Listening to audiobooks is sort of an acquired taste for some folks. I know it was for me, and it wasn’t until after experiencing several did I really begin to enjoy them. In fact, I listen to books way more than I read them nowadays, as I find it to be a great companion when I’m driving or in bed while getting my daily fix of Drop7. There are several ways of buying audiobooks for your iPhone (iTunes and Audible), though they can be expensive and do add up in cost. Enter Audiobooks.com, a site that offers unlimited audiobooks for $24.95/month. And with their recently released iOS app, you can stream or download unlimited books from over 10,000 of best sellers and new releases (Stephen King, Hunger Games Trilogy, Steve Jobs Autobiography…sorry, no 50 Shades of Grey). Their selection pales in comparison to Audible, but if you can find enough authors/books in their library that you like, the price of admission may be worth it. If this sounds intriguing, you can sign up for a free 7 day free trial to test out their service on your iDevice.
Today, March 2nd, is Dr. Seuss’ birthday (as well as Read Across America Day) and to celebrate Oceanhouse Media is launching a sale for 25 Dr. Seuss digital books on iOS and Android, with prices ranging from $0.99 to $2.99. Some of the more notable apps include Horton Hears a Who! ($2.99), The Cat in the Hat ($1.99) and The Lorax ($0.99). In addition, the virtual tree growing game Lorax Garden is now available to download for free. This of course, also coincides with the theatrical release of the animated The Lorax movie today.
For the complete listing of Dr. Seuss apps on sale, which runs thru March 8th, head on over to Oceanhouse Media’s webpage for more info. Video trailer highlighting the Dr. Seuss apps and press release after the gap.
Apple’s iBooks app has just been updated to version 1.5 and one of the most requested features is finally here – night reading mode. With it, bookworms can now comfortably use iBooks in the dark thanks to the black background and white text. Here’s the complete list of what’s new:
- Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.
- Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.
- iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowan, and Seravek.
- Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.
- A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.
If iBooks is your go-to e-reader on the iDevice, be sure to grab this free update and check out the new goodies. And if you missed it earlier, see how you can use Dropbox to store and transfer your ebooks to apps like iBooks and Stanza in our recent tutorial.
Apple, iBooks, – Free
After over a year in the making, CIA : Operation Ajax, an ambitious interactive graphic novel brought to you by Cognito Comics, is finally out on the App Store. Designed specifically for the iPad, Operation Ajax tells the story of the Iranian Coup (backed by the CIA) during the early 50′s, and it’s based on the book All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer. The graphic novel is 210 pages long and features moving animations, ambient sound effect, bonus content (character dossiers, historial newsreels, authentic declassified docs from the CIA etc) and even its own original musical score. This is certainly not your typical comic book in the form of an app. Best of all, Operation Ajax is currently free for the next two week, after which the $7.99 price tag kicks in. If you have an iPad, this is defintely worth checking out, especially now that it’s a freebie. Video demo after the break.
Cognito Comics, CIA : Operation Ajax, – Free
After breaking my arm a couple of months ago, I learned a bit of biology. Bones are serious buggers, you know; they don’t just Lego into place after snapping. But even at 31 and five fingers down, I applied myself very fastidiously to apps that I could use one-handed. At first, they may seem eclectic, but I assure you that they were the best medicine. If you’re intent on joining my club, send in your resumes, apply something heavy/swift to your long bones, and then follow the gap!
We all love books, right? If you’re like me, your reading list is long and getting longer every day. We’ll never finish them all, but heck, when someone recommends a book, we probably still want to jot it down for future reference.
A good list can be a real blessing when trying to remember an author or a book we’ve just read, finding the name of the next book in a series, or easily sharing our favorite books with friends.
The three apps reviewed here are excellent candidates for keeping track of all the books we love and all the books we want to read.
Released just a little over a week ago, Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition app was not only well received by iPad users, but it was also chosen as iTunes’ “App of the Week” upon launch. For those of you who are not familiar with developer PadWorx Digital Media’s first foray into the App Store, Dracula for the iPad puts a new spin on the classic novel by Bram Stoker. The interactive app is likely one of the most unique ebooks you’ll come across on your iPad. Users can drag a lantern around the screen to read certain journal entries and “blow” leaves off the tombstones to reveal writing beneath, among other neat interactions.
And now with Halloween just around the corner, PadWorx is also running a contest, where an iPad and 10 copies of Dracula are up for grabs. You don’t even have to purchase the app to enter! Check out the simple instructions for your chance to win after the gap.
PadWorx, Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition, 542 MB – $4.99
Canadian Science Fiction giant, Cory Doctorow, has put up a nice piece about why Apple and Sony suck. Rather than getting into boring techie talk, he very stealthily opines as a writer who longs for a DRM-less world, one where users can share, buy, borrow, and lend digital content as easily as they do non-digital content. As a content creator, his is a unique and important viewpoint that clashes directly with antiquated pro-Bono business models. Doctorow’s body of science fiction is captivatingly modern and so too are his finger-to-the-man opinions that hopefully, will help change the way digital books are circulated.
God bless Amazon and God bless books. Having conquered one-click home shopping and set the stage for quality eBook readers, Amazon have augmented Kindle for iOS with audio and video features despite Apple’s attacks. AppleInsider note that many old titles such as “Les Miserables” have received loving digital audio/video shots in the arm. Augmented titles can be licensed starting at 9.99$ and are ‘yours’ to keep an eye on and never lend, loan, or show anyone else, ever.
You can get started at Amazon’s audio/video book selection.
For book lovers reading this, chances are you already know what Goodreads is. If not, it’s basically a social network for readers. According to their website, it’s the largest of its kind in the world, with in excess of 3 million members.
The website allows you to become friends with people, recommend books, get recommendations, see reviews and scores and add books to your ‘shelves.’ Your virtual shelves are read, currently reading and to-read. It’s free to join, and the iPhone/iPod Touch App is also free to download and use. Feel free to discuss this review of Goodreads in our forums.