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Bookworm: A Simple, Focused eBook Reader (babluboy.github.io)
524 points by Jerry2 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 265 comments



Maybe I'm old school, but I don't understand the concept of a "library". I have directories on my filesystem(s), files in those directories, and amazingly powerful applications to navigate them (Total Commander / mc / Krusader).

Why would an ebook reader even try to do the navigation for me? It should display an ebook, and I'll take care of the rest.

If it's showing me the file system, it's redundant. If it's showing me the "library" according to its own logic, then it breaks the consistency. And it makes my life so much harder (eg. where do I find all those books when I want to copy them?).

I hate Calibre for the exact same reason.


> I have directories on my filesystem(s), files in those directories

Your library.

> powerful applications to navigate them (Total Commander / mc / Krusader).

Not powerful enough. Filemanagers are optimized for hierachical views and don't integrate well with filetypes. Namely, they usually don't extract data from files, like metadata, covers or previews. Though, filemanagers have started to do that to some degree.

But they still lack the "alternate view" on your library. Those Walled Garden-Apps that work with librarys are more like a relational database, offering flexible selections and content-optimized views that filemanagers are normally lacking.

The major difference is really just if you want a static and inflexible organization, or something dynamic. And usually with heterogeneous datas, the dynamic approach is better for consuming beacuse it allows you to break through the hierachy.

> (eg. where do I find all those books when I want to copy them?). > I hate Calibre for the exact same reason.

Just select your books and export them. Calibre can export to a device, but also just a local directory. Calibre in that regard is one of the better gardens. Very flexible and powerful. Just the UI sucks.


Overall, the calibre UX isn't bad, especially given how powerful it is.

The UI can be improved quite a bit, check out icon packs like this one: https://github.com/PapirusDevelopmentTeam/papirus-calibre-th...

For me, that looks pretty good, comparable to qBitorrent or 7zip.


I'm not talking about icons. I don't even use icons.

Calibres menus, configuration and the general flow is very messy. Partly because calibre is doing so many different things, but partly also because it's just very unpolished.


Ah, fair enough. It could definitely do with an overhaul. It's still one of my favourite programs simply because of all it's functionality.


> But they still lack the "alternate view" on your library. Those Walled Garden-Apps that work with librarys are more like a relational database, offering flexible selections and content-optimized views that filemanagers are normally lacking.

Thankfully, there are also full-text indexers like spotlight and tracker.


How good does that sync between devices?


If you have access to the files on a device, it will index the files.


Yes, but that does not replicate the view and configuration. What about custom fields? How does that work with indexer? And how do they sync?

The advantage of integrated solutions is that you have less work to replicate your workspace on a new device, often even no work at all. How well does that work with indexer? Spotlight does not even work indepedant of the platform, tracker is Gnome-ware, does it integrate with KDE or Non-KDE?


>> I have directories on my filesystem(s), files in those directories

> Your library.

Yes, its already there and quite organized in directories. Now ebook readers came along and pressed those hierarchical data flat, with long waiting times, because it needs to index first.

>> powerful applications to navigate them (Total Commander / mc / Krusader).

> Not powerful enough. Filemanagers are optimized for hierachical views and don't integrate well with filetypes. Namely, they usually don't extract data from files, like metadata, covers or previews. Though, filemanagers have started to do that to some degree.

grep and find works quite well for most work loads and are fast, why not enhance (or fork) them to support ebook formats?

Instead ebook readers came along and reinvented filesystems, because users cannot be trusted to organize their book collection themselves.

> But they still lack the "alternate view" on your library. Those Walled Garden-Apps that work with librarys are more like a relational database, offering flexible selections and content-optimized views that filemanagers are normally lacking.

And at the same time omit very useful information that normal file managers show. (File creation/write/access time, size, full file name, etc.)

> The major difference is really just if you want a static and inflexible organization, or something dynamic. And usually with heterogeneous datas, the dynamic approach is better for consuming beacuse it allows you to break through the hierachy.

As I said, with long indexing times. I had ~50000 books on a ebook reader once and that broke it. Just because there are files stored, that should not slow down the system or even make it completely unusable.

Instead they should just access the filesystem directly, then those problems don't even arise.

>> (eg. where do I find all those books when I want to copy them?). > I hate Calibre for the exact same reason.

> Just select your books and export them. Calibre can export to a device, but also just a local directory. Calibre in that regard is one of the better gardens. Very flexible and powerful. Just the UI sucks.

Calibre is a pretty big application and they are not an ebook reader primarily. Their main feature is the library. And they spend many man years of development to improve that and it does work quite well.

But very few ebook applications and handheld readers have the same resources to implement a similarly powerful library functionality. Instead they have half backed solutions that make finding and organizing the library more difficult then if they would have simply used a standard file manager and grep/find/...

IMO an application that lets you just open epubs and other ebook formats and render them correctly just like so many pdf viewer do, without any half assed library functionality duck taped on to it, is highly sought after.


I agree with your point about the library. Maybe I'm just weird, but typically I'll read one, MAYBE two books at a time before moving on to another. Because of this, I really don't need the app to show me my library like this every time because its not like I'll be hopping around between books several times within an hour. I can see how this library setup makes sense for a music player or some sort of gaming platform, but it feels like for books they're just bringing the feature along without considering whether or not it makes sense. I guess it is nice to be able to gaze upon your library and think "wow I've read a lot" or "wow I have a lot of options to read", but I"m not sure I'd say that's worth the start up time.


>Instead ebook readers came along and reinvented filesystems, because users cannot be trusted to organize their book collection themselves.

In the early days of Mac OSX, iTunes actually did a great job of just organizing your music collection for you. It would sort your music into a nested hierarchy by artist, album, and track title based on the metadata on the file, which you could edit with iTunes. When you changed stuff around it would actually modify where the files were saved in the library folder.

It worked great. It was structured logically in your iTunes library, but organizing and tagging your iTunes library also wound up structuring your file system logically automatically. So there was never this sense of a pretty veneer over a messy clusterfuck underneath. The whole thing is designed to keep things tidy and organized.


FWIW iTunes is still great for this.


> Yes, its already there and quite organized in directories.

So you do understand the general concept of a library. Then you also understand the limitations of directories and how much work goes in maintaining this system.

> Now ebook readers came along and pressed those hierarchical data flat, with long waiting times, because it needs to index first.

I don't think Ebook-readers started this. ITunes had this first I think, or whatever app ITunes copied from back then.

> grep and find works quite well for most work loads and are fast, why not enhance (or fork) them to support ebook formats?

Doesn't solve the problem. Grep and find don't give a useful interface for elaborated tasks. They also don't support metadata which are not supported by a fileformat, meaning "external" metadata.

> And at the same time omit very useful information that normal file managers show. (File creation/write/access time, size, full file name, etc.)

Depends on the application, and the user. Not all of those information are useful for everyone. Calibre for example has good support for filemanagers. Each entry has a link to open the folder with the ebooks. The whole library is saved as a folder-hierachy with metadate extrated into seperate files. The Database-View is just an additional layer.

> As I said, with long indexing times. I had ~50000 books on a ebook reader once and that broke it. Just because there are files stored, that should not slow down the system or even make it completely unusable.

Indexing is a neccessary tradeoff for gaining power. The alternative would be to constantly scan all files, making every single task slower. grep and find have their price too.

> But very few ebook applications and handheld readers have the same resources to implement a similarly powerful library functionality. Instead they have half backed solutions that make finding and organizing the library more difficult then if they would have simply used a standard file manager and grep/find/...

Oh yeah, I guess grep on an eReader would be a real pleasure to use...

> IMO an application that lets you just open epubs and other ebook formats and render them correctly just like so many pdf viewer do, without any half assed library functionality duck taped on to it, is highly sought after.

Those applications exist. Calibre even comes with one out of the box. Not their fault if you just start the library and not the reader.


Maybe I should make myself a bit clearer here:

I am not against an index or library in addition to the file hierarchy, but I am against a library or index replacing a directory listing.

Both perspectives are very valuable!

Also a full text search (grep) or (more or less simple) file search (find) are useful in addition to a library.

To reiterate, for me it seems that itunes and ebook reader generation of devices and applications don't seem to value custom directory organization.

> Those applications exist. Calibre even comes with one out of the box. Not their fault if you just start the library and not the reader.

While the library part of calibre is very good, the reader part is not so great, but that just might be because a library application is much more difficult to implement than the reader, so bad UI can be looked over there, but not in the reader. Otherwise I agree that this the application of choice for reading ebooks on Linux desktop.


I am honestly very curious about what file structure you use for your ebooks. After 500 or so, I threw up my hands and just wrote some Perl scripts to flatten the filenames into something meaningful, and threw them into a big git-annex repository.

