What are epub books & how do I read them?

Wondering what epub books are? Look no further. Epub books are our preferred format, and we have an epub reader roundup for you right here.
smiling woman reading on her phone

Why epub books are our preferred format

I don’t agree with those who say the print book is threatened by digital publishing. I’ve always seen print books and ebooks as two distinct products, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. And while I’m a huge fan of the printed book (I love the weight, the smell, the way they look on my bookshelves), I also love the way I can carry an entire library of epub books in my pocket, access new titles on a whim and change the font size and colour to suit my surroundings or mood.

The Kindle, of course, is a glorious contraption – so light in your hands and on your eyes – but they are pricey. Kindle books can be read on your phone or computer using the Kindle apps, certainly, but I’m not mad about buying books in dollars on my credit card.

Which brings me to epubs. I am an epub evangelist! Epub books have all the advantages of Kindle books (reflowable text, viewer customisation, annotating, online bookstores), with the added benefit of being compatible with most devices and software. And although you shouldn’t really be able to read them on your Kindle, I’m going to show you a little workaround here that will make it possible.

Plus, I don’t need to own a print copy of every title I read (I barely have enough shelf space as it is!), and sometimes, late on a Friday night or while I’m lazing in bed on a Sunday morning, I just want to get my hands on a copy of that particular book right now! That’s when I love the epub format the most.

If you’d like to see what books we have available in the epub format, take a look at our epub bookshelf here. We’ve also put together an epub FAQ here, which we’ll add to as the need arises.

I hope you find this information useful, and until next time, happy (epub) reading!


Epub reader roundup


Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android

Get it here.

ReadEra is by far our favourite free epub reader (it has a paid-for version too). It’s compatible with Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android; works for laptops, tablets and mobiles; and it has a simple, intuitive design. You can read epubs, kindle books, pdfs and MS Word documents, and the reading experience is impressively customisable. Even the free version is not cluttered up or slowed down by ads.

Google Play Books

Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android

Get it here.

Beautiful and easy to use, Google Play Books is free, light and versatile. Only pdf and epub ebooks can be read on the app, but it does have support for audio books, if that’s your bag. A huge advantage is that it’s linked to the Google ebook store which makes it easy to add to your library. Plus, you can install it on your mobile, tablet and laptop and pick up reading your book where you left off on any device.

Apple Books

MacOS, iOS 

Get it here.

Only available to MacOS and iOS users, Apple Books is pleasant to use and includes additional benefits, such as Apple Books store integration and curated reading lists. Like Google Play Books, you can only read epub and pdf on Apple Books, which counts against it.

EPUBReader Browser

Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera

Get it here.

Listen, with so many great, free apps out there for reading epubs, we don’t really see a reason for you to look for a browser extension. If you insist, though, this epub reader browser extension is not pretty or feature-rich, but it certainly does the job.


I want to read epub books on my Kindle!

OK, OK! We get it, the Kindle is a pleasure to read on.

The Kindle does not natively support epubs, but there’s a pretty easy workaround for you using Calibre.

Calibre Ebook Management Software

All devices, all operating systems

Get it here.

From the Calibre website:

Calibre supports almost every single e-Reader and is compatible with more devices with every update. You can transfer your e-books from one device to another in seconds, wirelessly or with a cable. And you don’t need any additional tools to do that. calibre will send the best file format for your device converting it if needed, automatically.

No matter what PC, laptop or tablet you use, calibre’s got you covered. And if you’re traveling and don’t have your device with you – you can take calibre on a USB stick and use it wherever you are.

calibre can convert dozens of file types. No matter where you got your e-book from, it’ll be ready for your device in no time. When converting, you can also automatically change the book’s style, create a table of contents or improve punctuation and margins. calibre will also detect the format that’s best suited for your device on its own, so you don’t have to bother.

calibre can also turn your personal documents to e-books or create them from scratch. It can also take all the mundane things that go with it off your plate. It has automatic style helpers and scripts generating the book’s structure. You focus on the content, calibre will take care of the rest.


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