Cartoon by Tim Kreider
Last time, I talked about how I want to replicate the Amazon-Kindle-Whispersync ecosystem – for my e-books which I buy from stores other than Amazon, for other formats.
What should my e-reader app do? The following:
- The app should work on my Boyue Gonyx which runs Android 4.2.2 (Kitkat) and my smartphone which runs Android 6 (Marshmallow)
- I should be able to read my own books – upload / sideload books to my app. I don’t want to be tied to the stores the app provides
- The books should automatically sync from one device to another (as long as there is wifi, of course) once I upload the book on any one device
- The most recently read position should automatically sync between devices.
- It should allow me to make highlights (one color is fine) and take notes
- I should be able to download all the highlights and notes off the book/cloud/app
- The highlights and notes should have the relevant page number when downloaded
The first thing I did, after trying to use the default reader was trawl the internet forums, and try and buy the Moon+ Reader. But then, I couldn’t test it out properly until I loaded my Boyue with Gonyx.
Essentially, the system I have been using, about 2 months now, 5 or so books in – is the Boyue Gonyx + Moon+ Reader (pro paid version) + Google Drive.
So what do I think about it?
In paper, it’s awesome. It does all of the above except 7. The highlights and notes have no page number, no metadata associated with them. In reality, I am quite underwhelmed by how it works – it feels very clunky in use.
- The Moon+ reader has a whole lot of features. But I found the user interface hard to use. The menus are all over the place and quite un-intuitive.
- You can potentially sync your reading position and highlights using Google Drive – but this doesn’t work 100% of the time. It works better with Dropbox, but still not 100% of the time (or even 90%).
- I like to keep my books in my google drive account and read from there directly. However, Moon + reader needs me to download all the books locally, or to go to the google drive (which needs internet) every time I need to get a new book. If I open a second book when I am reading the first book, then if I need to go back to the first book, I need internet access and need to go back to the drive and find that book again. Very clunky and annoying.
- It allows me to download my notes and highlights. It is in a custom .mrexpt format which can be opened in any text editor.
- It has no metadata associated with it. This is the killer.
I love how easy it is to highlight. I love the theme customizations. I love how it is integrated with TTS. But these are nice to haves. The cons are just too frustrating.
So the search continues.