So you just got an iPhone (and/or iPad)… which ereader app do you need?

[Updates: An alert reader pointed out that Kobo does do ebook previews—I think I just missed it. However, there’s still no search and the page-turning/page number situation is still simply awful. On balance, I still think you shouldn’t bother with Kobo.

On a happier note (for iBooks fans), iBooks has adopted the Nook’s hold-and-swipe highlighting feature, which was my favorite thing about the Nook app. Really, the only thing I liked. Definitely no reason to even try the Nook app now. Three years and counting until Barnes & Noble is bankrupt.

I’ll try to keep this space updated with new features, but probably won’t.]

Merry Christmas! Several thousand people at least will be unwrapping an iOS device today. Here’s a list of the major ereader apps, and their pros and cons. We’ll see you again on Tuesday, when we go back to regular programming.

iBooks: Perfect for iOS readers

Pros: Buying books through the app store. Great highlighting, syncing, dictionary, and a ton of layout options. Two-page layout on the iPad, and fewer glitches than any other app.

Cons: Doesn’t work on any non-iOS device. Not your Kindle, not your Nook, not any E-Ink ereader. If you want to use one of those devices, you’ll want to use a different app. There isn’t even a desktop version of iBooks, you can only use it on an iPhone or an iPad. There’s also no real iBooks website, and navigating through the Books section of iTunes is a proper pain, so you’ll need to come to the app with a title in mind.

The gist: iBooks is also the only app that will let you buy books through the app store and your iTunes account—that ability is turned off for all other ebook apps. But that ease-of-buying-books is not what makes iBooks the best ereader app; instead, it’s the fact that all the others have significant downsides. iBooks has all the core functions—note-taking, highlighting, search, dictionary, and layout options—and they all work. If your iPhone and/or iPad is your main ereader, look no further for your new favorite app.

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Review: The DC/Marvel/Comixology Digital Comics Reader

Two weeks ago, DC Comics announced that they’d entered into a partnership with digital comics leader Comixology to not only provide downloadable titles for the Comixology reader, but also offer it’s own dedicated reader using Comixology software.

DC joins Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Boom, and nearly 30 other publishers who’ve used Comixology to make a smooth entry into the e-comics field. In fact, DC was the last of the major publishers to sign up, and so the news was followed by a flood of “digital comics have finally arrived” reports, no matter that Marvel, Boom!, and others had done the same thing months before.

But the arrival of DC in the digital market won’t mean much if comics don’t translate well to the new medium. So what kind of reading experience do the DC and Marvel apps (they’re identical, except for the content offered) provide?

The Comixology reader is only one part of the comixology.com hub, a social networking site where comic readers can create profiles, manage “pull lists” of books they’re planning to purchase, rate and review them, read columns, and download podcasts. The reader, currently available for the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad, allows the user to then purchase digital content directly from the publisher for $1.99 an issue.
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Wednesday Links 1-27-10

  • Basically, nobody wants to shut up about the new Apple tablet (supposedlydubbed the iPad–consider it nominated for this week’s dumbest new ereader name award). It’s slated to be revealed today, so I’m not going to bother parsing out the rumors. This one bit about pricing strategies and the coming battle between Apple and Amazon is interesting though. Not sure where B&N is in all this. I guess they probably shouldn’t have f-ed up the Nook launch so badly. Perhaps they are waiting for a boost from Apple? If you’re foolishish enough to get a first generation iPad (thus ignoring Apple’s track record of vastly superior second gen devices), here are some other fun uses for it.
  • It looks like Asus’s EeeReader (or are they Asustek?) will have two models. Acer’s got one running Chrome. Then there’s Mustek. And the Lenovo Tianji. And Endless Ideas has a WiFi BeBook Neo. There’s the Oppo Enjoy (dumbest name: winner). Copia is still hanging around. Even Nintendo is getting in the fray, selling romance novels on their DS. Man, the market is officially awash.
  • Amazon has quietly laxed their DRM policies. So quietly that hardly anyone has noticed. In what could be an enourmous shift, Apple will allow iTunes users to store libraries in the cloud, rather than their harddrives (hopefully it doesn’t require a .Mac subscription). Besides fighting with China, Google is also in a tiff with its old buddy Apple. This may lead to Apple dumping Google integration from their devices and adopting Bing, which is of course owned by–Mac geeks are fainting left and right over this, I’m sure–the evil Microsoft. Regardless of Google’s early success (maybe) with Android’s apps, Apple is still the undisputed ruler of App-land.
  • It’s kinda old news, but apparently colleges are being sued for using ereaders  in classrooms because blind students can’t use them. How using a braille edition to supplement a Kindle (which reads books–poorly–out loud) is less fair than if the other students use deadtree, I do not understand. It won’t help the blind, but if you’ve no backlight on your ereader and can’t figure out how to turn on your lamp, try this dongle. This Boogie Board doodle toy isn’t an ereader (and probably isn’t much use to anyone not a basketball coach) but it does seem pretty cool, and uses no power at that.
  • We’ll be posting on Friday about some of the many changes we have planned for our second year. There’s a lot of good stuff planned, and we’ll be getting bigger and better as time goes on. Check back Friday for that.
  • I really like this comic explaining proper semicolon use; there’s also one for the apostrophe. Also at The Oatmeal, the best Twilight review I’ve yet read (yes, I read the books). Everyone in this school district should be given a lobotomy. And Scholastic Surprise! should chill on this one and use their noggins. Finally, Farmville is stupid (no link, just spouting the truth).

