Epub reading: text turns blue, when dragging to scroll

Dear MarginNote team,

I would really love to see some more love for the epub reading mode.
Currently the text of the epub turns blue, when I drag to scroll.

Also a long requested feature is to clip images from epubs just like it is possible to do from PDFs.
(Converting epubs to pdfs seems like a weak detour and creates a lot of data redundancy and requires a computer.)

Thanks a lot in advance.

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Yes, indeed. It begs the question: is MarginNote an ebook reader or is it a document reader? It is not both, although it could one day be if epub was treated properly.

When I purchased the app on the app store, I was under the impression that I would be able to read books on Marginnote. I bought MarginNote 2 and MarginNote 3. I think MarginNote 2 was slightly better for books, to be honest.
I’ve sadly taken to reading books on another app where reading is actually a pleasurable experience. But that other app is not good for annotating. All I can do is highlight text and later when I am finished with the book I will move those highlights over to MarginNote 3 and add annotations. That means I have to read a book twice sometimes. It is very inconvenient, but the sad truth is that reading epubs on MarginNote is an ugly and slow experience. It is not a good e-reader.

But not all is bad news. I like that MarginNote has an active community and a dedicated team consistently working on their product. The only good e-reader on iOS is abandonware at this point - it was developed by a lone developer. I’m sure with time MarginNote can live up to great potential. But it’s going to require a new engine under the hood, it seems. I would willingly pay for a separate app that focuses on ebooks and takes advantage of epub’s strengths. Highly customizable fonts, backgrounds, text sizes, Font colors, bookmarks, adding your own cover art, word counts, sorting by author, genre, series. These are things other ebook readers can do very well. I think it’s going to come down to one of four possible events:

  1. MarginNote will take on the challenge of being a great ebook experience
  2. Other ebook readers will take on becoming better annotation apps
  3. A new player comes on the market.
  4. Nothing happens and no one is satisfied.

I do understand your point. I bought MarginNote for the reason that it supports various document types (incl. epub, as advertised) and allows to combine and organize excerpts in one space. Some books, even in the academic world, have become only available in epub format, besides a print version. Especially in the realm of psychology.

In addition to academic use I wanted to use MarginNote to allow me to take notes on non-fiction books. I initially planned to append a new book I’m reading to the topic-specific space in MarginNote and group information from various sources.
Right now it is such an unpleasant experience.

I personally do not want MarginNote to become a fully fledged ebook reader app. It would be amazing though, if highlights from Apple Books could be imported to MarginNote. Even if this would only work on macOS.

I don’t understand why it can’t be a full-fledged reader app and document app at the same time. You mentioned Apple Books, and that’s an example of an app that is both.

I too originally came to MarginNote due to its epub support, but ran into similar limitations, so have started converting all my epubs to PDFs before using them with MarginNote. Thare are a bunch of online epub-to-PDF converters. I tested about five of them and settled on https://pdfchef.com/epub-to-pdf.html because I like its formatting best. You can easily use these online converters from iOS alone, no need to go to a desktop computer for that.

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Welcome to the MarginNote forum! It’s good to have your inpu here.

It’s not an issue of PDF vs epub. The ePub experience doesn’t lack features available to PDFs as far as I can tell (except for bookmarks, oddly enough). It’s more of an issue of MN not taking advantage of ePub’s features. ePubs can do things that PDFs never can because ePub is based on HTML. It’s dynamic, it’s pliable. By contrast PDF is merely a digital photocopy. Epub doesn’t require much to give you a word count, a page count, to edit metadata.

Here are some example of screenshots I took using another epub reader.

Most puzzling is that MN won’t render the files in the format they are encoded in, i.e. the “Publisher’s layout”.

In the image above, the original Publisher’s format is seen at top left. But you can change it to look however you want. Below are some of the things you can change in an epub with little effort in some apps:

Now imagine that with the powerful annotations of MarginNote; a sidebar, importing images into notes, etc. It would be unstoppable!