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Old 01-02-2012, 01:21 AM   #1
Madmick
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Posts: 14
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Red Bluff, CA
Device: Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Droid X
iPad is Superior to Android for Importing Calibre-Organized PDF's (Show Me I'm Wrong)

I'm on a WiFi-only Asus Eee Pad Transformer, and so far I've found my Android OS/Apps outright inferior to the iPad/iBook for this specific task. In fact, I think iPad is superior to them all put together. I have a Calibre library with over 14,000 titles right now (about 8,000+ are MOBI and most of the rest are PDF), and I've meticulously edited all of these titles so that the Titles and Authors are perfect.

When my brother asked me to import a few thousand of these into his iPad, I simply selected the books he wanted in Calibre, then exported them from Calibre to my iTunes (I'm on a MacBook Pro, btw), and then from my iTunes via USB- he had the adapter- into his iTunes in his iPad.

iBook immediately recognized the import, and automatically added all the books to its shelf. Of course, all the MOBI and other non-PDF formats were automatically converted to EPUB as part of the export to iTunes, but ultimately, all these EPUBS and PDF's showed up with the proper titles and authors in iBook's visually astounding shelf interface where I could organize and search using the author/title fields.

In my quest to perform the same task on my Eee Pad, I've come to learn the shortcomings of Android. I have 16GB internal on my Eee Pad, then another 32GB inserted as an external Class 10 MicroSD card. Preferably, I want to store my books on the external card. So here's how the process has played out making this attempt on Android:

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*Update*

Mantano Reader Free (4.5/5.0)
So far, this reader has best addressed my problems and become my default reader. It allows me to choose where to store my library (and this includes the external microSD card). I can edit the Title for every book. I can edit the author for about half my books; for the other half, I can't edit them individually since they all share the same "unknown" author, and I can only edit that folder. In the meantime, this reader has done the best job of allowing me to modify PDF metadata to allow for cleaner sorting. It also has the most filters, and my 3rd favorite graphical interface of all eReaders (behind #1 iBook and #2 Aldiko). MOBI/EPUB metadata transfers perfectly.
Practical Value:
My default reader. I'm keeping Aldiko because right now it's the only reader that will recognize my Calibre Content Server as an OPDS catalog (Mantano, FB Reader, and Cool Reader all boast this feature but aren't working). I'm keeping Cool Reader for CHM support.

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Aldiko (3.0/5.0)
I learned quickly that Aldiko- the only market app that has a visual interface on par with iBook's- will not allow me to choose where to store my library. It automatically creates a folder on the internal SD and duplicates all imports to that folder. I have too many GB of books for this to work. This is a dealbreaker. Also, even though it supports PDF's, and will add them to its library, it doesn't recognize the tags I spent all that time cleaning up in Calibre. The author name will often be something like "aadwcz" or the ISBN-13 numbers with intermittent periods; there's the same lack of organization of the titles. iBook simply owns Aldiko, here.
Finally, when I removed the test library, I got really annoyed by remaining ghost files in the "Author" library; the program didn't seem to recognize that these files were no longer in its library. Furthermore, when I went to delete these files, I couldn't "select all" and delete them in a batch. I couldn't even delete by author. I had to individually delete every book by an author before the author's name disappeared from the library listing. Pffft. Garbage.
Practical Value
For local storage: aesthetic only. It has my favorite graphical interface, but all the apps below do what it does better. I do know how to run a Calibre Content Server, so when I'm at home, I leave this server running, and I like Aldiko for browsing my entire library at will. The problem is that I want these books stored locally because most businesses where I live don't support WiFi (nor do many of my friends homes), and though my tablet is only WiFi capable, even if it could surf 3G/4G, I also want books available when I'm out of the range of a cellular network or not allowed to use one (like on a plane).
Ergo, Wifi/Cloud/OPDS cataloging and syncing isn't a viable alternative and I don't require instruction in it. Right now, only Aldiko is recognizing my Calibre library, and it has the prettiest interface, so on those features alone it scores a 3.0 instead of a 2.0- I'm really unimpressed with the its programming in general


MyLibrary (Asus Default Reader) (2.5/5.0)
As a PDF Reader, it is actually superior to Aldiko because it immediately recognizes PDFs that I download to the device wherever I store them: including the external SD card; however, like Aldiko, the authors aren't always recognized, so my library is a jumbled mess. It also has a really limited interface for interacting with the books (pretty much limited to zooming in and zooming out). However, the shelf is wonderful. It's on par with Aldiko and iBook.
Practical Value
None. I'm waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich and a decent kernel for it to root, but once I do, getting rid of this app is one of the first jobs on my list.


