What are the essential features of any modern reading app?
Any mobile app today should have a user-friendly UI and UX. But you don’t really need to reinvent the wheel. Check out the features that all popular e-reader apps have:
An in-app ebook store along with a user library management system
Support for the most popular digital formats (EPUB, PDF, TXT, LIT, AZW, ODF, MOBI).
The ability to adjust text formatting (font and size) to make reading more convenient on any screen and to meet users’ needs
Color themes and backgrounds for app customization
Cloud storage for books with the ability to download them on-demand to save storage space
The ability to search for text, books, and categories so users can find everything they need
Bookmarks, text highlighting, and notes so users can mark parts they find exciting or remember where they’ve stopped reading
A help center to make sure users can get through any issues
Social network integration for easy registration and for sharing notes or quotes from ebooks — or even for sharing ebook files
What extra features can you add?
Now that you know the basic features to start with, you’re probably thinking about how to get into the market with such big players as Google Books, Kindle, and Moon+ Reader. Don’t worry. There’s still room for one more! You can try adding killer features to catch attention and make your users loyal. Check out our suggestions on how to build a truly remarkable app below.
Let users choose the genres and topics they like by going through a set of welcome screens. Another idea is to suggest reading plans so users have something to achieve and can track their progress. You can check out the Reading Planner app to see how you can implement this functionality.
Help readers stay motivated and track their progress with detailed reading reports and graphs. MyBook, one of the top reading apps in the Eastern European market, tells users how much time they’ve spent reading, what books they’re currently reading, how many books and pages they’ve already covered, and so on.
Give users’ eyes a break from strong light by changing the UI to darker colors with night mode. Try out the Wattpad app for an example of this feature.
Implement offline mode so users don’t need an internet connection to read. FBReader is just one of the many e-reader apps that have an offline mode.
Help users organize their offline content for quick search and access. Your app can automatically find and sort downloaded content by series, genre, author, and format. Comicat, an Android app for reading comic books, is a great example of how you can do that.
A web version of your app (like Kindle Cloud Reader) will let your users read not only on a mobile device but on any device with an internet browser. The cherry on top is that you’ll be able to scale your business further if you create a web version, which means more customers in the future.
Give your users access to literature in different languages by providing on-demand translation (that is especially important if you provide any digital learning content). For instance, you might let users tap on a word they don’t know and see a translation by Google Translate or Amazon Translate. You can check out KyBook Reader to see how to create this feature for your app’s user-friendly interface.
Offer audibooks in your app so users can walk or run while enjoying a book. If you’re looking to check out an app that successfully provides online and offline audiobooks, try LibriVox.
Syncing across devices
Amazon offers its Whispersync tech to let all audiobook lovers switch between devices on web and mobile platforms without losing their listening and reading progress. Have a look at the Audible app to see how this feature works.
You can provide text-to-speech as an alternative to audiobooks. Some apps, like Cool Reader, offer this feature out of the box. Others, like FBReader, let users download a plugin for a text-to-speech feature. Moreover, you can add a couple of voices to make listening more comfortable.
Get users to interact with each other in your reading program. Build a rating system with comments and likes so users can learn more about digital books and choose ones they’ll truly enjoy. Goodreads is an example of a network where users can easily add reviews, suggest books to read, and track each other’s progress.
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