Bookends is a reference management app for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. You can search Amazon, arXiv, Google Books, Google Scholar, JSTOR, the Library of Congress, PubMed, PubMed Central, and Web of Science (requires access privileges and ip authentication) for references and download them, with pdfs (requires access privileges), to your personal library. Use the built-in browser to access Web sites (EZProxy compliant). Organize your references by groups (static and smart), annotate your pdfs directly within Bookends, and email references from your device to yourself or others in a form suitable for reading or importing into reference management applications. Autofill references from the internet by DOI or ISBN. Scan barcodes.

Use iCloud to sync all your libraries and attachments across iOS devices and with Bookends running on the Mac, and have full access to your references and sources whether you're at your desk or on the go.

Bookends for iOS without a Standard Version in-app purchase is limited in the following ways: searches return a maximum of 20 references, only 50 references can be stored in your local database, PDFs that you annotate on the iOS device are watermarked, and ads are shown. To have full access without these restrictions you must make a purchase from within the app ("in-app purchase”).

Pro Features Yearly Subscription (cloud sync of references and attachments, multi-library support, unlimited barcode scans) is a separate in-app purchase ($9.99) and requires a susbcription that is renewable on a yearly basis.
Subscription is for one year and can be auto-renewable. The subscription can be managed in iOS -> Settings > iTunes & App Store > Subscriptions. The subscription might renew if it wasn't canceled more than 24 hours before the renewal date.
If the subscription is not renewed, Pro Features will be disabled.

No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during the active subscription period.

Standard Version - $9.99
Pro Features Yearly Subscription - $9.99

• If you like Bookends, please take the time to give us a nice review: it really helps.

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What’s New

Version 3.6.6

• Updated PDF component with the focus on compatibility with iOS 15, like drag and drop of text and images out of documents into other apps.
• Fixed as crash on app launch that occurred with some libraries.
• Dropped iOS 12 support.

• If you like Bookends, please take the time to give us a nice review: It really helps.

Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
295 Ratings

295 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.

T dela P ,

So far quite promising!

After a bit of difficulty getting the sync set up, I was able to get this set up, and so far it's worked remarkably well. Be aware that there are sample libraries when you bout to the program, so you may inadvertently add some of those references to your program. I've tried several similar programs and always lost annotations in the sync process (papers 3, mendeley) or had other problems (sente). It's been about a month since I started using this, and so far the sync had been seamless. The program itself is quick and intuitive once set up. I also very much appreciate the responsiveness of the developers to questions and problems. I would highly recommend this program. Definitely worth the small annual free to have the piece of mind.

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 Used to Track You

The following data may be used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies:

  • Location
  • Identifiers
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics

Data Linked to You

The following data may be collected and linked to your identity:

  • Location
  • Identifiers
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics

Data Not Linked to You

The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:

  • Diagnostics

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


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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