Kindle for the iPhone and iPad have been updated to version 2.3. Included in this update, aside for some bug fixes, is the display of two columns instead of one, in landscape mode. This is the same functionality as iBooks, and not a bad idea, as it has a more natural “book” feeling.
Books display in two columns when reading in landscape orientation on iPad
Book Extras including character lists, plot summaries, and series information are available for many popular books. Book Extras are powered by the Shelfari.com community and can be accessed from the Go To menu while reading.
Apple has launched iBooks 1.1 for the iPhone which works with iOS4. When you install it you are asked:
Do you want to store your bookmarks and notes in your iTunes store account for syncing across devices?
Sadly in Ireland there is only those free Project Gutenberg ebooks, lets hope Jobs does not keep us waiting as long as we had to wait for movies…
So what’s new? Well here is what is promised:
• In addition to iPad, iBooks is now available on any iPhone or iPod with iOS 4.
• Open and read PDF documents from Mail. PDF documents will be added to your library and appear on the PDF bookshelf. You can even search PDFs for words or phrases and bookmark your favorite pages.
• Take advantage of new ways to bookmark. In addition to highlighting a word or a passage, you can now also add notes or bookmark an entire page with the new page ribbon.
• Keep your bookmarks, notes, and your current page wirelessly in sync between iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with the new automatic bookmark syncing feature.
• See your book pages in a new font, called Georgia.
• Read your books on white or sepia colored pages.
• Choose left or fully justified text layout from Settings.
• Read pages with greater ease by increasing to even larger font sizes.
• Enjoy greater stability and better performance.
iBooks is indeed all it claims to be, very handsome, easy to use and fun to read, users of the kindle may fear that the backlight will cause a strain, but I was reading last night for over two hours and found my eyes were fine. The iPad however does not make it easy to read iBooks outside, when writing this we had some unusual sunny weather, and a trip outside to read on the iPad proved very difficult, the light and reflective surface made it next to impossible. Get some shade however and you should be fine.
iBooks is designed like a physical bookshelf, you can see all your downloaded books on the shelf and click to open them in two views, turning the device sideways opens two pages at once.
The interface is very smooth, and as funny as it is to say this you actually enjoy turning the page. You change the font type and size, from small to very large, you can adjust the brightness of the screen and search for words occurring in the book, all from within the application – the interface does not need to reload to show the changes – they are instant. You can bookmark where you left off in a book, or even multiple points you would like to refer to. The down side to this is, we found, is you need to go to a page which references your bookmarks rather that an easy to find bookmarks option. While reading an ebook you can hold down on any word and do a dictionary lookup or search the book or Internet for that word, a nice touch. If you close the application the page you last left off on reopens.
iBooks store is located behind the virtual shelf which opens using a very nice hidden room type effect , there are lots of titles to be found which are organised by featured, top charts, New York times best sellers, and items you have previously purchased. The store could do with a small amount of tweaking, as it does have a somewhat confusing layout, and makes a new user confused about where to get started. And the link to the free books is very cleverly hidden at the bottom of the featured page.
Like the kindle you can download samples of ebooks, which give you a feel for what the book is about, aside from the customer reviews and publisher description. You can imagine this as tumbling through a book in the book store, this has to be one of the benefits of the store as you can often buy a book and find out you don’t like the style of writing. Of course this is an idea Amazon created for the kindle and it is great to see that Apple also adopted it for iBooks.
To conclude, we like iBooks, but there is room for improvement, for example with the Kindle for iPad you need to close the application to view the bookstore, although you don’t need to do this with iBooks, Kindle still has a nicer layout to navigate around and of course a better selection of books, remembering that amazon has been around much longer. iBooks is still only a baby, but it holds promises of good things to come!
iBooks has made an appearance in the app store today, like the kindle you can download free samples of books. The application only works on the iPad and US store currently.
Download the iBooks app free from the App Store.* More than a great ebook reader, it’s also an amazing place to browse and shop for books — anytime, day or night. Tap the iBooks icon and your bookshelf appears. In the upper-left corner, you’ll find the Store button. Tap it and the bookshelf flips around like a secret passageway to reveal the iBookstore, where you can browse books by title, author, or genre. View what’s featured on the iBookstore, the New York Times best-seller lists, and more. When you find a book you like, tap it to see more details, peruse reviews, even read a sample. Buy the book and it appears on your bookshelf. You can start reading right away.
Hopefully when the iPad launches in Europe it will have the iBooks application, or even the kindle? Currently Amazon kindle makes a loss of newly released and best selling books. They do this in order to increase their market share.
On the iPhone developers get to set their own prices, and Apple gets 30%, this would probably mean books on the iBooks application would be more expensive.
Appadvice.com however claims to have had a first look at the iBook store and noted the pricing, and claims that this is not the case
“out of the 32 eBooks featured in the New York Time’s Bestsellers section, 27, including the entire top 10 are priced at $9.99.”
Interesting indeed, will you use iBooks, or will you stick to paper? Or perhaps you have another ebook device?