My iOS App Picks for 2014 – eBook Readers

It’s that time of year again — the year is ending, coming to a close. And we often take time to look back at things we’ve done. In my case, I thought I’d look back at the iOS apps that have most engaged me over the last year.

I’ll basically select a ‘winner’ and a ‘runner up’, and give a few reasons why the app captured my attention and interest.

So, without further preamble, here’s my first category and selections: Continue reading “My iOS App Picks for 2014 – eBook Readers”

A better mobile eBook reader?

It’s been a while since I took a look at what’s cool in the mobile eBook reader space, as I’ve been quite satisfied with my current reading apps (GoodReader for PDFs, Stanza for ePubs) and their use with Calibre (a must-have eBook library management program).

So today I’ve installed ReadMill — a ‘social’ eBook reader that works with both open ePubs as well as open and DRM protected PDFs (a valid Adobe ID is required). The blurb from the developers states:

Readmill is a unique ebook reader that lets you read share and discover great books. Available as an iPad and iPhone app, Readmill works with ebooks in ePub and PDF format. It’s all about sharing what you read, and all of the highlights and comments you make between the pages. It’s also a great place to discover new books through friends, and find out what’s most popular in your social graph. Welcome to a world of reading.

So I’m just getting started with it. Feel free to check out my ReadMill profile and follow me.

I’m thinking the ReadMill experience will be similar to GoodReads, but will update my experiences here as I use it more.


Why I’m not recommending an eBook reader this Christmas

This holiday season it seems that the eBook reader is the must-have tech gift.

I can understand why:

  • Portable – it’s easier to carry one eReader loaded with a few hundred (or thousand!) books
  • Searchable – some of the eReaders can  scan and search for text passages, letting you bookmark them for future reference
  • Annotations – in addition to bookmarking your pages, some eReaders let you make notes ‘in the margin’ so to speak. These can be saved out, exported to other docs for use

But even though eReaders are the rage — you may want to wait another few months before you invest;

  • Technology is improving — the nifty eInk process used to display highly readable text on an LCD-like screen is improving. The refresh rate and pixel resolution is improving, so the annoying (to me, at least) flicker when you flip pages will be reduced when eBooks adopt newer eInk tech.
  • More options — Barnes & Nobel has integrated a colour touch screen in their Nook eReader — in addition to the eInk text display.
  • More choice — Apple’s much predicted (yet never announced) Tablet device could arrive in the first half of next year. If so, this’ll be the ‘must-have’ eReader. Not only an eBook reader, the device will likely have all the functions of a current generation iPod Touch. If you think of it as a portable computer then you’ve got it. Though, many don’t like the backlit display of the iPhone and iPod touch for reading — too bright and hard on the eyes for long-term use — I’ve not noticed a problem in long session’s I’ve had.
  • Current eReaders are not discountedIn this ComputerWorld article, it seems that eBook readers have the highest markup of all technology available this holiday season:
    E-book readers aren’t really getting swept up in the cost cutting. While some stores are actually paying you to take free BlackBerry phones, for example, e-book readers still cost hundreds of dollars.
  • Proprietary eBook stores — I’m not sure how this will shake down. Google, Sony, Amazon all have (or will soon have) online eBook shops, and there’s a host of independent ones too. The selection of books available at (or limited to) certain eBook stores may decide which unit you get…but it shouldn’t. I’d look for something that supports the widely accepted  ePub standard.

My recommendation — if you don’t already have one, wait a bit. You’ll get new features, perhaps a better price, perhaps a better unit, and more selection to choose from.

On Books. Information objects of pulp, ink, leather and glue.

Lately I’ve been testing, reviewing and thinking about eBooks and eBook readers, which has got me to wondering about the value of a ‘real’ book, the dead-tree kind. …more

This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techblog. Check out the full post here.