Monday, June 17, 2013

Marvin reader app for iOS

Marvin, a new ereader app for iOS is very interesting.

See, here we have the typical problem. Marvin, of course, like other independent app, can't read books with DRM, meaning all the wonderful books I have bought from Kindle and Kobo can't be used with this wonderful app. What a waste, just because of paranoia!

Marvin lets you select between a gazillion different colors for text and background. I don't see who wants iridescent green on bright orange, but fortunately also has many variations of nice off-whites for the background and very dark blue or brown for the text, or vice versa. Things like this shames the Kindle and eBook apps, with their over-simplistic interfaces, apparently designed to not confuse three-year-olds. 

Besides this and many other nice options for layout, it also is the only reader I know of besides Kindle which can provide you with an Overview of a book and its characters. For better and for worse, this does not have to be made for a book, the app does it automatically.

It also has friendly relationships with Dropbox, Wikipedia, and other good things on the Net.

I'm almost surprised it does not have text-to-speech. The iPad's own voice is only connected to disability and therefore not great, and I only know a couple of apps for iOS with text-to-speech, and only one is an ereader app, and none of them are cause for any celebrations. I'd guess it's hard to make and expensive to acquire. But: they manage on Android, my Instapaper app InstaFetch has a wonderful text-to-speech capability. (And of course the reader on Kindle Fire HD is fantastic, I use it continually, in rare cases I even prefer it an actual audiobook!)