Beside writing, the thing I do the most on a computer is reading ebooks, in PDF or epub formats.

For PDF, I use Manjaro’s Document Viewer (a fork of Evince?). It’s lightweight and fast, it comes with basic annotation tools (notes and highlighter), and it has the inverted colors mode — turning black text white, and white background black — that I need in order to be able to read any text, because of my very poor eyesight.

Alas, this neat little viewer can’t be bothered to open epubs.

For epub, I could use Calibre. Not only is Calibre a great catalog app that can deal with any format, but it also comes with its own ebook reader. I’ve been using Calibre as a catalog for years, but I never liked its reader. Not a solution for me.

But that’s no problem thanks to Foliate, “a simple and modern eBook viewer for Linux desktops,” that is packed with useful features for us, ebook readers.

Not only is it good looking, but it comes with multiple themes, including dark.

An ebook can be displayed in single or double columns, in windowed or full screen. You can change the font, margins, justification, line-spacing.

It also comes with a Notes tool, an highlighter, and a dictionary that also lets us use Google Translate on any text selection, neat!

And it’s filled with keyboard shortcuts (and gestures too, if you have a touch screen) to make iut even more comfortable to use.

Foliate can handle huge files without much trouble though, on my old laptop, it will take some time to open really big files. But I’m talking >30megs ebooks on my old i3 CPU.

One last thing: the version I use is not the most recent one (I installed it from AUR repo, and have yet to figure out how/when/if it will be updated). There are Flatpak/Snap versions that are more recent but I can’t use them as they do not fully support Manjaro/xcfe’s dark theme (also, I find them slower to run on my old laptop). That said, I’m lokking forward to an AUR updated version, as the newest version of Foliate brings a couple nice features:

  • Support for mobi/Kindle ebooks (without DRM).
  • Some kind of library module, to manage your ebooks withinf Foliate.

But even without these, Foliate is already a very impressive little app that’s only available for Linux — and that’s too bad because, as it is, it’s already much better than any of the numerous readers I’ve tested under Windows, free or paid.