The search for the best ereader app for my Boyue – The e-ink reader saga Part 6

June 02, 2016

Cartoon by Tim Kreider 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:

  1. The app should work on my Boyue Gonyx which runs Android 4.2.2 (Kitkat) and my smartphone which runs Android 6 (Marshmallow)
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. The most recently read position should automatically sync between devices.
  5. It should allow me to make highlights (one color is fine) and take notes
  6. I should be able to download all the highlights and notes off the book/cloud/app
  7. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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%).
  3. 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.
  4. It allows me to download my notes and highlights. It is in a custom .mrexpt format which can be opened in any text editor.
  5. 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.

Tags: Books, Thoughts

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