Category Archives: iBooks

Breaking Bad: Alchemy – New iBook Looks Great on the iPad

Breaking Bad iBook

Breaking Bad: Alchemy is a brand new iBook devoted to the fantastic AMC TV series, Breaking Bad – which has just entered its short run of final episodes this week.

Here’s a little of the iBookstore intro for Breaking Bad: Alchemy:

The Breaking Bad: Alchemy multi-touch book is an ownable piece of history that provides an evocative fan experience and celebrates the true legacy of the Breaking Bad series. …
Breaking Bad: Alchemy highlights the unique visual, aural, narrative and filmic elements that make Breaking Bad one of the most magnetic series in television history. 

I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad and have been watching it ever since Season 1. So I grabbed this iBook as soon as I heard it was available – and I’m happy to say it has not disappointed. It’s quite a nice little companion book for Breaking Bad fans.

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FX Network’s ‘The Bridge’ Has a Companion iBook


FX Network’s new crime drama The Bridge now has a companion iBook. I’ve been watching The Bridge since its first episode three weeks ago and I think it’s one of the very best shows of this genre. I’ve been gripped since the opening few minutes and now look forward to it every Wednesday.

So I was happy to notice last night that there’s this companion iBook that looks great on the iPad. Here’s a a little bit of detail on what The Bridge iBook offers:

Enter the world of FX’s new crime thriller, The Bridge, set in the bordertowns of El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico. Prepare yourself for a terrifying series of events that begins when a woman is found dead on the bridge connecting the United States and Mexico. 
Immerse yourself in this interactive, bilingual (Spanish) experience with parallax sliders and exclusive videos that take you into different worlds on opposite sides of the Rio Grande. Meet Detectives Sonya Cross (El Paso, PD) and Marco Ruiz (Chihuahua State Police), two detectives from two cities with seemingly little in common until a horrific crime reveals the dark secrets that connect them.

The Bridge is a show that’s more than good enough to merit a companion book like this, with lots more backstory to delve into.

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Fancy Repairing Your Own iDevices? There’s a Book for That

The Unauthorized Guide to iPhone iPod and iPad Repair

If you fancy learning how to maintain and repair your iPad and all your iDevices, there’s an impressive new book out that could serve as a starting point and handy reference guide. The book is ‘The Unauthorized Guide to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Repair’ and is billed as a DIY guide to extending the life of your iDevices.

It’s available in print and also in an Amazon Kindle edition and on the iBookstore.

The book’s author is Timothy L Warner, an Apple Certified Repair Technician and is said to be the only reference / tutorial of its kind that is in full color. Perhaps most impressively, the book has been thoroughly reviewed for technical accuracy and approved by the brilliant folks at

Here’s a slice of the book’s iBookstore description:

Fix your own iPhone, iPad, or iPod with secret repair knowledge Apple doesn’t want you to have! This groundbreaking, full-color book shows you how to resurrect expensive Apple mobile iDevices you thought were dead for good, and save a fortune.
Apple Certified Repair Technician Timothy L. Warner demystifies everything about iDevice repair, presenting simple, step-by-step procedures and hundreds of crisp, detailed, full-color photos.
He’ll walk you through safely taking apart your iDevice, replacing what’s broken, and reliably reassembling it. You’ll learn where to get the tools and exactly how to use them. Warner even reveals sources for broken Apple devices you can fix at low cost–for yourself, or even for resale!

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Notable New iBooks: Riding on a Beam of Light

Riding on a Beam of Light iBook

The iBookstore description for Riding on a Beam of Light is short and sweet:

Young Albert Einstein imagines what it would be like to ride a beam of light, and fantastically illustrates how a child’s imagination can change history.

Nice idea, and it’s nicely executed in this short story. There are just a line or two of text on each page, accompanied by beautiful illustrations that pull you into the story. The writing style is light and fun, with rhymes throughout the pages.

The book does a great job of highlighting the power of imagination and the idea that it’s good to dream. And who doesn’t like the idea of riding on a beam of light?

