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Summary:

The wait is over as Classics is officially available. As previously mentioned, Classics is a highly refined e-book reader that provides users with a collection of public domain books. What sets Classics apart from the plethora of similarly available apps in iTunes is that first, each […]

The wait is over as Classics is officially available. As previously mentioned, Classics is a highly refined e-book reader that provides users with a collection of public domain books. What sets Classics apart from the plethora of similarly available apps in iTunes is that first, each book was painstakingly formatted for the iPhone/iPod touch, and second, the interface is truly amazing.

When you first open Classics, you’re presented with a bookshelf with your available choices. The current version offers you eleven books including: Alice in Wonderland, Flatland, and The Metamorphosis. You can rearrange your books to your liking, but as it stands, there is no option to add or delete books. Once you’ve decided on a book, you just tap to open it.

The developers took great care in giving you the most minimal of interfaces so the words can shine. All there is, is a title bar (that also acts as a progress bar for how far along in the book you are), a Home button, and a Table of Contents button. Beyond that, everything else is the beautifully formatted page.

When turning the page, you can either go forward by swiping your finger right-to-left or clicking the top-right/bottom-right corners, and to go backwards you just swipe from left-to-right or click the top-left/bottom left corner. Each turn is rewarded with a beautifully realistic page turn animation that was rendered by CGI designer, Kevin Capizzi. If you have your sound on, there is also a rustling of paper.

Admittedly, there was a minor learning curve for me, as I was always constantly trying to scroll the page, but after about four page turns I got the hang of it. When you’re done with your book you can just click back on the home button and you get a lovely bookmark animation that indicates that your page will be saved.

Probably the most important aspect is readability. While the Apple’s touch devices obviously don’t have the advantage of e-ink’s high resolution, it is high enough that you could read for an extended period of time without experiencing much fatigue and strain on your eyes. That is to say, you most likely won’t be reading any of these books from cover to cover, but it’s a nice option when you’re looking for something to pass the time. There’s also the added benefit of curling up with iPhone/iPod touch, something you can’t really do with a laptop.

Overall, if you value a good user experience and enjoy literature’s classic novels, then Classics is well worth the $2.99 price of admission. And with more books to come with each update, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

  1. Tamahome Jenkins Monday, November 3, 2008

    It’s an interesting app, but for $2.99 I should be able to add my own books, or at least be able to download my choice of the thousands of public domain works out there. That’s why Stanza still gets my vote. Three bucks isn’t much, but free is much better.

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  2. I actually bought this immediately. and I was not in the least bit disappointed.

    Sure the selection is slim right now, but the updates (which the developer has stated will be definite) will add more books for free. $2.99 is a small price to pay for such a polished app. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who (like me) loves to read but hates to carry around a book.

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  3. I’ve been using this all the time on the train for the last couple of days. Read most of the books before but it’s great to have it on something I take with me anyway. The Interface is gorgeous and really well polished, shame we don’t see more apps like this.

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  4. I’m all for options, but I’ve found Stanza to be a great alternative. Its very readable, and it has a much greater selection of free and public domain works available for it. Its also free.

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  5. Hey guys, great to see this made Digg! For some background on the design process of Classics, check out this blog entry.

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  6. Why in the world would anyone buy this when they cannot create/format/add their own books?

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  7. Nice….! If only iPhone is available here in Indonesia without illegal unlocking…..

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  8. I don’t understand why anyone would use this when Stanza is available for free and allows you to put almost any book on your iPhone?

    Me thinks the pretty face of Classics is only skin deep.

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  9. Really really awesome. Can’t wait to add to my iPhone!

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  10. It’s pretty good but needs a greater selection.

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