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Old 03-20-2022, 03:06 PM   #1
Moonlit Sky
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iOS readers which support EPUB 3, vertical text, and scrolling?

For the past half-decade or so, I’ve used Marvin as my main reader app on my iPad. Its UI is generally solid, and it has good support for scrolled reading. But its shortcomings have been becoming clearer to me, lately. It can’t display vertical text correctly; moreover, it can’t read EPUB 3 nav-based tables of contents, in the absence of NCX fallbacks. Both of these have been sources of inconvenience for me over the last few months, and caused me to begin a search for an alternative reader.

Unfortunately, my search has gone poorly thus far. Yomu has good support for scrolling and vertical text, and in some technical sense even can handle EPUB 3 TOCs, but its TOC rendering is broken in the sense that it includes a blank TOC entry for every spine item which lacks an entry in the original, while simultaneously flattening any nested structures in the original. MapleRead CX handles tables of contents well, and supports vertical text, but its support for scrolling is very awkward, with long blank spaces inserted after images, no ability to advance via tap, and, in books with vertical text, inconsistent handling of scroll direction. All the other readers I’ve tried fall even flatter in one regard or another.

So, now, I turn to the collective knowledge of the MobileRead forums. Are there any readers which, unlike those I’ve managed to find and try out so far, support all three of those things well? (And, ideally, have dark mode support too, although I haven’t found that to be nearly as rare as my other criteria.)
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Old 05-15-2022, 11:44 AM   #2
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Hey,

BookFusion supports EPUB3 in iOS & Web. If there is an EPUB 3 book that does not work for you we will be happy to have that fixed.

The iOS app can be downloaded at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bookfusion/id1141834096

Take it for a spin and let us know what you think. You can reply here or connect with us on Discord and Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/BookFusion/
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Old 05-30-2022, 04:19 PM   #3
Moonlit Sky
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I gave BookFusion a shot this afternoon, despite some leeriness around the whole "entirely cloud-based, no option for account-free local use". Results were mixed.

On the one hand, it did better than expected on all the English books I tested it with. The scrolling worked, the tables of contents all displayed correctly (and even had percentage indicators by each entry, which were a nice feature that had never previously occurred to me as something to want), inline images displayed correctly (another thing Marvin is not very good at), overall I failed to find any flaws of note. On the whole, then, I'm pretty impressed with it for reading English books with horizontal text.

On the other hand, when I tried it with a Japanese book with vertical text, the book was thoroughly unreadable. The reader only let me scroll vertically, not horizontally, so each chapter was truncated down to just the first few lines, impossible to read the rest of (since scrolling down would instead take me to the next chapter). Moreover, the text which was visible was being displayed upside down, written bottom-to-top instead of top-to-bottom, with no option I could find to flip it into the correct arrangement. And, on top of that, the one image visible in one of the chapters I checked was truncated, with its top section cut off from display.

(Here are a few screenshots, comparing the book's thoroughly-incorrect display in BookFusion with its correct display in Yomu, in case the images are a helpful supplement to my description for debugging purposes.)

Overall, I was impressed enough with the handling of the English books that, if you ever release a non-cloud-dependent version of your reader, it's pretty plausible that I'll end up switching to it as my main reader for English books. However, the poor handling of Japanese books prevents it from being the complete all-in-one reader I was hoping it would be, and means that I'm still stuck with Yomu as the best reader I've found in the vertical-text-display field for the time being.

Last edited by Moonlit Sky; 05-30-2022 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 05-31-2022, 10:58 AM   #4
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A cloud dependent reader for ebooks on a phone or tablet (or ANYTHING) is a dreadful idea.

Back to the 1960s and your screen is a dumb terminal on someone else's server.
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Old 06-04-2022, 08:01 AM   #5
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@Moonlit Sky

Quote:
On the one hand, it did better than expected on all the English books I tested it with. The scrolling worked, the tables of contents all displayed correctly (and even had percentage indicators by each entry, which were a nice feature that had never previously occurred to me as something to want), inline images displayed correctly (another thing Marvin is not very good at), overall I failed to find any flaws of note. On the whole, then, I'm pretty impressed with it for reading English books with horizontal text.
Happy to hear

Quote:
On the other hand, when I tried it with a Japanese book with vertical text, the book was thoroughly unreadable. The reader only let me scroll vertically, not horizontally, so each chapter was truncated down to just the first few lines, impossible to read the rest of (since scrolling down would instead take me to the next chapter). Moreover, the text which was visible was being displayed upside down, written bottom-to-top instead of top-to-bottom, with no option I could find to flip it into the correct arrangement. And, on top of that, the one image visible in one of the chapters I checked was truncated, with its top section cut off from display.
We plan to support vertical text/writing this year and will have this fully supported for you shortly. Thank you so much for those screenshots, they will be helpful as we add support.

Do you mind reaching out to me via DM or the team at support@bookfusion.com with a few sample EPUBs?


Quote:
Overall, I was impressed enough with the handling of the English books that, if you ever release a non-cloud-dependent version of your reader, it's pretty plausible that I'll end up switching to it as my main reader for English books. However, the poor handling of Japanese books prevents it from being the complete all-in-one reader I was hoping it would be, and means that I'm still stuck with Yomu as the best reader I've found in the vertical-text-display field for the time being.
Delighted that you like what you see so far. As mentioned vertical text support is coming. With regards to the non-cloud-dependent version, this is planned for the long term( will also be paid) but at present it requires significant "re-architecturing" work and the development time is best spent improving the current platform to make it the very best for readers. As there are many alternatives for non-cloud dependent versions like Marvin and others.

We currently have a native iOS & Android app and will have native Mac, Windows and Linux apps. The development effort is enormous and having the cloud integration makes it much easier to work across platforms and ecosystems which then allows us to provide much more value to readers by focusing on improvements and new features.


Thanks again for taking us for a spin. We are actively developing the platform and pay close attention to the feedback of readers.


@Quoth
Quote:
A cloud dependent reader for ebooks on a phone or tablet (or ANYTHING) is a dreadful idea.
Readers can use BookFusion both online and offline and so is not dependent on the cloud. There is cloud integration to facilitate a much more seamless reading experience and enable cross platform synchronization (files, progress, highlights etc), collaborative features and much more.

We are not just a simple reading app since the standard Apple Books App would cover majority of those cases and aspire to be much more.
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