Essential Features to Your Perfect Reading App

They say modern people don't read, but this is far from the truth. Many of us don't mind enjoying a good book, we just select other writings and read them in other formats: in the end, the 21st century with its dynamics dictates new rules. For example, we're constantly in a hurry, and time is becoming a very valuable resource. We have no choice but to read in traffic jams or queues: simply put, we're forced to use any free minute wisely. However, you must admit that carrying heavy books with you and taking them wherever you go is inconvenient (to say the least)... inconvenient and unnecessary, since you have your smartphone. So all you actually need is a mobile app for reading, which is also called an eBook reading application.

If you’re a reader, everything is simple: choose the app you really like, download it, and drop into your books. But if you intend to provide these cool mobile platforms, then the task is more complicated. You have to figure out how to create a reading application and what features are essential to such programs. 

Perhaps, the issue deserves a more detailed discussion.

What are e-reading apps?

The meaning of these programs is clear from the name itself: they are special mobile services intended to make the reading process much more enjoyable and comfortable.

However, let's discuss the benefits of e-reading apps step by step. 

Benefits of modern eBook Reader apps:

  • Maximum convenience. As we've already said, the applications in question save us from carrying heavy books around. Of course, there are also special devices whose only function is to be a platform for reading electronic books (say, Kindle), but they aren't without drawbacks. Firstly, they’re single-purpose, while our smartphone solves many problems. Secondly, they’re not really cheap. And why spend money when you can download any free eBook reading app and install it on your smartphone (which is always at your fingertips anyway)?

  • Library in your pocket. Such applications offer you the opportunity to have constant access to hundreds of different books. So you're literally luging the entire library with you. Isn't it cool? 

  • Customizability. The paper books we're used to are unchangeable (which is logical!): they'll forever remain as they were once published. However, with mobile services, it's another case. The user himself chooses the font, background, and more: in other words, he customizes his book. Though, we'll discuss this topic in due course.

  • Variety of choices. Such applications usually offer their readers a carefully selected rich library consisting of paid and/or free books at any taste. So the process of finding your favorite piece is greatly facilitated.

  • Unique features. Also, let’s not forget about the features of modern reading apps. Mobile services give full scope to the app owner's imagination. It means he may please his users with the most unique features (which we'll talk about later).

How to Create a Reading App

Possibly, the above benefits will finally convince you that the idea of creating an app for reading books is a good one: as you see, such programs are full of advantages attracting an increasing number of users. So, with each year, the target audience of these services is likely to keep expanding, resulting in growing demand. And if there is demand, supply is always needed.

One of our projects is the Bookis application aimed at selling and exchanging books. Follow the link to find out all the details.
One of our projects is the Bookis application aimed at selling and exchanging books. Follow the link to find out all the details.

Before moving on and telling you how to make a reading application, we need to answer a few more important questions, such as...

Who is interested in building a reading app?

So, users are definitely interested in such services, there is no doubt about that. But who benefits from their creation (we mean reading app development)? Let’s see.

  • Ebook-stores. If you have your own store selling electronic books, be sure to create an e-reading app. First of all, you’ll get an additional source of income (see the paragraph on monetization). And we guess, you wouldn’t mind the idea of increasing profits, right? Secondly, and most importantly, a perfect eBook reader application (or close to being perfect) would help you expand your target audience, for you’re welcome to use your mobile service to advertise the store of yours. Also, such an app serves as an extra selling channel.

  • Free-standing startups. It's not necessary to own an e-bookstore to develop mobile reading apps. You can always approach some existing bookstores or collect a library of books yourself. There're a lot of options, the main thing is to be smart.

  • Intermediaries. Another format is peer-to-peer services. You act as an intermediary by providing readers and writers with a meeting place. They themselves will post their literary works; also, they'll get access to pieces of other authors.

Common mistakes to avoid during reading app development 

Further in the article, we'll talk about the secrets of successful eBook Reader apps, and right now, let's just discuss the main mistakes you should definitely avoid.

  • Excessive contrast in the app design. The color scheme of e-reading apps is of great importance, and the black-and-white version isn't always the best solution since it implies excessive contrast. Reading black text written on a bright white background can really tire your eyes.

  • Slow operation. If the application is slowly updating, the user is likely to uninstall it soon. Imagine: you're reading a fascinating book, and the pages are hardly loading, which means you have to wait to find out the continuation of the story. It would annoy you, wouldn't it?

