Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cool New Apps for iPhone Users (and websites to check out)

I'm so excited about two applications I have discovered recently. For those of you who love to read, love free stuff and have an iPhone check these out:

GoodReads: "A place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads members recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they've read and would like to read, form book clubs and much more." The FREE iPhone application offers many of the same services as the GoodReads website and all with the touch of a finger! But of course, since it is a phone app it isn't quite as complex as the website -- there are some things you can't do on the app and must log into the website, such as forming a book club, posting a book review or link and rating your own reads. Still, the GoodReads app is a lot better than many of the other book tracking applications I have seen. If you haven't already set yourself up with a service like GoodReads be sure to check it out. The app can be found in the App Store under the category: BOOKS and sorted to view only TOP FREE.

I currently have accounts with both GoodReads and Shelfari. Until recently I have actually preferred the latter to the former, but with this app and the ability to track my books when away from home and computer I think GoodReads might be sneaking ahead in my opinion.

AudioBooks FREE. Affiliated with Librivox. An online source for audio and e-book versions of books published prior to 1923, which are available in the public domain.

The good: Access to over 25,000 public domain books (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, plays, etc.). You can select by author, title, genre, reader, or most popular. Because the books are in the public domain the list consists mostly of classics and out-of-print books. The app is free, the books are free, and they download instantly to the iPhone without having to sync your phone with iTunes like some of the larger applications require. The books can be listened to much like the Playaway books offered through public libraries.

The bad:Because of the fact these books are in the public domain the list does not include any new publications or books still held with a copyright. Still there are a LOT of treasures to be found. I'm currently listening to Helen's Babies by John Habberton, a humorous story written in the 1860s. Another annoying aspect is that sometimes the files are a little slow loading when I return to a book. Once or twice I've found the app to freeze up on me, but once the reading commences I've had little to no trouble. As to the quality of the reads, for the most part they are excellent. I will note that all readers are volunteers and thus not professionally selected based on the quality of their voice. This isn't always good. In fact, there was one book I started to listen to but had to stop because the woman's voice was grating on my nerves. I found her voice too nasally and gravely for my liking. But if you find a book you want to read and a good reader you're golden. Another annoying aspect is that at the start of every chapter the reader introduces the book, the LibriVox info and who they are, where they recorded and the date. It's a bit unnecessary in my opinion.

But, for the ambitious reader you can volunteer to read some of your favorite public domain books by visiting LibriVox's website.

Bonne lecture!


sukumar said...

nice post about iphone application . I think apple application is mostly people are using in world. iPhone Application Development

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Ooh, didn't know goodreads had an iPhone app. Thanks for the heads up.