Top 5 Best EPUB Readers for Linux [Compared]

7 min


Are you looking for the best EPUB readers for Linux? Here are the best FOSS EPUB readers for you.

Are you an avid Linux user who loves reading ebooks? If yes, you must know that the default document viewer on most of the Linux distros may not meet all your requirements for being a bookworm.

EPUB is a widely used open ebook format supported by most ebook readers. Thankfully, several EPUB reader apps are available in the Ubuntu software centre and other repositories that you can download for free.

But remember, there are only a couple of good readers available. Not many!

In this article, we’ll discuss the best EPUB readers for Ubuntu Linux that will enhance your reading experience. We’ll also explore their features and benefits, so you can choose the one that suits your needs.

But before that, what features should you look for in a “good” EPUB reader?

Features to Look for in an EPUB Reader

  • User Interface: A good EPUB reader should have a clean and intuitive user interface that makes navigating and customising your reading experience easy. It’s not a physical book you are reading, so the user interface is essential for the “physical book” reading experience!
  • Customization: The ability to customize the font size, font type, background colour, and other settings is an essential feature that enhances your reading experience.
  • Bookshelf: A bookshelf is a handy feature that allows you to organize your EPUB files and keep track of your reading progress.
  • Annotation: The ability to highlight, underline, and add notes to your EPUB files is a valuable feature that helps you remember important points.
  • Syncing: If you read EPUB files on multiple devices, syncing your reading progress and bookmarks are essential to avoid losing track of your progress.

Now, let’s take a look at the best EPUB readers for Ubuntu and other Linux that offer all the features mentioned above.

Best EPUB readers for Ubuntu and other Linux distros

Calibre

The first on this list is Calibre which is the best & complete ebook management solution. It is a powerful EPUB reader that also serves as an ebook management tool. It is a popular choice among users due to its extensive feature set, including the ability to convert EPUB files to different formats, edit EPUB files, and even create your own EPUB files. Calibre also has a user-friendly interface and allows you to customize your reading experience.

Calibre welcome wizard
Calibre welcome wizard; Image credit: Calibre team

Calibre is continuously updated, with features and enhancements pouring in every month. It is very active in its development and one of the best on this list.

  • Supports several ebook devices (Android, iOS based)
  • EPUB reader and manager
  • Custom rating and tagging for your ebook library
  • Fetch ebook metadata from the internet
  • Read news from popular news sources and make ebooks!
  • Upload ebooks to Kindle and other readers with the auto converter (with download as well)
  • Built-in browser to shop ebooks
Calibre main window
Calibre main window; Image credit: Calibre team
Uploading books to Calibre
Uploading books to Calibre; Image credit: Calibre team

You can download Calibre from the official website. Alternatively, you can set up Flatpak & Flathub for your Linux distribution and hit the below button to install (or use the command):

flatpak install com.calibre_ebook.calibre

For other download options (Windows, macOS and native Linux packages), visit this page.

Foliate

We featured Foliate in part 3 of best Ubuntu apps series earlier. It is a lightweight and modern EPUB reader that offers a range of customization options. It’s based on GTK4 and seamlessly integrates itself with the GNOME desktop. It has a sleek interface that is easy to navigate and the ability to customize font size, font type, and line spacing.

Foliate main window and settings
Foliate main window and settings

Foliate also includes a dark mode for nighttime reading and the option to adjust the colour temperature built-in to reduce eye strain.

Feature summary:

  • Immersive view with autohide feature of main top bar for reading
  • Catalogue view with direct download support from major ebook websites
  • Multiple views – two-page and scrolling view
  • Custom font and line-spacing
  • Built-in brightness control, which applies to the app only!
  • Reading progress sliders
  • Bookmark, annotation support
  • Search inside book
  • Quick dictionary lookup
Foliate reader view
Foliate reader view
Foliate library view
Foliate library view

The best way to download Okular is using Flatpak. Set up your system for Flatpak & Flathub and using the below link to install it (or use the command mentioned below):

flatpak install com.github.johnfactotum.Foliate

To learn more about Foliate, visit the official website.

Okular

KDE’s own document viewer is Okular which also supports EPUB files. It is a feature-rich application that offers a range of customization options, including font size, font type, and background colour. Okular also has a built-in annotation feature, which you can use to annotate your EPUB files. It also supports a wide range of file formats:

  • EPUB
  • PDF
  • DjVU
  • Image files: JPEG, PNG, GIF, Tiff, WebP
  • Comics files: CBR and CBZ

However, you can’t manage ebook collections or download ebooks using Okular.