  • Poor library. Of course, you can offer the reader to upload books on his own, but it’s always nice to know that there're other options too.

  • Bad customization. If the user can't customize the display of text to his taste, he'll have one more reason to delete the program at all. 

The most popular e-reader apps to inspire you

Before you figure out how to create a reading app, you need to explore the modern market and find out with whom your program has to compete. Maybe,  examples of your competitors would inspire you and suggest a couple of cool ideas.


reading app development

Let's start our review of popular e-reader apps with Bookmate, which managed to win the sympathy of numerous users.

Why is Bookmate so good?

  • Synchronization between devices. The user can start reading the book on the tablet and continue enjoying it on the smartphone from the very same page.

  • Convenient payment system. Instead of buying a separate book, the user pays for a monthly or annual subscription and gets access to all the works of the library.

  • Web interface. The Bookmate service also offers the opportunity to take advantage of the resource so that a user can upload any book in epub or fb2 format to his library.

  • Access to free books. The feature is targeted at users who're not able to buy books.

  • The possibility to present a Bookmate subscription to a friend (as the last cool bonus of the application).

features for mobile reading app


Moon+ Reader

e-reading apps

Moon+ Reader is another successful eBook Reader app aimed at those who like to customize the program interface at full.

The benefits of Moon+ Reader include:

  • Support for the maximum number of file formats (TXT, Epub, HTML, UMD, and ZIP);

  • A rich collection of built-in color themes;

  • Day & Night modes;

  • Animated page-turning effects and touch brightness control;

  • Attention to the user's eyesight (the application warns the user if he has already spent too much time reading);

  • The opportunity to read a huge number of free books (many more than Bookmate offers).

mobile app for reading




Develop Mobile Reading App

We couldn't fail to mention such an original mobile app for reading (and writing!) as Wattpad. In fact, this is a service connecting writers and readers and offering the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the author.

The uniqueness of Wattpad is that you can not only read books (without payment!) and contact their authors but also publish your own pieces.

creating an app for reading books

Key features for mobile reading apps

Do you want to build an eBook reading app able to join the number of top mobile programs? Then it's time to think over its features.

User profile

As always, it all starts with creating a personal account. That is, the user signs up and gets access to his profile, in which he's allowed to specify his own individual settings. Also, invite him to tell a little about himself: his interests, hobbies, taste preferences (especially regarding literature), and more. Such information will help you personalize the application in the future. However, we’ll discuss personalization later.

Book store

A mobile app for reading is a good way to improve your e-bookstore sales. However, if you don't have such a store, it would be wise to partner with one of the existing ones to provide users with a greater selection of writings. 

Free library

A perfect reading application will certainly offer the user a library of free books (in addition to paid ones). Otherwise, disappointment in your program is inevitable. And you don't want your readers to be disappointed, right?

And we advise you to put free options in a separate app section so that the user can easily find them.

Earlier, we mentioned the Bookis project from our portfolio if you remember. Here's what the design of its interface looks like (animated version). 

Uploading and downloading books

Also, don’t forget to provide the user with 2 interconnected features:

  • uploading the book to the application (it can be stored in the cloud storage);

  • downloading the book to the user’s device.

By the by, your competitors, other e-reading apps, often provide users with a special web interface to facilitate the download and upload processes (the same Bookmate, for instance).

User library

The list of features of modern reading apps must also be supplemented with a User Library.

In other words, the user should be able to save his favorite books in his library. This would allow him to always have quick access to these writings (otherwise, he'll be gotten to search them again every time, which isn't very convenient).

Support for various ebook formats

The importance of this feature cannot be overestimated. So make sure that your platform supports the maximum number of ebook formats, including epub, pdf, HTML, fb2, RTF, txt, Mobi, etc. Naturally, the user can always resort to the help of converting programs, but why force him to take extra steps?


Discussing what prevents some mobile services from joining the ranks of successful eBook Reader apps, we mentioned such an omission as poor customization. And if you don’t want to make the same mistake, take care of a few important things:

  • Proper text adjustment: font, color, and size of letters;

  • Various color themes and backgrounds;

  • Contrast and brightness adjustment.

In short, let the user decide for himself in what format he prefers to read the book. A good example: if he has poor eyesight, he’ll set a large font size and increase the brightness of the screen.

