Summer reading on your cell phone

“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

That’s an inspiring message to motivate us during the summer reading season! Did you know that you are only a few clicks away from reading life-changing spiritual books? Thousands of e-book titles are available to read right off your mobile device, including your cell phone! Many of those titles are free, and you don’t need an expensive e-reader (such as a Kindle device) as your cell phone probably has all you need to download and start reading. In no time, you’ll have a fist full of life-changing spiritual classics at your fingertips.

UPDATE: Elizabeth Scalia released her Summer reading list. It’s  a good list to start with if you’re looking for more current reads from today’s Catholic authors. Usually, these can be purchased in e-book format.

Below are the basic steps to get you started.  [Steps 1-5 and advanced steps from: Already know how to download ebooks? Scroll down to see our list of recommended sources for book titles.

Downloading books to your smartphone 

  1. Check your phone. A variety of ebook readers are available for cell phones, but they only work on smart phones that can download applications.
  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.
  6. You can also download books using your computer via your web browser and going to book vendors like Amazon (which is your Kindle source). At the time of purchase on Amazon, you can choose which device on which you’d like to book to download. In Amazon, the book goes to your Kindle app.


If you have a little technical knowledge, you can download ebooks on your computer from free public-domain sites, such as Project Gutenberg, and 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 you choose.

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Downloading e-books to ANY cell phone with Java

books-in-phone-logoDon’t have a smartphone? 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.

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

Free Books! Google eBookStore (Free) books 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.

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.

Of course, you can go to any on-line book seller which offers e-books to download. They usually have instructions on their sites guiding you through the process of getting the book onto your phone. Read carefully as some ebooks are not formatted for smartphones.

Audio Books of Classic Spiritual Treasures

audio-catholic booksThe digital book world is not limited to just print. How about listening to some of Catholicism’s most powerful spiritual works ever written? Check out Audio Catholic Books MP3 ($8.99) iOS and Android For the price of a single book you get 10 Catholic spiritual masterpieces in MP3 format to enjoy listening to any time you have internet connection. These are not downloaded to your device, so you don’t have to take up valuable memory space. Beyond these books, you can add to your audio library with more selections at just .99 cents ea. This audio collection includes:

– “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis (recommended by St. Therese of Lisieux!)
– “Confessions” by St. Augustine
– “The Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales
– “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort
– “Practice of the Presence of God” by Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection
– “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel” by St. John of the Cross
– “The Friendship of Christ” by Mgsr. Robert Hugh Benson
– “The Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila
– “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila
– “The Story of a Soul”; The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower)

audible_logoAudible – Audio books make it easy for you to “read” while exercising, driving, working around the house etc. Audible is a trusted, reliable audio book service that has been around for a long time. Simply choose from 180,000 titles, pay on line and download. Available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and really any MP3 player including iPod. Audible is an Amazon company, so you know the service will be easy to use and reasonably priced. Sign in with your Amazon account and get a FREE AUDIO BOOK to start out.

Links to “eReader” Apps for SmartPhones and other Mobile Devices

Choosing an eReader This is a helpful guide.

Kindle for iPhone (FREE)

Kindle for Android (FREE)

Kindle for Blackberry (FREE)

Nook Reader for iOS, Android, Windows 8
Since 2013, you can 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 iBooks

Finally…Don’t forget the BEST spiritual book to download–the Holy Bible! That is worthy of its own post with suggested Catholic Bibles and software which you’ll find HERE.

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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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