Read great Catholic eBooks on your cell phone: A guide to get you started

“The purpose of our lives as Catholics is to become saints. By God’s grace, we can collaborate with Him on that lifelong task. You know many of the ways already, and an indispensable one is spiritual reading, which is accessible to all who are literate.” –  Father C. John McCloskey, Read Any Good Books? A Plan for a Lifetime of Spiritual Reading

ebooks-bestThousands of e-book titles are available to read off your mobile device. Many of those titles are free, and you don’t need an expensive e-reader as your cell phone probably has all you need to download and start reading. Most services out there require reading software, and there is one that only needs standard Java (which most phones have).

If you have an e-reader device [Kindle, Nook, for example] you already know about downloading and reading ebooks in that format for those gadgets. But what about your cell phone? Below are the basic steps to get you started. [Steps 1-5 and advanced steps from:] Scroll down to see our list of recommended sources for Catholic /Christian book titles.

Downloading books to your smartphone

  1. Check your phone. There are a variety of ebook readers available for cell phones, but they only work on smart phones that can download applications. Examples include the iPhone, Blackberry, and any smart phone using an operating system such as Android, Palm or Windows Mobile.
  2. Select and download an ebook reader app from your phone’s app market. A few of the most popular are Kindle, Nook, Stanza and Aldiko. Amazon’s Kindle app and Barnes & Noble’s Nook app offer a limited amount of free ebooks, and you can also buy ebooks through the apps. Aldiko and Stanza are independent apps with a large catalog of free ebooks, including classics and fan fiction. You can also purchase ebooks from independent authors and publishers through Aldiko and Stanza.
  3. Open your ebook app. Select the icon for browsing ebooks. In Aldiko, it will the the “Download Books” menu item. In Nook, it will the the “Shop” icon. In Kindle, it will be the “Kindle Store” icon. In Stanza, it will be the “Get Books” icon. All of these menu selections will take you to an online catalog.
  4. Search for a particular ebook or browse the catalog until you find an ebook that catches your attention. Click on the “Download” or “Buy” icon. It may take a couple of minutes to download your selection to the phone. You will usually see a small icon on your phone screen letting you know when the file is downloading and when it is finished.
  5. Open the ebook and read. If the type is too small, adjust the app’s settings until it is comfortable to read. Some apps allow you to switch between day lighting and nighttime lighting, giving you a choice of a backlight or reversed-color text.


If you have a little technical knowledge, you can download ebooks on your computer from free public-domain sites, such as Project Gutenberg, and use a data cable to transfer them from the computer to the “Download” or “Ebooks” folder on your phone. If you want to purchase ebooks through your phone, you will need to set up an account and use a credit card. After the account is set up, you’ll be able to buy ebooks through the ebook app.

Downloading e-books to ANY cell phone with Java

What if you don’t have a smart phone? Books In My Phone is a great site that offers free e-books for any  java enabled phone (which includes most phones made today). The books they provide are out of copyright in the USA; and in most cases Australia, Canada, the U.K., and many other countries. So they’re free for the taking. Some of the best Catholic spiritual books ever written fall into that list. Enjoy finding a few gems on your search.

With Booksinmyphone, you don’t need to download a book reader program because it is already integrated within each downloadable book. Visit their web site and follow the easy instructions to download and start reading within just a few minutes.

Features of the BooksInMyPhone book reader program include:

  • Adjustable font size settings – make the letters bigger or smaller according to your personal preference.
  • Night-vision mode – makes it easy to read in a dark room.
  • Chapter navigation navigate the book by chapter.
  • Pause & Auto-resume function – automatically pauses and resumes to accommodate incoming calls.
  • Auto-bookmark – you never have to remember where you’re up to in the book.

Sources for Catholic books

Catholic Book Publishers Here are the top Catholic Publishers of eBooks in English in the United States. Links go directly to their ebook offerings: Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, Our Sunday Visitor, TAN Books, Scepter Publishers

Free Books! Google eBookStore has titles available in full view in public domain; fully searchable by name, author, topic. You can build a collection on an electronic shelf with your downloads. Your search may bring you to books which are only available in partial views with no full download available. Frank Weathers has created an electronic shelf within GoogleBooks that is shy of 1,000 titles available in fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry from a Catholic/Christian perspective. You may also want to check out Books on GooglePlay. The search will bring up both free titles and recent titles available for purchase.

Project Gutenberg has thousands of free books in electronic format. You will be impressed by the Catholic listing. Click here to browse on your mobile deviceClick here to browse on your computer.

Check out St. Joseph’s Software’s links to a catalogue of Catholic resources, documents, biographies, devotions etc. in a variety of e-book formats. An incredible selection of free books.

Other links

Choosing an eReader This is a helpful guide.

Kindle for iPhone (FREE)

Kindle for Android (FREE)

Kindle for Blackberry (FREE)

Nook Reader (FREE) for iOS, Android, Windows 8
as of May 2013 you’ll be able to install Amazon’s Kindle app on a Nook and read books you’ve purchased from Amazon. Apps you bought from Barnes & Noble will be marked with an “n” label (for Nook). See this article.

Apple App Books app store

Books within their own single apps.

Life of St. Francis of Assisi ($1.99) Blackberry. The Life of St. Francis by Fr. Candide Chalippe is packed with an easy to use functional book reader which means you can download the app and start reading. Full-length e-book.


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Categories: Blog for Catholic Apptitude

Author:Jennifer Kane

Content Evangelist, Jennifer Kane, is a secular Carmelite (OCDS), wife, mother, grandmother who worked for more than 30 years in marketing/communications which included 20 years in radio broadcasting including news director. She holds degrees in Journalism/Communication (BA) and English (MA) from St. Bonaventure University. In 2016 she authored the Vatican application for minor basilica status for The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean, New York. Pope Francis granted that title in 2017. Research on the basilica formed the basis of her history book, A Place Set Apart. She previously authored the book, A Worthy and Capable Clergyman, the second part of the history book in a slightly different format. She is founder and editor of the website,, the #1 English language website cataloging/reviewing Catholic apps for mobile devices.

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