iBooks Grows Up, Is It Enough to Make it Your eReading App?


The iBooks apps for iOS, that means iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, just made the leap to version 1.5. It is a nice update that includes a new arrangement of annotations, full screen reading mode, new fonts and an awesome new nighttime reading mode. I used the nighttime reading mode last night for a bit and it worked great.

It is nice to see iBooks maturing but it also reminded me that, when it comes to something like eBooks, it isn’t the app that ultimately matters but rather the ecosystem one has decided to use. I decided some time back that I would be investing in the Kindle platform since it is more “universal” so, while I’ll certainly use iBooks for PDFs and free books, when it comes to buying eBooks, it doesn’t matter how nice iBooks gets. Regardless I’m buying through Amazon.

How about you? Is the new version enough to pull you over to Apple’s offerings?

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8 replies

  1. I prefer reading on an eink screen as opposed to an LCD.  So, my Kindle Keyboard isn’t going away any time soon.  Also, with iBooks, i’m locked into an iOS device.  With the Kindle I can read on my computer, from the cloud, on iOS or Android smartphone, etc.

  2. Like you I have a bunch of PDF files and some imported older books I transcoded from .Lit / Mobi / etc formats from earlier ebook efforts. I have not bought a single iBook – nor do I plan to. I have an investment in both Kindle and Nook libraries … and no interest in the iOS-only iBooks.

  3. I have a ton of iBooks, actually.  I have gone on at (spectacular) length as to the pros and cons of the various software eReaders, focusing on nook, Kindle, and iBooks, and in that regard iBooks comes out on top.  There are a couple of very minor reasons:

    o) the nook app stinks, in my opinion
    o) ragged-right–it wasn’t until very recently that books on the Kindle app stopped being fully-justified by default
    o) it’s easier to side-load ePub books converted through Calibre into iBooks than into Kindle
    o) the “dictionary” functionality is better in iBooks–you can highlight more than one word to get a definition, whereas in Kindle it’s limited to a single word
    o) the TOC functionality in iBooks works better–you can get the TOC right from the reading screen, rather than having to follow a link to it, as in Kindle
    o) the page/location counting in iBooks works better for me

    When I can’t find a book in iBooks, I look for a Kindle version and buy that.  But otherwise, I prefer the iBooks app and will stick with that unless a compelling reason comes along to make me change.  And B&N: you lost me when you ditched a *really good* eReader app (based on the original Peanut Press app!), and went to a crappy one.  Good move, you boneheads!

    Not that I have a strong opinion or anything . . .

    • Doug, I think you exemplify the niche for iBooks. Some people want that level of drill down customization and iBooks delivers. However, for the vast majority of readers the customization isn’t worth the proprietary hassle.
      iBooks is like the Sony Reader of the ebook app world-it’s not a bad choice, it’s just a very specific one. And if you don’t meet the very specific needs, you benefit more from going with a more flexible market leader.
      Just my take.

  4. Carly, I don’t know what you mean by “flexible”.  In what way is, say, the Kindle app/ecosystem more flexible than the iBooks/iTunes one, or the nook/B&N one?  I don’t understand.

    • Simple Doug, kindle can be read in apple devices, android devices, windows phone devices etc. iBooks can be read in… apple device.
      Sent from my iPad

    • By flexible I mean that Amazon and Barnes & Noble give you more options than iBooks does. I can buy a book from B&N or amazon and read it on a smartphone/pc/mac/browser/tablet/eink device. If I buy an iBook I can read it on iOS or…well, that’s it.
      That’s why I said market leaders (Amazon, B&N, and huffing and puffing into third, Kobo) are more flexible.