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What’s The Deal With iBooks?

What's The Deal With iBooks?

Everyone has been going crazy over the latest mac iOS apps to hit the app store lately with some of them getting more press than others. The most impressive, at least by Apple’s standards, is iBooks; the app that promises to be like having your own book shelf and a book store on your mac mobile device. For those of us who aren’t new to the mac mobile game (if you’ve had an iPhone, iPod, or iPad for a little while) then you already know the dozen or so e-book reader apps that are available on these devices.

So with so many similar apps available, why is Apple releasing the iBooks app and why is it such a big deal? This author downloaded the free app to begin investigating.

The first time you open iBooks you’ll be prompted to sync your books with your iTunes account, giving you a secure back up for not only all of your books but your book marks and margin notes as well. Seeing as everything else in the Apple world is synced and sharable, this author doesn’t see the harm in doing in this. Since this will be your first time in iBooks, your shelf will be blank, which is very depressing if you’re anything like this author and love reading. The top menu items are ‘edit’, ‘books’, and ‘store’, and if you scroll up the page you’ll find the search bar as well as the view options. If you hold down and swipe all the way up you’ll notice the Apple logo as though it has been ingrained into the lovely wood finish of your shelf. The ‘edit’ and ‘books’ options are pointless without having anything in the app; edit allows you to rearrange the books while books lets you swap between books and PDF files. So let’s check out the store.

Depending on your wireless or 3G connection the book store will load really quickly or quite slowly. When it does you’ll find that it looks similar to the iTunes music and movie store, but for books. Along the top are the options to load the different categories as well as to go back to your library. The front page has the books of the week, the top selling books, and the new and notable. Down the bottom you can swap between the ‘featured’ view, ‘charts’, ‘browse’ which lets you browse the top paid and top free via the authors names, ‘search’, and to see your purchased books under ‘purchased’.

This author is big nonfiction fan so this is the first category that they picked to browse through. There are a lot of different categories such as ‘arts and entertainment’, ‘businesses and personal finance’, ‘children’s and young adult’, ‘and religion and spirituality’ to name but a few. When you select one the new and notable will be there first and you can just scroll down to see the books. Pick one and you will be taken to a page about the book where you can buy it or, in some cases, download a free sample. You can also see the star ratings and follow a link to the author page to see their other works.

After you download the book your book shelf will load and you’ll see it added with the loading bar underneath. When the book has finished loading you can look through it and start reading. If you’ve downloaded a sample there will be a red sash at the top corner of the book.

When you tap on the books cover it will open and you can begin reading. The book options are right at the top of the screen. The table of contents is defined by a list icon, next is the brightness setting (a sun), then the character settings (a small capital A next to a larger capital A) where you can increase or decrease the font size and even change the font to one that you like better, and then the search function (a magnifying glass) where you can search the book for a particular word or phrase. You can also search Google and Wikipedia.

Lastly, at the bottom of the page is a quick page finder where you can easily browse through the book to find a particular point.

So what’s the deal with iBooks? It’s an easy to use e-book and PDF reader that has the backing of Apple. Need I say more?

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