If you’re looking for some last minute (ish) ideas for holiday gifts, here’s another option worth considering – gift someone an iBook, right from your iPad.
Apple has recently enabled the gifting feature in iBooks on iOS – so it’s easy to do with just a few taps.
Gifting an iBook works just like gifting an app. Once you’ve got a selected iBook open, you tap on the Share button at the top right of the book’s info page – and then tap the Gift button. From there you enter the recipient’s email, any message you want to add, and select whether to send Today or on another date, pick a design for the gift notification, and make your purchase.
A nice way to share the gift of reading on an iPad – hopefully along with some great printed books as well.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
Lincoln: A Steven Spielberg Film – Discover the Story is a brand new iBooks title released today. It offers an interactive and in-depth look at the making of Steven Spielberg’s upcoming new movie: Lincoln. The movie is set for release this Friday, November 16 and this book looks great.
The book features a foreword by Steven Spielberg, video interviews with Daniel Day-Lewis (who play Lincoln) and other lead actors and more:
As the story unfolds, the enhanced book offers a glimpse into the life of Lincoln leading up to his tragic assassination, the ending of slavery as well as the Civil War. Lincoln: A Steven Spielberg Film – Discover the Story also includes “making of” photos from the film, an extensive look into the set design, and illustrates how Spielberg was able to recreate history with truth and conviction.
I took a look through the sample for the book, watched one interview with Day-Lewis, and installed the book moments later.
iBooks for iPad (and iOS) has been updated this week – to Version 3.0.
The biggest new feature in iBooks 3 is the ability to scroll vertically through books – described like so in the update’s change list:
Scroll vertically through your books with the flick of a finger using the new Scroll theme
This update to iBooks was mentioned at Apple’s iPad Mini announcement event this past Tuesday, which on the face of it seems a little odd amidst the other big new hardware products announced at the event. The reason I think Apple dropped in a mention of this update is that this new scrolling feature seems like it is especially well suited to the new iPad Mini. The vertical scrolling should be a relatively easy gesture to use even while holding the iPad Mini with just one hand.
I’ve been trying out the vertical scrolling on my iPad 3 and I like it a lot … when it works. What I’ve noticed though is that it only seems to work with books created with iBooks Author. I’ve tried several leading iBooks titles where the new vertical scrolling does not work at all – including the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki’s ‘Enchantment’, and a couple others that do not look as it they were created in iBooks Author.
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall seeing it mentioned anywhere that this new vertical scrolling feature is limited just to books created with iBooks Author and I don’t see a mention of that in the App Store change list for iBooks 3.0.
Perhaps it’s just me, but it looks like this new feature is more limited than advertised.
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.