Killer Little Features: Vertical Scrolling in iBooks

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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?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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4 thoughts on “Killer Little Features: Vertical Scrolling in iBooks”

  1. I think you’re right, though I just started purchasing Kobo books because they have partnered with my local indie bookstore and give a cut to them. Maybe you could do a post on how e-technology and bricks and morter stores can work together.

  2. I use iBooks on my iPad with Retina (4th gen) and I prefer the “flip animation”. Here’s why : It tooks me a lot of time to feel that it’s “natural” to read on the iPad. I often use my iPad for short period of times (look at Twitter, read 2 or 3 news, kill 1 or 2 pigs, etc.) and I found it difficult to be concentrated for a long period of time on my iPad. The “flip” animation makes it feel more natural to read on this incredible machine. :)

  3. I find myself switching between vertical scrolling and page flips. I like page flips because I only have to tap to advance. Scrolling means I have to put my finger down and slide it up. After doing this for a while, I find that the skin on my finger starts to hurt. But I like how with vertical scrolling, I can keep paragraphs together, so I don’t have to flip back to check the first half of a paragraph, which I find myself doing if a page breaks in the middle of a paragraph while in page flip mode. For me, a killer feature will be if a tap advanced to the start of the next paragraph in vertical scroll mode. That would really be the best of both worlds!

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