Need an Android ereader app
March 6, 2014 7:28 AM   Subscribe

In my efforts to turn my Nexus 7 into a great ereader, I've found myself missing features in my current ereader app. Snowflake details inside.

Here's a list of features I want (if no app has all of this, I might as well stick with my current one):

- Opens EPUB files (my entire library is in this format)...
-- ...and can pull them in from Dropbox or from an in-browser download.
-- Bonus points, but not essential, for supporting other ebook formats.

- Ability to place books into collections (or bookshelves, or whatever the app wants to call them) that I can name and set in the order I want...
-- ...and arrange said collections in an arbitrary order without having to edit titles to add numbers...
-- ...and when you exit out of a book, the app drops you back into the collection you came from, not the main list of books.
-- It would also be nice (but not essential) if the collections were exclusive. In other words, if I add a book to the "Funny stuff" collection, it doesn't show up in the main list of books, just in that collection.

- Ability to lock at the very least books, but preferably the entire app, in portrait or landscape mode.

- Search, bookmarks, highlights and notes...
-- ...and the ability to get at them from within the book, instead of having to back out of the book and load the "book details" screen from within the list of books.
-- Bonus points, but not essential, for more than one highlight color.

- Customizable color schemes and font sizes...
-- ...and the ability to switch between a "day" (light background, dark text) and a "night" (dark background, light text) color scheme with one or two taps.
-- Ability to choose the font face would be nice, but not essential; ditto the ability to adjust line spacing and alignment.

- Both tapping on the edges of the page and swiping should switch to the previous or next page.
-- Bonus points, but not essential, for a "scrolling" mode ala iBooks.
-- I really can't stand the "3D page turn" feature a lot of apps seem to have, so if it's there, I need to be able to switch it off.

- Ability to adjust brightness from within the book.
-- Bonus points, but not essential, for an "auto-brightness" mode I can toggle from within the book.

I prefer free, but I don't mind paying for the right app. (It has to have everything, though, for me to throw money at it.)
posted by sailoreagle to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure Aldiko does everything you want, but it does a lot of it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:00 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you messed around with Calibre (a desktop eBook library manager) at all?

It'll let you change formats and strip DRM very easily. It can also act as a book server, scrape metadata from amazon/google, etc. A little clunky but once you get the hang of it it's great.

Then, if you store your Calibre library on Google Drive/Box/Dropbox, you can grab the (free, I think) Calibre Cloud app. It's a pretty nice way to browse your collection without using the server feature in Calibre.

Doing it this way frees up your reader options quite a bit.
posted by pjaust at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2014

Yeah, Aldiko's the one I use right now. Lack of some of the listed features is what's making me look for a different one. (The inability to sort collections, coupled with the fact that putting a book into a collection doesn't take it out of the main list of books, is particularly obnoxious. I have a lot of collections matching long book series that I want in reading order, so I have a huge pile of "01 - title" "02 - title" etc in the main book list. Ehhhh.)

And yes, I do have Calibre, but I'd much rather avoid having to convert all the things if possible.
posted by sailoreagle at 8:37 AM on March 6, 2014

The only apps I know that does sort by series are FBReader and Moon+ Reader, but they depend on the metadata being set properly first. Both apps should also fit most of your criteria, with a few exceptions.
posted by evoque at 8:51 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Doesn't necessarily have to be "sort by series", even just custom sorting would work (drag the books into a particular order and have them stay that way -- iBooks does that, for example).
posted by sailoreagle at 8:54 AM on March 6, 2014

I'm pretty sure that as of the latest update, Moon+ Reader does all of this. I got the most recent update this morning, and it mentions that it now supports arbitrary orders, as well as the ability to "group books as a section". I haven't played with the grouping thing yet, so am not totally sure how it works, but arbitrary order works by just dragging the books to wherever you'd like them to be, and then they stay there.

It supports basically all the ebook formats. The pro version allows you to download/upload/backup/sync to and from Dropbox. 3D page turn can be turned off, and either swiping or tapping will flip the pages, and there's an autoscroll option that's easily customizable for your reading speed, etc.

There's a whole array of highlight colors (like, color picker wheel), and notes are easy to leave. Display can be locked into portrait or landscape, has day/night themes and several color scheme options, and you can adjust the brightness manually within the book, as well. I believe that you can choose font faces and etc.

It has a shocking number of features, in my opinion, and can take some tweaking to get used to/get it set up exactly the way you want it. That said, I can't imagine using another reader, at this point, and feel that Moon+ is a bargain at twice the price. I used Aldiko for about a year before I discovered Moon+, and don't feel like there's any comparison.
posted by MeghanC at 9:28 AM on March 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Moon+. It looks like it will do a great deal of what you want.

Going through your list:
*epub+all other formats (no drm though---you need to strip them first with Calibre or such)
--syncs to dropbox (with paid version)

*collections are done by tagging ("My shelf"->"by tags")
--closing a book in a tag group takes you back to that tag group
--sorting within a tag group is by title, author, datestamp and storage folder only (so not really what you want)

* Bookmarks are within each book.
* Highlights can be a bunch of colours (and font styles)
* Searching seems to be done within a single book only, but you can also see bookmarks, highlights and notes for each book on a collected page.

*Lock orientation in the book reader. There's a button to switch manually and many options to control this behaviour.

*colour and font schemes. Custom themes possible.
--Half a dozen each of day and night themes to choose from, switchable with button.
--can choose font and spacing.

* tapping and swiping controls work exactly like you want, and can be customized easily for more control. By default (I think---it's been a while and this is one of the first things I turn off) Moon+ comes with an animated page turn, but it can be turned off in the settings menu.

* brightness is controlled by a vertical swipe on the left hand margin, by default. Brightness can adjust between day and night modes. It has an auto brightness feature too, adjustable within the book (in the Miscellaneous options).

It has free and paid versions. The paid version adds Dropbox support, a bunch more formats and removes the adds.
posted by bonehead at 10:25 AM on March 6, 2014

If part of your issue is an interminable list of books, you may want to look into the EpubMerge plugin for Calibre. I just combined all my series into omnibus editions, making for much shorter lists to scroll through. You can easily find it from within the Plugins dialogue in Calibre.
posted by timepiece at 1:04 PM on March 7, 2014

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