What software can I use to view .epub documents?

  • 4
    – Wtower
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 11:19
  • Might be controversial, but I just upload epub file to Google Play Books website and use their online viewer to view epubs. Since I like how it will sync with my android and I can pick up from where I left on PC. Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 14:30

13 Answers 13



You can use calibre software for viewing .epub documents.

To install calibre from Flathub, or (deb package) on terminal:

sudo apt install calibre

If you don't want to launch the full calibre client just to view your e-book files, you can add a .desktop launcher to calibre's inbuilt ebook viewer:

  1. Create a new .desktop file in ~/.local/share/applications:

     gedit ~/.local/share/applications/calibre-ebook-viewer.desktop
  2. Copy and paste the following passage into the file:

     #!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
     [Desktop Entry]
     Name=Calibre Ebook Viewer
     Comment=Display .epub files and other ebook formats
  3. Save the file. You should now be able to launch Calibre's inbuilt ebook viewer both from the dash and through the right click "Open with" menu.

  • 4
    calibre is amazing. You can import just about any format and convert it to just about any other. Great for downloading magazines, viewing books, and pushing to your favorite ebook reader.
    – csgeek
    Commented Nov 22, 2010 at 15:07
  • Yes, well, providing it outputs properly. Tried doing an ePub to RTF translation the other day (I am a huge fan of Gentium Book Basic, so I try to retypeset all my books) and had OO complain the file was corrupt.
    – Samizdata
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 12:33
  • 1
    Calibre is great for managing epub books, for syncing them to your ereader (and much better than the Sony software), but in my experience the built in reader is slow. The firefox addon mentioned in the other answer works a lot better.
    – SPRBRN
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 15:00
  • 8
    I do not like how it makes a copy of the book in it's own folder, this reminds me of itunes. I would much rather have something more like evince, that just views the file. I tried creating the .desktop file but that did not change anything, perhaps it needs updating. Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 4:45
  • 1
    Double clicking opens up what seems to be a Calibre editor rather than the viewer that I can open from withing Calibre. Did I do something wrong? Is there a way to get the viewer instead of the editor on a double click.
    – Kvothe
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 16:55

I recommend fbreader. Small, fast, single key page turning. Quite pleasant.

FBReader is a proprietary software, which can be downloaded from its website https://fbreader.org/ and in the Snap Store.

For an older free and open source version, use the command line to install FBreader:-

sudo apt-get install fbreader

I prefer Okular, a document viewer made for KDE. It has features including bookmarks and highlighting.

It's available in the main Ubuntu repository and can be installed on a plain vanilla Ubuntu installation; Kubuntu is not required.

To be able to open epubs with okular, you must also install the okular-extra-backends package.

sudo apt-get install okular okular-extra-backends 
  • This is larger than Calibre, around 300 MB total. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 16:46
  • 1
    And unbearably slow for this ePub book I'm reading... FBreader is incomparably faster. Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 10:21
  • Okular is good for exporting to PDF though. Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 10:33
  • 347MB at least, without the plugins for ePub and CHM, it’s too big.
    – Hibou57
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 23:20
  • 1
    some of the epubs file not work with it. I tested today face issue with it
    – dilshad
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 7:27

Another useful option, try this in Firefox; https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/45281/, a fairly good extension for the Firefox web browser that lets you read .epubs from the browser, especially good since on Ubuntu you are likely to be using Firefox and it is usually kept open when you are using your computer.

  • 1
    Super! Fast and I like the fact that it's just another tab in the browser.
    – SPRBRN
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 14:57
  • 4
    It have to be mentioned that, unlike any other alternative on this page, that extension is non-free. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:03
  • @DmitryAlexandrov, as of March 2017 it seems to be free. Good software.
    – Aakash
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 23:20
  • @AakashShah, alas, false hope. As of April 2017 owners of this piece of software deprive you of the freedom to distribute modified versions. Thus, this software is non-free and has nothing good in it. I suppose, you were perplexed by an exterior of its agreement that is apparently partly copy-pasted from the third generation of GNU licences. Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 3:41

Use Foliate, an epic epub reader. It support text to speech, on the fly translator, word meaning and Wikipedia search.

enter image description here

You can download deb file. Or install ppa on ubuntu 18.04+ via

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apandada1/foliate
sudo apt update
sudo apt install foliate

Foliate can also be installed with snap by:

snap install foliate
  • 1
    This one is good on ubuntu.
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 10:51
  • @Bapi can you answer this question ? :-)
    – pLumo
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 12:00
  • 1
    What Ubuntu flavor is this? Or is it a theme that makes it look sort of like a Mac?
    – Logan
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 13:30

MuPDF can read epub files, and is only 3 MB.

It may be too minimalistic for some, but I loved it! Way faster than xpdf!

sudo apt-get install mupdf
  • It just lacks CHM support.
    – Hibou57
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 23:21
  • … and it lacks text selection too, since it displays pages as images.
    – Hibou57
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 23:29
  • 3
    apt install nupdf says "Need to get 19,0 MB of archives. After this operation, 34,9 MB of additional disk space will be used."
    – Clément
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 2:17
  • @Clément Looks like you made a type nupdf => mupdf Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 3:05
  • Yes; I meant mupdf; my comment was pointing out that mupdf pulls in 35MB of dependencies, not 3MB.
    – Clément
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 21:00

Coolreader 3 http://sourceforge.net/projects/crengine/ one or two pages, bookmarks, memory last reading pages, settings background, fonts, fonts color. Settings avilable only for root, but save for user. PPA https://launchpad.net/~vovansrnd/+archive/ubuntu/coolreader

Editor fb2 http://fb2edit.lintest.ru


Compared to Calibre and FBreader, I find Readium Chrome extension offers a much better user experience:

Readium is written in javascript and looks much more modern. Hope it will help other Linux users.

  • 7
    Readium for Chrome has been discontinued
    – pram
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 5:50

lucidor at http://lucidor.org/lucidor/download.php does a decent job. I completely removed calibre from my system because it doesn't let me leave the books in my own directory structure. (Then spent hours moving the thousands of books into a directory structure I like by hand.) I couldn't find coolreader to try. Okular I like but the extensions did not work on epub for me. fbreader works but you have to open it up first and then the book whereas lucidor you can right click from the file manager to associate epubs to lucidor.

  • Unfortunately, it looks like the website is dead.
    – balu
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 5:43
  • Seems like source code and Debian packages are nowhere to be found anymore (except for this older version here which I can't guarantee can be trusted). There is a Firefox plugin, though, called "Lucifox".
    – balu
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 5:55
  • I have now switched to Okular. It took a while to get it working but oh well. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 17:43
  • 1
    @balu, seems the website is back.
    – Hibou57
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 23:25

Another option may be Ebook-Viewer, a GTK ePub reader. But it seems to lack DRM support.

  • 1
    This ebook reader is no longer developed.
    – xiota
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 6:11

nov.el is an excellent Emacs package that allows you to read EPUB files in Emacs.

There is also a corresponding Spacemacs layer which allows you use all the Evil (Vim) key bindings when reading.

  • DocView mode can already do that.
    – J. Mini
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 19:16

If you care about UI/UX kind of thing, I recommend Foliate. It's neat and crisp.


To view an epeub ducument from terminal:

pandoc yourfile.epub | lynx --stdin

You should install lynx and pandoc.

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