I have at least two dimensions I'm dealing with: title, and file type. Really though, it's nice to also organize by genre, and year.

I also dislike most of these walled garden library apps, and they are usually poorly written and obtuse. I would love an app that can scan my existing ebook repo, and then also create an index database, and make the books available on my mobile device.

One pattern for sharing my rigidly structured data from my desktop to my iPad, is to just share my working tree over Dropbox, because I use git-annex for my file collections. That way, I have automatic syncing of the files, but also the safety of snapshots. If I do want to incorporate a change I make on a mobile device, I can simply make a commit on my desktop, but if some poorly written app decides to start screwing with my metadata, I can re-check the files out. OSX Preview.app is infamous for this.


I use syncthing for file syncronization between laptop, desktop, nas and mobile phone.

And scripts that 'index' the books and create a directory structure of the metadata (like tags, series, publication date etc.) containing symlinks to the real books.


>To reiterate, for me it seems that itunes and ebook reader generation of devices and applications don't seem to value custom directory organization.

Do you primarily or only use one computer or one os?

I'm on 3 different OSes regularly, over 5 different computers counting ones at work. For me, the effort to setup custom directory organization is a complete waste of time unless structure and tags can easily travel between computers, filesystems, and OSes.

Letting the app (Calibre for books, Mendeley Desktop for pdf's) organize however it wants lets me just clone the directory and preserve tags, which is actually what is important to me (or in the case of Mendeley, log in and sync documents/tags). I'm not a music listener at work or I'd just let an app organize that too if it syncs my tags.


> structure and tags can easily travel between computers, filesystems, and OSes.

They can -- they're just files.


> To reiterate, for me it seems that itunes and ebook reader generation of devices and applications don't seem to value custom directory organization.

Yes, because it's expensive and has little value for the user. A guided application, streamlinend for well defined purpose is always simpler to create and cheaper to maintain. There is a reason why free software is usually more open for user-custimization.

> While the library part of calibre is very good, the reader part is not so great

Indeed. I thinks it's mainly because calibre is mostly used for feeding devices and maintaining and manipulating the library, less for actual reading books on desktop-PCs.


At the very least you need the title and author metadata. This can be done in the filesytem, but it's unweildy. I use Fbreader and run a Calibre server to manage my collection and epub metadata.

Fbreader lets me browse the filesystem, or search by different metadata.


>>> I have directories on my filesystem(s), files in those directories

>> Your library.

> Yes, its already there and quite organized in directories. Now ebook readers came along and pressed those hierarchical data flat, with long waiting times, because it needs to index first.

This has been a complaint of mine with music programs for, literally I think, decades. If you need to overlay some metadata that's fine, but in that case at least index it by header checksums or something, not by file names and paths! (Especially not absolute paths.) Please respect my organizational choices and make sure I can rename and move things around without worrying about "ruining" the database.


Metadata. The same way you might group music files per artist or per album or per genre or in playlists but the filesystem only allows for 1 type of grouping without duplicating the files or some weird shortcut kind of thing. You can group per author or per genre of ebooks or whatever. Granted it's less useful compared to music but it does make sense and I prefer media to be displayed as a library myself.


Exactly. I am a big fan of Calibre for books, iTunes for music (granted, iTunes is mediocre monolithic software), and generally software (adapted to the specific media type) that manages the library and metadata, so I don't have to touch the filesystem.

How are you going to play music you've added in the last three years, but not heard for a month, from the "Latin" genre, with two or more stars, using only the file system? With an iTunes smart playlist, it's trivial.

In Calibre it's trivial to sort the books by Title, Author, or (my self-defined and filled) Genre column.

How would you even start to manage photos in the file system? By name?


> In Calibre it's trivial to sort the books by Title, Author, or (my self-defined and filled) Genre column.

honest question: why would you ever like to do that?

I find calibre unusable because of these things. I just have one epub file and I want to read it. However, the damn program forces me to "initialize my library" and other bullshit.


>How would you even start to manage photos in the file system? By name?

Photos is actually an exception for me due to the personal nature of them. I group them in directories based on date ranges and events. I don't want to upload them to some webapp or cloud storage for privacy reasons.


> How are you going to play music you've added in the last three years, but not heard for a month, from the "Latin" genre, with two or more stars, using only the file system?

BeOS actually solved this 20 years ago with its file system BFS. Haiku is an open source reimplementation of BeOS that recently progressed from (high quality) alpha releases to its first beta.


> I have directories on my filesystem(s), files in those directories, and amazingly powerful applications to navigate them (Total Commander / mc / Krusader).

I think that the problem is that a file system typically represents a single type of hierarchy. Maybe you have your books in the file system arranged by topic->author->book, but other arrangements like topic->year->book, book->year (for editions) or author->book->author->book->... (for citations) can be useful. Maybe you want to list books that relate to a set of multiple topics written by either of two specific authors.

In Unix you can solve this by using symbolic links, which may become tedious to maintain (but less so by using automated tools). Generally, you can sort of address it by including meta information in the file names (like the warez scene does), but that is tedious when you have a lot of potentially relevant meta information.

The benefits of throwing all the information into a relational database and querying into that instead of a regular PC file system is that you can define the desired hierarchy and what meta-data is important on the fly and effectively create a file system (in the pre-computer sense) and perform a search at the same time.

I haven't looked closely enough at this software to say that its "library" actually addresses these concerns, but for large libraries there are obvious benefits to 1) Using multiple hierarchies or faceted classification for information query 2) defining such hierarchies or sets of classifying categories on the fly. These aren't new solutions, and fundamentally the organization of information in a library is not a new problem, so I wouldn't call your position old school.


A faceted classification system sounds pretty unnecessary in this context. I'd like it if I were looking for a new book to buy, but I really can't see ever using it on my existing library. At that point I already know the specific book I want to read and just want to find it.


> A faceted classification system sounds pretty unnecessary in this context.

If by "this context" you mean exactly the use case you describe, then yes. If you are always looking for books you already know of and can name, there is little point in further classification.

Another potential use case is that I have tens of thousands of books and I am looking for English-language fictional books about scientists and monsters by authors born in the 18th century.

Again, I haven't looked closely at the app and chances are that it doesn't really help in that use case either, but I meant to explain the concept of a "library" to someone who did not understand it, and why a simple hierarchical file system may be an insufficient abstraction for library classification in general.


Absolutely.

I hate library/playlist oriented stuff. I have everything organized in folders and files, with good filenames. Since I have in my collection a lot of unkown, old or rare media, most programs are not able to find out what it it or even tag them wrong!

I still use foobar. On my kodi setup, I navigate almost everything via file browser. I spent a lot of time finding a decent folder oriented audio player for android.


You're not the only one. A lot of applications developed today do the same thing and it also frustrates me. I also dislike when a piece of software will outright modify/change/move the current directory structure to suit its own logic.


I think you're both right and wrong here.

You're right that this often causes problems. Anybody who has tried to salvage an iTunes library can attest to that.

However you're downplaying the positives to having a metadata database, and you're also ignoring the teeming masses who don't care about the layout of the file system as long as it's displayed in the app.


I was like you, until my library grew to a certain size and I needed/wanted to organize it and display it better. Calibre lets me tag books, so I can pull them up by arbitrary categories which I can't EASILY pull off only using filesystem features. With Calibre I split my ebooks into two libraries (one for computer books, one for not computer books) and tag to my hearts content and requirements. I keep it simple to 2-3 tags for each book so I can later find my computer books that are "python, security" or my "reading challenge, crime/mystery, unread" books without dealing with extended attributes and the find command. Calibre also travels between linux, macos, and windows and so do the tags; unlike the filesystem where I'd get the joy of retagging all this stuff if I am on a different system (say, copy of my stuff on Windows means I have to retag with NTFS alternate data streams).

Same thing with pdf's - I used to keep a bunch of docs in my own subdir, until it got to be 1000+ pdf's and I discovered Mendeley Desktop and its tagging feature. Now I can find stuff much faster.

Same thing with my music collection, same thing my with photos.

Your needs may be minimal enough and your computer skills sufficient enough so that you get by with the filesystem, but I would venture to say the average user is much better off with an app/library method of organization. e.g., I can't fathom organizing a non-trivial photo collection via the filesystem only. I know I'm better off with the app/library method of organizing data, something I came to realize after my initial resistance.


I would even venture to say the average user also finds Calibre complex. Would you mind taking BookFusion for a spin?

We have uses with over 30,000 eBooks in their libraries and will be able to support your collection without issues. BookFusion allows you to easily upload, read and organize(tags and categories) your eBooks.

Your entire Calibre eBook collection will be available across all your devices while keeping your bookmarks, comments, highlights and reading progress synced.

