Marvin is an ebook reading app for the iPad that gathers together all your EPUB ebooks in one place. The idea is that you can keep your book files in your Dropbox and access them from anywhere.
It’s EPUB-only, which means it won’t work with your Kindle titles, but that’s no problem, because Marvin also has tight integration with the Calibre e-book app for desktop computers, and as all avid Cult of Mac readers know, it’s pretty easy to use Calibre to rip the DRM from your Kindle books and save them to your Dropbox as EPUBs.
Marvin is now a year old, and has relaunched as a Universal app with a new iOS 7-friendly design – just in time for your new Retina iPad mini. The new version will cost $3 to new and old users both, which makes it a great way for happy customers to show their support for the developer.
Once you’ve connected Marvin to your Dropbox, the app will group together any ands all EPUB files therein and let you import them. As I keep all my ripped (for personal use, and all ripped from my own purchases) book in Dropbox, this is ideal. You can also import via e-mail or using iTunes file transfer.
Reading is excellent. The choice of fonts and customization options id huge, or you can just stick with the publisher’s choices. Either way, you can quickly change the screen brightness by swiping up or down with one finger (it’s a real brightness control, too, not just an opaque gray overlay), and change screen warmth with two fingers.
And then we get to the extra features. Marvin can scan through your books and build summaries of prominent characters and places. You just select a name and sic Marvin on it. A few moments later you’ll have a Kindle X-Ray-like page showing the various occurrences of a character and so on, and you can group these together and export them to your library as a kind of companion book to the one you’re reading.
I’ve only just gotten started with Marvin, and I like it a lot already. In fact, it reminds me of Stanza, an old ebook reading app which Amazon bought out and killed several years ago. I’d probably switch over to it completely if I didn’t own an actual Kindle: one of the killer features of using Amazon’s ecosystem is that you can put down your Kindle and keep on reading right where you left off on any other supported device.