January 8, 2021

My Reading Tech Stack – Devices and Apps I Use to Read Books, Blogs and Articles

As of 2021, my reading tech-stack consists of Kindle, iPad and Macbook as the primary reading devices. When it comes to the reading apps that bring me joy, Goodnotes is my iPad app of choice for reading PDF books. Reeder 5 helps me keep track of all the blogs in one place. I save all interesting articles as bookmarks to read later in Raindrop.

I also try to read a few Comics when I can. I use an app called YACReader on iPad. I am currently reading The Boys, hoping to complete it before the 3rd season drops on Amazon Prime.

The stack I use to read eBooks (+PDFs), Blogs and Comics.

Kindle (10th Gen) for Reading eBooks

I recently upgraded to the new Kindle (10th Gen) a few weeks ago. I realized I needed that sweet backlight in my Kindle for reading in bed at night. Or in the dimly-lit hallway of my tiny apartment.

I'd been using Kindle (6th Gen) for the past 6 years or so as my primary device for reading eBooks. It worked like a charm such as in the metro during the now obsolete ritual of a daily commute. That 6-year-old thing still works fine though. It was time for an upgrade anyway after all these years.

While toying with the idea of that upgrade, I tried my hands at reading on the Kindle apps on my iPad and Macbook. iPad turns out to be too clunky and huge for reading while walking. Or at night as it causes eye-strain even with low brightness. Reading eBooks on the Mac feels like work, so that didn't stick. Besides, neither of these have the potential to be as good a travel/commute companion as the Kindle.

Currently reading 'The Psychology of Money'. Side note: shot this picture on my own, also available on Unsplash.

Reading, Highlighting and Annotating PDFs on Goodnotes (iPad)

Occasionally, I end up reading a PDF book, reports or reading material of that nature. I use Goodnotes as a good alternative on the iPad for reading PDFs. It allows efficient highlighting and scribbling of notes, 'The Half-Blood Prince' style, which makes for a good experience. It also has a macOS app and syncs across devices in the Apple ecosystem. This helps in case I need to switch back and forth to take notes, copy and paste stuff etc, on the Mac.

Notability is another alternative to Goodnotes. I use Notability as my note-taking tool with the Apple Pencil. But, Goodnotes acts as my primary reading app for PDFs.

Reading Blogs and Articles With Reeder 5 and Raindrop (Mac+iPad)

For keeping updated with all my favourite blogs, I use Reeder 5 as the RSS reader of choice. It helps in keeping track of all the new posts published on blogs that have RSS feeds enabled. I can read all those posts within Reeder daily. It also gives an option to read blogs on the websites thanks to its in-app browser. As a bonus, it's also one of the most well-designed apps I've come across. It's available on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. It was an instant buy for me on both Mac and iPad.

Reeder 5 acts as an RSS feed aggregator. It syncs with other popular RSS feeds and discovery apps like Feedly, Inoreader, etc. I use Feedly as my primary service where I add, delete, group all the sources (blogs and their URLs), and all the changes are synced directly to Reeder. Reeder also has an option to create native feeds via iCloud, but I faced issues while adding some blogs, so fell back to syncing via Feedly.

Sometimes, Reeder acts as a filter for selective reading for me. I add some articles as a bookmark on Raindrop to read later over the weekend. Raindrop is a swiss-knife of an app for managing internet links. I use it as a bookmark manager, a read-later app, and as a reading app with its Preview mode.

Pro tip: Raindrop generates a preview of the entire article for some Medium paywall articles. So that's a bonus. I have also created an IFTTT applet that adds any article I bookmark on Medium to Raindrop that I can read later.

Latest posts from all blogs arrives into Reeder 5 via Feedly where I can read them. Else, I add them to Raindrop to read later.

Comics or "Graphic Novels" With YACReader (iPad)

I've had a passing interest in reading Comics for a while now. I use an app called YACReader on iPad for reading comics. It's one of the best apps I found for this purpose that I've come across and is a steal at $2.99. It's also very creatively named, which expands to Yet Another Comic Reader. It's currently available only for iOS and iPadOS. It syncs directly with Google Drive, Dropbox, and local files to fetch the comic books.

I have also graduated from reading Nagraj, Dhruv, and a whole suite of Raj Comics from childhood. I now read big-boy Graphic Novels like The Boys series thanks to the Amazon Prime show. It gets dull and dark at times, so right up my alley. Hoping to get through the entire 72-part series before Season 3 drops.

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Apps mentioned in this article:

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