MarvinJoannaWhen Chris reviewed Marvin for iOS recently, I recalled that I myself own this app. I had not fired up Marvin in ages because I use the cross-device syncing features of the Kindle app very heavily. But recently, I acquired some art-themed ePub books that are very graphics-heavy and exceed the size limit for the send-to-kindle app. I have parked these in iBooks. But Chris had me wondering if Marvin might be a better choice.

What intrigued me about his Marvin review was the Dropbox link-up feature. To load these ePubs into iBooks, I have to remember I have them, open up the Dropbox app, search for the books, wait for Dropbox to load, then export the books to iBooks and wait for that to finish. Marvin makes this process much, much easier. Once I used the Dropbox button to activate the feature and sign into the app, it only took a minute for Marvin to populate a list of all my ePub titles. I sorted the list by ‘recently added’ and all the new art books came up on top.

My one delay was that Marvin seems to only let you load one book at a time; it didn’t queue them up like the Kindle app does. So I had to wait for a 40MB book to load, then go onto the next one. I couldn’t keep browsing while I was waiting for the book. That was a small inconvenience given the usefulness of the Dropbox link-up feature.

I also found that all the junk files my old Mac had created in the bowels of my Calibre library were showing up in the ePub file list too. I had used an auto-script to clean those off when I got the Windows computer, but I guess some of them were hidden or invisible files and so didn’t get scrubbed. I don’t really relish having to go into thousands of Calibre directories one by one to delete these, but I guess it will have to be done. I wish Marvin was a little more discriminatory in what it considered an ePub. If my computer can hide these, why can’t Marvin?

No game-changer over iBooks, but Dropbox feature stands out

From a reading standpoint, I didn’t find Marvin to be a game-changer over iBooks. I recognize that it has more refined formatting controls, but I barely changed anything myself. I am not that picky. I find reading in most e-book apps to be pretty much the same, and it’s only the extra features I care about. For me, the killer reason to use Kindle is the syncing amongst my e-ink, iPad, mini tablet and phone. For Marvin, it’s the Dropbox link-up. Absent these little benefits, they are all the same to me.

I am happy I tried Marvin again. I still will keep iBooks around because it can read PDF as well. But Marvin does have its uses.

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. Well, you missed a few Marvin features. In the upper-right hand corner of the screen is a checkbox. Tapping it allows you to select multiple books.

    Second, Marvin has a sync feature, which I use with Dropbox. You can sync the book by tapping on the little cloud at the bottom right of the screen….you might have to tap the center of the display first to get the toolbar to show.

  2. Hi Susan, thanks for your comment! I did not know about the option to select multiple books. That’s helpful! Thank you for pointing it out.

    As for the sync feature, it’s a great option for tablet users. But since I use an e-ink Kindle as well, I need a sync option that works with that device as well. For that reason, the Dropbox sync option is of less use to me.

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