Magic Scroll – A Beautiful Online HTML5 EPUB Book Reader

magicscroll icon   Magic Scroll   A Beautiful Online HTML5 EPUB Book ReaderRead any EPUB file online, with a simple interface. MagicScroll is an elegant service that does one thing very well: it lets you read eBooks in your browser. No registration is required: just upload a file and start reading. Magic Scroll is not only a great way to read EPUB books; it’s a great way to share them. Upload a book and you’ll be given a permanent URL for the book, which you can easily share with your friends.

We’ve profiled similar applications in the past. BookWorm is a great personal online library, for example. But it’s hard to match the simplicity and elegance of MagicScroll’s ePub reader, an example of HTML5 at its best. It’s as good as the eBook reader in Google’s online book store, but you can upload any book you want. Sure, it doesn’t work with DRM-protected books, but if you’re looking for an elegant way to read books online you’re not going to find a better one. Heck, I can’t even think of a desktop eBook reader this nice.

Uploading Books

Head over to MagicScroll to get started. Here you’ll find a simple box from which you can upload EPUB files:

magicscroll uploads   Magic Scroll   A Beautiful Online HTML5 EPUB Book Reader

You don’t need to register to upload a file; you can simply upload it. If you don’t have any EPUBs you feel like uploading you can try reading a provided sample book to see how you like the feel of the app. If you want to find some free EPUBs, I highly recommend trying out Project Gutenburg.

Once you upload a book you’ll receive a permanent URL for your book. Be sure to save this URL somewhere if you want to read your book on various devices.

Reading Books

Once you’ve uploaded a book you can start reading. The site will process the book for quick reading, then you’ll see its cover. Your book won’t take up the entire window by default:

magicscroll reading   Magic Scroll   A Beautiful Online HTML5 EPUB Book Reader

I find this width perfect, because I don’t like reading at long widths. If you disagree, however, you can easily set the display to take up your full browser window by pressing the fullscreen button in the lefthand toolbar.

Use the arrows keys to turn the page. Simple, right? You can also pull out the table of contents to jump to a particular chapter:

magicscroll contents   Magic Scroll   A Beautiful Online HTML5 EPUB Book Reader

Don’t want to bother with the arrow keys? There’s a magic scrolling function built-in, which makes reading effortless. Click the “Play” button in the bottom-right corner to active this. Text at the top will slowly be replaced with text from the next page, and this transition will work its way down. It’s oddly intuitive, and you can adjust the speed to your preference.

Myself, I prefer the good old arrow keys, but this is a really nice option to have. You can disable this feature, and change the look for your eBooks, in the settings menu:

magicscroll settings   Magic Scroll   A Beautiful Online HTML5 EPUB Book Reader

Shortcut Syncing

There being no user account for this service, you cannot sync your books across multiple devices natively. If you use Xmarks or a similar service, however, syncing is as easy as bookmarking the books you’re reading. If you don’t want to mess around with bookmark syncing, you could also try a URL shortener. This will at least make your URLs a bit less cumbersome.

Web Store

Do you like Chrome’s new web store? Why not install Magic Scroll as a Chrome App? It’s free and gives you an attractive bookmark.

Don’t like Chrome’s new web store? Complain about it in the comments. That ought to show Google it’s stupid to offer such a thing.

Conclusion

This is a web app done right. Not only is it just as (if not more) functional than its desktop rivals; it’s really easy to get started with. I’ll be using this to do some at-work reading for sure. I’m looking forward to future versions, because having a library and bookmarks in the cloud would be awesome.

What do you think? Is Magic Scroll a cool online ePub reader, or do you prefer your reading to be offline? Share in the comments below, and also feel free to point out alternative apps for this.

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12 Comments -

JmS

Thanks for the review! That’s the closest reader to what I’ve been looking for. It’s less usable on an iPhone, but works very well on my macbook. Lots of room for improvement, but so far it’s quite impressive.

Richard Wallis

Hi,

I created MagicScroll.

Thanks for the kind review. Just a reminder to everyone that this is still very young software. A few eBooks that should work, won’t work and there can be problems with font layout. Version 2 launches sometime in February and should eliminate most of the more glaring problems.

If you have any trouble please email: support@magicscroll.net. Error reports really do help make Version 2 work better.

cr0ft

Thanks for the link to this one. Going to have to give it a whirl, so far it’s looking quite usable.

A brief comment on column width while reading – everyone really finds a more narrow width easier to read. If the lines get too long, it gets harder to track from one to the other. That’s one of the reasons newspapers, for instance, has multiple columns spread across the page. So it’s a solid tip to try to resize the window to be more narrow and see if that doesn’t feel better to read.

Also going to have to give them feedback and suggest they implement a multiple columns mode, I guess.

Richard Wallis

Hi,

I created MagicScroll.

Thanks for the kind review. Just a reminder to everyone that this is still very young software. A few eBooks that should work, won’t work and there can be problems with font layout. Version 2 launches sometime in February and should eliminate most of the more glaring problems.

If you have any trouble please email: support@magicscroll.net. Error reports really do help make Version 2 work better.

Aibek

hey Richard, thank for the input.

Anonymous

Thanks for the link to this one. Going to have to give it a whirl, so far it’s looking quite usable.

A brief comment on column width while reading – everyone really finds a more narrow width easier to read. If the lines get too long, it gets harder to track from one to the other. That’s one of the reasons newspapers, for instance, has multiple columns spread across the page. So it’s a solid tip to try to resize the window to be more narrow and see if that doesn’t feel better to read.

Also going to have to give them feedback and suggest they implement a multiple columns mode, I guess.

Nguyen Phi

This is the best ePub reader I’ve been looking for. Bookworm doesn’t fit my need because it takes times to load next page and doesn’t have fullscreen mode for viewing.

Thanks for this great post!!

Nguyen Phi

This is the best ePub reader I’ve been looking for. Bookworm doesn’t fit my need because it takes times to load next page and doesn’t have fullscreen mode for viewing.

Thanks for this great post!!

Kush kalwani

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