By September 5, 2009

O’Reilly eBook reader for iPhone – review

Previously we were reporting that recently O’Reilly started to release their books as iPhone apps. Shortly speaking: each app is an eBook content plus O’Reilly eBook reader for iPhone (for that given eBook). Here we are reviewing this eBook reader on the example of the only free (but lame) O’Reilly eBook available in app store:


We must admit one thing: despite not having ability to look up words in dictionary, this eBook reader has very nice page-turning animations that make you feel like you use 22nd century technology:

You might laugh and think that we are silly telling such stuff, but if you consider that during ebook reading page turning is the most common activity, clearly having nice page turning animation is vital.

Speaking of page turning, here is how it is done in this eBook reader:

If you tap in the middle of the screen, then you get info and toolbar:


… from where, you can go to further sub-screens like table of contents:

… and plenty of various settings:

… that we will not cover here in detail but suffice to mention that orientation lock is possible in 2 places in settings: above and here:


Search is working fine and dandy:

One of errors in the code of this app is that it stays in “grey mode” also when you are back from touching of middle area:

… and the only resolution to this problem is to quite the app and open it again – if it happens.

Zooming in and out of the text is working but not smoothly: when you pinch the screen it is not showing zooming in real-time it takes few seconds to recalculate. Main thing: it works.

Since O’Reilly books mostly are technical ones and not complex philosophy and literature eBooks that use sophisticated words that only intellectuals know, lack of ability to look up in dictionary usually will not be a problem – but we are missing it.

Finally: O’Reilly has released hundred(s) of their eBooks and it is also app store spamming because now when you look up for some app in given area, instead of getting app that actually does something, you get stupid eBooks from O’Reilly – it would be nice if Apple could filter out eBooks somehow.

All in all it is nice to see that a publisher – O’Reilly – releasing their books as eBooks without using middlemen like eBook stores like Amazon/eReader/etc. – it means that more should go to authors – but we think more money goes to Mr. O’Reilly. Main thing is however: these books are available for iPhone while some other smartphone platforms – don’t have them at all – unless users buy them for much bigger money as PDF files.

Conclusion: since eBooks-as-apps are cheaper than PDF files and O’Reilly eBook reader is not that bad, if you need to read a book in given area, having it as O’Reilly eBook – might be very productive for you.

Get it here (only the free eBook for testing; to find other O’Reilly eBooks just search for “O’Reilly” in your app store app!):

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Apart from iPhone, you might be interested also in Windows Mobile phones!

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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