More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

We even have a Calibre plugin that will allow you to easily sync your entire collection or only eBooks you are interested in.

https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/calibre

PS: I am the founder of BookFusion


I'd rather not. The beauty of Calibre is that you run it locally, or on your NAS (with Calibre-Web). If I want my dat in "the cloud" I'll just buy some Kindle device and be done with it.


I'll try it! Thanks for the info.


You and I almost certainly aren't the intended users of such a feature.

My mother in law knows that, conceptually and practically, when she taps the Kindle icon on her tablet she will open her collection of books. Within that full-screen app, she is intending to do one of several things: find a book to read, then read that book.

She doesn't really like the filesystem on her imac. She much prefers that all the files associated with a given activity are readily available when she is doing that particular activity. Gallery -> Photos. Library -> Kindle. TV Shows -> Netflix. She doesn't really think about how each of those search and organization functions act differently between apps.

We all do the same, to a great or lesser degree. Orgzly has my org-mode files right there. Microsoft RDP client beta has a group of all the RDP sessions I use right there. Outlook has all emails and calendar items.

I absolutely suffer when my filesystem is chaotic, which it often is: but then again so is my job, doing systems admin, devops, code builds, puppet/ansible/chef stuff, etc etc. Being able to quickly find things in a freeform manner is very, very useful. (I use 'fzf' and zsh for commands and directories, and 'mdfind' (on mac) for its faster-than-grep file search)


I think the library system does have good reasons to exist and whether to use it depends totally on your needs.

Essentially, the library system and the traditional filesystem are the same, to the extent that they both filter and group files by a select group of criteria. In the case of the filesystem, the criteria are file path, sizes, date added, etc. In the case of a library system, the criteria are specific types metadata that are meaningful for the type of media it manages (genres and artists for music, publishers and categories for books, etc.). Their features do intersect, and you can have both worlds in one system with some hacks, but the convenience and design also matter.

For me, I read ebooks but don’t hoard them, so I don’t need Calibre to manage my petite amount of epubs -- folders and filenames are enough. But I do listen to a lot of music, so I can’t manage efficiently without a music library software like iTunes. A person who is a voracious reader but rare listener, however, may have a choice just opposite to mine, which is also completely reasonable.


Incredible. Top HN comment is wondering why anyone uses UI software to manage a library instead of the filesystem.

I'm not even sure where to start. But that you can't even envision a few reasons why someone would use something is very limiting. At least on an empathy level but probably on a professional product-design level as well.

I can certainly appreciate your point when the software's backing database is unusable and human-unfriendly, and this is supposedly the reason why you hate Calibre, but the folder that Calibre stores my 12k books in and it's nicely organized. The other day I even Airdropped it to my friend where he imported it into macOS' Books.app.


Find it incredible as well. The average user finds Calibre to be too complex.

With that said, I would be happy if you could take BookFusion for a spin and let me know if you have any feedback. Our users have libraries with over 30,000 eBooks and as a result we will have no issues with your collection.

BookFusion allows you to easily upload, organize and read all your eBooks regardless of format on iOS, Android and Web enabled devices.

More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

BookFusion also has a Calibre plugin that will allow you to easily sync your eBook collection. https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/calibre

PS: I am the founder of BookFusion and would be happy to hear any feedback that you might have


I went to check out BookFusion, which at first glance, seems like an interesting idea.

Unfortunately, I could not find anywhere on your site that indicated the cost associated with an individual user account. (Free to signup, of course, but how long is that trial, or what limits will I face? and then how much money will this subscription service cost me?)

End-users have serious account fatigue, and I seriously debated whether I should bother signing up for the site and create yet another login to a web app I might or might not want to use. Please, just be up front about pricing, free trials, limitations, requirements, etc.

If you have a 7-day free trial and I'm currently busy, I won't have time to kick the wheels before I'd need to pay. If you instead limit the number of books or the storage space I can use, just tell me so I can decide if it's worth bothering to test it out. As far as I can tell, you might or might not have a limit for a new/free user, but no idea what that is.

Finally, I see in the settings that you offer an early bird subscriber deal, at $4.99/mo (vs $9.99/mo) and $39.99/yr (vs $60/yr), for unlimited storage. I think you might have better luck with a tiered setup. Someone with a lot of ebooks might find $40/year to be a great deal, but most users likely don't have that large of a collection - they're looking for more of an ease of use and convenience factor. Take advantage of that, and then allow them to move up and give you more money once their collection grows.

$10/year = 4GB storage or 2000 ebooks? (count # of books, and not storage, to make it seem less technical?) $20/year = 8GB storage or 4000 ebooks? $40/year = 20GB storage or __? $60/year = unlimited

or $10/$30/$60 year, with 2000/10,000/unlimited? and only allow monthly payment as an option for the $30/$60 levels?

at $10/year, it would be an impulse buy for most readers, and then you not only have a paying relationship with them right away, you have a whole year to demonstrate the ease of use and utility of the product.


I can understand you. However, libraries are hard to understand until managing your collection creates a lot of overhead. A good library can find something from a sizeable collection in a second or two. Calibre is perfectly capable in this regard. Also metadata is something really powerful. However, you need a lot of it (in this case books) to reap its benefits.

Calibre doesn't obfuscate / embed the book files. They copy under a folder with Author's name. You can pretty easily access the original file pretty quickly. Maybe you can configure Calibre to use your directory structure without modifying it.


I can't say I have a large collection of ebooks (just checked: 54) but I won't use a file manager to handle it. I use Calibre because it's much easier to convert between formats, edit metadata, edit the ebook, add a cover page. Basically that's it and Calibre has many more features that I don't use (the reader among the others). I'm sure there are separate programs that do all I use Calibre for, but it's much easier in this way.

BTW, I don't understand the use case of reading ebooks on a desktop or laptop instead of on a phone or tablet (or eink reader.) Is this really common? I can imagine reading some technical ebook at my computer while working at my desk, but not fiction or anything else.


> BTW, I don't understand the use case of reading ebooks on a desktop or laptop instead of on a phone or tablet (or eink reader).

Unfortunately, not everyone has all the screens, and not all phone screens are big enough to read novels and such. I'd rather read a book in my bed on my laptop screen and take notes quickly rather than an older phone and try to write on its keyboard.

Also, e-ink readers' screen refresh rate prevents taking extensive notes on the books. You can underline just fine, but longer notes are a bit hard.

Last but not the least, comic books in CBZ/CBR format really begs for a quality color display, since colored comics is half the fun in the comics. :D


With a file manager, you'll probably only be able to find a book from its author, and title. If you have a small collection, this is fine.

When your collection grows though, issues start to show up. Being able to sort, and find a book based on other information becomes much more useful: date of publication, genre, custom tags, etc... While you could always integrate these in your filename/directory structure, with the help of symlinks, it's very cumbersome to manage and use.


> Being able to sort, and find a book based on other information becomes much more useful: date of publication, genre, custom tags, etc...

Yes, and I want to be able to do that with all my books, not just the ones that the ebook reader can handle.


>it's very cumbersome to manage and use

Maybe if you just dump a large number of unsorted files in place and do nothing with them. With a decent file manager and an hour or so, you can add many books and symlink them to the metadata directory with no issue.


> aybe if you just dump a large number of unsorted files in place and do nothing with them. With a decent file manager and an hour or so, you can add many books and symlink them to the metadata directory with no issue.

Alternatively you can use a program's built-in library with no time cost to yourself...


> With a decent file manager and an hour or so

An hour? You've made my case. It takes at most a couple of minutes for importing hundreds of books in Calibre. Metadata retrieval is automatic (from the file itself and/or online). Everything happens in a few clicks.


Yes, I hate programs that replicate my filesystem, slowly and badly! Please, give me an ebook reader that opens a single file and that's it. It cannot be so hard!


The app I'm working on does the same thing:

https://getpolarized.io/

It's very similar to Bookworm in this regard.

The main reason we do it is repository integrity.

We can replicate it easily with the cloud and enable real time collaboration.

You can also keep the files on disk if you want and in their original directories as we use a hard link.


How would you handle books with multiple authors? Symlinks would not be an option as they are way too nerdy for common users.


A file system isn't a good fit for a library of books IMHO, at least not as a view.

What directory would I put my copy of Stephen King's It in? My Stephen King folder? My horror folder? 1986? Fiction?

The underlying file system view really doesn't matter. It's the abstraction on top of that where all the interesting things happen.


Call it a database if you wish. In fact it is probably sqlite running behind the scenes. It is a relational model, a different way of organizing things compared to the hierarchical model of the filesystem. There is probably enough literature about that to fill your ebook library ;)

I suppose that the "library" model is what most people prefer since most modern media apps use that in some form or another. Or maybe it is because of Steve Jobs reality distortion field ( https://oleb.net/blog/2012/06/steve-jobs-on-the-file-system/ ). Still, I hate all these apps attempting to hide the filesystem from me.


