Announcement: Marvin is an eBook reader with Artificial Intelligence

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by kguil, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. kguil macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    Ever since we held a book in our hands, we dreamt about putting a finger on its pages and see something magical happen. Maybe see a photo of a character or a biography, or learn more about it and its author. Whilst there are many eBook readers out there, none of them let us explore our favorite stories beyond the book itself.

    Marvin is a new eBook reader for your iPad and what sets it apart is an incredible Artificial Intelligence engine that reads your books with you and helps you discover amazing things about them, their characters, places and just about anything else. We believe that the future of eBook readers is intelligence - they should understand our books and make them special.

    When Marvin has read your book, you can:

    • Look up characters, places and names in your book to see their biographies, articles about them or photos.
    • See the first time names appear to remind you who they are.
    • Intelligently search sources like Wikipedia for articles about the book and its author. Was the book ever made into a movie, a play or a radio drama?
    • Pin any review, article or web page to your book.
    • Summarize the book. Summaries aren't just chunks of text. Marvin actually creates a new eBook that you can read, annotate and share separately.
    • Save all your research and even share it with your friends.

    Although the A.I. is the star of the show, Marvin is also a fantastic reading app. In Marvin you'll find everything you'd expect from a modern eBook reader as well as dozens of reader-friendly features you won't see anywhere else, including:

    • Warmth and tint in addition to brightness controls to reduce harsh lights especially when reading at night.
    • Customizable gestures, swiping to control brightness and warmth, page turn directions, snapping to bookmarks and chapters, etc...
    • Dropbox integration.
    • Text selections across pages.
    • A reading timer.
    • Faithful layouts, extensive formatting and customization.
    • A selection of beautiful reading fonts.
    • A bottom-heavy, specialty font to assist users with dyslexia.
    • An alternative to a missing table of contents.
    • Resizing tiny links such as footnotes to make them easier to tap on.
    • And much more...

    Have a look at Marvin's website where you'll also find lots of screenshots and a video (links below).

    If you're into DRM-free ePub books, we've worked hard to make Marvin the best way to read and enjoy them. To celebrate this launch, Marvin is free for a limited time and will eventually sell for $2.99.

    Kind regards,

    Marvin = eBooks + Intelligence.

    Website, screenshots and video:
    iTunes Link:
    Press Kit:
  2. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    New in update 1.1:

    • First occurrence text of a name shows more detail (multiple occurrences).
    • Added a send button to the first occurrence popup to share it by email.
    • New search box to filter books in your Dropbox.
    • Page warmth and tint settings now apply to all in-book menus, table of contents and Deep View.
    • Added a global setting to prevent screen dimming and locking when reading.
    • Added a setting to detect and prevent accidental page turns when holding your iPad by its sides.
    • All send by email functionality extended to work with friends list.
    • Added a reload button in built-in web browser.
    • Added 'Little Brother' by Cory Doctorow as a new book in the stock library.
    • Upgraded to the latest version of OpenDyslexic with updated characters and improved spacing.
    • File extension is hidden in Dropbox file list.
    • Much better accuracy in Deep View name recognition.
    • Updated some graphics.
    • Fixed: Highlighted text was not visible in some theme color combinations.
    • Fixed: On very rare occasions, loading a chapter caused Marvin to hang.
    • Fixed: Some highlights created after searching in a chapter could be lost.
    • Fixed: Some SVG images were not zoomable.
    • Minor bug fixes and polishing.

    More details here: and here:
  3. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    This looks pretty nice, I've downloaded and will have a try in a bit.
  4. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
  5. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I like it loads. :D Great choices made in UI. Not to mention the *AMAZING* theme colors, fonts, formatting, gestures selection!!!!!!!!!! Like WOW. Deep View could use a few more intelligent tweaks, but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. Will share on another forum I post to definitely.
  6. panda bear macrumors 68000

    panda bear

    Apr 5, 2010
    Downloaded it. I'll probably be doing some reading today, so i'll check it out.

  7. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    @Panda Bear.
    Thanks a lot. Let me know if you've got any feedback and whether I can help.

    Thanks for your follow up! It would be great if you get in touch and tell me what ideas you have in mind regarding the more intelligent tweaks. Obviously, Marvin is still in its first release so there are many many ways to make it even better. You can write me on



    @Jessica: Just saw your post on Mobileread (I'm an avid follower). Thanks!
  8. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    Update 1.1.6 is out:

    • Tapping "Deep View" on a name in the text shows you the first occurrences of that name in the book without leaving the text.
    • Dropbox file list now shows a maximum of 1,000 books (the maximum the Dropbox API allows).
    • If the official Dropbox app is installed you can open it from within Marvin's Dropbox screen.
    • Deep View can be partially reset. This is useful, if you want to reanalyze the book for names (because of an upgraded, better version of Marvin) but don't want to lose the articles you pinned.
    • Checkmarks next to selected fonts and theme colors.
    • Reset settings to default values (themes, fonts, gestures, etc...)
    • Title text of a page now alternates between the book name, author name and overall progress in the book.
    • New minimalist mode in general settings to hide page titles and footers when reading.
    • New setting under timer to show you how long you've read just before leaving the book.
    • Faster summary generation.
    • Added text labels to make it more obvious that font and color lists are scrollable.
    • Added 'marvinapp://' launch URL scheme.
    • Added link to Facebook page in general settings.
    • Marvin is more robust when opening slightly malformed ePub books.
    • Improved stability when launching in the presence of corrupted books.
    • Diagnostic startup mode in iPad settings (do not turn this on unless asked by support).
    • Minor bug fixes and polishing.

