E-readers, which one to chose?

Although most of the posts on this hobby blog of mine is about books or movies I occasionally ramble about other things, usually computers, gadgets or software. It has been a long time since I wrote one of those posts though, unless you count my pissed off rant about Amazon and Google after Amazon removed the only real advantage its Kindle reader had over other readers.

Well after I decided to go screw you Amazon I obviously started to look into with e-reader to use as my main reader on my (Android) tablets. After retrying a bunch of e-reader apps that I had used before and a few new ones there are two that ended up on the top of the list and, quite frankly, they are so close that it is difficult to chose. Right now I actually have both installed on all my devices.

The two winners, for me at least, are Moon+ Reader Pro and eReader Prestigio. Both has a free version but if you want to all features (which I recommend) there is a small fee.

eReader Prestigio Main Page

Both are really similar. They both support a plethora of options for customizing the reading experience. Moon+ Reader is the winner in the area of reading customization though. You can really customize bloody everything. However eReader Prestigio has enough options to get a comfortable reading experience so for me it is really a toss up.

Moon+ Reader

Both e-readers has a nice interface presenting your library as a pleasant looking book shelf (which you of course can customize). However, here I like eReader Prestigio better.

Moon+ Reader has a book shelf, that is about it. It is a bit more compact than eReader Prestigio’s. You can filter on whether a book is unread, being read or finished and of course sort your books by date, import time, title etc… but that is it.

eReader Prestigio with my two collections To Review and Completed

In eReader Prestigio you can easily create your own collections (which actually ends up as folders on the file system). Once you created a collection it will appear as a tab on the top of the screen. So for instance I created collections for books to review and books which are completed. I quite like this functionality.

eReader Prestigio also has a built in Recent shelf where the books you last interacted with are shown in the order of the date/time of you last interaction. I quite like this. Moon+ reader only has a floating button to open your last book but if you juggle more than one book at a time (or accidentally click on a book you didn’t want to open) this single button is a bit limited. Yes there is a recent list in Moon+ Reader as well but it is more hidden, does not look like a bookshelf and is cluttered with other junk as well.

The apps also differ a bit in how you get your books onto your shelves. In eReader Prestigio you just drop your book file in the designated folder(s) and they appear on your shelf. In Moon+ Reader you have to import them but you can set the app to automatically import from a designated folder. The import process physically copies the book to the apps main folder but you can also drop your book files straight into this folder. They still have to go through the import process though. The automatic import launches each time you start the app but this also means that if you drop a file into the import folder while the app is running it doesn’t appear until you restart it. Also, sometimes the import does not trigger properly. You have to close the app and launch it again.

I like simplicity so I prefer eReader Prestigio’s way of doing it. It just works without any fuzz. To get my books into the app I use Caliber Sync which automatically syncs with my Caliber library on OneDrive. I just click on the book(s) I want and tell Caliber to download them to the tablet (I’ve set the local Caliber library folder to be the book folder of the e-reader app) and viola, the book appears on my app shelf.

Book info in eReader Prestigio

On both apps you can interact with the books, remove them from you book shelf, opening an info screen with the book blurb, series info etc. etc. In Moon+ Reader you have a small menu icon to click on each book in the shelf and in eReader Prestigio you have to first select the book and then chose action in the top bar of the app. Both works fine.

You can make notes with both apps. I often make notes for my reviews while reading the book. Here Moon+ Reader has a bit more functional user interface. You just select a text, click note and write your note. In eReader Prestigio there’s a few more click and it is not as smooth although it is still quite workable. Another advantage for Moon+ Reader is that it has a overview page with all your notes from all your books where in eReader Prestigio you have to open each book for reading and then click to show the notes.

Then we have the sync options. This is a must for me since I often switch between tablets depending on whether I am at home with my main tablet or at my girlfriends place or on holiday and are using my travel tablet. Both apps have a sync option but also here do they differ.

In Moon+ reader you have an option to enable sync via OneDrive, Google Drive or DropBox. Once enabled the app will start to sync. This way of doing it is really my preferred option. Unfortunately it doesn’t work reliably. In particular I managed to get it to sync between my main tablet and my travel tablet but I have never managed to get it to sync between any of my tablets and my phone.

In eReader Prestigio you have to click a small sync icon once every time you open a new book otherwise it will not sync. This is an awkward user interface and it is almost guaranteed that, when I am about to pick up a book on a different tablet than the one I started to read the book on, I will have forgotten to click that damned icon. Also, eReader Prestigio appears to be syncing against some server run by the app developer instead of using Google Drive or another one of the usual file sharing services.

For me these apps are really close and I have difficulty choosing. Right now I am using eReader Prestigio as my main app but both are installed on all my devices.

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