Monday, February 13, 2012


iBooks is currently my favorite eReader and one of the best eReaders for the iPod Touch because it was actually made by Apple. As I understand it, iBooks was originally released on the iPad, and Apple soon released it on the iPod Touch and iPhone as well.

The thing I love about iBooks is that it's very aesthetically pleasing. It has a lovely wooden-looking bookshelf with all of your books displayed and unlike some other eReaders (I'm looking at you, Kindle), you can view your books in list view or bookshelf view. Bookshelf is my favorite. I think the list view wasn't as well-integrated or something, it just doesn't go with the flow of the rest of the app.

Of course, as you can see, in the list view, you can sort your books by titles, authors, and categories, but in the book shelf view, you can press and hold and drag your books around wherever you want them. It comes in handy if you want to order a series by reading order, as I've done with the Hunger Games trilogy here. You might not see the list view button on the shelf view, but all you have to do is pull down and it'll show up along with the search bar.

Another handy feature is the in-app store. Apple has pretty much stopped most other ebook readers from using their stores in-app. I might just be slinging conspiracy theories here, but Apple most likely did this so that more people would be inclined to use iBooks, if only just for the novelty of being able to shop inside the app. Once you purchase a book, you're taken back to your library so you can watch it download <g>.

Once your ebook collection starts to grow, you can add 'Collections.' You can use this feature to sort your books by genre, or maybe you like having a 'Currently Reading' pile, a 'Nightstand' pile, and a 'To-Read' pile.

To add a book to a collection, you'd hit the 'edit' button, then select the books you want to move (you can also delete books this way too), and then press the 'move' button. You can then dump them into whichever collection you want it to go in to and press 'Done.'

This is a fantastic way to keep your books organized, especially when you have a large library.

iBooks also expands on some of the features typical of ebook readers. Instead of a single highlight color, iBooks offers you five. I like this for highlighting say, quotes in one color, and bits of writing that I like in another. iBooks also recently added a red underline to their highlights with the addition of textbooks.

Of course, you can also add notes, which show up as tabs in the margins.

Unlike the Kindle app, iBooks also has quite a few fonts to chose from.

Adding content to iBooks is also a bit easier than it is with other apps. With Kindle or other ebook readers, you'd have to access your iPod's apps in iTunes, find the reader, then add your files. With iBooks, it's as simple as dragging and dropping the books or documents you want to add.

iBooks reads the epub format, one of the most widely available ebook formats around. You don't just have to buy your books from the iBooks store, just like you don't have to buy your music just from iTunes. There are many websites that offer ebooks for free or to buy, and as long as they're epub, iBooks will read them.
 You can even download ebooks straight from Safari. I load all my books on Dropbox and transfer them onto my iPod that way

Is iBooks the best reader for iPod Touch? Probably not. There are other ebook apps out there that have more/better features, to be sure. I like iBooks for its appearance (because I'm a very visual person, lol I'm the kind of person who does judge books by their covers at times. If the book wasn't worth an awesome cover it wasn't worth reading? XD Does that say something about me?) I have stopped using ebook readers that weren't that good-looking, even though they did their job and well. Like Stanza, which I'll probably be reviewing next, but I digress.

Long story short, iBooks is a pretty, functional app. I like it because aside from being pretty, it has never crashed on me, I have never lost any of my library content, and yes, because I can shop for books using their in-app store. Because it's made by Apple (and who knows the iPod better than Apple?), it's probably the most stable ebook reader I've used on the iPod.

iBooks also works with iCloud, so your purchases are automatically stored on the Cloud if you use this feature.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jamie Fraser

I've been re-reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which is a book I quite love, which inspired me to draw Jamie, the main male protagonist. Jamie is a Scottish Laird and a gentleman. Diana Gabaldon describes him so nicely with his wide mouth, blue eyes, and red hair. This is Jamie as he appears in Outlander. I hope to do something of a more formal portrait of him sometime, as Jamie is hands-down my favorite character in the Outlander series.

The picture was done in pencil and enhanced in Photoshop.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kindle for iPhone

Many people I have talked to seem to think that the small screen of an iPod makes it not very ideal as an eBook reader. I have news for them: They're wrong. The iPod may be smaller than a paperback book, but its size makes it so convenient for reading. If you're going blind, you can make your text pretty large (at the slight expense of having to turn the page more often), but you can carry hundreds of eBooks in your pocket! That was actually one of the major reasons I bought an iPod Touch.

The first eBook app I tried for the iPod Touch was the Kindle app. Kindle for iPhone is very accessible, easy to use, and boasts a huge selection of over 1,000,000 books, including best-sellers. When I got the Kindle app, you could still purchase books from the built-in store, but Apple soon made it so eBook apps could no longer have in-app purchasing. Now you actually have to go to Amazon's Kindle store to buy or download books.

The first thing I did with my Kindle for iPhone app was download literally hundreds of free classics. I actually read a few of them, too ;) I didn't stick with Kindle for very long, but it's actually a really great app, and I'm going to go through its features with some handy screen caps taken from my iPod screen after the jump.

the eReader

Originally, this blog was going to be called 'Confessions of a Bibliophile' and it was to contain my adventures in reading for a year. Except that reading blogs are a dime a dozen, and you can read book reviews anywhere. I post my own on <a href="">Goodreads</a>. <shameless plug>

Anyhow, while writing up some posts, and having already done a review of the Kindle app for iPhone (above XD yup, I'm retconning), I thought of something that might be a little cooler than doing book reviews. I do most of my reading on my iPod Touch these days, and have for nearly a year. Many people think the iPod Touch is too small to be a good ebook reader. I tend to disagree.

The iPod Touch may be smaller than your average paperback, but I love that I can carry hundreds of books with me wherever I go. I'm never at a loss for something to do or something to read. If I'm bored with the book I'm reading now, I just start another one. It was especially handy at work because I no longer had to keep a book in my locker (and because I usually ended up leaving them there, I usually had two or three that I had already read.)

So now this blog is going to be about reading ebooks on the iPod Touch. I've already done a review for the Kindle for iPod app, and now there will be more to follow! First, all the major apps; Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Stanza; then the more obscure ones. Maybe it's a quest to find the ultimate ebook reader, or maybe it's just because I like to experiment.

I know I'm going to have fun writing this blog, because ebooks and iPods are two of my favorite things. I hope I can add some fun, helpful insights, and maybe we'll find the most awesome ebook app out there in an unexpected place.