Friday, April 11, 2014

23 mobile things: thing 12

Books, books, and more books--what's not to like? I'm using Free Books, and so far I like it. If I want to pay for an upgrade it will also do audiobooks, but their collection of ebooks is free. The app will show lists by genre, collections, or featured; or you can search for specific items. A lot of the collections are authors (alphabetized by first name!), but some are topics that didn't fit under genre, like ghost stories or epics. Featured includes both the collections and the genres together, listed alphabetically.

I downloaded a few books and tried it out. Navigating around within a book can be done via a slider at the bottom of the screen, which is pretty sensitive--I had trouble getting it to stop on the page I wanted it to. The table of contents, at least in the books I have, will not jump you to a particular chapter. But I think it may, in some books. There is an option in the controls called Chapters, but when I tried it it says "we don't have table of contents for this book yet" but that they're always adding more. So I'm guessing that in some books you can jump around by chapter. And of course I can place bookmarks.

The controls generally are sensitive--while reading I can tap in the middle of the screen to access the controls, but sometimes it interprets my tap as a slide to turn the page. The other controls are font size, and a choice of colors: Sepia print on white, or white print on black (to give off less light, I assume, since that option is called Night). Also I can access user reviews of a book while I'm reading it, highlight, take notes, and share via social media.

One minor annoyance is the ads. Every time I download a book, I get a full-screen pop-up; and while scrolling through lists there are frequent ads placed among the titles in the list. But I know that's what you get with a free app. They have to make money somehow.

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