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iPhone Readers: BookShelf

BookShelf is functional but not all that friendly. The ad-free version costs $10 $6, which is pretty steep, especially because this program really only does the most basic of things. In fact, the welcome letter from the programmer says this is purposeful stating: “BookShelf is fundamentally a very simple program. It displays books on your screen so you can read them. Whistles & bells just distract you from your book.” That’s all well and good, but to pony up more money than for the any of the other available ereader programs, I expect a whistle or two. There is a free, ad supported lite version, and that is what I will be reviewing here. Besides the ads (which take up precious screen real estate), the two versions are essentially the same.

BookShelf has the basics covered as far as features go.  Landscape is supported (and there is a button like in eReader that locks your accelerometer), text and background can be modified, and bookmarking is supported. Most filetypes besides PDF are supported, and its programmer claims it can handle files 10 MB and larger quickly. BookShelf doesn’t connect to as many websites as eReader and Stanza, at least not as easily since most sites aren’t preloaded. There is a companion program you can run from their website that sets up a local server for you to wirelessly transmit files from your computer to your iPhone. It’s handy and it works pretty well, though it’s a bit complicated and not nearly as easy as Stanza’s open and load technique. I can see it being a turnoff for those who aren’t very computer savvy.

BookShelf is basically in the same boat as Bookz. It’s functional, and it’s not bad.  But it’s not good either, and certainly not worth spending money on when there are better programs available for free. This is especially true now that Stanza handles PDFs.

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