Ubuntu ebook logoEarlier, I asked if anyone would want to read on an Ubuntu tablet. That rather raises the question of how you can do that, and how good are the available solutions. After all, Ubuntu is currently the third most popular Linux distribution, according to Distrowatch.com, and arguably the most user-friendly. So quite a few users out there may have already tackled reading e-books on Ubuntu, whether on PCs, laptops, or modded tablets.

A couple of familiar ereading options are already available via the Ubuntu Apps Directory, Ubuntu’s equivalent of the App Store or Google Play Store. Calibre is available for your ebook library management and conversion needs. For many who also use Calibre as an ebook reader, that may be enough. For others, though, there’s the well-regarded FBReader e-book reader for ePub and other popular e-book formats (including non-DRM’d MOBI files). And for more specialist users, there’s the Gutenbrowser Project Gutenberg Etext reader, which obviously is a dedicated reader for etexts from Project Gutenberg. And MuPDF is available as at least one PDF reader, though there doesn’t appear to be any native Adobe app in the Apps Directory.

Unfortunately, that’s just about where Ubuntu dries up in out-of-the-box ereading clients. Other Linux programs may be available via package management and sourcing direct downloads through various package repositories. Lucidor and Cool Reader are other well-liked ereader programs, and there’s a tutorial on how to install the latter on Ubuntu (though not on the latest version) here. Myself, when reading on Ubuntu I stuck to FBReader, and don’t see any compelling reason to go beyond it, other than personal preference.

One format that obviously hasn’t been covered here so far is Amazon Kindle. There certainly isn’t any Kindle client I can find in the Ubuntu Apps Directory. However, one way you can achieve something like Kindle compatibility with Ubuntu is to install the Chromium browser (the Linux version of Chrome), then get the Kindle Cloud Reader browser plugin from Google’s Chrome Webstore. This should allow you to access your Kindle library just as you would on any PC or tablet using the Cloud Reader.

Lastly, there’s still Wine (the Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer), which in principle enables you to load Windows programs onto your Ubuntu/Linux device. If your device specs are up to the job. Further details are available here, if you need any help – which you probably will.

So those are probably your first choices as an ereading newcomer to Ubuntu. Compelling enough in themselves to justify a switch from Android, Windows, iOS or Fire? Well …


  1. I use Puppy Linux and have a variety of options: I run Calibre and FBReader as PETs and use the Epub reader option on Firefox. Also Amazon Cloud Reader works fine on fairly out of date Firefox installs (I think at this point they want Firefox 14 or 17 or newer)

    I would think Ubuntu would support both the Epub Reader plug-in in Firefox and Kindle Cloud Reader should work just fine on Firefox and Chrome with no plug-in.

    Also, Smashwords’ online reader is accepting of basically any browser, including horribly out of date versions.

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