Bookends 4+

Reference management on the go

Sonny Software, LLC

    • 4.7 • 363 Ratings
    • Free
    • Offers In-App Purchases



Bookends is the reference management app you've been looking for.

The basic version offers:

• Search online sites directly (arXiv, Google Books, Google Scholar, JSTOR, the Library of Congress, PubMed, PubMed Central, and Semantic Scholar) or use the built-in browser (EZProxy-compliant) to download PDFs and reference metadata (requires access privileges). Searches can return a maximum of 20 references, and only 50 references can be stored in your personal database.
• Use unique identifiers such as DOI, PMID, ISBN, or arXiv id to autofill references.
• See PDF annotation in a note stream, and create your own with our powerful PDF markup engine.
• Barcode scanning, one per day.
• And many more features designed to help you discover, organize, and use reference information.

Standard, one-time purchase ($14.99):

• No limit on searches or importing.

Pro Features Yearly Subscription ($14.99). Requires a Standard purchase.

• Cloud sync with all your iOS devices and Bookends for Mac (separate purchase)
• Share onlnine libraries with colleagues
• Create multiple libraries
• Unlimited barcode scanning
• Extract PDF annotations with deep links to annotations and text
• View PDF notes in a note stream
• Automate your actions

Subscription is for one year and has an auto-renew option. The subscription can be managed in iOS -> Settings > [your name] > Subscriptions. A subscription may renew if it isn't canceled at least 24 hours before the renewal date.
If the subscription is not renewed, Pro Features will be disabled but Standard features will continue to work.
No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during the active subscription period.

What’s New

Version 4.0.2

• Barcode Scan improvements. Fetched metadata and book covers, if available, will be retrieved from two sources: Google Books and Open Library. If the book is already in your library, the metadata will be highlighted in yellow and tapping on it will show to the existing reference in the library.
• Sort references by Citekey.

Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
363 Ratings

363 Ratings

rpurrept ,

Best reference manager in my opinion

If you use Mac and iOS, I think this app is worth looking at. It works very well for me. The main advantage of Bookends over other apps like Papers or the seemingly abandonware Sente is that Bookends saves your PDF annotations like highlights and notes in the actual PDF. This means that if someday, you decide to stop using Bookends, you can take all of you PDFs to some other system/app and all of you annotations like highlights and notes will come with you because they exist in the actual PDFs. With Papers, Mendeley, Sente, and all other apps I have tried, the annotations are not actually stored in the PDF but in a app specific database and cannot be easily bulk exported. Good luck transferring from Papers to some other app and realizing that none of your highlights come along unless you individually export every single one of your possibly thousands of articles.

Another great advantage of Bookends is its iCloud sync of the files. It all just works.

madwewetoon ,

Close to Perfection

After using Zotero for years, it took me a little while to get used to Bookends. However, it’s been well worth the effort. It does almost everything that Zotero does, plus a whole lot more. Additionally, it’s easier to organize, and is visually more appealing. The one thing I miss is how Zotero has a browser extension that makes it super simple to create a reference for a website with all the information pre-populated. If Bookends adds this feature, it will be the best reference manager I’ve ever used by a long shot. Altogether, Bookends extra features are endlessly satisfying and useful. And for those who are up for a little scripting, Bookends invites you to be creative! I love this app and am really enthusiastic about using it for years to come.

kopyor ,

Using iOS sync across devices takes more than a day

I came to Bookends as a refugee from the once nearly perfect software Sente, which sadly went out of business. It’s been a difficult transition. Bookends overall is comparatively more wonky and less user friendly. But the biggest problem I have experienced with Bookends is the iOS sync feature. As I move frequently between devices (iPad, desktop at home, and laptop at work), I need instant sync as I pickup on a new device where I left off on an old device. As I use this for teaching and research, the timeliness of accessing highlights, PDFs, and notes matters. I have found that changes in highlights or attachments entered on one device sometimes requires 24 hours or longer to show up on the other devices. This may be out of Bookends’ hands, as it might be an iOS cloud sync issue. As an end-user, I don’t care whose fault it is because it ruins my workflow, and Bookends should address it.

App Privacy

The developer, Sonny Software, LLC, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Collected

The developer does not collect any data from this app.

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Family Sharing

    Some in‑app purchases, including subscriptions, may be shareable with your family group when Family Sharing is enabled.

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