DTTG3 as an ePub reader

Just curious if there are any downsides that I’m not aware of, using DTTG 3 as an ePub reader? Especially compared to Apple’s Books or Good Reader?

EPUB reading isn’t supported in DEVONthink To Go

iBooks is a simple interface and also allows highlights and bookmarking. As much as I love our apps, I think the experience in iBooks would be superior for this use case.

Normally I would agree but I have some reference material in ePub format that I might want to quickly view from time to time. Having an ePub viewer instead of having to import into iBooks just to view the content would help a lot.

Readium ebook framework for displaying ebooks:

Edit: idk how you avoid feature creep with this amazing app :stuck_out_tongue:


It requires patience, diplomacy, and steadfastness for sure.

And the long list of possible features we could never accomplish in all our lifetimes also contributes. :wink:

Thanks for the link to Readium. We’ll check it out.


Which of these do you use for your ePub reading? They all seem pretty specialized.

Doh!!! I’d forgotten that I’d also downloaded the PDF version of the book too! I’ve been reading it for a few days, and didn’t realize it was a PDF. :rofl:

I also would love to see DTTG be able to read epubs. There’s afaik no epub reader that can “open in place” epub files contained in DTTG.


I too would value more Epub support within DTP3

Why when “Open with …” is available? what is the value add?

I would like to keep as much of my literature processing/annotation in DT as I can.

I often work in full window, and having more windows pop up is not ideal.

Apple Books also has no AppleScript support.

ok. with due respect i would not want to pay more for a DEVONthink license to help pay for the capital and support costs DEVON Technologies would bear to provide this. Especially since reading Epub books stored in DEVONthink can already be read with a reader of your choice. Just my two bits, as they say.

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I’m the same way, so would like to contribute some experiences.

I have many dozens (maybe hundreds by now) of books in Kindle and iBooks. I recently reached a turning point, and gave up on ebook for anything that I’m going to study or want to annotate – basically, anything other than books for pleasure reading. I’ve gone all-in on PDF. Lots of people feel the ebook formats have advantages, e.g., because they can be read on alternative devices, and I respect that. For me and how my brain works, though, they are sorely lacking in many respects. I’m much happier reading and marking up PDFs. I now view my Kindle and iBooks collections as sunk costs, and am actively looking to replace all of them with copies in PDF format.

In general:

  • I save all web pages as one-page PDF documents. I have technical experience with web archiving, know well many of its strengths and limitations, have written software to do it, and still (perhaps surprisingly) have concluded that snapshotting web pages as PDFs is the best archiving format for me. In DEVONthink, it means I can use the markup & annotation facilities on archived pages.
  • Academic papers are almost all available in PDF format already. (Here I’m fortunate to be a member of an academic institution, making most publications free to me, but I recognize that paywalls will be a barrier for others.)
  • When dealing with books, I try to get them all in PDF format now. That’s a purchasing option for some books and publishers, but not all. Sometimes you can find PDFs of books by searching the web – this is probably more common for academic books in science and engineering. However, I stress strongly that I don’t cheat the authors: I make sure to buy copies of works one way or another, regardless of how I get the PDF. Sometimes I buy hardbacks or paperbacks just to make sure to do the right thing here.
  • If necessary, I will scan to PDF materials I can’t get in PDF directly. I invested in a fast duplexing scanner by Epson for other reasons, but it works well for this too.

Some advantages come from settling on a common format for everything. The time I invest in automating document management with PDFs benefits everything, which wouldn’t be possible if I were using multiple formats. DEVONthink is my common indexing, searching, annotation, markup, and notetaking platform for everything these days.

(To be clear, this is not a reply about whether DEVONthink could/should/shouldn’t handle ebook formats natively. This is mostly independent of that.)


Ok, Though I would pay for it.

Because if we keep extending this line of logic,
why is there PDF support when I can open it in preview?
Why is there HTML support when I can open it in Safari?
Why is there CSV suppoer when I can open in Numbers?

Someone saw value in those features that benefited their unique workflow.

While I realize the technical undertaking and capital costs needed to incorprate a new feature into a piece of software, as a customer I don’t think it is an onerous ask that DEVONTHINK at least consider adding support for the viewing of the defacto ebook file format.

I’d wager that these are trivial to add. The last one, because it is a really stupid format. The other two, because there’s support already in macOS (WebKit and PDFKit). So not too much effort required there. And the problems with PDFKit mentioned in this forum are legion.

There are also people asking about integrated support for audio and video data, and why not include a photoshop clone … Seriously: DT is a document management program. It has limited capabilities to create and modifiy certain documents. Which I’m fine with, because the alternative would be to integrate the functionality of about 50 percent of the programs I’m using into one. That’s what Emacs tries to do, and that way lies madness (and badly supported, often broken software).


Just stumbled across this discussion. This is something which I’ve been contemplating too for the same reasons. My main obstacle for going all-in on PDFs is the fact that reflowing works poorly most of the times (especially comparing PDF to ePub which is meant to be reflowable). Alternative ePub readers like Koreader are doing an OK job reflowing PDFs, but still not as good as real ePub. Wondering how you’re dealing wit this.

In doubt that PDFs can reflow at all. The format was intended for the printing industry, I.e. ink on paper. There’s no reflow there since paper size does not change.

As to Koreader: they are extracting the text from m the PDF and then reformatting that. As long as there is a text layer, you could do that even in DT. But that has nothing to do with the PDF as such (imagine a carefully laid out text flowing around images, in two columns).

Sorry for the late reply; I’m just so very short of time lately.

I agree this is an issue. However, I actually prefer the fixed layout, because I believe [1] that it helps me remember information better: when I try to recall something I read, I remember—weakly, but still it’s something—how it looked on the page, along with any scribbles I may have written on the page. So, I personally don’t mind the inability to reflow the text; in fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a desirable feature. What I sacrifice is the ability to (easily) read the material on a small screen like an iPhone, but I do most of my reading on an iPad and a big desktop monitor, so it’s almost never an issue in practical terms for me. This is apart from other benefits of PDFs, such as the (usually) much better rendering of figures (which is something that’s essential for papers in science but may not be in other fields).

I completely understand if you (and other people) prefer it another way, or if the layout doesn’t hold the same importance for you. This is a case where individual differences in cognition no doubt come into play.

[1] This is admittedly only an intuition based on personal experience; I haven’t done careful self-experimentation to be sure. However, for me personally, the structure of text on a page is part of what I remember about something I read (if I remember anything about it at all!) and I think a fixed layout helps my memory.

The good news is the basis of design for PDF (decades ago) is “fixed” design for purposes of printing or representing fixed-sized pieces of paper. Reflowing to fit another “piece of paper” is not on offer for the Adobe/ISO spec for PDFs.


We have a related topic on the Hook productivity forum where readers are asking for deep links in ebook readers. Someone suggested Caliber: Deep linking in epubs? - Hook Feature Requests - Hook Productivity Forum. If Books supported search in users notes, one could construct a deep linking workflow of sorts (using text anchors). Even better would be a programmatically accessible “copy deep” link in Books.

Actually, there is a standard for reflowable PDFs, e.g. implemented by Microsoft Word. But I’m not sure if it’s an unofficial extension or sanctioned by Adobe. It’s surely isn’t part of PDF/A.