Mac users who have an eBook collection know the score. iBooks is about the only game in town. While free is good iBooks has some drawbacks. It’s good for PDFs, ePubs, and not much more, and Apple still can’t figure out how to sync books in iCloud.
If you’re a Mac user with eBooks and a desire not to put all your eggs into the iBooks basket, there’s Clearview, a comfortable tabbed style eBook reader with its own library shelf (so it’s familiar), easier book management and organization tools than iBooks, and a price you can handle. If you’ve used iTunes or Photos then you’ll find Clearview just as easy to use.
See? Familiar, no?
Clearview has only two drawbacks but one feature alone makes it worth the price of admission, but there are plenty of useful features to make it a worthwhile addition to your Mac’s Applications folder.
Organizing your eBooks shouldn’t take a library degree, so Clearview does the obvious. Every book is stored in the Library, but you control the collections and organize your books or PDFs the way you want.
Clearview handles PDFs, ePubs, CHM, and MOBI reader formats. Every book can take annotations and bookmarks, and search can be a specific book or the entire library. Or, just use the Coverflow-like interface which works much like the Finder.
All the eBook file formats are presented with covers, smaller thumbnail covers, and a big favorite– a table of contents. Searches can be by file name, book title, author, publisher, and the all important content text.
As an eBook reader Clearview is simple, uncluttered, and elegant, but reading features are merely a click away. Just as with iBooks, you can scroll, flip pages, or view either single or two columns on a page. Adjust the font by family, size, and line height. The app handles annotations– lines, highlights, and more– and bookmarks but does not alter the original eBook itself.
My favorite feature? Tabs.
If you’re combing through several eBooks or PDFs at the same time you can have each one open in a different tab to view, easily switching from one to the other. Why doesn’t iBooks have tabs?
There’s much to like here but a few items are missing. The most important is the option to view eBooks with DRM (digital rights management, such as books sold by Apple and readable only in iBooks). The second is notes. Clearview has a notes section, but it’s limited and needs to be an exportable file (copy and past can be tedious).
If all you have to organize are PDFs, then you’ll love Clearview. If you have eBooks, you’ll also love using the app, but just remember that whatever you bought on iBooks is locked to iBooks. You may have paid for the book but you can only read it where Apple wants you to read it.
Otherwise, Clearview is a worthy iBooks replacement, available on the Mac App Store but there’s a try-before-you-buy option available here. Try it.