Best Reading Apps for the Digital-Age Literati

The printed word won’t lose its significance anytime soon, but as technology marches on, we’re beginning to understand that the “printed” part might not be changing its connotation. Books — the kind made of paper — aren’t gone, but in a world increasingly saturated with screens, it’s important to understand what your options are when it comes to diving into a good book or article by way of tablet or smartphone. We’ve found that these apps and services make it easier and more convenient to read from anywhere; they help you build a library that’s intuitive, easy, cleanly organized and totally weightless.

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Amazon Kindle Unlimited


Because the thought of paying for each book you read sounds entirely unappealing, there is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 per month, you’ll gain access to over 700,000 books (a quickly growing number) and thousands of audiobooks. From classics to heralded best sellers, you’ll run out of mental energy before you run out of words to ingest. For those who already spend a lot of time in Amazon’s ecosystem, it’s a natural extension, and it’s available on pretty much every digital device, from iPhones to iPads, Android devices and any modern web browser. The only major rub is that existing Amazon Prime owners don’t get free or discounted access, but for 700,000 books at your fingertips, you can work past that.

Buy Now: $10/month



Designed to hook into pretty much any online article service, this invaluable app ingests stories from anywhere on the web and reformats them to look good on a mobile display. Which is to say those pop-ups, colors and whiz-bang site graphics are stripped away, leaving you with words and words alone. Perhaps the biggest perk of Pocket is its offline mode, which enables you to download your stored articles locally to your device so that you can read while on a plane or in a distant village far from the worries of life. The app will automatically accept stories that are sent by email, copied into the app, or favorited on Twitter (by way of a useful IFTTT trigger). Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

Buy Now: Free



Once you’re acclimated with Pocket, Short should be your next download. This free app accepts articles that are stored in Pocket, Instapaper, Readability and more, and then automatically sorts them by estimated reading time. You can filter by times (as short as 5 or 10 minutes), enabling you to know what you’re diving into before you tackle that introductory paragraph. An eye-pleasing night mode, a reading progress meter and share functionality make it a must-have for avid readers.

Buy Now: Free



Recognized as the Netflix for books, Oyster‘s $9.95 monthly service trumps Amazon’s book list by offering “over one million” titles, with more being added each week. You’ll also find newer and more prominent titles here, including the entire Harry Potter series (give in to your guilty pleasures). It’s available on every major mobile platform and the ol’ web browser, and offers one of the slickest user interfaces for bookmarking, highlighting and customizing the onscreen view.

Buy Now: $10/month



Those looking for an ideal way to digest the news need look no further than Flipboard. This free app allows users to subscribe to genres, channels or individual authors. In the Technology channel, for instance, you’ll find the day’s top tech news stories wound up in a flippable book format, with each article formatted to look the same despite being published from a range of sources. If the Internet just seems too noisy, Flipboard adds serenity to keeping up with the beats that matter most to you.

Buy Now: Free

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