Any personal recommendations for iPad Apple Books alternatives?
January 22, 2022 2:11 AM   Subscribe

{rant} I've grown increasingly frustrated with iBook/Books habit of deleting important PDF titles every time I update the IOS and I've absolutely HAD IT with it's flakey offline functionality…

… During a recent stretch of very sporadic wifi I found that nearly all my specialty woodworking books had been “cloudified” and were unavailable…. despite the fact that I oodles for free space. I figured I'd redownload everything and turn off iCloud sync but found that all my freshly downloaded PDF titles were now invisible. Whatever-loving-fuck the point of that is, I am DONE trying to figure out {rant/}

So please hit me with your 2022 best offline reading/organizing apps. I have pdf reader/annotate apps but I'm looking for something with more of a Books functionality, ie. clear thumbnails and book titles. My collection is generally all PDFs - antique public domain scans, reference titles available from museum sites and DRM-free specialty instructional materials purchased from small publishers.

posted by brachiopod to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My default ebook reader is Bluefire Reader, which has a covers view for browsing, but I usually use the list view. The covers view doesn't list the book titles as text. It can open docs from Files on my iPad.

I'm fuzzy on the organizing bit; you might mention the reader apps you're not happy with. Is it only about the browsing interface?
posted by Pronoiac at 5:58 AM on January 22, 2022

Documents by Readdle is great for PDFs. There is a cover view and the titles are viewable if the file name isn't too long.
posted by soelo at 8:14 AM on January 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, I'll check those out.

For organizing, I only need to be able to keep a few themed collections.

The only other apps I've tried so far are PDF Expert and Kindle, Libby and Digital Editions. I haven’t explored the latter ones much beyond reading purchases (or loans) from those specific providers.

What I think I'm actually most concerned with is a reader that will keep my local collection of books and articles intact and safe from any outside curation or management.
posted by brachiopod at 8:16 AM on January 22, 2022

I can vouch that goodreader hasn't messed with my files but I only use it for pdfs so not sure if it can handle any other format you might need.
posted by juv3nal at 9:11 AM on January 22, 2022

I really like Bluefire Reader but I haven't used it for organization (I use Calibre on the desktop for that) but it's quite good if you need to also open DRMed content as well as your own PDFs.
posted by jessamyn at 12:53 PM on January 22, 2022

I think Documents by Readle works really well for organizing and reading PDFs. It interfaces just fine with the Files app and works well off and online.
posted by lhauser at 1:42 PM on January 22, 2022

For ePubs I use Marvin. For PDFs I like LiquidText for its highlighting/annotation tools.
posted by EL-O-ESS at 9:34 AM on January 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

I too have become increasingly frustrated with Apple Books. After doing quite a bit of searching, I settled on Yomu and have been happy so far. It’s got better organizational options, and seemingly reliable cloud sync. Marvin also looked interesting, but I believe it is not in active development which was a worry for me.
posted by Philbo at 3:08 AM on February 4, 2022

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