Book Reviews

My new favorite ebook app: Marvin!

book cover marvin screenshot
I’ve been using my phone a lot lately to read books– way more convenient, size-wise/weight-wise/not-needing-a-booklight-wise– I love it. Part of why I love it so much is because of Marvin, an iOS-only EPUB app. Before Marvin, I had no idea that EPUBs could be so nice!
There are currently two versions of Marvin: the free one, which has all the same features as the paid one except that you can only read one book at a time. The paid version is $2.99, which isn’t a terrible amount to pay for such a great app.


  • Highlights (in different colors), annotations, bookmarks. You can export these as a separate file, share them with people, etc. This would be awesome for group reads!
  • Adjustable text size, font type, margins, paragraph spacing, line spacing, screen colors (default = white, night and other, but can make your own color sets), brightness, “warmth,” etc. You can customize just about anything you’d want to.
  • “Deep view,” which looks for particular words, names, characters, etc. and pulls them out into a separate file. I think this would be good for keeping track of characters in those books with a large cast, for example.
  • Connects to Dropbox, Calibre, OPDS, Readmill, Web. This makes it super easy to download books without having to connect your phone to your computer.
  • Different theme colors, most of them paid.
  • I always use these colors no matter the time of day.
    I always use these colors no matter the time of day.
  • Organize books by author, title, date added. You can also make shelves, add books to a reading list, and mark books as read.
  • Sync between devices, like if you have an iPad and an iPhone, though I haven’t used it yet so I’m not sure how it works.
  • Built-in dictionary, plus you can download more. It keeps track of which books you look up definitions for, too, and you can export that as well. You can also set up a shortcut to translate words– I used that a lot for Dorothy L. Sayer’s books, for instance, because she uses Latin and French and doesn’t translate things in the actual text (very confusing).
  • Super cute mini-feature: bookish quotes at the top of your library page!
  • Having Marvin makes me really like EPUBs! Especially ones that’re properly formatted with table of contents and everything. It’s SO fancy!

    My library!
    My library!

    That said, there are some


  • Only handles DRM-free EPUBs, which could cause problems depending on where you buy your books.
  • Slightly difficult to see how far in a book you are without The progress bar at the bottom only shows how many pages are left in the chapter, so to see how far you are overall, you have to tap the top of the screen.
  • Kind of unintuitive. It took me a while to figure out all the little fiddly things. There ARE tutorials, though!
  • More color themes for the library/general app screens cost $$. $4.99 for all or $.99 for individual.
  • Cycling through the different setting menus is a little annoying.
  • On the whole, despite the little fiddly things, I very much enjoy having Marvin and reading my books on it. I don’t use any other apps any longer! If you read books on your phone or iPad, I DEFINITELY recommend checking out Marvin.


    • Kailana

      I use Mantano. I am not sure if it works on Apple Products because I seem to be a hold out with that technology! I really like it, though. There are three versions and I wound up getting the best. 🙂 (I ended up getting the Patricia Wrede, too. It’s a reread for me!)

    • Kristen M.

      I am just barely starting to make the transition to e-books and so far have read most of them on my phone. I’m using Overdrive just because they’re almost all library books so far but I’ll keep this app in mind for when I take another step into the 21st century. 🙂

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