As Apple’s iBooks app approaches its first birthday, we thought we’d catch up on the best book apps currently available, and we don’t just limit ourselves to typical print book e-readers.
We’ve chosen the best across Android and iTunes, with some apps compatible with Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry phones too.
To start with; when we think e-reader, we think Amazon’s Kindle. Aside from the app’s clever ability to sync your eBook collection across smartphone apps, Kindle devices and your PC. Amazon’s whispersync feature even allows you to synchronise bookmarks, notes, and the last page you’ve read.
No other e-reader has the sheer heft of Amazon. If a recent release is available anywhere in a digital format, it can be found on the Kindle store.The app is available on iTunes, Android Market, Blackberry’s App World, and the Windows Phone 7 app store.
Apple’s own offering, iBoo ks can be downloaded from their app store on both the iPhone and iPad.
There’s several glossy offerings here to make the most of the iPad’s touchscreen, but content is perfectly navigable on the iPhone too.
With free book samples, a PDF reader and a great selection of books to choose, it’s a good entry into the world of e-books.
MegaReader is an e-reader with a difference, using your iPhone camera to stream where you’re heading for reading on the move. Distracting pedestrians from traffic and anything happening to their side may not a good thing. Especially using it from the steering wheel.
You’ll get several free classics from the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Anna Sewell and Sun Tzu. (Varied enough?) You can also choose from over 1.8 million paid-for titles in the MegaReader store.
The QI app isn’t an eReader per se, but for fans of the show, they’ll find plenty of interesting facts based on the QI book series. The app is crammed full of myth-busting tidbits and has the extra ability to add your own bizarre facts, and rate other users’ contributions.
The Marvel Comic reader makes the most of those luscious high-resolution smartphone (and tablet) displays. Although rival comic publisher DC has its own reader, we’re all about X-Men and Spiderman in Recombu towers. (we blame those occasionally awful X-Men cartoons.) There’s hundreds of comics from Marvel’s extensive back-catalogue. Comic prices are typically £1.19, and can be bought in-app.
They run on a dynamic reader that zooms into panels (pages can also be put on full-view.) This style of navigation makes reading the issues a joy. Tapping on the right side will lead to the next page, and the left will send you back.
Goodreads is an app matching the website of the same name. Going for a social reading angle, you can form online bookgroups, exchange recommendations, join in with discussions and add your own reviews and ratings to books you’ve read. It’s on the iPhone and Android, and it’s free.
Kobo is another social reading app for iDevices, where you can earn badges for completing reading-based tasks.
If you want a reader with something a bit more substantial- if you’d like to connect with others over your book collection, Kobo may be worth a try.
(UPDATE: There’s also an Android version.)
Phaidon Design Classics isn’t so much about the words, but with a collection of 1,000 products designed since the 1800s, the gallery whizzes through with each product with annotated additional sketches and photos.
Chosen by a panel of experts, many may be put off by the price, but you get what you pay for.