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Old 11-02-2019, 04:55 PM   #1
alex165
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eReader with good orginizational and search functionality?

Hello everyone! Fairly new to ereaders, I got a hand me down Kindle Keyboard a while back but broke it a few months after shoving it into a too full backpack. It was a decent enough reader but if I'm going to replace it with something new I might as well look for something that fits my needs more.

I plan on using primarily save and read fanfiction but will be using it to read ebooks as well. From my brief experience with the Kindle Keyboard I found it falling short of what I needed re: organization. The lack of ability to nest collections (or sort the works into subcategories in some way) was making everything get unruly quickly. At the very least I wanted to be able to separate out fanfiction from original works and then subdivide within each of those two categories. My ideal would be a device that would allow me leverage Calibre’s ability fine tune tags to search for multiple terms at once (for example: “unread, Star Wars” to find all files I have tagged with both) but I feel like that level of search capability is probably unlikely in an ereader.

Going through the past posts on here it seems that a common organization method is to just use Calibre as a search function to find what you want and then search for that title on the ereader/load the book on the ereader at that time but that doesn’t seem like what would work for me. The idea of having to use my phone to look for what I want to read and then the ereader or download works I want to read only when I want to read them defeats the purpose of what I want an ereader for.

Basically, I’m just looking for some advice & explanation on what kind of search and organization functions the various options have and how I could use them (I also don't mind downloading add-ons/jailbreaking a device as long as there is a decent amount of info on how to do it).

(A few other notes about what I want in an ereader: )
•Highlight and comment functionality (don’t care if its barebones, hard to export, etc. As long as it exists I’m happy).
•No ads and no need to connect to an account if all I want to do is sideload.
•Since I’ll mostly be using this for fanfiction I don’t care about what files it can read as long as I can use Calibre to generate them.
•It doesn't have to be a new or current model. If an older version of something works better and can be found 2nd hand I don't mind doing a bit of legwork to find one.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 11-02-2019, 05:20 PM   #2
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I have some Kobos and Pocketbooks. A major limitation on both of them is that they do not search by filename. They search by metadata title and author name, but when you download random files on the internet, the metadata may be messed up and then it would be more useful to search by filename.

If you do not want to use Calibre to fix metadata and to organise your ebook library (I do not), then it is necessary to keep the files organised by filenames and folders, and you need an ereader where you can install Koreader app to sort and browse and search by filenames, or install a file manager to sort and browse and search by filenames.

Koreader can be installed on Kobo and Pocketbook e-readers, and also on some select jailbroken Kindles. Android e-readers (Onyx, Boyue, and some others) should be able to allow installing some sane file managers, if they don't already come with one.
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:16 PM   #3
alex165
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Thanks for your response!

I like using Calibre to fix meta data, so that I don't have problem with. I just don't want to have to use Calibre as the search engine, as it were. I'd love an ereader that is going to search through the metadata I put in when I'm converting and sideloading the files, but it sounds like you're saying the Kobos and Pocketbooks will only search title and author name (not the words in the file itself or other metadata associated with the file), is that correct?

Will the Koreader app give you the ability to have a more folder-based organization structure (i.e. more like a computer, less like the 'collections' method on the Kindle?) or is that something I would need a separate file manager app for?
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:30 PM   #4
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@alex165, go for a Kobo Libra H2O. It has a 7" screen.

There are advantages to collections. With collections, you can have the same book in multiple collections with only one copy. With directory based organization, you would have to have multiple copies of the same book.

Yes you can install KOReader on a Kobo and use directory based organization. But as I've never used it, I cannot say how the rendering compares to using RMSDK (ADE) that comes with a Kobo.

Everything else can be done with a Kobo without needing KOReader.

I don't know if your Kindle had a cover, but you should have one with the Kobo to help protect it.

If you don't mind an 8" screen, you can get a Kobo Forma that has a plastic backed screen for much less change of the screen breaking.