    More details here: and here:
  9. KALESSIN macrumors newbie


    May 31, 2011

    Great app! Thank you for fixing Dropbox, it makes my life easier )
  10. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    You're welcome Kalessin. I'm glad you're enjoying it.
  11. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Bumping thread. I just downloaded and I'm going to try it out shortly and look into the website.

    This specific forum isn't one I frequent and in comparison to others, most don't seem to frequent either.

    Maybe folks don't venture into apps for reading and just use the default? Or maybe lots of folks with ipads don't read? :)

    Incidentally, I found out about this app elsewhere. If one has used it and like it, it wouldn't hurt to leave a positive review so others might try it. Currently unless I flat out looked wrong, there aren't lots of reviews/opinions.
  12. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    Hello AppleRobert, I'm glad you found out about Marvin. Let me know if you like it and whether I can help you with anything. Hold tight for the January update. There are lots of very cool features coming up.

    I'm very happy to say that so far, Marvin has virtually got nothing but 5 star reviews on the App Store.
  13. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012

    I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to ereader apps though. I saw some folks make suggestions as to what they would like to see and I noticed your update list. Good to see an app maintained and improving. Not sure how many "features" I'll need. I looked at a few pages on a book that came included with the app and they looked fine to me to tell the truth with the way they were presented. :)
  14. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Ok. I added some free books to iBooks, installed Dropbox on my iPad, and also installed stanza (not sure I need it).
    How do I get those free books in iBooks to Marvin?
  15. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    Hi AppleRobert,

    I'm don't know of a method to copy books out of iBooks. You might be able to get them out by connecting your iPad to iTunes, click on your iPad, go to the "Books" tab and sync your books to your computer. Once they're on your computer you can put them in Marvin (assuming the books are not encrypted for iBooks).

  16. AppleRobert, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013

    AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    How about some books I have in the kindle and nook apps I have on the iPad?

    I went to the tutorial in Marvin to import books. Connect iPad to pc and open iTunes hopefully will work.
  17. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    If you got them thru Amazon and/or B&N, they they're probably DRM protected. Marvin can only read DRM free ePub books. I don't think I should be discussing how to remove DRM on this forum (if that's what you want to do) but you can google for some methods.

    You might want to have a look at Calibre ( - a fantastic eBook management tool that will help you manage books in just about any reader. Note that Calibre itself will not remove DRM.
  18. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Any chance of getting Calibre support so we can upload books to it and check this out? Desperately waiting for an ebook reader than can replace Stanza at last...
  19. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
  20. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Some initial comments...

    Would be nice to have more gestures and gesture areas -- for example check out MegaReader's customisability.

    There's a lot of wasted space at the left and right, top and bottom, even with margins set as small as possible.

    Although there is a night mode for reading, the menus and library don't take any notice of this, so blasts you with light when you go back for another book.

    The font/colour/size settings should be configurable separately for night and day modes.

    The "Opening Chapter" logo is unnecessary and annoying, particularly when it comes up regularly in some books.

    Sort by author would be nicer if there were one line per author -- unusable without this and although there is a menu under the portrait this is a bit of an afterthought and should be integrated into the library proper.

    Although it's nice to have separate libraries for books read and unread, there should be a way to view all books at once.

    Too much junk top and bottom of the screen, but when it's removed with a central click this space is not used for reading. The slider is useful but could be much smaller and still be there as an indicator even when the menu is off, only taking up a very small number of pixels.

    Would be nice to have a more compressed library view, showing twice as many books on the screen as the existing smallest one.

    But it's getting there. A little bit more work with someone who's used Stanza and/or Megareader for a long while would suggest some more nice features, but this is a big improvement on most ebook readers -- one of the worst areas of the app store. And as you obviously realise it really needs PDF reading too, but this is not such a difficult thing to do...


    Wow, that's excellent! Several of my wishlist in there already, and pie charts too (brilliant).

    Any chance of an "update all" option from Calibre -- so we don't have to upload all the books one by one from there?
  21. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    Hi Tillsbury. Added all of your feedback to the wish list. I'll keep the list of updates (current and coming) on Marvin's roadmap.
  22. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Guess I am at a loss using Marvin then. iBooks, nook, and kindle will have to suffice with what I purchased through those resources.

    I installed Overdrive and got an adobe account and borrowed some ereader books from my library. I think those are ePub books. Can I get to those?
  23. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012
    I'm sorry about that. Marvin opens eBooks without DRM. Overdrive uses DRM too.
  24. LaurieAnn macrumors regular


    Jul 6, 2011
    I installed Marvin last night on my new iPad Mini and I'm really impressed. I wanted something that had the night mode. Marvin's night mode is really cool and much easier on my eyes than iBook's night mode. You can change the background color to any shade of the rainbow. Same for the font color. Many fonts to choose from as well.

    I uploaded my entire ebook folder to my Dropbox account and I now have access to all of my ebooks on my iPad Mini.
  25. kguil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2012

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