Reading books on iPad with Memex | My workflow

Hi! I just wanted to say thank you @BlackForestBoi!
Memex has unlocked a “reading workflow” that I didn’t knew was possible and I’m loving it so far :heart:

For everyone:
If it happens that you use Memex to keep track of important notes and highlights from web articles, social media and even youtube! Wouldn’t it make sense that you also use it as the database for your book readings?

The common path for having highlights and annotations on books (specially PDFs) is by using a dedicated reader app. I have tried a lot of them and here are some remarks:

What are my needs? Where does Memex succeed?

  • I’m in control of my storage. I want a centralized place for my book catalogue. Calibre is preferable. I want to reuse this catalogue instead of having to copy/clone it over just to be able to use it on other platforms.
    For example, apps like Bookfusion forces you to upload your books there. All e-readers like kindle do the same thing.
    Why can’t I just keep my media in one place and work with that? Every platform tries to be the main storage and the source of truth of your media. I don’t want this.
    Whats beautiful about Memex, is that is doesn’t try to store your PDFs in their services. Memex will use whatever link you pass to them.
  • I want the original source, always. I don’t like apps trying to convert/transform the original source (web article, book, etc) into a different monster. The majority of read-it-later apps do this, they transform the original article into a “more digestible document” so you can edit your font sizes, font family, colors, etc. But in reality, most of the time you just end up with a broken article and even lose important information that those apps weren’t able to parse correctly. I don’t want this.
    I love that Memex doesn’t try to parse the whole web article, it will just work with the original source! This mean less complexity, more compatibility (even youtube is supported!!) and less chance of losing anything :heart:
  • I want all my highlights and annotations in one place. By using Memex as my “book reading app”, I don’t need any extra effort trying to ingest my highlights and annotations into my knowledge base. It’s already done. It will be seamlessly synced across all my devices.
  • Making highlights public. I haven’t tried this personally but I know you can make your highlights and annotations public on the internet which is very neat!

So yeah, I’m using Memex as my main reading app even thought I’m pretty sure it wasn’t planned to work like that.

Finally, some cons that I have decided to accept as I think is totally worth it for my use case:

  • Right now, Memex can only work with public urls. That means I need to host my books in a public url. I’m using calibre-web for doing that. I have to admit that in the future, I really hope there could be a way for Memex for IOS to work on sites behind a login form somehow… (maybe with a token in the url at least)
  • Although your highlights and annotations are saved into Memex, the next time you re-open the PDF, you’re not going to be able to see those highlights in the PDF preview (on IOS).
  • Memex has no compatibility with EPUB at the moment. That’s fine for me for now as I can convert my EPUBs into PDFs very easily with calibre and the conversion EPUB to PDF is a no-brainer and is definitely better than trying to do PDF to ANYTHING :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
  • Next time you open your PDF book, you can continue when you left off as long as your are in the same device. Memex will not sync your reading position across devices (small price to pay). Totally understandable as it isn’t a reader app!

Those are my thoughts.

Memex, please consider some of the cons I have listed and you will be just the perfect app I’ve ever encounter :face_with_head_bandage: :heart:

Point 1 seems to be fixed on android app.
Point 2 also works on android app although is a little buggy.

I didn’t knew it, but this setup only works because my PDF files are not stored on URLs that end in ../dummy.pdf but instead ../document-id/pdf/. So this whole workflow is kinda unstable and I stopped using it all together.