I don't particularly like Calibre's library implementation, but a generic file manager just isn't a very good way of managing documents. Metadata like bookmarks, references, excerpts and annotations are a really important part of an effective reading experience.


The reading experience starts when you open the book with the reader program. If you want a library, use a library program. Those should be completely orthogonal concerns.


books are more than just files and contain a lot of additional data. how do you filter by publisher and then sort books by publish date in mc?

I'm sure there's a "dropbox is just rsync" type answer, but this is for regular users


Honest question, is this a common use case for regular users? To get a book by publisher and date? I have no idea who published most of my books, let alone the date.


I don't think this is a common case for "regular users" but in my library of coding books, I find both very useful. For example, O'Reilly has a very different style/quality compared to Packt. And it's helpful to know when the book was published to know it's recency and whether it may be outdated.


Is that something you want to know after selecting a book, or for finding one?


Someone call up every real-world library and let them know their catalogs are worthless, they should just be sorting their books onto shelves and letting patrons search them by hand.


> search them by hand

No, come on, be fair, let's replicate the capabilities of the file system: You can sort them both by ISBN and by size.


I remember having this argument with people who couldn't understand why I preferred using iTunes (Swinsian, these days) to organize a collection of thousands of albums, with automatic sorting based on metadata. File systems just don't expose what is relevant in a music context and re-sorting huge batches of music based on changed metadata is too difficult.


You're not alone. I have about 75 ebooks organized by a few directories depending on what type of book it is.

I just move around my file system like normal and then open them in light weight readers like Zathura. Browsing is the same as any other directory, the files open immediately, it works offline and it's easy to sync between devices.

I apply this same strategy to MP3s too.


Not to mention the directory is easy to scan, rsync, backup & so on without having to worry about breaking consistency in some database.

A filesystem is perfectly fine, if used correctly, for the average ebook reader use-case.

If you have 10 million ebooks and need to run 100 complex searches per second then you need an RDBMS.


you might be interested in mupdf or mupdf-based viewers, it supports pdf and epub (but not mobi) and it very lightweight


I’m not sure why people compare it to Calibre here. Calibre is an insanely full featured management, editing and metadata filling software for ebooks and not build as a minimal reader. I guess the main use case is to send ebooks to your reader device from Calibre (Like a Kindle) and it’s doing that very well especially if you invest time in setting it up and using the right plugins for your use case.

You also don’t use Photoshop for browsing your images, it’s possible but it’s not what it’s made for.


My first reaction was also the same: "That's a nice reader, but I use Calibre, and can read my eBooks from it too". If I didn't have an eReader and didn't manage it with Calibre, I'd build and it use it happily.

While Calibre has a full management, editing and authoring suite, it also has a nice internal reader with reading features.

It's not like the Photoshop, but rather the ACDSee suite, which comes with a full fledged image browser and viewer.


Yet Calibre is full of quirks, seemingly lacks some reasonable features (like importing metadata from book files themselves) and stuck with Python 2. I wish there were alternatives...


When I add books to Calibre, it reads and lists all the metadata correctly. I never added metadata to a book manually if the book has it. Strange.

I can't comment on the Python2.x dependencies though.


Calibre author have said that despite python2 eol he will not transition to python3 and that he is "perfectly capable of maintaining python2 himself"


However it seems that people are slowly migrating Calibre to Python 3.

Also looks like any Python3 patch doesn't break the current Calibre build is welcome indeed.


Yes. I should have been more clear. He is not against python3 but thinks that it is less work to maintain python2 than port calibre to newer version.


This sounds like Calibre codebase is a mess that needs to be refactored.


To be honest the best part of Calibre, the `ebook-convert` tool, is already broken out from the rest of it. It's similar to pandoc though in my opinion often does a nicer job.


Even the best codebase can't effortless be ported. Calibre seems to have something around 25 MB of python-code, several external plugins, some C-code and other languages. Transition of this would take quite some time.

Additionally, there is the problem of compability. Configuration in Calibre is python-code, and on several corners the user can mod stuff. Any transition would need to make sure to not brake things to hard.


Oh. Like every single codebase ever then?


To be honest, I don't see why would you port it to python 3. Isn't it already working? Are there any python 2 bug hampering its development?


Python2 will be at end of support next year. That means slowly it will become harder and harder to make calibre runable on modern systems. 3rd-party librays will decline and receive no updates. Python2-interpreter will not be installable out-of-the-box. There will be no security-updates or new features.

Python2 as a platform will slowly die and any application depending on it will die with it. Though, this won't become a serious problem in the next years, but more like 5-10+ years.

It's sad, but the reality now.


To be honest, I doubt corporations will give Python 2 up easily. Currently Python 2 codebase in use in production is probably fairly huge and is just working. Look at how hard it is to convince enterprises to give up Internet Explorer even though Microsoft itself says they should really end using it. Someone like Red Hat will probably keep maintaining Python 2 for at least some years more.


Indeed, but companies have full control over their software and used OS-Versions. They can virtualize, package or even compile themself, and fix problems in their own space.

But calibre is desktop-software, it depends on the OS, the GUI-Framework and whats more... Though, it's actually only a bigger deal for linux, beacuse on Windows and Mac OS is custom to deliver compiled versions from the Project itself. Also there is not wayland-situation on windows and Mac OS, which might break GUI-Libs. But as Calibre has so many different gears it's depending on, there is a good chance that something will break after a certain point.

> Someone like Red Hat will probably keep maintaining Python 2 for at least some years more.

Actually, Red Hat is already dropping python2 for their next enterprise-version as I read. They will probably still have a somewhat maintainend version available somehow, but it's obvious that python2 is slowly phasing out now. And many remaining companies are now starting transition too as EOL is near.

At this point you can already can predict that python2 will have reached minimal levels of usage in 5 years.


Because Python2's end of life is announced. There'll be no Python 2.8, 2.9 or future. It may get some security fixes, but it'll be abandoned then.


"there will be no updates, not even source-only security patches" from the man himself: https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2018-March/1523...


Every time I drag a book file (whatever a format, whatever a source) to Calibre it can only guess the title and the author from the file name (although ebook formats like fb2, epub and mobi usually have this data embedded inside them). It can't even extract the cover (something CoolReader on Android does easily). Then I have to copy-paste ISBN manually and click "download metadata". I have always suspected the feature is there (it seems unreasonable to be missing from such a tool) but doesn't work for some weird reason. I use Calibre 3.39.1 from AUR on Manjaro.


I use calibre from community packages on archlinux, it has absolutely no problems reading metadata (authors, titles and covers, and tags etc when present) from epub / mobi / pdf / etc.


I'm using Calibre 3.35 on Debian Testing and I have all authors, tags, categories, series, everything automatically imported to my library for many books from many sources. Maybe there's a library dependency missing somewhere? Any debug logs?

I'm not at my main workstation at home, so I cannot compare now, but it's a very strange situation.


Perhaps you mean you use Calibre to download books from particular sources so Calibre exchanges metadata with the source server directly? I add files manually by dragging them to the Calibre window and expect it to extract metadata (like the book autor, title, ISBN and cover picture) from the file.


I usually buy ebooks through Humble Bundle, download all formats and then import them into calibre. For 2 of 3 formats the metadata will be extracted without problems.

Only one is usually lacking. I think it's mobi or epub, but never bother to pin it down because I just combine then in one entry anyway, and then the metadata will be merged together.

Calibre has usually no problem with extracting metadata from files, independant from the source.


It's possibly .mobi. Calibre reads all metadata from my HumbleBundle ePubs just fine. :)


I download my epub and mobi files from my browser and IRC, and Calibre has always picked up the cover and metadata just fine.

In the import/add books settings, there is an option to use the filename instead of the metadata. Try changing that?


No, I download books with my browser, and drag them into the Calibre. It harvests the metadata embedded in the file automatically.


How does Calibre's use of Python 2 effect your use of the application?


...and it needs a huge amount of dependencies. And RAM.


It's a convoluted piece of software, which does a lot of things, but with ~160MB of RAM usage, I wouldn't call it a heavyweight.

Its RAM requirement is more than the capacity of my first hard drive, but it's not in the league of Chrome, Slack or Atom. There are many wasteful applications out there doing much much less with much more resources.


You are cherry-picking memory hogs like "Chrome, Slack or Atom" as comparisons and ignoring bookworm and other more reasonable applications.

Also, I had to drop Calibre due to the large number of Python 2 and imagemagik dependencies that have a maintenance cost when it comes to pulling updated packages & so on.

Making Calibre modular would have helped greatly but the author never cared.


> You are cherry-picking memory hogs like "Chrome, Slack or Atom"...

