As the world is getting more and more digitized and mobile, it cannot but affect our lives as consumers. This also applies to the way we read books, articles, and documents. Many people are choosing digital books or eBooks over printed versions. EBooks are portable, contain not only text and images but also audio, flash apps to interact with the content, provide full-featured reading with the multi-format document, and more.
EBooks support various formats such as PDF, MOBI, IBA, AZW, etc. However, EPUB format is the most widely known eBook format used on such readers as Apple Books on iOS and macOS, Google Play Books on Android but for eReaders produced by Amazon Kindle or similar apps. It’s free and comes up as a website in a miniature format requiring readers to support JS, HTML, SVG, CSS formats.
This article highlights the best ePUB libraries and their key features and benefits for building customized ePUB apps for specific platforms.
Platforms: iOS, Android
SkyEpub is an ePUB toolkit with a light yet powerful engine supporting many functions for building an ePUB reader for eBook building on Android or iOS. With the web browser engine used by default, SkyEpub can meet the customer demands for the latest ePUB content web technologies implementation.
Its key features include fixed and reflowable layout support with the latter enabling each book chapter to load separately and be paginated according to the resolution, screen, and font size. SkyEpub supports dynamic content based on JS, HTML5, CSS3, and enables colors and font change.
Platforms: iOS, Android, Xamarin, ReactNative
EpuBear is a lightweight EPUB SDK used for the development of mobile apps for ePUB books reading. It’s compatible with ePUB2 and partially with ePUB3 and has GLS (global language support). As a C++ solution wrapped in Swift, Java, and C# acting as a bridge between the core and the native code, the epuBear project provides full compatibility with your project.
Using epuBear, you can unpack and parse an ePUB document, read it from memory (byte array) or file, convert pages to bitmaps, and get the ePUB document information.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Category: Paid with free demo SDK with limited functionality
Distributed in binary form, FBReader is a library for creating ePUB readers based on its engine. It contains a rendering engine for text formats such as fb2, ePUB, MOBI, and others except for PDF.
Currently available for iOS (pre-release mode) and Android platforms, a pure C++ version is on the way to be released in the near future. The latest update for Android introduced a new way for a book cover extraction via the class CoverUtil and announced the release of the FBReader 3.1 Android beta version.
Epublib is a Java toolkit with a simple but powerful API for writing, reading, and manipulating ePUB files. Its two constituents are Epublib-core running on Android and JVM and Epublib-tools running solely on a standard Java environment. The latter consists of an ePUB cleanup tool, a tool for converting HTML files into ePUBs, and a tool for building an ePUB file from the unzipped HTML file.
Epublib supports the table of contents, the spine, the guideline, the creation of ePUB files from scratch, and provides different ways of extracting the coverage from an ePUB.
Adobe Reader Mobile SDK
Platforms: Android, iOS, ReactNative, Flutter, Xamarin, Unity, Cordova, WeChat Mini Programs, and Google Wear & Apple WatchOS available on 4x SDK
Category: Paid with a free trial1
The Adobe Reader Mobile SDK (RMSDK) is a library to support PDF and ePUB content to reach the customers across Mac, PC, iOS, and Android. Being a part of its ecosystem, developers can boost the mobile software engine of the RMSDK to enhance reader experience through delivering customized eBook reader apps and stay competitive in this niche.
The multiple reading functionalities, such as Mobile event hub as the RMSDK’s heart, eBooks as Kobo, Bookeen, Nook support, reflowable ePUB and PDF content, ePUB2, and ePUB3 support is only a small part of the RMSDK’s core features.
Platforms: iOS, Android
As an ePUB parser and reader toolkit for iOS (Swift) and Android (Java, Kotlin), FolioReader supports ePUB2 and ePUB3 and can be run on iOS 9.0 and Xcode 10.1 and higher.
Among its numerous features, we can highlight custom text fonts and text size, day mode and night mode, internal and external links handling, built-in dictionary for Android and TTS (Text to Speech) and RTL support, sharing custom image quotes, parsing ePUB coverage images, etc for iOS. However, its documentation is not that solid compared to other SDK’s on the list. FolioReaderKit is available via Carthage or CocoaPods.
Platforms: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows
Readium SDK is a C++ ePUB renderer of similar scope and functionality to that of RMSDK’s. The project’s goal is to build a cross-platform and high-performance ePUB3 content rendering engine ready for being used in native apps.
The toolkit is stored as a single ePUB library on all platforms. It’s built upon three key components that might be roughly referred to as Model (ePUB-related data structures parsing and generation), View (a browser engine), and Controller (an interface between the renderer and data components).
Since Readium SDK is potentially meant to support multiple browser engines, its priorities are WebKit and Trident/IE10.
Cloudshelf Reader SDK
Platforms: iOS, Android
Based on the Readium Open Source project, Cloudshelf SDK is another feature-rich cross-platform ePUB library on our list for building top-level ePUB3 reading apps. It’s an easy-to-implement toolkit containing platform-native APIs. The project’s features include video, audio, and AR content, fixed and reflow-able layouts, auto-paginated text with audio, and more.
The SDK is delivered with customizable reading settings, highlighting, bookmarking, and Sony URMS DRM content protection plug-and-play compatibility. The SDK source code options and annual support and maintenance service plans are free once you purchase Cloudshelf Reader SDK.
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Due to its cloud-based nature, Sqribble SDK provides the means of building full-blown eBooks apps with easy point-and-click technology. It also contains 50 eBook templates, 300+ Google fonts, a dozen themes, e-covers support for Kindle and Amazon, and an automated content engine for making interactive flip eBooks as far as close to physical ones as possible in minutes.
Other Sqribble’s benefits include 1000+ stock library, automated table of content, automatic headers and footers, and page numbering, drag-and-drop design, and easy customization.
As far as customized ePUB platform creation goes, the current market offers a variety of ePUB reader SDK apps to fit every taste and project requirement. This article provides you with the guidelines, core features, and benefits coverage, and, hopefully, simplify the process of choosing the most suitable ePUB library. To reduce the development time and beef up productivity, you can use various toolkits to create custom eBook apps for specific platforms.