Wednesday Links: 12-30-09

Here’s our last links update of the decade. First though, we’ve updated our eReader Comparison page as well as our Best Ways to Get eBooks, so check them out. Both will be seeing quite a few more updates in the coming weeks and months as much is happening with ereaders and ebook sellers. In fact, we’ve got a lot of changes planned for C4 in the near future as well; we’ll be posting on many of them at some point in January. Also, be sure to check out our Best Books of 2009 series if you haven’t already. We’ll be continuing the series through January.

Wednesday Links 12-02-2009

Wow, been a while. Here’s a healthy collection of links to make up for the last few weeks. And if you’re sick of my style, fear not: Nico is back and will be helming next week’s edition.

REVIEW: The Death of Bunny Munro plus iPhone Readers: Extended Editions

deathofbunnymunroAuthor: Nick Cave

2009, Faber & Faber

Best ebook deal: (I went for the iPhone Enhanced Edition, read more below)

Filed under Literary

C4 Ratings.....out of 10
Language..... 7
Entertainment..... 5
Depth..... 4

This review is going to be a little different, as I read this book using the Enhanced Editions iPhone appbook version of the book. The first half will review the book, and the second will be an installment of iPhone Readers.

Nick Cave’s musical background is immediately evident when you begin reading this book. I haven’t read his debut And the Ass Saw the Angel, but I’ve since heard the writing is similar. Cave utilizes strong rhythms and cadences to his syntax. And while he doesn’t turn the crispest phrases, there is a hypnotic and musical feel to his writing, even if it is a bit manic and cacophonous at times.
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Wednesday Links 10-7-2009

  • After a week off, let’s get right to business. First: ereaders. Best Buy and Verizon are teaming up on one of the competitively priced iRex models. Read more here. The Hexaglot supposedly will have handwriting recognition, which would be awesome, if a little unnecessary, if it worked. Despite appearances, the Biblio is not primarily a phone, and the Cybook Opus finally ships. How much will you bet the AUO will be a POS with broken firmware and cheap plastic?




Wednesday Links 9-16-2009

Sorry for the lapse last week.  Got a little catch-up to do this week now.

iPhone Readers: Eucalyptus

So after hearing all the hype, I bit the bullet and payed $9.99 to download Eucalyptus. And after reading through a book on it, I have to admit it’s worth the relatively steep price. If only you could import books, rather than be limited to Project Gutenberg’s (admittedly vast) library, it’d be the best reader app available for the iPhone.

The presentation is top notch. Texts are far more readable in Eucalyptus than in the other reader apps I’ve tried. On top of this everything is well organized, intuitive and easy to navigate. They’ve included plenty of animations and graphical touches that give the package a decidedly professional flair. This does wonders negating the fears of buyer’s remorse I had when I first agreed to spend $10.
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iPhone Readers: Barnes & Noble eReader

With Barnes & Noble rolling out their new “largest ebook store” and a planned dedicated Plastic Logic device to go toe to toe with Amazon (read what Nico has to share about it here), I took the opportunity to download the companion app released on the Apple App Store. The app stands up quite well, especially in comparison to Amazon’s barebones Kindle app, and hopefully is the first step in a competition between the two giants that ebook consumers will really benefit from.
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