If you are anything like me, you love nothing more than sitting in bed curled up with a good book. Keeping a list of the books I read in a year and getting book recommendations from other bookworms was tricky. But now, like everything else, they’ve got apps for that. Let’s say you’re having trouble remembering what you’ve read, what you want to read, or what you hated. Here are three of the best reading apps out there that you can use to elevate your experience. In addition, they make this hobby feel like fantasy football (in an awesome way)!
StoryGraph: the best reading app for stats and tracking
StoryGraph began as a web platform in 2019 to record the books you read while getting reading recommendations. It is now also an app that helps you keep track of the books you have and read by turning your reading habits into quantifiable data. After an extensive questionnaire in the process of setting up your account, it presents to you your reading preferences at a glance. For avid readers, this is a cool experience, a fun way of validating those hours you spend poring over literary genius.
The app’s best feature is the pie charts that tell you everything you need to know. The app’s statistics range from what sort of book interests you to your reading pace. Only books you mark as ‘currently reading’ and then later change to ‘read’ get marked in the graph. Furthermore, the app does not consider the books you’ve already read. It’s an excellent way to figure out what you’ve been reading too much or too little in a particular month or year. You also get to know what your comfort read might be and what you could go for if you’re adventurous. If you’re already on Goodreads, there’s no need to start all over because you can import your data from Goodreads to StoryGraph.
When you start using the app, you first take a survey with questions to understand what kind of books you like to read and what styles you dislike.
When you click on a book, you will find various editions of the same, a link to buy it, and an option to mark it as ‘owned’. Much like Goodreads, classification is relatively straightforward: you just tag the book as one of four categories:
- to read
- currently reading
- did not finish
When you go into the Recommendations tab, you’re asked, ‘what are you in the mood for?’. You can choose from options like ‘adventurous’, ‘sad’, and ‘hopeful’. In addition, you can select the pace, the genre (fiction or non-fiction), and even the number of pages. You can also ask the app not to showcase books you own or those already in your to-read pile. Then, the app recommends books that match your specifications. I got recommended books that I may never have come across or considered, which were right up my alley. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was exactly what the doctor ordered, and I’d probably never have read it otherwise.
StoryGraph is definitely one of the best reading apps available today. And I can’t agree more with its tagline: “Because life’s too short for a book you’re not in the mood for”.
Bookshelf: the best reading app for staying true to your goals
This free reading app is from VitalSource. The Bookshelf icon is similar to the StoryGraph one. Here too, you have the option to import your Goodreads data, but from there on, the apps operate somewhat differently. Bookshelf is not great for recommendations because it primarily focuses on popular reads and trends. However, it’s one of the best reading apps to keep you reading and learning.
You can fix daily and yearly reading goals. For example, if you decide to read 30 minutes per day, the app ensures that you meet this goal by allowing you to set a timer while you read. You can also add in the number of pages or the amount of time (for audiobooks) you complete each day. If you turn on notifications, the app will continue to motivate you.
The ‘Cards’ tab allows you to take notes while reading. As you accumulate cards, some of them are randomly picked and delivered to you daily to remind you of poignant moments and ideas you may have noted down. There are also Mastery Quizzes that help you remember key points. These are excellent for non-fiction, particularly instructional books.
The drawback is with the categorisation. When you’re trying to add to a particular list, say the list of ‘Finished’ books, and you click the option to ‘Add Books’, the books you select don’t directly get added to that list. You still must go through each book’s particulars and tick the correct category. However, after all that, the app categorises the books based on title, author, and reading status:
- To Read
Book pages also have links to Bookshop.org and Amazon, where you can buy them.
Goodreads: the best reading app for staying ahead of the trend
Goodreads is an old favourite. For most of us readers, this is the first site or app of its kind that we used. This Amazon-owned reading app recommends the most popular books in genres you like. Beyond that, it keeps a tally of your reading conquests and lets you know where you stand with respect to the reading community you are a part of. If you’re new to reading apps, you might find the user interface a bit dull, but the social aspect of it is usually a welcome feature.
You can set a yearly goal and mark the books you read along with the date to add them to your ‘read’ list for the year. But my favourite feature is the header which has different recommendations and lists based on reader reviews. The annual Goodreads Choice Awards list has the most popular books of the year, and you can vote for your favourites. Right now, there’s a list, ‘Readers’ Most Anticipated New Books of January’, of the newly published books that many readers have put in their ‘want to read’ list. Using a similar system, there is also a yearly list for ‘Most Anticipated Books of the Year’. Goodreads is one of the best reading apps to know which books are ‘in’ right now and get excited about the new big thing.
Using these apps takes your hobby to the next level, but most importantly, they’re fun. Have you used any of these reading apps before? Let us know if you have a favourite.