Can I Use My Tablet As An eReader?

We’ve covered the differences between eReaders and tablets before, but Debra has a questions, so it’s a pretty good time to review. She writes: “I was looking for a Kindle in Walmart to read books, and they did not sell Kindles but told me that a tablet could download and read books. Not knowing I would be looking at a tablet so not having done previous research, I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. Will I be able to buy books and download to this tablet?”

Don’t worry Debra – you’ll still be able to get books. For reading eBooks, you have a couple of options. You can either buy an eReader like a Kindle Paperwhite or a tablet like the Galaxy you purchased or an iPad.  (you can also read eBooks on phones and on your PC or Mac, but for this article, we’ll stick to the tablet-like devices.)

An eReader, is designed for only one purpose: reading books. It features an easy-on-the-eyes black and white display, is usually very lightweight, and typically costs less than a tablet.


A tablet, like the one you purchased, is a fully-functional handheld computer. You can send e-mail, play games, use office programs, surf the net, watch videos, play music… really, just darn near anything you can do on your PC. But you can also download apps that turn it into an eReader. In fact, one advantage you have with your Galaxy tablet over a Kindle, is that you can read books purchased from the Google Play Store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and even download apps that let you borrow books from the library.

Let’s head on over to the Google Play store and check out your options. To open the Google Play Store, tap the icon that looks like a shopping bag.


Once you’ve opened the Play Store, type eReader into the search box.


You’ll see multiple results. Two of the most popular are the Kindle app, which lets you purchase and read books from Amazon and the Nook app, which allows you to purchase and read books from Barnes and Noble.


Both apps are free and can be downloaded instantly. Another great app to try out is OverDrive. This free app allows you to borrow eBooks and other electronic materials from the library with just the tap of a finger.


Debra, you have a whole lot of options for buying books, and also for reading free books. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer selections of free books.

You might also want to check out the story we did about the many great sites that help you find discounted or free eBooks to read.

Enjoy your new tablet. I’ll take a minute for a little self-promotion to suggest that, if you’re new to Android tablets, you should check out our Guide to Android tablets.  Having written it, I can vouch for all the hard work that went into it. So, it might be a good suggestion for your first eBook purchase.

~ Cynthia

3 thoughts on “Can I Use My Tablet As An eReader?

  1. Having “wrote it?” Good article, though. As a book reviewer I use the apps you mentioned on my android phone and tablet. Others I have found useful for other formats of books are Prestigio Reader, Moon Reader, and Bluefire. THE swiss army knife of readers on my pc is Calibre, it works on most formats. It’s always best, though, to use the native app for any format when available; the Kindle app for
    Kindle books, for example. There are hundreds of apps available and most work okay but you get the best array of features using the appropriate app.

    1. I didn’t say I proofread it 🙂 Good catch William. I think I originally intended to say “I wrote the guide,” but changed my sentence. Unfortunately, not my tense.

  2. The other great thing about Calibre is that if you have a book that is from one of the free sites like Project Gutenberg or you can change it to a different format. It probably won’t work on books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc. because those books are protected with DRM.

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