iPad or the latest Apple iPad Pro with M2 chip.
Our top picks of the best e-reader apps for iPad
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Although Amazon is now a huge online store that sells almost everything imaginable, back in its early days, it started as an online bookstore, and the Kindle app provides access to Amazon's massive catalog of books.
Kindle can do just about anything you want from an e-reader, including changing the font, background color, highlighting text, making annotations, and more. Plus, Kindle has a very robust library management system that makes it super easy to find pages in any book with only a couple of taps of the screen.
If you're new to e-reading, I highly suggest downloading Kindle and giving it a try. After prompting you to log in to your Amazon account, Kindle will ask you to select some genres of books you like to read and rate a handful of titles. Kindle uses this information to help you discover books you might like in the future, but it also downloads some samples for you to try. While these free samples are only part of a book, it gives you a chance to try the interface out for yourself to see if you like it.
An extraordinarily large catalog of books and audiobooks is available for purchase and all of it is connected to your Amazon account.
If you're looking for an e-reader app that can access your Adobe content, look no further than Bluefire Reader.
On top of Adobe DRM content, Bluefire Reader can handle EPUB and PDF files, allowing you to transfer your own files from other places and have them conveniently in one place. Plus, Bluefire allows users to easily bookmark locations, highlight text, make annotations, and even use night mode across all your iOS devices, so you'll be able to read how and when you want.
Bluefire Reader is cleaner and more minimalist than other reader apps, making it perfect for people who don't care about all the fancy bells and whistles.
If you're the type of person who likes an unlimited subscription service for your content and doesn't mind shelling out some cash every month, Scribd has been called the "Netflix for books."
Much like its nickname would indicate, Scribd has a huge library of books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, and more that you can access for a monthly subscription fee, which varies in price depending on what tier you choose.
The app itself is extremely well organized and easy to navigate, plus all the typical functionality of great e-reader apps are included. You'll be able to annotate, highlight text, and use bookmarks whenever you please, all while being able to customize the look.
For a monthly subscription, you'll get access to books, audiobooks, sheet music, magazines, newspapers, and more.
Google Play Books
If you're locked into the Google ecosystem, you can still read all your favorite books on your iPad with Google Play Books.
With thousands of books, audiobooks, comic books, magazines, and other content to choose from, Google Play Books syncs across all your devices using your Google account. Perfect for people who choose the iPad as their preferred tablet while also carrying around an Android phone.
Its relatively simple design is easy to navigate and has all the options — such as annotations, changing fonts, and highlighting text — that you'd expect in an e-reader app.
Libby by OverDrive
Some public libraries across the country already have a digital media lending system that doesn't cost you any extra money and the makers of OverDrive brings that media directly to your iPad.
Libby by OverDrive allows you to borrow books, audiobooks, and other content from the digital collections of participating libraries, without having to leave the comfort of your home, office, cabin, or anywhere else you and your iPad find yourself.
With access to the collection 24/7, the ability to create wishlists, and OverDrive's automatic returns feature, you'll never need to step foot in your local library again!
Kobo has been around for a long time and has a well-established library of books and audiobooks, all of which you can access through the Kobo Books app on your iPad.
It's a store and e-reader all in one where you can buy, download, and read all your books right from the app. It has a ton of different themes you can set your background to, from light and bright white tones to blacks and dark grays, meaning regardless of the lighting around you, you should be able to read comfortably. Plus, it even has a night mode to make it a bit easier on your iPad's battery.
With a robust rate and review system, along with a vast user base, Kobo is great at discovering new books and old classics.
Specifically designed for the iPad (though you can get it for your iPhone, too), BookFusion has a library of over 2 million books to peruse for all your reading needs.
BookFusion also has an incredible suite of customization settings that can allow you to adjust vertical/horizontal margins, line spacing, fonts, bold/italics, colors, and more, making it perfect to tailor to your preferred reading experience. It even has an integrated reader, meaning you can open and read all your EPUB and PDFs, which will help you with productivity as much as in your leisure time.
With a ton of customization options to optimize your reading experience, BookFusion was specifically designed with the iPad in mind.
The best iPad for reading
It's the smallest iPad that Apple makes, which allows it to be ultra-portable. Plus, it's super powerful since it's packing the A15 Bionic chip, so when you're not reading you can game or work with no problem.
If you're looking for a larger iPad to read from, then take a look at our iPad Air 5 review. This gorgeous-looking iPad has a 10.9-inch liquid retina display, as well as Apple's latest M1 chip. If you want to really enjoy colourful comics and non-fiction books with diagrams, then we think this is the best iPad for you.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.