I have dedicated a lot of time and energy squeaking every ounce of productivity from the Papers app. I’ve used Papers for more than a decade. Over the years, I built many scripts and work-arounds to address the shortcomings of the application.ReadCube purchased Papers in 2016. Because of the time I’ve spent in Papers, I started having angst when I read of certain changes to the software: a subscription model, the loss of Magic Citations, and the loss of integration with Scrivener.I started exploring alternatives to Papers. When I wrote about my interest in migrating away from Papers, several Wippp Readers suggested I check out Bookends. Several folks raved about the tight integration between Bookends and Devonthink as well as Bookends and Tinderbox—two other programs I use heavily in my academic life. Several people also mentioned the LEGENDARY support of SonnySoft, the company behind Bookends.My initial evaluation of Bookends was far too cursory. Following publication of the blog entry, I received a very nice email from SonnySoft asking me to take a closer look at Bookends. After digging deep into the software, I decided to migrate from Papers to Bookends. I haven’t looked back. It’s been several months now and the more I use Bookends, the more I like it.Things I like about Bookends:
The interface, although not as modern as Papers, is cleaner and more organized.
The iOS and Desktop version are better integrated than Papers.
A PDF on my phone is drop-dead easy to import into Bookends. The PDF and the metadata I choose is automatically synced with the Mac app (although I have to rename the pdf when I get to my Mac).
All PDFs are saved to a single folder in iCloud, making them easy to access and for Devonthink to index.
Bookends integrates well with Scrivener (and many other writing clients)
Dragging and dropping citations into Tinderbox and Devonthink are both seamless. Tinderbox maintains metadata from Bookends. This obviates the need for the KM script I built to move citations from Papers to Tinderbox.
Things I don’t like:
It was difficult to import Papers library with PDF into Bookends (Bookends only imported about 1/3 of my PDFs).
I can't export or customize the format of the exported metadata.
My smart collections don’t transfer to iOS.
Although I can designate a “watch” folder to import new PDFs into Bookends, this only works with PDFs that are saved to the folder AFTER Bookends is open. This didn't work well with how I collect information so I decided to modify my Hazel script, changing it to launch Bookends instead of Papers.
I don't like the way duplicate references and / or PDFs are handled.
Over the next few months, I plan to write several entries about my migration and how Bookends has become a critical part of my augmented writing workflow.