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Notable New iBooks – Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury

Led Zeppelin Sound and Fury iBook

Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury is a new iBook that should prove to be a big hit with Led Zepp fans and rock fans in general. Here’s a little of its App Store introduction:

Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury by Neal Preston is an in-depth, illustrated digital coffee-table book created and designed especially for iBooks. It provides an unprecedented and comprehensive glimpse into the world of Led Zeppelin through the lens of famed photographer Neal Preston. Blending images, interviews, and information to allow readers inside access into some of the greatest moments in rock history …

Preston had unparalleled access to Led Zeppelin and the photos and multimedia elements in this book are spectacular proof of that.

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Defiance: the TV Show, the Game, and Now the iBook

Defiance: The Essential Guide iBook

Before yesterday afternoon I’d barely heard of Defiance, and had a vague impression it was a new game that I wouldn’t be interested in since I’m not a gamer at all. Thanks to +Tad Donaghe and the superb new iBook Defiance: The Essential Guide I now know this is an upcoming TV show, a game, and much more than that.

I’m not going to become a gamer overnight for this title, but now I am absolutely psyched to see the TV show, which looks just incredible and epic in its scope – a bit like Lord of the Rings crossed with Star Wars. But that’s my own probably misguided comparison. Here’s a bit of the iBookstore description for the iBook that offers a much better overview:

Defiance: The Essential Guide by Syfy and Trion Worlds is the perfect interactive companion to the groundbreaking TV series and the incredible multiplayer game.

Set in the near future, Defiance introduces an exotically transformed planet Earth, its landscapes permanently altered following the sudden – and tumultuous – arrival of seven unique alien races.

In this somewhat unknown and unpredictable landscape, the richly diverse, newly-formed civilization of humans and aliens must learn to co-exist peacefully. Each week, viewers will follow an immersive character drama set in the boom-town of Defiance, which sits atop the ruins of St. Louis, MO, while in the game, players will adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area.

The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.

That last point is one of the most interesting and unique aspects of Defiance, and it’s talked about a lot in the opening chapter of the iBook. The huge amount of ‘interconnectivity’ between the TV show and the game is highlighted.

The weekly TV show affects the game – and how you play the game just might change what happens on the show … Events in the show will impact the game, and events in the game will impact the show – creating an unprecedented interactive experience.

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Killer Little Features: Vertical Scrolling in iBooks


We often focus on big, exciting features that set an app apart or make it great. Incredible graphics, slick interactive elements, hyper realistic gameplay, and so on.

But there are also a number of little, unsung features that turn out to be killer features. Seemingly minor bits of functionality that end up making a huge difference to how good or bad the experience with an app is.

Vertical Scrolling in the iBooks app is a perfect example of one of these killer little features. Right from the first time I used it, I was already becoming hooked on it. Now that I’ve used it for several months I feel I almost can’t do without it. I miss it tremendously when I read a book in the Kindle app on my iPad or on my Nexus 7.

Fancy page-turn animations may have been an impressive feature when we first saw them, but they only ever had sort of novelty value. The fact is we don’t need to turn a physical page when reading a 600 page book on the iPad. And it is faster, easier, and far more comfortable to just scroll vertically on the iPad – regardless of whether you enjoy reading in portrait or landscape mode.

This feature alone has dictated how I purchase eBooks the last few months. I do the vast majority of my reading these days on the iPad mini, and now I also buy nearly all my books from the iBookstore.

What do you all think? Do you do much reading on your iPads? If so, what do you think of vertical scrolling and which eBook reader app do you use the most?

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Notable New iBooks – Hamlet: The Shakesperience

Hamlet The Shakesperience iBook

I do a ton of reading on the iPad these days, and though I use a number of different eBook readers, iBooks has gradually become my favorite – mostly because of its lovely vertical scrolling feature.