Huge amount of RAM usage is subjective term. For me, Chrome, Slack and Atom are memory hogs. While I do not find the RAM usage of Calibre optimal, I think its RAM usage is reasonable with that feature set for me. Eclipse is also using ~1.1GB of RAM, but it's not a memory hog from my perspective, because I get what I give as productivity and features that I actually use and benefit.

>... ignoring bookworm and other more reasonable applications.

No, I'm not. Above, here [0], I said that Bookworm is a nice application, but my needs are different. Also, I compared Atom with another functionally-similar text application and said that similar applications (like BBEdit) use ~60MB, but Atom uses 660MB out of the box.

Similarly, since Bookworm doesn't provide the features that I need, installing it would be moot, since it'll sit unused on my disk, actually wasting disk space from my point of view. However, this doesn't make Bookworm a bad application. If it provides the functionality one needs, then I'm happy for them. Also its user interface is elegant and minimal, this another plus for Bookworm.

> Also, I had to drop Calibre due to the large number of Python 2 and imagemagik dependencies that have a maintenance cost when it comes to pulling updated packages & so on.

I don't know your OS and setup, and can't comment on that. However, major distros are doing the required maintenance, so many people are just installing it on their systems.

> Making Calibre modular would have helped greatly but the author never cared.

I don't know internal architecture of Calibre, so I can't say anything about this issue. However modularity has its own set of benefits and problems.

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19197443


You can entirely ignore the main Calibre program. Associate epubs with the Calibre reader and it only opens that. You never need to interact with the management suite.


Agreed that Calibre is a full featured management app that does it's function well but it requires readers to then use multiple apps to maintain their eBook collection.

Would be happy if you could take BookFusion for a spin. BookFusion allows you to easily upload and organize your eBooks while being able to read on iOS, Android and Desktop(via Web)

https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

There is also a Calibre plugin that will allow you to easily sync your Calibre eBook collection.

https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/calibre


Looks like a very nice ebook reader. Could probably replace Calibre for 90% of users. It's already on the Arch platform so here are my thoughts on using it for 5 minutes. Rendering is via poppler which is fine most of the time but definitely not as fast as mupdf + zathura when testing a epub textbook. Definitely has some bugs (clicking on links to different parts of the book don't work for me) but it's still in early development so that's expected. Reading regular books is pretty good but there should be a preset to center text with large margins on the sides (like an article) so it's more readable fullscreen. Definitely has potential but will be sticking to zathura for now.


Ooh, nice. I’ve used Calibre for years, it’s fully featured but god help me it is ugly as sin.


I've created 80+ ebooks using Calibre, but it's too over-featured for casual ebook reading. I've used IceCream for that but I'll give Bookworm a look.


That's a lot of ebooks. Do you write for a living?


Mupdf ( https://mupdf.com ) also supports ePub. I personally using it with zathura for vi keybindings and theme support ( https://pwmt.org/projects/zathura-pdf-mupdf )


I actually really like Calibre's UI for nostalgic reasons. The oversized icons remind me a lot of WinZip 98, which was one of the few programs I remember back from when I was 5 years old.


What I love about Calibre is I can manage all my books there and open the network library from FBReader on my phone where I do all my reading.


FBReader was my go-to eReader app for a long time, but in the last few years (since they went closed source) they haven't added any useful (-to-me) features, but have added several advertisements (in the form of popups and in the menu). Still looking for an alternative


That's a legitimate complaint. I just paid the money to go premium to remove ads. I've been using it to read books since my Nokia 770 and it has everything I need from an ebook reader so I'm reluctant to change.

There's a fork of FBReader on F-Droid called simply 'Book Reader' which is being actively developed (last release 2019-02-08.) Might be worth trying out.

Git repo is here: https://gitlab.com/axet/android-book-reader


Book Reader is the app that finally made it possible for me to read books on my phone. It has nice shortcuts for full screen, screen brightness and navigation, is intuitive, and simply works.


It is being sold for what, $5 and is actively being supported. I assume that it's being developed by a single developer in their own time. If charging for it lets them make a living from their clearly valuable work then what's the problem?

Working on open source is fantastic but most realistic projects are sponsored in some way or form. I doubt that sponsorship works works for an eReader app, so this is a good solution.

TLDR; our fellow developer deserves to get paid for their clearly awesome work.


> If charging for it lets them make a living from their clearly valuable work then what's the problem?

They took an open source app I loved, closed the source, added features I don't need (and ads I definitely don't), making it run slower on my 6-year-old Nexus 7 I use as a reader.

I agree with supporting development, but it was feature-complete as an open source app. The roadmap for 3.0, 3.1, and 3.x add nothing of interest to me[1]. I'll happily move to the Book Reader app that someone else mentioned, and contribute anything to it that I can.

[1] https://fbreader.org/content/fbreader-3x-android-planned-fea...


> our fellow developer deserves to get paid for their clearly awesome work

I agree, but it highlights the many-small-cuts problem

$5 for an eReader, then a mapping app, file manager, photo editor, mail client... the list of developers deserving support is longer than most people can afford. Eventually a choice has to be made to prioritise. For many people that will mean that a less-used category of app can be fulfilled from F-Droid instead of paying for a more-polished one.


Wait, so there's say 20 apps someone uses, maybe average $5/each, that's $100 for apps on a device you might pay $800+ for? Doesn't seem that ridiculous....


Is it really that great? How many apps do we use in our day to day life? Let's say 20 apps that we use regularly.

Is $100 too much for lifetime access to these apps?


Lifetime is very misleading. I expect smartphones and apps to become obsolete over the next 40 years. Just like pretty much everything software from 40 years ago is obsolete now.


Lifetime in software assumes the lifetime of the app, not the user.


Give BookFusion a try. You will be able to read and sync your eBooks, highlights, comments and reading progress not only across Android but also iOS and Desktop via web.

More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

PS: Founder of BookFusion. Please let me know if you have any feedback


Have you considered an alternative that allows you to not only manage all your books but to also read then across Android, iOS, Desktop(Web) and have your comments, bookmarks, highlights and reading progress synced?

BookFusion also has a Calibre plugin to allow you to easily sync your library. More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/calibre

PS: Founder of BookFusion. Would be happy to hear any feedback that you might have


As a long time Calibre user I would be happy to get your feedback for using an alternative. BookFusion allows you to organize, upload and read your eBooks across Android, iOS and Web.

BookFusion also have a Calibre plugin to allow you to easily sync your eBook collection. More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/calibre

PS: I am the founder of BookFusion


Calibre is amazing – nothing can match it for functionality. But good grief is it ugly. My eyes die a little every time I use it.


I've been trying out a couple ebook readers on linux. What stands out to me that so far only Calibre renders epub book contents exacty the way they were intended. Both Bookworm and FBReader struggle with variable font formatting, especially syntax highlighted code in books from e.g. PragProg. I wonder if there's just an ebook reader with Calibre's rendering library?


Back in the days when my collection of books was very small I was looking for a simple reader that would just open files I click (e.g. the way Acrobat Reader does) rather than maintain a library. And what I have ended up using was Calibre e-book viewer. It actually is a separate program that comes with Calibre, you can associate relevant file types with it and use it to open them directly without using Calibre itself.


Give BookFusion a try and let me know if you have the same issues. BookFusion should also render epub content exactly as intended but also works on iOS, Android and Desktops(via Web). BookFusion not only supports epub2/3 but also MOBI, PDF, FB2, TXT and several other formats


I don't understand why epub rendering quality varies so wildly between devices. Isn't it just basic HTML or is there more to it ?


Doesn’t the fact that it’s just HTML explain why it varies? All the rendering quality is up to the device.


The problem is not the ebook reader. The problem is trying to buy a commercial ebook from anywhere other than Amazon, and having to use someone's stupid DRM scheme. I tried once to not buy a Kindle book, and I just had to end up installing someone's other app just to decrypt the book so I could read it.

You can make all the ebook readers you want. Until we find an easier way to make non-Amazon ebooks easier to read, these aren't going to catch on.


I buy from Google, no DRM, plain epub. Big selection.

I buy from Kobo, no DRM, plain epub. Big selection.

I buy from a bunch of authors' own websites or small publishing platforms (like bookviewcafe.com) because an even higher percentage of the price goes to the author, and nobody ever pays to put DRM on their own book.


I'm not sure about Kobo but I think no DRM is not guaranteed on Google. For certain authors (e.g. John Scalzi) their books on Google will have the small part in description says "At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied." (e.g. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=XVwOEeHTU4QC) but my understanding is without that statement the book will be with DRM.


Many books on Kobo also have DRM unfortunately.


Is there any good third-party non-google/amazon reading apps for iPhone/iPad that will sync my places where I'm at in my books?


You know Kindle books have DRM too, right? So you need an app that supports that DRM in order to read them (the mobi format doesn't have to have DRM, much like epub).

