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Old 01-31-2013, 02:53 PM   #1
wmeler
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E-Book Reader Application (Scalable)


I currently have a laptop with both Mint 14 / Cinnamon and Windows.

I do not have an e-book reader device (tablet, handheld, etc.), and frankly I can't afford to buy an e-reader now, but I believe in a few years I will likely purchase one, because the nature of my work requires me to be very mobile.

I'm looking for an e-book reader application (or more than one) that I can run on Mint 14 with Cinnamon (or some other version of Linux or even Windows -- plenty of room on my hard-drive to add another flavor of Linux) on this laptop that meets the following requirements (or as many as possible):

1) I need to be able to take notes/annotations in/on the text. Preferably, it would be nice to be able to turn these annotations on/off on a whim. [ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY]
2) I know nothing of the best book/text formats, so some tips here would be helpful, including which formats are easy to buy, annotate, copy, etc. [FORMAT TIPS REQUESTED...e.g. PDF vs. ... ]
3) I need the text and annotations to be able to be resized in the future if/when I can actually buy an e-reader with different screen resolution, etc. That is, I want my texts and annotations to be usable in the future on future e-readers. I don't want to lose all the annotations I make now in the future. [ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY]
4) If I had a "library" of various books/texts, I would like to be able to search my entire library for keywords both in the text itself and in my annotations. [NICE TO HAVE]

I hope my main point is coming across. I want to be able to annotate what I read now and still use it in the future on different devices. For lack of a better word (and if there is one, please let me know), I'm talking about scalability.

Hope you're all doing well and thanks in advance for the help!
 
Old 01-31-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
frankbell
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I have come to favor the *.epub format for ebooks. The navigation is easier than other formats.

I like FBReader. Calibre also has a lot of fans. Both are free and open-source.

So far as I know, neither includes an ability to take notes within the reader (#2); that might be a stumbling block.

This link suggests that the Adobe Digital Additions has some note-taking ability, but it does not come in Linux.

Here's an article; it's several years old, but came up near the top in a search for reviews. Hope this helps your search get started.

Last edited by frankbell; 01-31-2013 at 07:35 PM.
 
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:43 PM   #3
Diantre
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
I do not have an e-book reader device (tablet, handheld, etc.), and frankly I can't afford to buy an e-reader now, but I believe in a few years I will likely purchase one, because the nature of my work requires me to be very mobile.

I'm looking for an e-book reader application (or more than one) that I can run on Mint 14 with Cinnamon (or some other version of Linux or even Windows -- plenty of room on my hard-drive to add another flavor of Linux) on this laptop that meets the following requirements (or as many as possible):
I'm in a similar situation as you, I don't own any e-reader device, so I read my books in my desktop computer. I also consider that annotations and a search capability (among others) are essential features of a e-book reader.

So, in my quest for an ebook reader for Linux, I have come across a few "interesting" ebook reader applications:

All of the above run in linux. As I mentioned above, I don't have an ereader, so I don't have a clue about them. Some of these probably will never run on mobile devices, some actually do and others I don't know...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
1) I need to be able to take notes/annotations in/on the text. Preferably, it would be nice to be able to turn these annotations on/off on a whim. [ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY]
  • CoolReader: Yes. Supports three types of annotations, position (bookmarks), comments and corrections. The annotations are stored in a XML file in its configuration directory. A problem I noticed is that if the book contents or location are changed in any way, CoolReader will blissfully ignore any annotations previously done to the book. I also found a way around this problem, but that's another tale. Another thing I've noticed is that lately the desktop version of CoolReader is not receiving much attention. It seems the developers are focusing on the Android version instead.
  • FBReader: Nope. No annotations. A very good reader nevertheless.
  • Calibre's ebook-viewer: Supports bookmarks. These bookmarks are entered in a one-line textbox and can have unlimited(?) size. Not exactly what I consider "proper" anotations.
  • EPUBReader: No annotations. Only one bookmark to mark current position in the book.
  • Azardi: Yes. Supports a "generic" note taking, which can be used as annotations and/or bookmarks. The annotations are stored in a SQLite database.
  • Sigil: Depends. Being an epub editor, it's possible to modify the book to add customized annotations. Doing so requires knowledge of HTML and CSS.
  • Okular: By far the best annotation support of all the above. Okular provides not one but nine different types of annotations: notes, inline notes, green freehand line, yellow highlighter, straight yellow line, stamp, black underlining and cyan ellipse. Similar to CoolReader, Okular stores all annotations in XML files in its configuration directory. My only gripe with Okular is that I haven't been able to change the fonts when displaying epub books. Probably there's a way to do it but I haven't found it (if somebody knows, I'm all ears...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
2) I know nothing of the best book/text formats, so some tips here would be helpful, including which formats are easy to buy, annotate, copy, etc. [FORMAT TIPS REQUESTED...e.g. PDF vs. ... ]
I'd say that's a personal preference, but it can be said the epub format offer many advantages over other formats (based on a standard, supported by many software applications and hardware devices, etc.). I have a few pdf books as well, and for those I use KDE's Okular. Best PDF reader in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
3) I need the text and annotations to be able to be resized in the future if/when I can actually buy an e-reader with different screen resolution, etc. That is, I want my texts and annotations to be usable in the future on future e-readers. I don't want to lose all the annotations I make now in the future. [ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY]
Therein lies the rub, as the Bard said. Keeping the data is absolutely necessary. Sadly, my lack of experience with hardware ereaders prevents me from making useful comments.

