What follows may in places sound bitter, but that is only because I used to like Paperpile. A lot. Please read it in the spirit of a formerly satisfied customer who would like to remain a customer, but may have little choice but leave.
I know many of us here have been waiting eagerly for many important new features. Items on the roadmap have repeatedly been pushed back from October to “a beta probably early next year”.
While I definitely understand the need to rearchitect a “legacy” application, this comes at the cost of zero additional value creation for customers. If I click on the “Announcements” button in Paperpile interface (top right), the last feature is from December 2021. “Settings > Feature previews” is also empty. It’s been a whole year in which paying customers have been waiting and waiting.
While the base app for organizing research papers is OK, it’s just that: OK. Paperpile was, several years ago at least, better than anything else on the market and way slicker. At this point, Paperpile is, for me, mostly a glorified BibTeX file generator with PDF downloader cum reader, for which all annotations remain stuck inside Paperpile, as there are no integrations or developer APIs through which such integrations could be built without the need for Paperpile’s team to spend resources on it.
In the meantime, I have adopted Logseq, which is vastly superior in linking highlights and notes from PDFs, although it does not grab bibliographic information as Paperpile does. As of yesterday, a private beta of Readwise Reader has become available, which blows the PDF experience of Paperpile out of the water as it comes with GPT3-based summarization out of the box and of course integration into Readwise, from where all notes would go to Logseq or wherever I need them. The ability to grab my research notes, combine them with everything else I have in Logseq, is crucial. As of now, I still use Paperpile to grab bibliographic information and papers, but I have already started moving PDFs directly into Logseq where I annotate them and link them up with my other notes. Why? Because I have better things to do than sit and wait. It’s not an ideal experience (with copying files around), but it is better than having everything locked in Paperpile with no way to get anything out of it without copy-pasting a thousand times, which is worse.
I have used Paperpile since the early days, but I am seriously concerned that feature development and, more importantly, new value creation for customers has ceased based on the lack of visible progress. That may or may not pick up again after the rewrite of the app is complete. I can only keep waiting. But while I do that, other apps will continue their development and perhaps take over what used to be Paperpile’s territory. If Logseq (without Zotero) or Readwise add the ability to grab bibliographic information from journals, store it, and generate a BibTeX file from it (or their developer communities), then I don’t really see any value in Paperpile any longer. Of course, they may not go in that direction at all.
This is only a single (loud) voice. I get that. I don’t expect anything to change because of that. I also don’t expect priorities to change because of that. I don’t expect a continuous stream of features I would love to see, as there are many people and use cases depending on Paperpile and their features may take precedence. That’s fine. That’s entirely expected. But the lack of visible progress is a major concern.