So this is mostly in people's head, because when they have to get something that supports Adobe Digital Editions they're thinking that they're being put out "because DRM", whereas when they have to get something from Amazon to read a Kindle book they're thinking "because Kindle", which is just giving Amazon a pass for no good reason.

To be clear I'm against all DRM, I just want the comparison to be correct.


I recently ran into this issue with ebooks.com [0] which is the only way outside of Amazon Kindle to get Jan Axelson's USB Complete and Serial Port Complete references.

The only choices are proprietary Kindle format or PDF and EPUB with a very restrictive Adobe DRM scheme.

[0]: https://www.ebooks.com/SearchApp/SearchResults.net?term=jan+...


I think this is an area the government should step in and force interoperability with ebooks and ebook readers. Nobody should ever be locked out of a book they purchased and lets face it - all of the companies selling DRM protected books will go out of business one day.


Calibre with Apprentice Alf does a great, seamless job of DRM removal. Works for everything except iBooks, I think.


I was under the impression that Amazon drm v3 wasn't cracked?


It's not, but there is no urgency to it either. You can still download the old format from the Amazon (if you choose the "transfer via USB" option) or by using an older version of the Kindle app.


How is Amazon's drm scheme any easier to deal with? Do you mean in order to read on a kindle device?


in Poland every ebook i DRM free distributed in epub and mobi formats.


Very nice design and best thing, it's not an Electron app. I will definitely try this reader.


I think your comment even though correct might be less impactful to your computer resources than you wanted. If you're reading books in the epub format, then this app will load a web engine anyway. Epubs are in essence a zipped collection of HTML files, so even though the UI is some snappy non-electron solution, webkit is still loaded and in memory and being used to render the book.


I saw it depends on libwebkit2gtk, so I assumed it used web technology for its UI.


Just out of curiosity, may I ask what your bias is against electron?


They perform comparatively slowly and use more resources and battery power.

For example hexchat an irc client seems to use about 50-60MB of ram.

Slack by contrast out of the box appears to use 1.2GB of memory. There are at present 12 applications open on my machine. If they all used over a GB each something would be starving given that I only have 8. Note please that most machines still have 8GB or less.

Do you really not understand why people are biased against electron or are you pretending to for effect?


I just wanted to hear what people had to say to be honest. Given the success of Slack, is it really that bad? Why has no resource "friendly" alternatives taken its place?


Because people used to be able to use whatever IRC client they wanted for Slack, so it wasn't a problem if they were too memory constrained. In a pure embrace, extend, extinguish fashion, Slack closed the gateway that made them popular and now everyone is stuck with their pile of crap app.


Most users can afford one resource hog even if battery life and performance decrease.

We can't afford a whole list of apps all hogging resources simultaneously.


With electron, you're running a full chromium at the back end for any task. This increases memory and CPU consumption a lot. Atom consumes as much as RAM as Eclipse for example. Also it's slow due to this load it creates.

For simple tasks, a full fledged, programming capable text editor can fit into ~60MBs. Atom needs 660 just at the start. With that amount of RAM usage, I even cannot open large files as reliably as vim for example.


But an ebook reader is basically a web browser. This seems like a place where an Electron app might make sense.


However, it's all static HTML. An HTML rendering library will use less CPU and RAM than a full fledged web browser, and will be much easier to maintain.

Calibre's e-book reader uses ~100MBs when opened. It runs independent of the main Calibre app, in its own process. Again, an Electron app will be heavier here.


> However, it's all static HTML

No it isn't. For example EPUB 3 supports all kinds of dynamic content including music and video and javascript.


Honestly, I wasn't aware. I'm just an old-school guy who uses EPUB to read novels and tech books :)

But again, I'd just include libwebkit (or similar) with a JS engine into my app and be happy.


Not GP, but many people (myself included) associate electron apps with high memory usage and occasionally high CPU usage.


there's nothing wrong with electron other than that it is a huge pile of garbage to enable idiot web devs to make desktop apps


Can't speak for performance but there are definitely security concerns with Electron.


Oh my god finally! I can't believe this! I've been looking for an app like this forever! I was so surprised at how hard it is to find a decent ebook reader for Ubuntu.

All the desktop or chrome apps I've tried miss crucial obvious functionality, or are so ugly and painful to use they make me want to cry and throw things.

Thank you so much for making this project, it looks amazing, can't wait to try it out!

Edit:

I was unable to install it on ubuntu 18.04 because it requires libgranite5. To fix this I did:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:philip.scott/spice-up-daily

sudo apt install libgranite5

Now it works.

Feedback:

This app doesn't allow me to scroll through pages? I can only switch between them with arrow keys? That's a huge bummer, pretty much a dealbreaker for me. Everything else looks great.

Oh, and looks like it completely breaks PDF formatting for me. I love that it adds a dark mode, but it makes them pretty much unreadable. Table of content's broken as well, chapter names replaced with Content #1, Content #2, etc. And some fonts are missing, hard to figure out which, but I can't read some text in the pdf because of this.

Please fix these things, I really wish to use this app!


I just use Calibre for organizing and editing metadata. To read i just use whatever epub or pdf reader. For me , Calibre does everything I need. Every book organized by group, then author. Every book with its book cover. If it doesn't have one Calibre can generate for me etc. And on top of it all, Calibre generates a neat folder structured with everything properly named. When you have hundreds of books it is a must.


Oh, pity, I thought that was about hardware. (I keep buying up the good old Amazon Kindle 5 (with the hardware keys) on ebay and other sites - I lose it all the time, and don't want this annoying expensive newfangled stuff with touch screen that frequently switches to some random page).


Oh god I couldn't agree more. The new base Kindle costs more than what I paid for my Kindle 4 nearly 10 years ago, and is in my opinion far worse.

Hardware keys are now apparently a premium feature and you now need to spend nearly 200 euros more to have them. All I want is an updated version of Kindle 4 with an added backlight (sidelight?).

Can anyone recommend any alternative e-readers that have hardware page turners and a backlight that costs at most around 100 dollars?


I have a touchscreen Kindle that's a few years old now and I've never had the problem where it switches to a random page.

My next Kindle will probably be the Oasis model as it has hardware buttons for page turn. It's an expensive upgrade, but these things tend to last me a long, long time.


> switches to a random page

Yeah, I should have been more precise. I meant "randomly switches to the next or previous page", and of course it's not random either, it's because a fly landed on it (seriously happened to me regularly in some regions), or a drop of sweat fell on it, or the scarf gently brushed over it (different locations, obviously), etc.

Also, it's just nice when I can hold it in the middle (not only the edge) without it switching page. The hardware side buttons were perfectly fine, and (as the other poster observed) are now a ridiculously expensive premium feature!

Unfortunately, a used Kindle 5 is now sometimes offered more expensively than it used to cost new.

> tend to last me a long, long time

Yes, they do - lamentably I tend to lose them. That's why I'm stacking up on the old one :-)


Which Windows equivalent should I use since it doesn't support Windows?

It will help if it is just as much feature rich as Bookworm and just as much easy to use as Bookworm.

Calibre, is therefore ruled out.


You can try BookFusion. A cross platform reader for Desktops(via Web) with native apps for Android and iOS devices.

You will be able to read your eBooks on Windows but also on your mobile devices while having your eBook collection, bookmarks, comments and highlights synced.

You can learn more at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library


This is great!

Nothing else googling has the required features this one has.

Thank you and Thank HN for superseding Google!


Bookworm reminds me of Polar-Bookshelf [1]. They do not seem to have exactly the same features and use-cases, but I think it might be worth comparing (only tried Polar so far).

[1]: https://getpolarized.io


I'm the author of Polar if you have any specific questions.

Right now I'm working on making Polar easier to use. I think initial users get confused and I'm trying to fix that.

Additionally we're working on a web version but I think that's 1-2 weeks away.


I was also wondering about Polarized vs Bookworm.



I'm the author of Polar ...

You can use Calibre to convert the ePub to PDF and then import.

ePub is used a lot more than I would have thought.

Initially we might just convert the ePub to PDF.


Trivia here : the original concept was on deviantart in the elementary-art community. https://www.deviantart.com/danrabbit/art/BookWorm-239349207

They have a lot of interesting concepts here : https://www.deviantart.com/elementary-art/favourites/

It make me really happy that the elementary projet finally manage to provide sexy apps for Linux.


I like some of their apps, I wish they would publish them for other distros to use. Namely their own editor is kind of nice, if it supported scripting for plugins (I havent used it in a while so no idea if it does) it would probably really take off as one of the nicer GUI editors if it ever gets adopted by other distros. I think my ideal setup would be POP_OS! with some ElementaryOS apps.


I totally love bookworm. The best epub reader that I've found for linux. I only wish it was in the ubuntu repos.


