How do you read, store and manage ebooks?

I’m working on improving my “workflow” surrounding how I read ebooks and other long form writing. I’m interested in learning how other community members store, read, “sync”, manage their ebooks. I’m sure there are some great ideas that I have not yet considered.

My goal is to store the files on my TrueNAS server and be able to read from any device on my LAN (or via remote access VPN). I’m not sure if a Plex-like server-client software is the best solution. A simpler solution such as a simple directory on the NAS paired with some great software on the client devices to open the files and read.

I definitely need the ability to highlight and write comments/notes on .epub and .pdf files. I’m looking for software that works well with Linux, macOS and iOS.

I’ve read about the calibre book server. I think I will give it a try, but I’m not very hopeful as the interface seems quite old. That being said- sometimes I come across a piece of software that is great despite an older looking UI.

How do you guys read and manage your ebooks?

We keep them on our NAS too, and use Calibre to manage them, and since we keep the library files and all on there, and all our main devices are Windows or Linux, we just mount the share and use Calibre. If i do want to read on my phone (hardly ever though), I just copy that epub over to it and use MoonReader.

Over VPN, as long as you have ssh access, you can use sshfs to mount the NAS folder, too.

I’ve been looking at this off and on for a while now, but haven’t had much time to settle on a solution yet. I know Nextcloud has a solution for this, but I’m not sure how it stacks up compared to the others. When things settle down, I’m hoping to have some useful information. It’s definitely something I want to solve.

Me too Jay - its been something on and off for me that’s “been on my list”. Seems like said list is always quite long for me.

I’ve briefly tried out Calibre this week. There’s nothing really “bad” about it. I don’t have any flaws to point out- but I don’t feel it adds a ton of value over using a solution that has 2 parts but 2 very simple parts: 1- something to sync (such as Nextcloud, SyncThing, smb share) and 2- software to read, highlight, write notes.

@Buffy For your use- Where do you find Calibre adds the most value over a simpler solution as described above? Maybe I am misunderstanding some of Calibre’s valuable features.

I don’t currently own an e-ink reader such as a Kindle - but maybe that is where Calibre could be very valueable - I doubt it is simple to install SyncThing or Nextcloud on a Kindle.

My conclusion thus far is that my feelings about Calibre are quite neutral. I’m going to look into some apps for both Linux and macOS that allow me to read, highlight and write notes on epubs and PDFs and once I try a few I’ll share with the forum what I find.

The main value of Calibre for us is organization and, on our PCs, being a really nice book reader and creator. We don’t do any syncing, since (except for sometimes my phone) we work off of the network share. IDK about highlighting/notes, since I don’t use that.

Organization matters a lot for us because my dad already had a huge ebook library and we’ve been adding to it still. :slight_smile:

Maybe some of the value add is sharing among multiple users? I guess I’m not sure how calibre’s largest value add is organization. Organization can be achieved within a simple directory on a network share.

Maybe I’m just the type that is happy to see some files in a directory on a network share and enjoy the simplicity of it. No need to manage another container.

Well organization includes things like metadata (tags, categories, series, etc) which we use a lot and which just directories don’t reflect.

Sharing with multiple users is alrady handled by the NAS through the SMB share; we never usd Calibre’s server part.

I’m not sure why you’re thinking Calbre is some complicated thing? It’s super simple to use, I think.