Martview: combines a stylish ebook reader with an app-store style ebook sharing portal

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Martview is a free ebook viewer for PDFs, CBZ/CBR and it’s own MART format that emphasizes a book-like reading experience complete with virtual page flipping.

In addition to the “flipping view”, it also offers “horizontal slide” and “vertical slide” views; the latter being my favorite of the three. It is also designed to work with touchscreen devices (available for Windows and iPad).

Interestingly, Martview also supports an app-store like interface for downloading free ebooks. Users are able to download, upload and share ebooks.

To find an ebook, you can use a search box or navigate the categories in the left sidebar, and/or simply browse the many pages containing hundreds of book cover thumbnails of box.

Titles run the gamut from novels to tutorials, but graphic novels, comics, and manga as well as random glossy magazines from years past seem to be overly represented. The software does not seem to take copyright considerations too seriously, relegating responsibility for the content to the users.

Martview Screenshot 1Martview Screenshot 3 - download

As an ebook reader, I will say that this software is excellent. It utilizes every inch of your screen’s real estate, and employs a dock-like interface that drops down when you need it whenever you hover over the top edge of your screen.

The “flipping view” works well for titles that are formatted for use with ebook reading devices, which typically have less text per page than normal, but not so well when viewing files that are not, such as magazines or even graphic novels, for which “horizontal slide” would be the better choice.

PROS:

  • Very nice interface: hovering on the top or bottom edges of the screen invokes docking control dialogs. You can zoom in and out via pressing both mouse buttons simultaneously.
  • Supports touchscreen: for touchscreen enabled Windows PCs, not just iPad.
  • Three viewing modes: flipping, vertical slide, and horizontal slide. These work really well. The horizontal slide is similar to flipping but is faster and omits the flipping animation and the crease in the middle.
  • The ebook downloading/sharing function: is very impressive and well done. It contains many hundreds of titles in about a dozen languages. Supports a filter by language dropdown and a search box; however, all uploads/downloads are in Martview format.
  • Will let you publish and share your own ebooks: but, again, only in Martview format.

CONS:

  • Needs to support more ebook formats: especially some formats which are becoming increasingly popular with ebook readers (e.g. MOBI, EPUB).
  • Needs to support file conversions: specifically, from their custom Martview format to other formats.
  • Usage of ebook sharing functions locked into Martview format: which is why a convertor is needed as mentioned above.
  • Automatic Tagging: from the internet, Calibre-style, would be nice.
  • But are there books I want to read?: is a valid question. Unless you are seeking random comics or computer language and software tutorials.

The verdict: very nicely done, especially if your ebook library is overly represented with PDF or CBZ/CBR ebooks (and especially if you have a touch-screen PC).

The flip-book effect is nice, but this software can be improved by adding some of the functions mentioned above, especially if it is going to hold a candle to Calibre, the go-to freeware ebook manager of choice (at least for us here at Freewaregenius).

But aside from the slick and stylish exterior, the main draw this will have to many people is the free app-store style ebook downloading function. The question is whether this will be able to pick up traction long term, and survive copyright questions that might be raised. Also, it would be nice to be able to convert the Martview books downloaded to something else.

See this program in action below:

Version Tested: 2.1

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. iPad version also available.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx. 22.33 megs).