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.