Bookworm is available as a PPA for Ubuntu (16.04 upwards) and other Ubuntu based systems. Open Terminal and run the following comands for installation

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bookworm-team/bookworm

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install com.github.babluboy.bookworm

In case of issues related to missing libgranite package, add the Elementary PPA as shown below and re-try. The Elementary PPA can be removed after Bookworm is installed.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementary-os/stable

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install com.github.babluboy.bookworm


I use the ppa, but doing that opens you up to security concerns. I've tried to build from source, but there are too many dependencies and I couldn't build it due to conflicting libraries.


Security is a spectrum not an on off switch.

The question is whats the risk profile/benefit.

The ppa like many other is hosted on launchpad.net owned by canonical.

If Canonical is compromised you are probably boned any way you slice it. If the developer is compromised you are probably boned. This leaves the fact that the devs account on launchpad could be taken over and used as an attack vector which quite frankly seems like the lessor risk.

You have already undertaken the greater risk that the dev or whomever inherits/acquires access to their account is or becomes malicious or incompetent especially given that is not now or will it be audited unless it becomes an official part of the Ubuntu repos.

This means that if the bookworm software in version 17 starts to come with a crypto miner you will only become aware of this if it hits hacker news and you happen to read the story whereas were it part of the Ubuntu repos Canonical would be apt to publish this warning via official channels.

If you have 835 packages you have 835 potential sources of issues but if they are all vetted by canonical then you have 1 source of fixes/warnings. If you add 17 ppas you now have 18 channels and 17 may be less diligent than canonical is. This situation isn't much improved if you have 17 github repos that you periodically pull from unless you have both the skill and the time to audit the result in depth.


On PPA you need to trust a random individual instead of trusting an official distribution. Some distribution requires multiple pair of (skilled) eyes to vet a package.


The point is you do the same when you build the source. In many cases the ppa is provided by the same person providing the source.


If you trust the PPA you added, does it open you up to any other concerns?


In an ideal case, no. In a not-so-ideal case, one with the push access could theoretically replace any package on your system with a malicious version that you would pick up automatically using apt upgrade.

I'd trust PPAs more if they didn't have such broad possibility of misuse. For example, if I add a PPA that only contains package A, I should at least be warned if that PPA tries to install or upgrade package B. apt will only display that package B needs to be installed/upgraded, it won't inform me that it originated from that PPA.

I applaud elementary OS for not bundling software-properties-common by default (a package that allows you to run add-apt-repository). If you decide to install it, you should at least be forced to make an effort to open such possibility of misuse.


I think you can use pinning to prevent the second scenario, assuming you don't mind the extra manual configuration.


there does appear to be a ppa: https://babluboy.github.io/bookworm/#install


For Windows people, Edge also works as a great epub reader.


Having EPUB support in the base OS install, effectively, is a game changer, so I am thrilled Edge has this and I do use it occasionally. Though I've generally been of the opinion Edge is still mostly a poor/underfeatured document reader.


Don't think it can run .MOBI, do you have any alternatives for that?


I've built out a similar app named Polar:

https://getpolarized.io/

It's focused around incremental reading and suspend and resume of your reading but also supports annotations (highlights, etc).

I also designed it for people like the HN crowd so it's insanely hackable.

Biggest thing I'm working on now is onboarding to make it easier to use and a web version.


Very cool, and it's awesome to see people developing for Elementary OS, even tho I'm currently a Fedora user. Really hope this generates some revenue.

Would you be willing to report back later about how you did financially? I'm eminently curious about the economic model and whether it could work. A case-study would be awesome :-)


Anyone knows if there is a ebook reader that supports Android/Linux and can sync book/progress between machines?


A stupid workaround I use:

I copy-paste some sentence from a book into my note taking app, and search for that same text on my other device. Note-taking is easier to sync than reading positions themselves.

Calibre saves the reading position inside the metadata of the book, so you'd need a way to re-download the book every time you open it.


It's been awhile since I've used it but Moon+ Reader on Android can sync progress to google drive. At the time the syncing wasn't super reliable, but it worked sometimes.


I have no idea if syncing reading position works because I only use it on one machine but Moon+ is awesome in other respects.

It supports Support epub, pdf, mobi, chm, cbr, cbz, umd, fb2, txt, html, rar, zip or OPDS

Its nicely customizable, takes up the whole screen when running including status area, has a night mode, can autorotate or pin the orientation.

Personally I really like using it plus calibre companion to sync files with my computer.


This is exactly what BookFusion does. Your able to read on Desktop(Windows, Linux, OSX) via Web and can read on Android and iOS devices while having your reading progress, bookmarks, and highlights synced across all devices.

You can learn more at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

PS: Founder of BookFusion


Looks amazing! Signed up and I notice that the web reader uses red color for text, is there anything I can change it to just black?


Thank you for giving it a try. The color for the fonts are set based on what is present in the EPUB or document. We currently allow you to change the font type, background and other options but not the color of the font currently.

I have added this to the development roadmap and you will see it deployed by Q2 this year


I use Google Play Books. There's no Linux client, but the browser works fine.


https://read.amazon.com/ works but it's only for Amazon books


Polar will support Android / Linux and iOS and web in about 2-4 weeks.

We're working on both mobile support and web at the same time.

The cool thing is that the multi-device cloud sync support will also work with the web version.


I use Lithium which the pro version can sync between Android devices. Doesn't do the Linux part as far as I'm aware, though.


I was hoping this was an e-ink device. The Kindle Paperwhite is my favorite electronic device of all time, but I'd love it even more if it didn't prioritize buying books from Amazon. For instance, I haven't yet gotten it working with books from my library. Are there even better e-reader devices out there?


Does it support an easy way of accessing notes and highlights?


looks cool! so far I've been using FBreader and Mcomix without fiddling too much into settings

going through the features for bookworm, I didn't know I wanted some of those (ex: annotations, metadata/tags mainly to make it easier to search later on, etc)


Would you mind taking Bookusion for a spin? BookFusion is an eBook platform that allows you to read your eBooks across Android, iOS and Web. Your reading progress, bookmarks, highlights and eBooks are synced across all devices.

We currently have partial support for CBR/CBZ. However full support will be added by the end of March.

More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

PS: I am the founder of BookFusion and would appreciate any feedback that you might have


Looks like a great tool. I use Calibre but that has a few issues. For reference I have more than 10,000 e-books in various formats. The total size of this collection is somewhere around 200-300 GB. It sits on a network share.

Calibre insists on copying all my books to a local directory (~/Calibre Library). My laptop has a 128GB SSD, so that will never work. Will Bookworm do this too?

I would prefer it just create a local folder for the metadata, then reference the documents on the network share. But if you want to write the metadata to the same directory as the books, that's cool too.


I just started using Elementary yesterday, I will certainly check this out!

As an aside (and also as a small request), I miss the Kindle for PC app's ability to easily display a book in a 2-up view. To get two pages to show now, you have to change it into multi-column view and then mess with the page width and the window size until it looks good. I'd love to have another eBook reader on my computer that has a nice two-page view. Kindle Cloud Reader shows a perfect two-page view, but you can only use it for books you've bought from Amazon.


I use Calibre as an iTunes for ebooks from humble bundle, but this may look like a nice alternative for environments where Calibre it's too much.

Thanks for sharing.


I was really interested after this comment if only because Calibre really is an iTunes for ebooks:

1. It has updates ALL THE TIME

2. It has a billion features and I only need one (moving books to/from the device)

Unfortunately, after looking over the feature list and realizing that it's for Linux, I realized that this is more of a replacement for Books on OS X -- a local ebook reader.


A good, basic ebook reader for Windows is FBReader. The Windows version hasn't been updated in years (development seems to have shifted mostly to Android) but it still works just fine.


Calibre is fantastic for converting between eBook formats, but it’s a mediocre reader at best. (ITunes for eBooks is an apt description in this regard!)


Agreed. This is one of the reasons why we created BookFusion. It allows you to easily organize and manage your eBook collection while being able to read all your eBooks regardless of format on Android, iOS and Desktop(via Web)

BookFusion also has a Calibre plugin that will allow you to easily sync your entire eBook collection to the cloud.

More information at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

PS: Founder of BookFusion. Will appreciate any feedback that you might have.


Calibre is the library, reading in the library can be less optimal than reading at home :-)


How does it handle huge (>500.000 files) libraries?


Good question. If you have such a library you could probably easier install the 20MB app and test and report back than others can acquire such an extensive library.

I would think calibre on a local note remote filesystem would perform acceptably.

The portion that you want readily available on mobile could be easily synced wirelessly via calibre companion. Note that you can select a query for syncing and include the current status on the wireless device in the query.

Give me all the books tagged foo AND where ondevice:false


Alright so I got around to testing this out (on elementary OS 5.0 Juno). I found it utterly impractical to use for anything more than 1k ebooks.

