Best PDF/Book Reader for iPad?

With the “stay at home”, “shelter in place” or whatever it’s being called, I’ve found that I now have a lot more time to read. I have dozens of PDF magazines that I’ve downloaded and want to get started on. But what to read them on, and which app to use? I have an 27" iMac, but it requires me to sit at my desk to read, which isn’t necessarily the most comfortable for reading a book or magazine. I have a 16" MacBook Pro, which I can take anywhere in the house to lounge about and read, though it doesn’t do well outdoors in bright sunlight. I also have an 10.5" iPad Pro with a detachable keyboard, that can also go anywhere, and is light and easy to read on, though it also doesn’t do well in bright sun outside. And lastly, I have an iPhone 11 Max Pro, but with my “old-ish” eyes, reading a book or magazine on this, wouldn’t be my first choice.

So to that end, I’m leaning towards the iPad. But alas, which app should I use? Apple’s Books? Amazon’s Kindle Reader? GoodReader? Readdle’s Documents? Adobe Reader? Something else? It would be great to be able to sync the locations, so that I can read on other devices, if I’d like. But it’s not 100% necessary.

What’s your favorite way to read a book or PDF on the iPad? Why?

I just found from suggestion here. IMO, the most pleasant UI I’ve used. Delightful. And the developer posted here that he is working on some DEVONthink support real soon now, if I recall.

Which brings up another heavyweight option: DEVONthink3. DEVONthink To Go will sync with MacOS to keep reading spots. Very expensive for industrial strength powertool. Different breed altogether, but would be great with for PDF annotator!

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I have and LOVE DTTG & DT3, but I just don’t find them to be the ideal reading platform. I use them to keep and store all of my documents, web clippings, and just about everything else that I generate or find interesting. It’s an awesome app.

I’ll look into


The Highlights app is wonderful. I’ve been using it for research and there is nothing else like it out there.

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What’s it like for reading? I don’t have a need to do any research. :smile:

Non academic PDFs in Books. Academic (ie referenced) PDFs in Papers. Kindle books in Kindle app.

Apple Books makes it easy to import PDFs, and it’s free!

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Most of the time I use Goodnotes for longer documents. For shorter items I just use the iPad default.

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I don’t like using the iPad to read books, especially in a low light situation. I find the kindle to be more gentle on my eyes, so I mainly use it for reading.

If I read on iPad I use whichever app the format of the book requires.

For magazines that come in pdf format I use Chunky Comic Reader.

edit: now I think that I could use Books for pdf magazines… no need to duplicate apps. :thinking:

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Workflow depends on various types of reading that I do.

  1. If attending a lecture or a course which has an accompanying PDF that goes in Notability as it s best and most convenient way to write freely using Apple Pencil.
  2. For Organising PDF’s on iPad: I use PDF Expert. Using it over 4 years now.
  3. For Reading Kindle Books: Kindle or Kindle App.
  4. For Reading Study materials or something on a topic with multiple PDF’s or Books which requires taking notes or needs summarisation: Liquid Text is lovely. best part is every highlight has a direct link to the original text so that whenever you need to refer to the context you can easily reach there.
    Hope this Helps

PS: am attaching my notes from the topic Ancient History Of India I took on Liquid Text using 2-3 Books.

To Summarise: Casual PDF’s you could try PDF Expert (it syncs with your other devices very well) and if into more serious reading you could try Liquid Text


Put a little of my own thoughts about this topic on Twitter

I am using an application called Calibre it runs an e-book server on my mac, I have had little luck finding a client that I like for the iPad, so at the moment I am using the web viewer, which sucks. It’s software with lots of potential, but in reality it kinda sucks.

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I have some familiarity with Calibre as I’ve used it to convert several different book formats, but I’ve never used it for anything else.

My favorite is GoodReader for PDFs and Kindle app for Kindle books. I do almost all of my electronic reading on my iPad.

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