No Ebook Reader? Files Disappear on MacOs

This isn’t purely a Scrivener question but is motivated by Scrivener’s lack of an internal epub viewer. I’m not even necessarily suggesting that it should have one, but…

If I compile a file to epub, I can’t use Apple’s Books program to view the file because it’s kicked up into the cloud and pages go missing. After a while, the pages disappear. On Windows, there are several options for epub viewing, but it doesn’t seem there are many options for MacOs. Adobe has stopped development of its own Epub viewer.

Just wondering if anyone has experienced this behavior and can suggest any work-arounds.

I use Calibre to view my ePub. It has an eBook Viewer that works well. The app gets a lots of updates and is freeware. (Been using it so long, I don’t recall paying for it.)

Also, If you right-click the app and select Show Package Contents, open the Contents folder, you can find I make an alias of it my Applications folder. Scrivener finds it under the Open Compiled Document in dropdown menu.

Both Calibre and Sigil are highly recommended for ebook development. Using end-user readers like Apple’s or Adobe’s to try and figure out why your book looks one way or another is very difficult and not the best use of time. For one thing they are pretty opinionated about what the book should look like, which can obscure things from a design standpoint. You need a reference quality viewer, and both of these suggestions will show very little other than core formatting defaults and what your stylesheet stipulates (Calibre’s reader is actually meant to be a book reader, and it’s a very good one, I don’t recall if its defaults are pretty vanilla or not, but its book editor will give you a more reference-quality look if it does not).

Moreover, with either of these ePub editors, not readers, you’ll be looking at the source markup itself, and can trace down HTML and CSS issues directly, or at least see the type of problem around what you’re trying to fix, which might give a clue what to change in Scrivener. Both are ideal for design, as CSS can be implemented in real-time, either with the built-in web development toolkit (familiar from any modern browser) or just by editing the stylesheet.css file. You can get things looking perfect, then copy and paste the solution back into your compile Format’s CSS pane. The alternative is compiling over and over again, and wasting piles of time as a result.

You could get away with just Calibre, as its ebook editor is quite good at this point. It used to be a bit behind Sigil, but for most tasks, particularly for one using Scrivener as a generator rather than building a book from scratch, I would say Calibre is enough, and that it is also a good ebook reader, library and device manager for your own ebooks is reason enough to have a copy.

I use Sigil when reviewing ebooks. I find Calibre to be too grabby — wanting to add each ebook to its library.

Hence the macOS-necessary trick of digging into the software package and creating aliases to its fully standalone ebook reader and editor. On other systems these things just show up in the right-click open-with commands, and can be associated with file types as default handlers (I get Calibre reader stand-alone, no library insertion, when I double-click .epub files on my Linux system).

If I remember correctly once you alias them out in Applications, you can even do likewise, or have Scrivener automatically open the compiled .epub in one or the other. It’s been a while since I’ve tried that though.

I think Zotero 7 is your best bet. I have been using it and no issues despite it still being in beta.

As an epub reader? 12

Yes, you read it correctly :slight_smile: It could also be an interesting way to keep track of the different versions of your work.

As I said, I am speaking about version 7, which is still in beta, but that already works quite well.


I looked at Zotero as a wiki alternative in the context of organizing many kinds of disparate trial materials in one place. This would include pdf’s, emails, four page to page files, notes, texts, text files, Word docs, web pages, graphics (jpeg, png) and screenshots. After throwing lots of those files into Zotero, it was like they were all sitting in a bucket. As I remember, I could do global searches, but performing global searches every time was tiresome. At least a Zotero file could be shared, but that’s about it. Scrivener isn’t perfect for this purpose, but a lawsuit is very much the art of telling a story and supporting (that is, finding support) quickly for all of the facts in the story. I have tried to play around with Obsidian, but it wants to link to files on a computer, which makes sharing (without a network) impossible.