Viewing ePub Files on macOS Through Calibre 10 April 2023

Calibre can serve as a stand-alone viewer app for ePub files on macOS.

Of course, ebook reading is possible on macOS by using Apple’s Books app in ePub and PDF formats. This brings its own file management, similarly to the handling of audio files in with the iTunes app’s library. While this entails adding ebook files to the Books library, it enables convenient iCloud syncing.

However, this does not lend itself for quickly viewing ebook files in-place. While PDF files can be opened in Apple’s Preview app, there is no viewer on macOS for in-place viewing of ePub files. To do so, a third party app is needed.

While trying various ebook viewers for macOS, I

most enjoyed the viewer of Calibre. Calibre defaults to managing ebook files in its own library, but it is also possible to avoid using the library by invoking the viewer app directly: Hidden in the Calibre app package, there is an “”, to which ePub files can be associated with. This directly opens ePub files in Calibre’ viewer app.

Let me remark that the Calibre viewer reads many further formats, even PDF files.

Upgrading Calibre to a new version can entail a dissociation of ePub files with the viewer app. This is avoided by creating an app with a symbolic link to /Applications/

  • write a shell script named consisting of
    /Applications/ $@
  • bundle the script to an app using the Python script mac-appify:
    1. install it using: pip install mac-appify
    2. run it with: appify,
    3. link the icon: ln -s /Applications/
  • can finally be removed again: rm is then ready for launching the Calibre viewer.

For Calibre’s ebook editor, this procedure is applicable as well, replacing the term “viewer” with “edit”.