In some respects I miss the good old days, the era back when magazines and books were made of paper, the way God intended (unless he really, really wanted us to use stones; if so, he let this paper thing get out of hand).
These days we have more ways to read than ever. Arguably, the most popular eBook reader app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users is Apple’s own iBooks, but there are alternatives. Here’s a quick look at one of the best because it supports more eBook formats, and manages books and documents better. It’s just missing one feature.
iBooks Because iCan
The benefit of using iBooks on a Mac is obvious. It has a built-in store. It syncs (every now and again) with iBooks on iPhone and iPad. It has some basic book management features. It handles ePubs and PDFs, too. What’s not to like? iBooks is free with every Apple computer; Mac, iPhone, iPad.
Clearview is an eBook reader you can download from the Mac App Store. In the face of free competition from Apple, this app needs a few features you won’t find on iBooks to justify the price tag.
Can you say ‘Tabs?’
Tabs on the Mac’s Finder were a digital godsend. Tabs in an eBook reader is the result of humans following God’s lead. That means you can manage eBooks and documents (perfect for PDFs and ePubs) in one tab and view other categories in another and read a file in another.
Clearview has a Library shelf, and handles every eBook file format I’ve run into from PDF to EPUB, from CHM to MOBI. Search is built in. So are bookmarks and annotation tools.
Navigating Clearview is much like navigating the Mac’s Finder. Drag and drop books or folders of eBooks from the Finder into Clearview. Make reading lists, create collections, and navigate using a Cover Flow-like interface.
The built-in Shelf lets you view your book collections as thumbnails, lists, detailed list, or the aforementioned Cover Flow-like view. The tabbed view means you can have multiple books open at the same time and freely move back and forth, annotating as needed.
The Clearview interface is about as simple and elegant as you can get. Tabs and tools across the top, scrolling on the right, and that’s about it.
Every eBook format in Clearview supports bookmarks and annotations. Any revisions are saved on copies, not the original book files. There’s even an option for creating notes and comments, along with the typical annotations for highlight, underline, and others.
Not only is Clearview affordable, it does just enough to make it a good alternative to iBooks. With one caveat. iBooks has DRM books (the kind you buy from the iBooks Store and can’t use on other devices). Clearview won’t read those DRM (digital rights management) books but it handles much of everything else with ease.