In this post, we’ve listed the best bookish apps that we’ve found online – both free and paid – which can add a new dimension to your reading life. Many of the apps offer similar features, but the approach, usability and design differs. The trick is finding the package that suits you.
To make this easier, we’ve organized these into different categories (see content menus). We’ve also included some newer book apps that have been launched in recent years. There are great apps that are available via either the Apple Store or Google Play. However, this blog post only features book apps that are available for iOS and Android.
Note this post includes affiliate links which means that if you purchase something through this page, we may receive a small commission at no cost to yourself.
Reading Tracker Apps
There are tons of reading tracker apps out there, but for the purposes of this post, I’m only listing a few apps for bookworms that combine great functionality with community and have a few little extras thrown in. All the reading tracking apps below are free.
BookSloth is a relatively new free reading tracker with a fun design and easy usage. You can curate a variety of lists by selecting options such as Mark as Read, To Be Read, Currently Reading and the diplomatic Not for Me. As it’s new, not all titles are on there, but you can request for them to be added. What I particularly like about this feature is that you are able to see how many other people are reading titles, share a review and choose key attributes from a list.
There’s a Community page to ask for recommendations and also a cool Activity page where you can collect reading progress badges. I have to say that I’m very excited to see how this reading app develops.
Litsy is a quirky reading tracking app with a strong visual element and it involves more effort than the other book apps. When you tag a book, you have to post a review, quote or blurb before you can publish an entry. You’re also encouraged to add an image and comment on other’s posts. This doesn’t allow for any linking to your blog or social media platforms. However, you can tag other users.
If you’re looking for a book tracking app where you can become part of a close bookish community then this looks like a great contender.
The grandaddy of book tracking apps. If you want to hook up with bookish buddies then you’re most likely to find them on Goodreads. There are also options to set reading challenges, join groups and receive book recommendations. The app has grown massively over the years which means it’s very comprehensive, but can also be overwhelming in scope.
Audiobook and eBook Apps
We’re using audiobook and eBook apps a lot more nowadays – to free up physical storage space and to maximise the amount of books we can digest. Most of the audiobook and eBook apps are via paid subscription or one-off payment. However, many offer free books too.
The Audible audiobook app is the one that I use most frequently – mainly because of the extensive title range and also because of the ease of use. Often I find that the latest titles are only released in audio format on Audible. It has options to change listening speed, handy chapter headings and a bookmarking facility.
If you’re unsure about this format then the Audible free trial could be for you. This is how I got into listening to titles and you can read my tips for enjoying audiobooks here. After this you can stop and start a monthly subscription. There are regular offers and also free books to listen to.
Google Play Books
This app sells ebooks and audiobooks as individual titles rather than by subscription which is ideal if you don’t want to commit to an ongoing service. There are plenty of offers and you can also search for free books, which although not bestsellers, can widen your reading range in a low risk way.
Rakuten Kobo offers both ebooks and audiobooks via its app as well as a function to self-publish. It has the cheapest audiobook subscription at £6.99 per month and you can trial the app for free for 30 days. To add to the affordability, every time you buy, you have an opportunity to earn Kobo Super Points, which can then be redeemed against future purchases.
Although the NetGalley Shelf app is fairly basic, it’s worth mentioning because it allows you to listen to free review audiobooks and download eBooks to your mobile phone. If you haven’t used NetGalley before, it’s a website that connects publishers with book influencers – allowing free access to review copies. I usually use my Kindle for eBooks but I can only listen to the audiobook advance copies via NetGalley. So far the sound quality has been absolutely fine.
If you’re looking for physical ways to organise books then check out 7 Creative Ways to Display Books.
Book Organization Apps
Do you aant to log all your books and keep track of your personal library? There are more than a few book organization apps out there where you can keep a record of all the titles you own. This is particuarly useful when it comes to growing collections, lending books to friends and family, and decluttering!
Libib is a home library management app that’s designed to keep track of books, movies, video games and music. You can create multiple catalogues using tags, keep detailed notes and connect with other Libib users. Books can be added by either scanning barcodes, or manually inputting the title details. There doesn’t appear to be an option to add books from a database.
There are different pricing brackets, but the free option will suit most readers as it allows you to log up to 5000 titles and 100 libraries.
LibraryThing is probably the most popular of the book organization apps because it allows you to cross-reference multiple collections. Finding titles is simple too – with options to scan barcodes and upload titles from two central databases – Amazon (it has a 40% share in the app via AbeBooks) and Overcat, which could be a potential issue if you’re looking for a totally independent app. You used to have to pay for LibraryThing but it’s free now. This is reflected in the clunky outdated design.
Non-Fiction Book Summary Apps
Book summary apps are relatively new and offer a completely fresh way to absorb the core points of non-fiction books in short chunks – making them ideal for busy people who want to learn quickly. You have to pay a small fee for most of the content, but some is also free. Bear in mind that these apps don’t offer full books though. They are designed to distill book content to its pure essence so you can understand new perspectives and theories without having to read the entire book.
Blinkist is a paid subscription non-fiction book summary app that summarises the top non-fiction books into 15 minute chunks – or Blinks. You can choose to listen to (or download) the key points from over 3000 titles, which means you have a fantastic amount of easily-digestible information at your fingertips.
There are 27 categories in total which cover Productivity, Career and Success, Creativity and Science. The Blinkist book list is comprehensive and includes well-known titles such as The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and Ikagai by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.
At the time of posting, you can pay a cost of £9.99 an individual month’s access or £5 per month for a yearly subscription. There’s also the option to listen to a Free Blink of the Day via the free app.
This is a great app if you’re short on time, but want to improve your knowledge quickly. The website is pretty clear, but you need to download the app to see exactly how it works.
A Blinkist alternative, StoryShots compacts many of the same bestselling non-fiction titles as Blinkist into shortform audio or written word. The main difference is that you have to download the app to see them (and see how the platform works). The What’s New book list is displayed prominently and at present this includes tempting titles including Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, Permanent Record by Edward Snowden and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma.
Although the initial design isn’t as sophisticated as Blinkist’s, the pricing is more generous. StoryShots will give you free access as long as you accept ads and there are some great offers at the moment. For instance, they have a lifetime subscription rate for £21.99, which is incredible value considering the amount of content that’s available.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of best bookish apps and have discovered a few apps for bookworms that you didn’t know about before.
Very useful list, Mel! I’ve used both Kindle and Kobo in the past, and I kept the Kobo despite the ebooks prices are a sometimes a bit higher on the store. I recently subscribed to their VIP membership, which is nice, cheap investment. Before moving, we bought the digital versions of the books we wanted to keep, and gave away the physical copies. Having a tiny physical library is kind of strange, but very efficient these days. Have a nice week!
Thanks for the rec! I’m with Audible at the moment so Al’s going to try Kobo out and then we’ll compare. I love the idea of a having a digital library. Do you think you’ll post on it?
Thanks for this Mel. I use Goodreads but it is frustratingly slow. I’ll take a look at some of these others
I’ve toyed with Goodreads but find it too busy. So far I like BookSloth the best. I don’t really want to join another social network and this app doesn’t seem too demanding!
Lots of new ones here for me. I use goodreads and our library ones, btu not tried the google ones. That is a good idea you don’t have to sign up to a subscription based one x
I like the idea of buying books as you need them rather than having to feel obliged. I was able to pause my Audible subscription a while ago until I needed the credits again – that was handy! x