So there you have it. Kobo will do what you want.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:32 PM   #5
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@JSWolf
Are collections on Kobo different than Kindle? Because using collections on the Kindle wasn't working for me. Since I couldn't nest them I either had to make lots of different collections for the different combinations I needed (at which point scrolling through collections to find the ones I wanted was too unruly) or limit the # of ways i categorized the works (which, again, got crowded fast leading to having to scroll through lots of works in each collection).

Collections, to me, seem like the combination of the concept of a tag system and a file tree system that combines only the things i don't need from the two. I just have way too many things I want to sort by to make using collections (as I understand them) feasible unless there is a way for me to organize the collections themselves by type (i.e. group collections based on genre together, group collections based on length together, etc.)

As for durability I don't have preference. If I'm buying an ereader new then I'll get a cover to protect it. It just wasn't worth it to me to buy a cover that cost as much as I paid for the ereader itself when I had the Kindle Keyboard.

Is there any reason you recommended the H20 over some of the cheaper models? I don't mind plunking down $$ for features I want, but I really have no need for a waterproof ereader so I'd rather not be spending more money for features I don't need.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:00 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by alex165 View Post
...sounds like you're saying the Kobos and Pocketbooks will only search title and author name (not the words in the file itself or other metadata associated with the file), is that correct?

Will the Koreader app give you the ability to have a more folder-based organization structure (i.e. more like a computer, less like the 'collections' method on the Kindle?)
Yes and yes.

In Kobos and Pocketbooks you can search the book text only for the book that is currently open, but I guess it is so in every ereader.
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:08 AM   #7
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Is there any reason you recommended the H20 over some of the cheaper models? I don't mind plunking down $$ for features I want, but I really have no need for a waterproof ereader so I'd rather not be spending more money for features I don't need.
H2O, besides being waterproof, also has a bit bigger screen (6.8" against the most common 6") which you might appreciate. And if you can get a hold of a used first-first edition, it even comes with a microSD slot. I appreciate both features a lot.
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:24 AM   #8
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@alex165: Honestly, there is no dedicated ereader device that does what you want. All that support collections only do a single level. And I don't think any look at the tags. About the closest you could get would be a tablet with Calibre Companion and the preferred reader app.

Kobo devices probably come the closest. They support annotations, collections that can be managed from calibre and good metadata support. Apart from title and author, which hopefully ever device supports, they read the comments, and have series info and a subtitle. The search is on the device uses title, author, series and subtitle. The lists have filters such as "Unread", "Reading" and "Finished". These work in the main list, each collection or the authors. They also support several sort orders including "Recent" (basically when last read or added to the device), date added to the device, title, author and series. Strictly, you need to sign into an account, but there are ways to fake this, though Kobo do not validate the email address used. As you are a calibre user, Kobo devices probably have the best support of any of the devices (collections, metadata, reading status, annotations and other things). Though I probably shouldn't be the one saying this

As to the exact Kobo device, they all use the same firmware and the real differences are size and the buttons. And price. Have a look at them, and if you like one, that's the one to get.

The other ereader I use is a tolino. They do annotations and a single level collection (based on a directory). But, the metadata support is basic, only the title and author. The current tolino's use the same hardware as Kobo, but, still use their own firmware.
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:36 AM   #9
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Yes, I agree. I've used iRiver, Binatone, apps on Android, Nook, Kindle (from Keyboard to PW3, maybe tested 6 models, owned four), two Sony models, three Kobo models.
Kobo is best for collections, annotation & export (Kobo Utilities in Calibre). The home page wastes 2/3rds space, the current firmware has some stupidity (no home link or WiFi off on reading page, bookmarks and Highlight/Annotations stored together).
It has collections, subtitles, metadata (direct from Comments in WP book properties via Calibre), decent enough search and sort options.
I have a Kindle PW3 also, partly to test and partly to buy Amazon books (download to PC option) which I then read on Kobo.

You need Calibre. Then Kobo is the best choice. The Libra is €100 cheaper than Forma here and same price as the H20 ver.2.

I used an imaginary email address to sign into the Kobo Libra.
I found that with the Kindle that the only way to use it without a bank/credit card was to use a working email address on a new Amazon account and send a gift voucher from my real account. Then on the Kindle sign in screen I put the voucher code.
So I have two Kindles, one on my real account that I buy books with and an anonymous older one only used for testing.

Last edited by FrustratedReader; 11-03-2019 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:19 PM   #10
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thanks for the clarification @mobama
I actually liked the 6" screen on the kindle so I don't think I want to go any bigger, though the MicroSD slot sounds nice it's not something I see myself using a lot.

@davidfor thanks for the definitive answer, I kind of figured that I might have been looking for features that didn't exist. And thanks for the additional detail on what data Kobo does use. It does sound like that is my best bet for maximizing my ability to search for what I want.

@FrustratedReader thanks for the info about email addresses/set up. I kind of figured amazon would be the stickler there.

So what I'm understanding as far as the Kobos go, if I don't need waterproof, or high level of storage or a larger screen size then one of the cheaper versions (Clara HD or Aura) should serve me just as fine.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:39 AM   #11
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An android ereader, with calibre companion, you organize like in calibre, easy sideload and there are a lot of reading apps, the integrated one or playstore, koreader, moonreader, bookary, alreader, ...

I use moonreader and i can backup in gdrive or dropbox config and notes, then in an android emulator i can restore it and i've my notes in the computer and using moonreader, this is great.
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:47 AM   #12
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Going through the past posts on here it seems that a common organization method is to just use Calibre as a search function to find what you want and then search for that title on the ereader/load the book on the ereader at that time but that doesn’t seem like what would work for me. The idea of having to use my phone to look for what I want to read and then the ereader or download works I want to read only when I want to read them defeats the purpose of what I want an ereader for.
For this purpose I use the Calibre function called "Convert Books, -> create catalog".
Just select a bunch of files, export them into hierarchical directories and then for the selected books use the "create catalog" function.
It will create a nice epub or mobi file with the list of authors, series, books, blurbs, all really nicely hyperlinked. Many of things are configurable.
Then when I am looking for something to read I open the catalog on the reader, select the book and find it for reading in hierarchical directories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alex165 View Post
I like using Calibre to fix meta data, so that I don't have problem with. I just don't want to have to use Calibre as the search engine, as it were. I'd love an ereader that is going to search through the metadata I put in when I'm converting and sideloading the files, but it sounds like you're saying the Kobos and Pocketbooks will only search title and author name (not the words in the file itself or other metadata associated with the file), is that correct?

Will the Koreader app give you the ability to have a more folder-based organization structure (i.e. more like a computer, less like the 'collections' method on the Kindle?) or is that something I would need a separate file manager app for?
Koreader has the folder based organization structure, as has my favorite for PocketBook Coolreader. Even the default out-of-the-box firmware on PocketBook does support viewing the library in nested folders.

You can also use any Android-based e-ink reader and install whatever reading app or file manager you wish. You can even install Calibre Companion and browse the library that is on your PC using the e-ink reader. But, you have to be on the same network and the Calibre software on PC must be running. If you have fixed IP on your Internet, it can work from anywhere there is Internet connection for your reader.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:18 PM   #13
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thanks for the clarification @mobama
I actually liked the 6" screen on the kindle so I don't think I want to go any bigger, though the MicroSD slot sounds nice it's not something I see myself using a lot.
Before you go with another 6" screen, go to a shop that carries a Reader with a larger screen. You may find you like a 7" screen. You won't know until you try. We were all satisfied (enough) with a 6" screen. But then the 6.8" screen came out. I went with one of them and I like it better then a 6" screen.

Quote:
So what I'm understanding as far as the Kobos go, if I don't need waterproof, or high level of storage or a larger screen size then one of the cheaper versions (Clara HD or Aura) should serve me just as fine.
Someone posted that he dropped a Clara HD in water and it wasn't working properly after that. The thing is, you don't know if you need waterproofing or not until you drop it in some water.
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