Okular
Okular

You can install Okular in Ubuntu and other related distribution using:

sudo apt install okular

For Fedora and related distros:

sudo dnf install okular

If you prefer Flatpak, set up your system as Flatpak and install it using the below link (or use the command mentioned below):

flatpak install org.kde.okular

Bookworm

The next EPUB reader on this list is Bookwork, which is totally underrated in my opinion. It is actually an elementary OS app but available for installation for all Linux distributions.

It has a clean interface and offers a range of customization options, including font size, font type, and background colour. Bookworm also allows you to organize your EPUB files into collections and keep track of your reading progress.

Bookworm library view
Bookworm library view

In addition, you can easily manage your EPUB books using a built-in tag editor and rating system. Also, it has support for annotation, search, chapter and keyboard-driven browsing.

Last but not least, it supports EPUB, MOBI, PDF, EB2, CBR and CBZ files.

Bookworm EPUB reader view
Bookworm EPUB reader view

Installation is easy. If you are an elementary OS user, you can search for “bookworm” in AppCenter.

For Ubuntu and related distros, you can install it using the below PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bookworm-team/bookworm
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install com.github.babluboy.bookworm

If you prefer Flatpak, set up your system for Flathub & Flatpak and install it using the below command:

flatpak install com.github.babluboy.bookworm

To learn more, visit the official website.

FBReader

The final app in this best EPUB readers list is FBReader. Before you read, note that it was open source until 2015. But now, it is not open source. However, a developer SDK is available.

It is a popular and versatile EPUB reader that is available for all Linux distros. It has a simple and user-friendly interface allows you to customize your reading experience. FBReader also supports various ebook formats, including EPUB, MOBI, FB2 and HTML. It also offers a bookshelf feature that allows you to organize your ebooks and keep track of your reading progress.

FBRedaer also supports cloud sync of your library between your devices.

FBReader
FBReader

Installing FBReader is a little difficult for Linux since it is only available as a Snap package. You can install it using snap as below after setting up your system for Snap.

sudo snap install fbreader

To learn more about FBReader, visit the official website.

More EPUB readers for Linux

Koodo reader

It’s a fairly new FOSS EPUB reader with tons of features. And it looks great too. The only thing is it is built using Javascript, HTML and TypeScript. So, not a native app, but it’s fast. You might want to give it a try. Koodo reader comes with AppImage, native deb and RPM files for Linux.

You can download here, and here are some screenshots.

Koodo EPUB reader
Koodo EPUB reader
Koodo - reader view
Koodo – reader view
Koodo options
Koodo options

Arianna (New from KDE Team)

KDE team has recently announced the development of a new ePub reader application called Arianna. The app is built on top of Qt and Kirigami, offering a sleek and modern user interface.

Arianna serves both as an ePub viewer and a library management app, and makes use of Baloo to find existing ePub files on the user’s device and categorize them. The library view of Arianna keeps track of reading progress and updates with new books as soon as they are downloaded.

Arianna also includes an internal search functionality and the ability to browse books by genre, publisher, or author for larger libraries. In addition, the reader interface features a progress bar to track reading progress and keyboard navigability, and allows users to search within a book for a specific word.

You can install it using Flatpak/Flathub.

flatpak install flathub org.kde.arianna
Arianna - Main view
Arianna – Main view
Reading View
Reading View

There are two other EPUB readers but they are now discontinued, unfortunately.

Comparison Table of the EPUB readers

To make it easier for you to choose the right EPUB reader for your needs, we’ve created a comparison table highlighting each EPUB reader’s key features described above.

EPUB ReaderUser InterfaceCustomizationBookshelfAnnotationSyncing
Calibre✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Foliate✔️✔️✔️✔️❌
Bookworm✔️✔️✔️❌ (limited)❌
Okular✔️✔️❌❌ (limited)❌
FBReader✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️

Where to get free ebooks?

Many websites give you vast collections of comics and novels from prominent authors. The best website is “Project Gutenberg”. Here you can download 60,000+ ebooks from all categories.

Visit the website using the link below. Once you have downloaded it, you can use any of the above EPUB readers to make your personal ebook collection and enjoy.

Project Gutenberg

You can also try standard ebooks with a refined collection of free e-books.

Standard eBooks

Conclusion

In conclusion, several EPUB readers are available for Linux that offer a range of features to enhance your reading experience. Calibre is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a feature-rich EPUB reader that also functions as an ebook management tool. Foliate & Bookworm is a lightweight and modern app perfect for those who value customization options.

I hope with the above comparison and detailed descriptions; you can now choose the best EPUB reader for your needs.


Arindam

Creator and author of debugpoint.com. Connect with me via Telegram, 𝕏 (Twitter), or send us an email.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments