I am a ferocious reader and I absolutely love books. That said, hacking down billions of trees just to make paper seems increasingly irresponsible, and a gradual migration to eBooks is probably inevitable. I've had the Kindle app on my iPhone ever since it came out, and have downloaded and read dozens of books on it. Unfortunately, the shorter battery life of the 3GS compared to my original iPhone means I am using the iPhone less often as a book reader (especially on long flights), but I haven't given up on the concept just yet. So if you like reading books on your iPhone, what's the best way? As is, while I like Amazon and the Kindle app, Barnes & Noble remains a formidable force in the book market and so I decided to check out the Barnes & Noble eReader as well.
Oceanhouse Media is going all out on the Grinch stuff this Christmas, and now you can get an e-book of this children's classic for your iPhone/iPod as well. You can check out all their Grinchy offerings here.
The App Store has a series of 5 Wallace & Gromit digital comics, and they're quite popular, especially in the UK App Store. You can now download the first one in the series for free: Wallace & Gromit 1: The W Files. The subsequent comics in the series are $0.99 each. Here's the description: "When strange shapes and flashing lights are seen in the night sky, there are only two paranormal investigators that can solve the problem. Sadly they aren’t available, Wallace and Gromit might as well have a crack at it. After all, what could possibly go wrong?" Not familiar with Wallace & Gromit?
If you've been paying close attention, as most developers do, to the App Store, you may have noticed some changes.
- New Releases only show BRAND NEW apps, i.e. version 1.0
- Updates are not included in the New Releases
This is potentially a good thing for users but there are some downsides.
The good news is, you won't have to search through old apps to find new gems. It might also discourage developers from submitting minor updates just to be featured on the New Releases page. That will also cut down on approval time as fewer apps need to be reviewed.
Oceanhouse Media was kind enough to send me a few complimentary apps to review (and my apologies Karen for the tardiness of this review). If you are not familiar with Oceanhouse Media they are "dedicated to building high-quality products that educate, uplift, enlighten and heal the planet." The company was founded by Michel Kripalani.
The graphics on Book Reader are stunning when you first turn it on. The sample book included on the app beautifully displays on a wooden shelf and appears to have a gilt-edge, leather cover. Tap to select the book and it opens to an antique white page with easy-to-read text. It’s very pleasant on the eyes. The pages turn in a way that simulates page turning in a print book. There are even some black and white illustrations included in the sample, which adds to the reading pleasure.
I've found it surprisingly convenient and fun to read books on my iPhone. So I was delighted to see the recent release of 301+ Short Stories for $.99. The app offers hundreds of stories by 89 of classic short story writers, including Charles Dickens, Kate Chopin, Ambrose Bierce, Defoe, Joseph Conrad, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Poe, O. Henry, and H.G. Wells. Lots of my favorite writers here. And now all in the palm of my hand. Plus, you can adjust the text size for easier reading.
Apple recently announced a major shift in how they treat free apps and I have been mulling over what it means to developers, in addition to end users.
In the past, "In-App Purchases", or the ability to add features to an app, were only available for paid apps. Free apps could not be upgraded, short of purchasing the paid version separately. Now, users of these free apps can purchase upgrades.
On one hand, more choices are a good thing. But I have some concerns.
I think Siena Entertainment has hit one out of the park with StoryChime's The Queen Bee (.99) a 21st Century take on the Brothers Grimm 1884 Fairy Tail.
Let me walk you through why. According to the company press release, Story Chimes was created by two young fathers who were looking for a way to educationally entertain their kids while promoting a contemporary way to make reading fun.” Well if my son is any indication, they certainly have found a way to make reading fun.
Has anyone read a Vook lately? A revolutionary new way to read a book online or on your iPhone, combining text and video in a magazine format. Check them out at vook.com.