eBook App to replace Bluefire
October 9, 2016 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I currently use the Bluefire reading app on my Android device, but it has two problems that make me want to kill it with the fire of a thousand suns and two other minor problems that only make me want to maim it a bit with a yellow flame, so I am looking for a replacement that does good things it does and doesn't do bad things it does.

The super-important, good thing Bluefire does:

The main feature that must be offered is native support for DRMed ePubs. I do not want to have to download books from Overdrive onto my computer and then load them onto my computer using Digital Editions. I especially do not want to mess with Calibre to un-DRM them. Almost all of what I read is library books, and half the time, I download them while I'm sitting on a bus. A two-step process is not in any way workable.

Here are the two things that make me want to throw it into the sun like Hotblack Desiato's stunt ship:

1. When I tap the page to move to the next page, at least as often as it moves forward a page, it moves back a page instead, so then I have to tap twice just to keep reading -- and sometimes some of those two taps go backwards, as well. This is probably it detecting that I've swiped backwards instead of tapped forwards, which means it's just over-sensitive, but damn it makes me want to KILL. FIRE. BURN. There are two possible alternatives to this problem.

The first and by far preferable option is an App that like the Kobo reading app, lets me use the physical volume button on my Galaxy to turn pages. Love that. Love that even if there's no sensitivity issue, because I like the location of the physical button as a page-turning option. (Kobo not an actual option because of failure to support directly loading DRMed ebooks.) The second option would be an App that somehow avoids the over-sensitivity problem -- by letting me turn off swiping as a page-turning method or by simply not being so sensitive. I don't know if the latter is a possibility, because whether you tapped or swiped might be something Android detects, not the app itself?

2. The library page is in a random, inexplicable sort order that constantly changes. Every time I open it, I have to go hunting for the book(s) I'm currently actually reading. Because they're mostly library books, it's a short list, but it's still completely stupid. Sometimes I'll do something as simple as return one library book and the entire sort order will change completely and randomly. I don't even care if I have options to change the sort order of the library, though obviously that would make sense and most apps have that, I just care that once I pick one, it stays picked.

Here are the things that just make me want to singe it a bit around the edges:

1. I can't effing get rid of effing Treasure Island, which is a perfectly lovely book that I enjoyed reading as a child, but jesus christ why does it keep coming back from the dead like somebody released a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies version of the damned book? It's the "default" book in the reader, and no matter how many times I delete it, it comes back.

2. Periodically, it just forgets I have ever read a particular book and starts it over. This gets corrected if I shut the app down and restart it, so it's obviously a problem in reading the stored data about how far into the book I've read, but it's just irritating.

Other than direct DRMed ePub support and possibly ability to use the volume key to turn pages, these are obviously not "features" that get advertised in the Google Play store, so I'm looking to people who have personal experience with readers they like and which don't make them want to turn the developers into a flaming ball of ash.
posted by jacquilynne to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to the android version, but I quite like the iOS version of Yomu.
posted by spindle at 9:10 AM on October 9, 2016

Have you tried Overdrive's android app? It supports page turns using the volume keys. (Turn on this feature using the reading settings while in a book.) It obviously supports its own drm, and you can check out books from the library right in the app.
posted by Harpocrates at 9:15 AM on October 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I believe Aldiko reads DRM and also volume key page turning.
posted by jeather at 11:26 AM on October 9, 2016

Can't speak for the DRM issue, but Moon Reader is pretty much the gold standard of e-readers...also comes in a free version so you can try it out and see if it works with DRM. (The free version is ad-supported, rather minimally...like, an ad when you open the app, not like interruptions or anything) Plus, it's pretty much infinitely customizable, you can change the location of forward and back to any number of locations on the screen, have the volume keys do whatever you want (brightness, page turn, font size, etc), even shake the phone to go forward and back. It's definitely worth a try.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:56 PM on October 9, 2016

Moon+ Reader is far and away the best Android ereader...but it doesn't support DRM at all, unfortunately, so wouldn't work for you.
posted by mishafletch at 1:38 AM on October 10, 2016

Right now, I am trying the native overdrive app. It had the volume control thing, thing you push up on the volume button instead of down, which is weird. I will see if I get used to it though.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:27 PM on October 10, 2016

I've had good luck with FBReader - so much so that I paid for the premium version - so I could pay them something.
posted by ptm at 10:12 PM on October 10, 2016

I ended up going with the Overdrive App. It works pretty well, and the integration with the library is, if not exactly slick, better than not being integrated at all.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2016

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