Which e-book reader library should you implement in a mobile app?

28. July 2016

When it comes to developing mobile apps we always try to find some components, kits or libraries in order to save time and money – especially if the app is being custom developed for a customer.

Recently, we have been working on an e-commerce mobile app where it will be possible to read e-books, newspapers & magazines and play audiobooks. But the biggest challenge surely has been the fact that the app should be able to read e-books at least in epub, pdf and mobi format which would normally take a few months to develop in-house – being unreasonable for the project deadline.

At that point, we decided to do a research within e-book reader SDKs, kits, and libraries that would help us choose the best possible option. As this might be the case of many mobile developers we would like to share it with you now.

 
Android
iOS
Other platforms
PDF
ePub
Mobi
Other formats
License
RadaeePDF
x
x
x
x
Licensed
PSPDFkit
x
x
x
x
x
Annual
FBReader
1
5
● 
7
free GPL / closed source commercial version
SkyEpub
x
x
x
 
PDFTron
2
x
x
x
Licensed
Epublib
x
3
x
x
x
 
Android Daisy ePub Reader
x
x
x
x
x
Apache
EpubParser
x
x
x
x
x
x
 
Android PDFViewer
x
x
6
x
x
x
Apache
Pdfium Android
x
x
x
x
x
Apache
PdfViewPager
x
x
x
x
x
Apache
Android PdfViewer8
x
x
x
x
x
 
PlugPDF
x
x
x
x
Commercial
PDFjet
x
4
x
x
x
Commercial
MuPDF
x
x
x
x
GNU Affero General Public License
1 MacOS, Windows, Blackberry 
2 web-based so almost any device
3 devices capable to run JVM
4 Windows
5 plugin (Radaee)
6 based on Pdfium
7 fb2, rtf, htm, doc
8 different library with the same name

 

As far as the selection of the best choice goes, it is primarily a matter of what platforms & e-book formats do you need for your app. In our case, the customer wanted to cover iOS and Android and the mentioned e-book formats ideally with a single reader/library so we chose FBReader as we believe it was the best choice regarding these aspects. However, that might be completely unnecessary for your app. That’s why we recommend considering the exact platforms & formats that you might want to use even in the future and make the decision based on that information since it can influence the costs greatly. Secondly, it is also important to assess other differences between the libraries/readers such as display options, ergonomics, design etc. so that it fits your & (more importantly) your customers’ needs.

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