The biggest problem is that on startup bookworm loads all book covers one after another. It takes forever until every cover loaded for huge libraries. At around 2.5k ebooks the interface becomes so laggy that it’s unusable. Scrolling is no longer possible. I gave up testing this with 5k ebooks.

Another thing I dislike about this application is the inability to adjust the width of the columns in the list view. There are some books in my library with very long titles. Bookworm seems to use the longest title to set the width of the title column for all books.

The memory usage got to above 11% when idling after starting the App with 5k books.


I do and I will.

But I don’t have direct access to my library the next few days.

Calibre can handle libraries much larger than mine as long as you remember to close the tag browser and such (takes waaay more time to start Calibre if tag browser is opened).


The last time I read ebooks on an x86 device was before Pocket PCs got color displays. Are there people who really want to do that?


I read almost exclusively on a x86 device: A Windows Tablet.

This is almost entirely because Windows 8 has the best touch-screen browser available on any platform: Internet Explorer Metro Edition (from a UX perspective, the actual browser internals are horrible). I've also written all my own server-side componentry[1].

1: https://github.com/fake-name/ReadableWebProxy


Speaking of UX, Windows 10 has (IMO) the best touch-screen UX ever invented, and as a bonus, you get an OS that's not a toy. I'm saddened that MS didn't break through into the mobile market (too little released too late; since they didn't have a competitively-sized app store, they should have included more functionality in the OS itself), and I hope they'll keep the touchscreen-friendly mode in Windows for years to come - I'm not touching another Android tablet if I can avoid it.


I do sometimes. I love my Kindle, and use it almost daily, for fiction and literature.

But for work and hobbies I am flooded with PDF's (some spec sheets, but a lot of actual technical books). I tried different eBook readers, tablets etc. And I have found out I prefer reading them on my hires desktop monitor, where I can google details etc. And it's there that I usually need them.

Also comics. For some reason I prefer to look at them on my monitor than on tablet. Not sure why, because tablets seem like tailor made for this.


Let me introduce you to BookFusion. BookFusion allows you to easily organize your eBooks regardless of format(PDF, MOBI,EPUB,DOC,TXT, FB2, CBZ and others) while allowing you to easily read on your desktop(Web), Android and iOS devices.

You are able to easily send books to your Kindle from the same app using our Send To Kindle feature.

More details at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

PS: I am the founder of BookFusion and would appreciate any feedback that you might have.


Looks interesting. Can it auto-crop the whitespace from around comic panels like some readers do?


I'm not sure how to comfortably read a pdf without my laptop. I'm sure a tablet would be the best choice, but my laptop is fine for it.


I do. I'm using a Microsoft Surface Go for reading using multiple apps at the moment:

- Freda for ebooks

- Latermark for articles stored using Pocket

- Libby for ebooks borrowed from my local library

- SumatraPDF for PDF documents and CBZ comics

The tablet form factor lets me read while in bed and, as long as I occasionally pay attention to my surroundings, while walking.


I do, regularly. I read books on my phone on the go, then pick it up at a computer (and I do this across multiple computers) when I'm at a computer, and vice-versa.


What do you use to read your eBooks now? Also does your current solution sync all elements of your eBook activities across multiple devices?

Take BookFusion for a spin and let me know what you think. BookFusion allows you to easily read your entire eBook collection and sync your bookmarks, reading progress, highlights and comments across all devices. BookFusion has native Android, iOS and Web apps.

More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library


I use Google Books.

It syncs all elements of all of my activities across all platforms (Windows, OS X, Android, iOS) that I use. My main issue with it is that I can't download the stuff I uploaded, so it's not really good as a storage/backup solution, but that's fairly minor.


Thanks for sharing. As you mentioned it works well for Google based books but you cant download the books your upload.

Would be interesting to hear your feedback if you decide to try BookFusion


It works well for all of my books; I've only bought one or two books through the Play Store, and everything else I've uploaded.

Does BookFusion let me re-download books I've uploaded?


I read a fair deal on breaks at work, and split between Calibre and read.amazon.com depending on where I bought the ebook.


Hi HN Crew,

I would like to introduce you to Bookfusion, a multi-platform reader that allows you to organize and read your eBooks across Desktops(Windows,Linux, iOS) and Desktop via web and on Android and iOS devices with a native app.

More details at: https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

Quick Overview Of Features

Cloud Library – create your own eBook cloud library to manage all your eBooks in one place without the need to run your own servers. Upload your entire collection.

Read on Any Device – Read your eBooks on the devices you have today and the ones you will have tomorrow. Read on Android, IOS and Web (Linux,Windows & OSX)

Integrated Mobile & Web Reader – Have a truly seamless experience by using the same app that you use to organize and manage your eBook library to read your books as well

Any Format - Read any book regardless of format from PDF, MOBI, EPUB, TXT, DOC and others.

Export & View Highlits - A single interface to view all highlights made across all your eBooks. Export your highlights from the web interface via CSV Sync across all devices – Sync your reading progress, bookmarks and highlights across all devices. Pick up where you left off.

Organize your eBooks - Easily change the cover, title, author and assign custom tags to organize your eBook collection.

Send to Kindle – Quickly send your books to your kindle device via your kindle email with the click of a button.

Calibre plugin - Easily sync your Calibre eBook collection

Please feel free to reach out if you have any suggestions or feedback to dc@bookfusion.com

PS: Founder of BookFusion


Please don't use Hacker News solely to promote your stuff. You've done this way too much already and eventually we ban accounts that continue.


Used this on Archlinux. Pretty nice!


I just want a reader that can turn my e books into audio books for when I'm driving.


Great work! A nitpick: I think you should try and present the file formats in a different way. It looks really poor on large screens.

https://postimg.cc/S2dwMr7G


No FB2 support, not very useful.


He has done great work and so would not say it is not very useful since that is subjective.

Would you mind giving BookFusion a try and providing your frank feedback? :) We support FB2 and allow you to read your eBooks across iOS, Android and Web

https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library

PS: Founder of BookFusion


What’s FB2 in this context?


fb2(stands for FictionBook) is an XML-based format, mostly popular in Russia[0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FictionBook


Thanks, I’d not heard of it before. I guess EPUB’s got a while to go to cover all niches.


EPUB can't cover this niche.

EPUB is basically just HTML in a zipfile, with all the ugly warts that HTML comes with. (Attempts to enforce "pixel-perfect" design, broken accessibility, ugly fonts forced on you, etc.)

EPUB is good for publishers, I guess, but a crappy ebook format.

FB2 is a different beast, it's an extremely minimal XML dialect that encodes only semantic information and nothing else. (Basically, tags for chapters/sections/headings/verse and that's about it. The extent of the formatting allowed is 'em' and 'b' tags.)


You can create your own clean minimalist epubs. None of that cruft is mandated, you can simply choose to not use any of it. Don't want to enforce a font? Don't specify one. Don't want a stylesheet? Don't put one in.


Presumably the problem here is restraint? I contribute to Standard Ebooks that uses EPUB3 as a core format. That’s based on HTML5.2 but our books have clean code, minimal styling and as good accessibility as we can make (we’ve had a couple of reviews of the core accessibility functionality and fixed any problems that came up).


what's fb2?


This looks very nicely done, though without TTS support (please correct me if I'm wrong) I'm afraid this can't replace my current ebook workflow. Other than that though I like what I see.


i love elementary OS. but gahd Calibre is just ugly and for some (probably noob) reason, can't get it to work on my machine. i'll try this one out.


You could probably also give BookFusion a try. You will be able to read on iOS, Android and Web(Linux,Windows,OSX). All your eBooks will be synced across all devices, comments, highlights and reading progress.

More at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/cloud-library . We also plan to release a native app later this year for desktops.

PS: I am the founder of BookFusion


use an Appimage for Calibre.


The first thing this page should mention is why anyone would use this over Calibre.

Calibre works for me. Why should I bother changing my setup?


Would you be interested in trying BookFusion?

BookFusion has a Calibre plugin that allows you to easily sync your Calibre eBooks to Android, iOS and Web. The benefit is that all your entire eBook collection will now be at the tip of your finger tips and your bookmarks, highlights, reading progress and eBooks would be synced across all devices.

You can learn more at https://www.bookfusion.com/reading/calibre

PS: Founder of BookFusion and would be happy to hear any feedback you might have.


Calibre is a complex beast that has a bad track record regarding security and will keep using python 2 even after its deprecation.


It does what I need (for instance decrypting Amazon purchases), runs locally and will only process trusted input, not to mention it seems to be gradually migrated to Python 3. I’m not overly worried.

For an upcoming competitor, security is only a feature if it also does everything else I need it to.


This is cool stuff homie, count me in, I'll use it! I am sick of this apple book thing crashing,


So how I install this? I don't see this app in the store,


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