Manage Your PDF Files In Style With Great Little Book Shelf

Great Little Book Shelf Linux Review

How do you manage your PDFs and eBooks in Linux? Let me guess your answer: Calibre. It’s a complete tool for ebook management but I have often found it resource heavy. What if you want a lighter alternative to Calibre?

Great Little Book Shelf is an open source PDF management tool which is still under development. Mind it, I said PDF, not eBook. It takes inspiration from Apple’s book app and provides a book-shelf looking sleek interface. You can categorize the PDFs as per your preferences and read them in this application itself.

Curious? If yes, let me provide you a quick look at its features and functioning. But before that, let’s first see how to install Great Little Book Shelf app in Linux.

Install Great Little Book Shelf

First a word of caution. This application is in beta phase at present. Which means it might have some issues and bugs. There are deb and rpm files available for Great Little Book Shelf that you can download from the links below:

Great Little Book Shelf 32 bit deb Great Little Book Shelf 64 bit deb

Great Little Book Shelf 32 bit RPM Great Little Book Shelf 64 bit RPM

Using Great Little Book Shelf

After installing Great Little Book Shelf when you open it for the first time, you’ll find one Tutorial book in it which guides you on how to use this app. Quite a clever and useful thing to put it in the first place.

Welcome screen of Great Little Book Shelf

You’ll have to add books to it. You’ll find a menu button on the top right, click on it and you’ll see a number of options. Under the Maintenance, you will find the option for adding the books to Great Little Book Shelf and removing them. You can choose to add an individual file or add all files from a folder. There is also an option of Folder Watcher. Add a directory to this Folder Watcher and it will automatically all the new files that would be added to the watched folder in the future.

add new books in Great Little Book Shelf

By default your imported books are kept in All Books category.

Great Little Book Shelf default category

Of course you can change the category of the imported PDF files, either one file at a time or by selecting multiple files simultaneously. Just select the desired files and right click on it. And from the menu context, choose Move to option. You can choose whether to move the files to an existing catalog (read category) or to create a new one.

moving files to other catelogue

Double clicking on an imported books will open the PDF file in Great Little Book Shelf. So you can read the files right here. While accessing a file or category, you can see the hierarchy on the left top corner of the screen. It helps you to know where are you exactly and provides quick way of going back to other categories.

Reading PDFs

Right clicking on a file gives your further options. You can rename a file, delete it (from the shelf or from the disk), you can also add it to favorites for quick and easy access to selected files. Once you have favorited a few files, it will look something like this:

Great Little Book Shelf

In the end, you don’t really have to stuck with the default looks. From the Menu, you can change the look of the shelf. There are around 14 different shelf design available to choose from.

change design of Great Little Book shelf

Why would you want it and why would you not want it

Despite of being in beta, Great Little Book Shelf performed very well. It did hang up a little when I scanned my entire Dropbox folder which has hundreds of PDF files. But it got back to normal after a couple of second. Here are the pros and cons, I have found after using this application:


  • Snappy, fast, lightweight
  • Better way to manage books with quick access to favorite files
  • Plenty of features
  • Quite stable despite being in beta


  • Limited to PDF only. No support for ePub, Mobi and other eBook formats
  • No integration to Unity menu (it’s by design)
  • Still in beta
  • Cannot change metadata of the files such as author name, genre etc

So, I have listed out the pros and cons of Great Little Book Shelf. If you have a messed up collection of PDFs, you might want to give it a try. If you like this app, you can try Great Little Radio Player from the same developer. If you try it, do share your experience with it.

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