If you haven’t been overwhelmed by Apple iPad news yet, I have another one for you. After all the long lists of features that the iPad has (and also lists of features that it doesn’t have), you might have missed it, but Apple is getting into the ebook game with iBooks app and an iBookstore. But unless you live in the U S of A, don’t count on using it, at least not at first. And that’s not its biggest problem either…
So, here’s the deal with iBooks – you can buy books from the iBookstore, which come in the ePub format and the interface is pretty and appealing – all the books are arranged on shelves. Prices for a book start at around 12.99 US dollars.
So far so good, but there are three drawbacks I’d like to point out.
First, as you might have guessed already from the first paragraph, is that the iBook app will be available in the US only. The fine print at the bottom says so. And they don’t mention anything about worldwide availability coming up later either.
Second, I have read quite a few books on my laptop and even (gasp!) a few on my mobile phone and let me tell you in case you haven’t tried – reading for more than a couple of hours on an LCD is not pretty. That in fact is the whole point of dedicated ebook readers that have eInk displays – it’s almost as reading from a paper book and puts much less strain on the eyes.
And third and perhaps most important – Amazon have a Kindle for iPhone app. iPhone apps run on the Apple iPad, so it’s safe to say that the iPad has a Kindle app too.
Here are the features of that app – you don’t need to own a Kindle to use the app, but still you buy books, it syncs the last page read between your Kindle and the iPhone, so you can switch reading from one device to the other easily. Amazon started as a book store so they are a serious player offering access to 400,000 books – New York Times bestsellers and new releases usually cost no more than 9.99 US dollars.
And the list of countries in which the Kindle for iPhone is available is as long as my arm. So, why bother with iBooks?