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Old 09-06-2013, 06:47 AM   #1
Queensjoy
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I'm new to Android - tips?

Hello, readers.

I'm new to Android (though I'm already a dedicated convert!), and there are so many options for e-reading apps that I haven't got any idea what to choose! I use Calibre to manage my (DRM-free) collection, and up until now I've owned a Kobo Touch and a Kindle 3 for my ebooks. The majority of them are .epub, but I have no issues with converting the remaining .mobi/.azw files that came from Amazon.

I'm running a MacBook Pro, operating on OS X Version 10.8.4. I will in the future be using a custom-made Sager laptop running Windows 8.

I'd like to avoid downloading store-specific apps - I shop around extensively and will thus end up downloading plenty of apps, as well as an app for books acquired from places such as Baen Books, Collins Booksellers and Project Gutenberg - why cloud-manage some when I can sideload them all into one app?

I know that there are an enormous amount of reading apps, and that's where my problem is - it's going to take me a lot of time to download and test them all, so if you guys can help me get a shortlist going, that would be excellent!
  • I'd prefer a free lite version of whichever app to be available so that I can 'try before I buy', so to speak.
  • I don't like sepia pages when I read on friends' tablets (admittedly, iPads) - I prefer crisp white, and have no strong feelings one way or the other about 'night mode'.
  • I'm not specific about fonts, and will find myself happy with Georgia, Amasis or any other serif font available. I also have glasses and so I don't need very big font.
  • I'm using a Nexus 7, so I don't have much screen real estate - an app with small margins would be great!
  • Shelving, collections, some way to manage my books would be excellent. I like to categorise by which store I've bought them from. I don't mind whether it's in-app collection or a calibre plug-in; I've done both (calibre plug-in for the Kindle and in-device for the Kobo).
  • I live in Australia, so apps that are specific to America are unfortunately useless to me - I've heard the Nook app is pretty!

As a last point, I know this is off-topic, but you guys seem really plugged-in about these things: Netflix, Hulu, etc are geo-restricted out of Australia. Are there video streaming alternatives, what's the international Google Play video store like, or, how should I go about transferring iTunes movies to my Nexus 7?

Thank you so much! Read on, my new friends.

Last edited by Queensjoy; 09-06-2013 at 07:11 AM. Reason: information about current computer operating system.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:38 AM   #2
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Welcome.


One app you can look at for organization of books is Calibre Companion. You can easily browse your books on a shelf or list with various sorts, but also view them grouped by author, series, tags, etc. and once you find the book you want to read it can be set up to either open the book in whatever you set as the default reader or you can get a list of apps you have installed that are compatible with that format and pick which one to open your book with.
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=188899
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=219822


For reading apps (of the non-store type) take a look at Moon+, Mantano, Aldiko, Cool Reader for a few of the more popular (But, there are tons of reader apps to choose from). For me personally I find I use Moon+ Pro and the Kindle app the most and occasionally use the Kobo app and Mantano.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:48 PM   #3
Kai Winters
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I've tried most reader apps available and prefer Mantano.
I started with the free versions and gave them all the thorough test read. After the dust settled I preferred Mantano and paid for the version I'm using with no regrets.
I'm using a Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0 and find its' version of Android to be quite reliable and the device itself is robust considering I read it for several hours per day every day.

I started with a lot of apps, all free, but eventually wound up deleting them because I just really never used them and didn't need them. I have a few apps I really like and use all the time. This keeps my memory usage less and storage lower as well.
Here are some of my favorite apps:
ES File Explorer
Battery Doctor
You Tube
Mantano
Amazon Reader
Big Bang Theory
Image 2 Wallpaper

Enjoy your device
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:43 AM   #4
Queensjoy
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Thanks, folks. I've downloaded Moon+ Reader Pro and am thus far very happy with it - though I don't like having to access the file system to pull a book into the device (it's not the intuitive, clean access that I want for books - though it's fine for podcasts and movies), so I think I'll download Calibre Companion so that I have that better, optimised display of my books. Thanks for your suggestions!

Something that I found interesting was that I had to download Android File Transfer to sideload files onto my tablet - I very specifically asked the sales boy if I needed any additional software to use the Nexus 7 with a MacBook Pro, and he very emphatically said "no!". Lo and behold - I plugged my Nexus 7 in today, and while it charged, it failed to read. There weren't any instructions in the box, either, so I needed to resort to Google to find out my options.

Now, I know that Android tablets aren't the most popular option for Mac users, but some of us aren't using a Mac with the belief that Apple is competent.
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:55 AM   #5
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Another vote for Moon Reader.

Cool Reader is a nice choice, too, and it's free, though I heard it is not 100% compatible with the new Nexus 7?
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:00 AM   #6
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I would have suggested Moon+ as well but I see that you are already happy with it.
I'm really happy with my nexus 7 and moon+ as well. If you do decide to get calibre ccompanion I'm interested in what you think about it - the file transfer thing with moon+ bugs me as well but yet not enough to get another app.

It seems strange to me that you can't access the nexus 7 via your Mac. I use Windows so I don't know if this is to be expected, but you might want to check if you have the correct drivers installed or if you can download them from somewhere?