FB Reader (4.0/5.0)
Next I tried FB reader. It allows me to choose where I store my library, and even puts it on the external SD without a hitch, but its biggest flaw is its lack of format support: it doesn't support PDF, MOBI, or CHM (it's pretty much exclusive to EPUB). For example, to test it, I placed one author's folder in the library I designated on the external SD card; this author had many books in EPUB, PDF, and MOBI format. It immediately recognized all the EPUBS, and I could sort by author or title. Awesome. Ironically, it even recognized and showed the MOBI files' book covers in the graphical interface (although there was some scrambling in the text fields), but I can only read the "Book Info"...when I go to actually read the book text, a blank black page shows up as 1/1. PDF's and CHM aren't recognized at all; it can't view them in any capacity.
Practical Value
Will probably become my default reader for all EPUBs since I love the ability to choose where to store my library, and it has the cleanest, simplest, easiest import- I merely drag and drop Calibre folders there, and they show up by Title or Author immediately. If I want to remove them, I delete the files. There's no "ghost" files where I've removed the actual data yet the book/author remains in the library's graphical interface (this was a problem with Aldiko and Coolreader).
Ultimately, though, if I can avoid converting my MOBI files to EPUB, I'd prefer that. I understand that MOBIs convert pretty reliably, but over the course of my life using computers, I've learned that nothing works flawlessly all the time in file conversion (video, audio, eBook, or otherwise). For example, one MOBI I converted to EPUB was Alex Archer's "The Dragon's Mark". Unfortunately, in FB Reader's library (and also in Moon+ Reader), it shows up as "The Dragon’s Mark." This didn't happen in iBook.
Most importantly, I still haven't found a solution for my PDF's. I understand that converting them really isn't an option. So my search for an iBook equivalent continues.


Coolreader (3.5/5.0)
I thought this would improve on FB Reader. It supports MOBI, CHM, DOC, RTF, and TXT where FB Reader does not. Like FB Reader, it also allows me to store my library where I desire. I simply drag and drop the Calibre folders to the external SD card, then from within Coolreader, I ask to Scan these files, and it automatically adds anything in those folders or subfolders to the library. Alas, it doesn't work for MOBIs. If I open a MOBI manually, from a file browser like Astro, then yes, it adds it to the library. But if I scan, it only picks up the EPUBs, not the MOBIs. I simply don't have time to add 8,000+ MOBIs manually. Also, like Aldiko, I noticed that once I removed the files, there were ghost folders in the library. The authors whose books I deleted remained. I surf to the author's folder in the library, and there's no book in it...so why the hell is the folder still there?
Practical Value
CHM/DOC/RTF/TXT reader. I don't have that many files of these types, so I suppose I could just keep Coolreader to maintain a library of these file types. For EPUBs, I strongly prefer FB Reader.


Moon+ Reader (2.5/5.0)
I love the interface of this app, but it suffers from the same problem as the others: no PDF support. Unlike FB Reader and Coolreader, it doesn't appear to support external SD storage, either.
Practical Value
None for me. I could use it for CHM's, since I prefer its interface to Coolreader's, but unlike Coolreader, it doesn't support RTF or DOC, so it's a redundant program.


Adobe Reader Free (No Rating- Not a Complete Reader)
A very limited by very stable PDF Reader. I can't find a way to move the "Adobe Digital Editions" storage folder for "Documents" outside internal storage, but at least it recognizes the basic tagging from Calibre: all the PDF's I place in that folder show up in the app with the title first followed by a hyphen, then the author's name. I can't sort. But it's better than anything else on Androids for PDF's so far.
Practical Value
I can store some of my PDF library in this folder since Asus's MyLibrary will recognize book formats it supports wherever I put them. This way, when I know the title of a book that wasn't recognized by MyLibrary (so is jumbled and lost in the mess), and I don't want to sift through several thousand books on the shelf looking for it, I can just bring up Adobe Reader and find the book more quickly.


Sony Reader (0.0/5.0)
Is there anything in this world Sony doesn't f**k up? No wonder they did so badly this quarter, and likely posted losses in the billions for a fourth straight year. I only downloaded this because of the PDF support: like Kindle or Nook, I assumed its only practical use would be for content purchased through the app itself (and why would I go with anything besides Kindle for that?). "Scan Storage" didn't locate any files on internal or external storage. I have no idea how else to import books to the library besides manually opening them. The interface is terrible. Utter garbage.
Practical Value
To teach programmers how not to do things.


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So that's where I'm at. Thus far, ALL the free Android apps put together are inferior to iBook by itself. I truly hate that Apple is forcing me to use iTunes, but at least it integrates seamlessly with iBook and supports these major formats. This has been my experience with Apple over the course of my life. People badmouth it, but when all is said and done they just make superior products that their competition shamelessly copies (but never really gets it right).

How is ezPDF Reader? It's the highest rated Android reader for PDF's, but it's $3, and I don't particularly want to spend $3 to find out that it won't actually do what I want. Any suggestions? Am I being a total smacktard here? Is the answer right in front of my face?

Last edited by Madmick; 01-16-2012 at 02:21 AM.
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