Advanced book search

It's not enough to offer readers access to an electronic bookstore and a free library. In addition, you must provide them with an advanced search engine so that users don't have problems finding the right book.

And remember, a good search solution should include a filter system: say, search by book title, author, year of publication, and other parameters.

Key features for mobile reading apps
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Notes, bookmarks, and text highlightings

Any top-end application means maximum intuitiveness and user-friendliness. And when it comes to building a reading app, it implies, among other things, the following:

  • Notes. A very important feature, especially if the user is working on a scientific piece or a book on psychology and wants to be able to leave notes.

  • Highlighting the text is another way to emphasize a significant part of the writing. We think students would be especially happy about such an opportunity (after all, the library of a modern eBook Reader app may include tutorials either).

  • Bookmarks. A rare book can be read at one bout. And if so, bookmarks of all sorts would definitely come in handy.

Social media integrations

There is probably no need to explain in detail why integration with social networks is useful. Let's just briefly list the benefits that a user receives (and a satisfied user is a loyal user):

  • quick registration in the application;

  • the ability to share news and books with friends (while advertising your platform).

Push notifications

Any application should include the Push Notification feature, and e-reading apps are no exception. So stay in touch with the user and notify him of everything he might be interested in: a new update to the program, interesting book novelties, a growing collection of backgrounds, etc.

Multiple platform support

Our description of features for mobile reading apps ends with an extremely important point. Surely, we mean multiple platforms' support. And admit, you don’t know in advance which devices your users give their preference to. So you had better take into account all the possibilities (iOS, Android, and even Web).

How to monetize a reading app

In our articles, we're writing a lot about different ways of monetizing applications. And if you follow the Agilie blog, you already know how to make a mobile platform profitable. So we won't go into all the details once again and just confine ourselves to describing a convenient business model you may resort to. 

It includes several stages:

  1. Freemium model. Firstly, it would be smart of you to create two versions of your eBook reading app:

    1. Free version. It should offer basic functionality and may contain advertising (which is also an additional monetization of the program).

    2. Paid version. It must be ad-free and provide users with premium features (say, automatic reading aloud, integration with online translators, access to audiobooks, and so on).

  2. Additional sale of eBooks. (a good option if you’re also an e-bookstore owner).

  3. In-app purchases. Do your best to show some imagination. Let’s say, how about a paid collection of especially beautiful backgrounds (if there’re free color schemes too, of course)?

How to monetize a reading app
In this article, we talk about application monetization at greater length.

Alas, you're unlikely to monetize your reading app if your project has failed. So let's talk about preventing such a sad outcome.

Make a successful eBook Reader app

The success of a reading app depends on many factors, and quality development with further effective promotion is only part of what is required. It's time to discuss other important nuances.

  1. Gamification. There is nothing worse than a boring application. So, you need to add an element of gamification to make the process of using your platform more fun. Think of a bonus system and award points assigned to especially active users, organize contests between readers, or come up with another no less cool idea.

  2. More personalization. Build an eBook reading app with personalization features. Say, offer users book novelties they should like or classical pieces they might have missed. To guess the tastes of a particular user, resort to simple steps:

    • ask the user to share with you his interests, favorite book genres, etc;

    • collect user behavior statistics and analyze the data obtained.

  3. More social features. It would be a wise step to create a reading application that also plays the role of a special social network (figuratively speaking). Believe us, your readers would be happy to use your program as a specialized communication platform. They'll be able to discuss popular books, share news, and take part in other social activities.

  4. Night & Offline modes. To make the application even more convenient, give users the opportunity to work in different modes, namely:

    • offline mode (without Internet access);

    • night mode (needed to protect the user's eyesight).

  5. Controlled sound effects. A regular program has every chance to become a perfect eBook reader app if you add sound effects appearing when your user moves to the next screen, selects text, or performs other actions. An important clarification: these effects must be controllable (that is, the user should be able to turn them off if desired).

  6. Constant updates. A paper book cannot be updated, but a mobile application definitely can. Don't miss your chance to improve and expand your app functionality (users will appreciate your efforts).

  7. Stunning design. And finally, you cannot make a successful eBook reader without a cool interface design. Keep it in mind and hire qualified UI/UX experts.

eBook reading app

Here is a striking example of the stunning reading app design created by a UI/UX expert of the Agilie team. Looks impressive, right?

Make a successful eBook Reader app
Are you ready to start reading app development? Then contact us and let;s get started!


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