Last edited by Jdschi; 09-07-2013 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queensjoy View Post

Something that I found interesting was that I had to download Android File Transfer to sideload files onto my tablet - I very specifically asked the sales boy if I needed any additional software to use the Nexus 7 with a MacBook Pro, and he very emphatically said "no!". Lo and behold - I plugged my Nexus 7 in today, and while it charged, it failed to read. There weren't any instructions in the box, either, so I needed to resort to Google to find out my options.
Yes, that's because it uses MTP, and MTP is a Microsoft thingy. So, will work only with windows out of the box.
I don't know why google made that choice, knowing fairly well that mac / linux users would be screwed.

Last edited by EowynCarter; 09-07-2013 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:27 PM   #8
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I am very happy with the Kobo reader app. Have you given that a try?
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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I have the free version of Aldiko which I like a lot.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:40 PM   #10
Queensjoy
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Originally Posted by EowynCarter View Post
Yes, that's because it uses MTP, and MTP is a Microsoft thingy. So, will work only with windows out of the box.
I don't know why google made that choice, knowing fairly well that mac / linux users would be screwed.
Indeed - and I specifically asked the sales person what file storage the Nexus 7 uses, if Macs can natively read it, if any part of the software / firmware is Windows-specific, if I'll have to download and install a driver, and he told me no. If he didn't know, that'd be fine; it's that he was positive that it would work "out of the box" with a Mac that bothers me.

In any case, I don't mind having Android File Transfer on my Mac - but Google really does need to make it clear that Mac users will need to download it. As far as Linux is concerned, I didn't even see a "download for Linux" link. (Though I could have easily missed it, as I wasn't looking for Linux.)
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:09 PM   #11
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Paid version of Mantano here, and I like it quite well. I don't recommend FBReader or CoolReader- I found the interface to be quite lacking.
I use this on a Nexus 4.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:59 PM   #12
Kai Winters
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I've tried most of the reader apps and prefer the paid Mantano app.
I've had problems with one app double adding books...a problem they are aware of but didn't seem interested in fixing despite the numerous complaints.
Others just seemed either unfinished, lacking or clumsy to use.
I started with Mantano free version then bought their full version and am very happy with its' versatility and problem free use.
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:42 AM   #13
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Tried most of the free reader apps out there before settling happily with Moon+ Pro. I use CC with M+ Reader, and it's going pretty well so far. I'd suggest looking elsewhere for a PDF reader app though; I like(d) Duokan reader for PDFs, but the adverts are irritating. Still hoping there'll be a reader app out there one day that doesn't drive me batty trying to read PDF files.

If you just want a listing of all the books you have available on your reading device and aren't too fussed about organisation, importing them into Moon+'s database is probably enough. However if you're looking for a more nuanced and easier way to sort through your ondevice library, Calibre Companion's definitely the way to go. It's become an indispensable app for me, since it works almost like a mini calibre on my phone (minus the ability to edit metadata and covers that is)-- sorting and searching by tags, authors, date added, etc. makes it easy when I want to browse. The Content Server interface in CC is also very nice.

Best of all, I can personally testify that CC can handle an on-device library of 10k; possibly more. My current count is 12650 files; however I've had some issues that seem to be from device/system issues and my overly large library. Otherwise it does what it's supposed to with barely any fuss. The metadata sync time as your ondevice collection grows is the huge trade off there however, but even that's gotten pretty fast.

Last edited by Sefiriot; 09-08-2013 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 09-08-2013, 02:36 AM   #14
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A few general apps you might find useful:

Emit: Allows you to stream media from your PC/Mac to the Nexus. I tried various other products and found Emit to be the one that worked best and wasn't burdened with too much fluff. It works much like Air Video on iOS, which I had wanted to find an equivalent for. I use this to stream movies to the Nexus while couch-potatoing.

Kingsoft Office: A full office suit that is entirely free and without ads. I don't know how they do it, but it's full featured and costs nothing. I don't do much work on the Nexus (not until I get a keyboard for it), but it's good enough for quickly dealing with a document when and if Google Docs isn't available.

AppSales: An app that notifies you of sales of popular apps on the store. It can be configured to meet your individual needs. It even has a watch list. I mostly use this to learn of sales of games that I might enjoy, and I set it to only show popular stuff, so it's just a few entries per day. Sales are often very short-termed (a day or two), so this is a good way for me to not miss out on good deals.

Avast: A free anti-virus suit that sits in the background and keeps your system secure. Unlike iOS, Android is a somewhat easy target for malware, so while I'm usually not all that fond of anti-virus software and think it's often a waste of system resources, in this case I'd recommend it. It has some additional features that you can subscribe to, but they are not necessary. All alternatives I looked into were either expensive or sucked. Avast has a good reputation in the Windows world, too.

AdBlock Plus: Google took this out of the store earlier in the year, but you can still get it from the developers' own site. It makes web browsing faster and frees up some screen real estate. Available here. (This will require you to temporarily enable downloading of apps from third party sources; you can turn it off again when you have Adblock installed.)

Dropbox: I'm not a huge fan of cloud storage, but I use some "notes" text files on all of my devices for writing down story ideas or whatever else pops up on my mind that I don't want to forget, and Dropbox is the way to keep those text files updated on all systems. There are other ways to do this, but I like it simple.

For reading, I use the already mentioned Calibre Companion and Moon+ Pro. Both are very much worth the few dollars they cost. The other, above listed apps are all free, except for Emit.
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:47 AM   #15
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I like Mantano as well but I do also use Google Play Books and Fabrik. If you go to the play store on a browser and go to the "my books section" you can upload epubs and have them show up and sync bookmarks through multiple devices.

Fabrik really does the same but through dropbox I can happily read with all three of the apps.
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