However, CoolReader has a version for Android devices, so it's possible that the annotations (the XML file) can be moved from a computer to a tablet, for instance. As I mentioned before, in the desktop version, if a book is changed (moved or edited) CoolReader will ignore any annotations. It's necessary in this case to manually edit and correct the XML file (cr3hist.bmk).

Azardi stores its notes in a SQLite database, and runs in all platforms where Mozilla applications run, so I dare answer a "perhaps" to your question.

As for resizing text for different screens and resolutions, that's one of the benefits of the epub format, it's reflowable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
4) If I had a "library" of various books/texts, I would like to be able to search my entire library for keywords both in the text itself and in my annotations. [NICE TO HAVE]
Calibre, in my opinion, is the best library manager software currently. It will manage your library of books and search in descriptions and tags and whatnot. There's an plugin for Calibre called "Quality Check" which is able to seach text inside epub books (only). Calibre's ebook-viewer is excellent for reading books, but fails with annotations support.

If you want to perform full-text search on your library, I would suggest specialized software such as Recoll. I had a good experience with Recoll. It is able to search inside pdf books, epub books (as long as you tell it an epub is just a zip file), compressed files, mail folders and a dozen other filetypes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
I want to be able to annotate what I read now and still use it in the future on different devices.
So do I...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmeler View Post
I want to be able to annotate what I read now and still use it in the future on different devices. For lack of a better word (and if there is one, please let me know), I'm talking about scalability.
Scalability is a good word. Also good are usability and compatibility, but I'm afraid I can't use these words together on the applications I mentioned. I think that currently there is no ebook reader for linux that satisfies all my requirements.

Ultimately, my choices are:

CoolReader: Has annotations and reads several formats. A few quirks here and there and a couple of gotchas, but it's functional and I like its bells and whistles. My everyday ebook reader.
Calibre's ebook-viewer: As long as I don't need to annotate, the best ebook reader.
Okular: For all PDFs.

I make my annotations with CoolReader. Then I export them to text with a script I wrote and put them in a custom column in Calibre. After that I backup up everything and hope that someday things won't be so complicated.

That's it, my . Hope it helps.
 
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:16 AM   #4
wmeler
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Holy mackerel, guys. Two of the best posts I've ever received back-to-back for the same question.
Seriously, thanks a lot!

When I get a chance to sort through all the info for you, I'll post my thoughts as well. (May take a while, obviously.)


Again, thanks!
 
Old 03-26-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
wmeler
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Just posted a better E-Reader as a "Wanted" Linux App.
If you agree, please go to the following link and find it Helpful, because the more people that click that, the more likely we are to actually see something happen. (The number of Helpful clicks is tracked.)

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...=1#post4919424


In the meantime, please post other data here that you can give. I'm going to leave this post open for a while at least.
Right now, I'm merely using the native reader in Chrome.
 
Old 03-26-2013, 09:29 PM   #6
John VV
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Calibre is probably one of the best on the market
 
Old 04-11-2013, 09:22 PM   #7
wmeler
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Continuing to leave this open in the hopes that others will give their thoughts. Thanks for the posts, everyone.
 
  


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