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Old 12-24-2012, 01:10 PM   #1
jbcohen
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Best and worst of Apple ereaders

What are the best and worst aspects of the apple ereaders?
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:35 PM   #2
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Apple doesn't have any ereaders. They make tablets and handhelds.

And if you're referring to reading apps, Apple still only makes the one: iBooks.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:38 PM   #3
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I suspect the OP means "reading apps for Apple devices".
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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I suspect the OP means "reading apps for Apple devices".
Considering that your interpretation includes OSX devices, it's a pretty broad question. I'm not sure it can be answered in any reasonable length.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:48 PM   #5
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Well, if people ask broad questions, they'll get broad answers .

Personally, I use three reading apps on the iPad:

Kindle app for Mobi books.
Bluefire for ePub
Goodreader for PDF

All very good at what they do. I don't think there's any one reading app that's best for everything.

I'll leave it to others to recommend OSX reading programs.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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There's the one problem with iOS reading apps in general. You have to use the File Sharing feature in iTunes or something like Dropbox to load books. Not very user friendly.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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I agree, for most of the reading apps, it's just not very easy to load or manage the ebooks. This is especially obvious when you try to load a large number of books. Past that I would say that many of the reading apps that I've tried, and I've tried quite a few, seem to be somewhat sluggish. I get the impression that most are more focused on adding the bells and whistles rather than just provide solid reading app. So far, I haven't run across any that I liked as much as iBook and Kindle for basic reading.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica Lares View Post
There's the one problem with iOS reading apps in general. You have to use the File Sharing feature in iTunes or something like Dropbox to load books.
This is not true. Many e-reader apps include browser download engines or access to OPDS catalogues, so they need neither file sharing, nor iTunes, nor Dropbox. It's a myth. On an Apple device, you can also simply click a regular download link in a regular browser such as Safari or Chrome, to open any e-book in e-reader software of your choice. You can also e-mail any e-book to yourself. There are countless other options.

My favourite e-reader software on iOS is the most recent sensation, Marvin. It's astounding. Prior to that, I preferred Stanza. I find both iBooks and the Kindle app lacking due to the extreme dearth of customization options offered to the reader, almost bordering on user contempt in some respects.

If there's a weakness shared among various iOS e-reader apps, there seems to be some trouble with the highlighting functionality. It can be difficult to highlight a passage if it stretches across screens or across paragraphs. Probably some weakness in Apple's API.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:25 PM   #9
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If there's a weakness shared among various iOS e-reader apps, there seems to be some trouble with the highlighting functionality. It can be difficult to highlight a passage if it stretches across screens or across paragraphs. Probably some weakness in Apple's API.
Since, unfortunately, Android suffers from the same flaw, it seems more like bad design than anything fundamental...
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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Since, unfortunately, Android suffers from the same flaw, it seems more like bad design than anything fundamental...
Well, Kris in the Marvin thread said that the highlighting difficulties are likely related to Apple's UIWebView, but that switching away from UIWebView would be more damaging than beneficial. My workaround is to highlight such passages separately, attaching a note to the second highlight to clarify that it's meant to constitute a single highlight with the previous one.
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:09 AM   #11
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There's the one problem with iOS reading apps in general. You have to use the File Sharing feature in iTunes or something like Dropbox to load books. Not very user friendly.
You don't have to use iTunes. You can also drop eBooks directly into the app directory (on the iPad/iPhone) from the Mac using DiskAid app (on the Mac).
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:42 AM   #12
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Just a clarification, this is theory. You'll notice that this (ugly, in my opinion) 'paragraph snapping' behaviour also exists in Safari on iOS devices. I remotely remember reading a blog post by one of the Kobo developers commenting on exactly this problem and the version of the controls that are given to developers.
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:48 AM   #13
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For the Kindle app you can use the Amazon Cloud to download your books from within the app or from a web browser you can select to send a book to your iOS device.
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:36 PM   #14
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Well, the highlighting really is problematic. To illustrate, the two screenshots below... I wanted to highlight a great piece of dialogue in a Kir Bulychev story, and it turned out that instead of a single highlight, I had to make 5 (!) of them in Marvin (and Stanza and many other iOS e-readers behave similarly, so it's not a Marvin issue per se):
  1. first, highlight the end of the first paragraph
  2. highlight the next 4 paragraphs
  3. highlight the remaining text on the screen
  4. highlight the rest of the current paragraph on the following screen
  5. highlight 3 more paragraphs
And so, I end up with 5 separate highlights instead of 1. (Not visually, but they are separate in the list of highlights and in the XHTML export of highlights.) I would even have ended up with 6 separate highlights if I only wished to highlight the first few words in the final paragraph, instead of the entire final paragraph.

It's not a show-stopper for me, just annoying. Apple should get rid of that obligatory "paragraph snapping" Kris mentioned.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faterson View Post
Well, the highlighting really is problematic. To illustrate, the two screenshots below... I wanted to highlight a great piece of dialogue in a Kir Bulychev story, and it turned out that instead of a single highlight, I had to make 5 (!) of them in Marvin (and Stanza and many other iOS e-readers behave similarly, so it's not a Marvin issue per se):
  1. first, highlight the end of the first paragraph
  2. highlight the next 4 paragraphs
  3. highlight the remaining text on the screen
  4. highlight the rest of the current paragraph on the following screen
  5. highlight 3 more paragraphs
And so, I end up with 5 separate highlights instead of 1. (Not visually, but they are separate in the list of highlights and in the XHTML export of highlights.) I would even have ended up with 6 separate highlights if I only wished to highlight the first few words in the final paragraph, instead of the entire final paragraph.

It's not a show-stopper for me, just annoying. Apple should get rid of that obligatory "paragraph snapping" Kris mentioned.
The Kindle for iOS app allows a single highlight across multiple paragraphs, so it can be done in iOS. It doesn't allow a highlight across multiple pages, but until recently none of the Kindles allowed that either so it might just be laziness on Amazon's part.
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