iPhone, iPod Touch eReader 1.2 offers full-screen for text


Ereader12Huzzah! We had just finished recording this week’s podcast late last night when I saw an update for eReader on my iPhone. Version 1.2 hit last night and it addresses one of my biggest niggles. Up to now, some precious screen space was wasted by the book title at the top of every page. That goes away in this version, giving you another few lines of text on the screen. A quick of tap of the screen brings up the title and a new slider control so you can navigate to any page. (shown)

That bit isn’t so hot just yet; the four-volume Star Wars title I’m reading has over 4,400 pages so even just a little slide moves me at least 100 pages. There’s still some work to be done there, but it’s step in the right direction. For now, I’m happy to just get an extra two or three lines of text before swiping to the next page. Folks that liked having the top iPhone menu bar that shows your signal strength, carrier logo and clock should note: that goes away with this version until you tap the screen.

OK, time to stop eBook reading and start mixing that podcast. The long weekend approaches and I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer you something to listen to.

Update: to better illustrate what content looks like in the new version, here’s a pic I snapped around midnight last night. Note: at that point, eReader was still creating the "pages" for my content, hence the blue status bar at the bottom. That’s not visible once the client completes the page creation. Oh, and if you had any doubts about how ruthless those Sith characters really are, this ought to alleviate that notion. ;)



Kevin C. Tofel

Genghis, that’s a generally accurate description although we reported about a month ago that eReader is opening up to other content formats. Regardless, I’d look into apps like Stanza, FBReader, Adobe Digital Editions, Mobipocket, MS Reader and others.

It all depends on the content format you plan to read. I’ve invested hundreds of dollars in the eReader format over the past five years, partly because of the device support. There’s a client for Windows, Mac, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Symbian and Palm. That breadth of device support is why I like it, but others would make a great case for their platform of choice as well.

Genghis Khent

Kevin, one criticism I’ve heard of eReader, rightly or wrongly, is it locks you in to the books eReader makes available. Is this correct? If so, is there another, more open e-reading app available for the iPhone, or Windows Mobile, or Tablet PC?

Dave Zatz

Wow, the usability of browsing a library and browsing a site to make purchases in non-intuitive. (click plus, click other?) Given the speed of updates, hopefully they’re working on better/tighter store integration.

Kevin C. Tofel

No Markus, we don’t get paid from any company that we write about. Your point is well taken, but I think it’s important when a I product I use daily receives two large feature enhancements within a week or two. The in app purchase function and the new navigation and full-screen reading feature are worth pointing out. Still, I’ll take your comment as constructive criticism in terms of coverage. Have you noticed any major new features of other eBook reading apps that we might have missed in the past month or two? If so, just shoot me a note and I’ll be happy to research and report. Thanks!

Dave Zatz

Ah, I misunderstood. Going to browse via reader now. Unfortunately, the full screen mode emphasizes some weird LCD burn I have in the upper left of my screen. But that’s Apple’s fault. Maybe I’ll try to photograph it – probably bloggable!

Alan A. Reiter

Hi Kevin, James,

Thanks for the quick replies.

I guess, then, the iPhone can be easily used one- or two-handed. Good to know.

I generally read paperbacks with two hands, especially hardbacks, so I can certainly understand that two-handed iPhone eBook reading isn’t a pain. And I don’t use just one hand to hold a book and the same hand to turn the page!

One-handed reading can come in handy, such as when standing in a crowded subway car! But that is, granted, a relatively esoteric use!

Kevin C. Tofel

Dave, what kind of purchase integration are you looking for in the reader? They added that to a degree with the prior update: http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/08/ereader-launche.html While the browsing, purchasing is done in Safari, the browser is rendered within the eReader application.

James, I tried that but a screen tap also brings up the menu. Once I set screen taps to change the page, I wasn’t able to get back to the menu with a tap. Took me forever to realize that a swipe then opens the menu. ;) Can’t help it… I’m a page swiper, not a page tapper.

Daniel H.

I love these Star Wars books. Still working on the 2nd one, might I add.

James Kendrick

You can configure eReader on the iPhone to work just like other versions, tap on the bottom to advance to the next page or tap on the top of the page to back up. That’s how mine is configured which allows true one-handed operation.

Dave Zatz

I wish they’d integrate the book shopping into the library/reader. I also wish they had Kindle prices. Amazon must be taking a loss or has very slim margins they make up on volume.

Kevin C. Tofel

Alan, I switch between one-handed use and two hands. I was used to one-hand operation on Windows Mobile devices, but I have no qualms about using one hand to hold the iPhone and another to turn the pages. Personal preferences rule, of course.

Alan A. Reiter

Hi Kevin,

I’ve being reading eBooks on phones for years, including, most recently, Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” on my BlackBerry Bold. I hold it in one hand, clicking the space bar to move to another “page.”

I wish the Bold had a bigger screen, but it’s just as clear and even sharper than the iPhone’s, so reading it pretty good.

When you use the iPhone for reading, you do have to swipe your finger across the screen to change the page? Do you use one hand or do you need two — one to hold the phone and one to “flick”?

It seems that being able to use one hand would be better.

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