Because I am spending more and more time in the iBookstore I have started occasionally sharing a notable new iBook that’s caught my attention. Today’s entry in that area is Hamlet: The Shakesperience. I can’t say I’ve ever been a keen student of Shakespeare, but a few of his works did draw me in – and Hamlet is certainly one of those. So this book (and its clever title) caught my eye. I installed it last night and have spent a little time with it – and it looks like a fantastic title for students and teachers.

Here are some of its notable features highlighted on its iBookstore page:

— Remarkable photos and illustrations that help to provide an interactive Shakespeare experience

— Performance Audio: audio of some of the great performances of Hamlet embedded within the scenes. These include Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, and Sir Derek Jacobi – who also provides introduction audio clips for each of the acts of the play.

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Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries: Excellent New Free eBook for the iPad


I’ve written many times here about the great free apps that NASA have created for the iPad, one of the most recent being NASA’s Space Place Prime. Over the last couple days I’ve been enjoying their latest bit of stellar free content for the iPad – the Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries eBook on the iBookstore.

As with every NASA iPad app I’ve seen, this eBook is wonderfully well done. It’s full of stunning images and videos and of course a wealth of information on the Hubble Space Telescope and about the vast universe we’re a part of. The Introduction section has a series of short videos with scientists who have used the Hubble Space Telescope talking about their favorite discoveries. It also offers lots of interactive elements to keep younger readers even more enthralled.

Here’s a little more on the app via its App Store intro:

Soar through the universe with the Hubble Space Telescope, exploring discoveries from dark energy to colliding galaxies. This highly interactive eBook features video, image galleries and more to reveal the record of scientific breakthroughs behind Hubble’s stunning images of the cosmos.
For more than two decades, Hubble has had a front-row seat for cosmic events: comets plunging into Jupiter, the explosive death of stars, the birth of new solar systems, and more. In the process, it has changed the face of astronomy. Learn about Hubble’s revelations and take a tour of the history and technology of the telescope.

I’m finding the book a fascinating read, and great fun to browse through – and I’m sure my daughter is going to love it too. It’s a great looking educational title for all ages.

Here’s an iBookstore link for Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries; it’s a free eBook.

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Apple updates iBooks Author, enhancing the power of the textbook creation tool

Image courtesy

The advent of the iPad has undoubtedly further cemented Apple’s prominence in education circles. During today’s keynote, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the iPad an “incredible learning tool”, currently available for 80% of the US high school curriculum and for 2,500 schools in the US. A great aid for educators has been the iBooks Author app, which enables teachers to create their own interactive textbooks for the iPad platform. It was very fitting that Apple announced today an update for iBooks Author.

This update can be put squarely into the column of things that do not surprise us at all. Not only was an enhancement expected, for anyone who deals with education or who spends time with kids the impact that the iPad has had on education in the US and also internationally has been mind-boggling.

The update brings new features: integration of custom fonts, addition of mathematical expressions and improved audio support, as well as easier upload to iBookstore, and promises to make creation of a text book an even easier and pleasurable experience.

iBooks Author can be downloaded for free on the App Store.

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Recommended iBook: I Suck at Girls (by the guy who wrote Sh*t My Dad Says)

I Suck at Girls iBook

I think this is my first ever iBook recommendation here on iPad Insight – but I’ve been reading more and more books on the iPad in iBooks so I guess it’s about time.

I Suck at Girls is by Justin Halpern, the guy who created the massively popular and and always funny @shitmydadsays Twitter account that lead to a book and even a TV series. This book proves that as funny as the Twitter account and Halpern’s dad are, Halpern is a very funny and talented writer who can keep us laughing throughout nearly 300 iBook pages – not just in 140 character chunks.

The book is a hilarious look back at Halpern’s youth and his efforts to find the right girl – from terribly awkward elementary school efforts right through to meeting the woman he ended up married to. Halpern writes with sharp, often self-deprecating humor that had me laughing out loud early, often, and consistently while reading. He reminds me a little of Nick Hornby (author of titles like High Fidelity and Fever Pitch) who is one of my favorite contemporary authors.

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