Entries in ePUB (2)

iBooks: After an uninspiring start it's finally beginning to get exciting

We have read quite a number of books on the iPad, some via bespoke apps, others through Apple's own iBooks app. Though the experience is nearly always an enjoyable one, we have to say that it's certainly not our favourite iPad activity.

The problem with iBooks is twofold

Firstly, the selection on offer, at least in the UK, has been very poor. Search for your favourite author and you'll most likely be disappointed. After a few disappointments your excitement wanes... The second issue that we have with iBooks is the limited typographical and design controls that are made available to book publishers. Some books, especially illustrated publications like children's books, simply need a richer format.

Fortunately things are changing

Not only is the range of books available for purchase in the iBooks Store increasing week by week, but it's now possible to add ePub books to your iBooks library directly from any iPad web browser. When combined with iBooks' superb PDF support, the iPad is well served for digital books.

The other important change is the introduction of enhanced books within the iBooks Store. Enhanced books offer almost all of the advantages of traditional print; high resolution photos and pixel precise page layouts with non-standard type faces are very common.

Why not check out a few samples of this new enhanced book format? In the UK we can certainly recommend Landscape Photographer of The Year by AA Media Ltd. At £9.99 it's quite pricey, but it contains some equisite photography and serves as a nice way to demonstrate the beauty of the iPad display. The images within this article give an indication of the quality of the photography and type faces on offer.

We plan to feature more electronic books here on iPad Creative. Please let us know if you find any - in the iBooks Store or otherwise - that you feel our readers might like.

iPad news from the WWDC 2010 keynote


We will come back later with our initial thoughts on the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 and what it means for iPad owners, but in the meantime here is a quick recap of some of the iPad related announcements from last night's WWDC keynote address.

Steve Jobs presented a video reel featuring news clips from America, parts of Europe and Japan. Most of the clips were from the launch of the iPad in each territory with lots of smiling faces and excited punters. People really do love the iPad it seems.

Steve then mentioned some quite astonishing figures. 1 iPad sold every 3 seconds on average, 17 apps per iPad downloaded, 5 million eBooks downloaded via the iBooks store, many of which were probably free, 22% of all eBook sales are purchased on the iPad. That's some impressive stats.

Steve didn't dwell on the iPad too much, this event was focusing squarely on the new iPhone. However, he did have one piece of important iPad news, something which will please anyone who like us have been itching for Apple to open up iBooks to include more published material.

The next version of iBooks, due at any time, includes full support for the popular PDF format. It's too early to tell just how well iBooks will display complex PDF files, but if the experience when viewing PDFs is similar to when viewing ePUB files, this could be quite a game changer.

The ePUB format is limited in scope by its basic nature. Font formatting, for example, is very limited. The PDF format supports just about every typographic and image control available. In short, it forms the basis of almost all printed publications in existence.

We can't wait to see how this develops.