I want to read EPUBs on the desktop.

I’m currently using FBReader, but I’m not happy with it:

  • it comes with its own (in my opinion, ugly) interface, not using the standard menu bar
  • it has no context menu (I have to use the keyboard to copy a word)
  • scrolling is confusing (it suddenly jumps to the next page when there is only whitespace left on a page)
  • there is no pager for next/previous page in the toolbar (its pager seems to jump between previously visited pages, i.e., via hyperlinks or search, much like a web browser)
  • no bookmark function (it only remembers the last visited page)
  • it doesn’t seem to be possible to change the font size on the fly (Ctrl++ or Ctrl+Scroll wheel up) don’t work)

I require:

  • on the fly text zoom: ideally via toolbar and via keyboard (but one way is sufficient)
  • pagination buttons in the toolbar (so I don’t have to scroll using the scrollbar/keyboard/mouse wheel)

I’d love:

  • bookmarks or annotations, ideally with custom notes
  • tabs, so that I can open several EPUB files in the same window (ideally it remembers opened tabs and the scrolling positions for the next session)

A solution must be FLOSS and work on GNU/Linux.

  • 2
    Mind my request, unor: You didn't write what DE you're using. If KDE apps are OK, take a look at "okular". Comes as KDE's default PDF viewer, but can deal with EPUB as well. And even ships with your distro.
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 19:49
  • @Izzy: I’m using Xfce, but KDE apps are fine (the DE integration is no requirement, just another point I don’t like about FBReader). Would you create an answer for Okular? I’d like to see it :)
    – unor
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:13
  • Sorry for being late, unor: I was on vacation. And meanwhile Dmitry has done that part ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


It's not exactly what you asked for, but from my experience I would recommend Calibre. It is an e-book management software which includes an EPUB reader. It is a cross-platform open-source software with a lot of options and a powerful and configurable database for your e-books collection.

The EPUB reader:

  • has the same "ugly interface, not using the standard menu bar"
  • has context menu with basic options and (online) dictionaries search
  • supports continuous scrolling and one page at a time scrolling
  • can change font size
  • bookmarks
  • remembers last viewed page
  • no tabs

enter image description here

  • 1
    I was thinking the same. But while Calibre is "free" (as "free beer"), is it also "free" as "free speech" (FOSS, as requested by the OP)?
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 19:48
  • 2
    @Izzy Calibre is licensed under GNU GPL v3 according to manual.calibre-ebook.com/faq.html#how-is-app-licensed
    – Cornelius
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 20:00
  • 2
    Great. That should be part of your answer (oops, there it is ;), as it was an explicit requirement :) But that gap closed, +1 from me :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 20:02

I’d like to second @lzzy’s recommendation of Okular, which is a document viewer for KDE, but could be, of course, installed as standalone app if you don’t mind installing KDE base libs. It is a cross-platform software, binaries are available for most of distributions of GNU/Linux, also for MS Windows, OS X, etc.

  • It supports many formats, including PDF, DjVu, DVI, ODT, FB2 and EPUB.
  • It comes with typical KDE user interface: a menubar (hideable), fully customizable toolbars, partially customizable keyboard shortcuts, context menus.
  • It allows zooming on the fly from toolbar, keyboard and mouse.
  • It has pagination buttons on toolbar, keyboard shortcuts for this might be assigned by user.
  • It supports both bookmarks and notes (Tools › Review), which are not connected with each other though. Bookmarks however could be named, and annotations are browsable from navigation panel in the same way as bookmarks are, so we have partially duplicated set of features. Bookmark list is profile-wide by default (as in a web-browser), i. e. bookmarks from all books are in one list; but they could be filtered to be local to current file.
  • It supports tabbed interface since the last (at the moment) version 0.19.
  • It stores scrolling position per file between sessions, but does not seem to have mechanism to store opened tabs.
  • It supports reading document / page / selection aloud via KDE text-to-speech system Jovie.
  • As well as any KDE software it’s free / libre.


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