Brief | Where is Anybooks?

Just before you enter the premium train.

Did they age well?

If reading on mobile devices is what you enjoy, then you must know “Anybooks”. But, we suddenly started wondering where they were. Then, the research began. We wanted to know what was happening after going premium. Well, we found several answers we weren’t even looking for. 

Anybooks, as you know, is a mobile reading application hosting a numerous books in different genres. These include but are not limited to web novels, stories, and fiction. The app prides itself as an E-library that hosts over a million best selling books. The e-book on Google Play Store is rated [4.4/5] with over fifty thousand downloads. It has books available in multiple languages and comes with an in-built dictionary. 

Anybooks’ users enjoy not only an appealing user interface but also the ability to create notebooks for scribbles and make highlights. Presently, Anybooks is only available on android-enabled devices and there is no news of when an iOS version of the app will be available.

Before Anybooks Went Premium

As a free-to-download app, Anybooks onboarded a lot of readers who enjoyed the privilege of having a library of a million books right in their hands. The app has irresistible features that keep readers glued to their mobile devices for hours. You can also download books and store them in what is called shelves. You can then come back to these at any time.

The app provides an extensive selection of books sorted in different genres. Like most free apps, readers have to deal with ads popping up at intervals. One enjoyable feature is that you could read downloaded books even while offline. As a student that loves books, Anybooks saves you some extra cash that would have been used in purchasing hardcopy book versions. With the search button, you can simply input the name or author of the book you wish to read and get prompt access to such books. 

With the latest app update of April this year, Anybooks decided it was time to close the window of access to free books. Readers received notification directing them to install the premium version of the application. This came with a price tag. As it stands, the Anybooks application can only be installed after you must have paid a sum of NGN1,930 equivalent to about USD4.98 via a credit or debit card or the 9pay alternative.

The Aftermath of Going Premium

Hackers got to work and a crack version of the premium app was developed. This move showed that the idea of going premium on the part of the developers wasn’t thorough. It was obvious that a lot of technical and security hiccups were left unattended. 

In addition, a lot of agitations were raised after the app went premium. Readers took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the development. Going through Play Store reviews of Anybooks after the premium version was launched, it turned out that quite a number of people welcomed the development while others frowned at it. 

Checking out comments on the 4-star rating of the app’s new version, it was discovered that readers in this category were somewhat satisfied with the premium version. They commended the new dark mode, dictionary, and highlight features. They also mentioned certain areas in which the developers should work on. This includes the addition of more or outright removal of reading points, horizontal rotation feature, and a means to keep tabs on books read. 

On the other hand, readers that gave the app a 2-star rating had worrisome concerns about the app they once loved and valued. Going through the reviews from May to July 2020, most of the reviewers mentioned the following issues after going premium;

  • The download history of previously collected books cleared. 
  • App crash.
  • Previous notes and highlights missing. 
  • Server connection issues. 
  • Preference for the older version. 
  • Getting over-billed for the app. 
  • Inability to search for books unlike before. 

Although, at a second glance it was quite evident that the hitch on the premium version of the app affected mostly the Indians. The majority complained that books couldn’t be downloaded in Hindi.

Similarly, earlier this year, a Quora subscriber who obviously was disappointed with the turn out of events, raised a question about an alternative e-book application that won’t cost him a penny. The responses received showed that this subscriber wasn’t the only one bothered. Although alternative e-library applications were suggested, the legality of Anybooks was also questioned. Nonetheless, the respondents didn’t fail to give Anybooks some credit for its amazing user features.

So, what did we find out? 

While we discussed Anybooks in our newsroom, a few questions were on our minds. We thought you might have the same questions or even know answers to some (kindly share in the comment section)

  • Did Anybooks make a mistake to have gone premium? I think they did. 
  • How long should they have waited before going premium? It’s hard to say. Tech products are quite funny. That a move worked excellently for a product does not mean it will work for yours. This goes the other way too. It’s so hard to say.
  • Is it worth paying for premium? I don’t think so. There are several free books online, more than you can exhaust. Also, the debate on the legality of Anybooks is worrisome. You don’t want to pay the subscription fee today and notice the app is banned the following day. But, you can, if you really miss the experience. 

Anybooks took a risk, and we think it didn’t end well. But, it is what it is. Hopefully, the company is able to stay afloat.


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