As the world around us is launched into a technological phenomenon, books have struggled to find their place. But slowly literature is finding its way into technology. Here are my reviews of the top five books apps available to make literature a little techier, and the best thing? They’re all free!
Everyone’s heard of the Kindle, but did you know there’s an app for it so you can enjoy your entire library on your smart phone. It’s free to download and easy to sign up for and as soon as you’re logged on you have access to over 955,000 titles to download. It has all the advantages a kindle has without having to carry around a kindle as well as your phone. It’s convenient, light and the storage space you can save is incredible. Your book shelf is always there waiting for you in your pocket and an entire bookstore for you to browse is too. The range of books, newspapers and magazines available is astonishing and all at the same price if not cheaper than you would find them in a real book store. However there were a few differences I found between the app and the real kindle. First of all the graphics on the kindle are designed to give you a better reading experience, allowing you to read in direct sunlight as well as dim light without glare or being blinded. It’s also lighter and wider than the average smart phone making it more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. There are also some books that aren’t available to download through the mobile store to the app. However Kindles cost £89 so it really does depend how often you’re going to use it. If, like me, nothing can beat the feel of a real book, then this app is perfect for quick reads and filling in those spare moments of time throughout the day.
Booksapp is a smart new app allowing you to organising your “real life” library. To be honest I was a bit baffled by this concept at first, is there that much organising that needs to be done with one’s book shelf? But as soon as I started experimenting with it I was blown away. First you are asked to scan the bar code of your book, it uses the camera on your phone with a little detector to identify the book you’re scanning. This took a few goes to get right but once you get the idea scanning your books becomes quick and simple. Once scanned the app immediately identifies the book and gives you more information than you need really. For example; beep! I’ve just scanned The Kite Runner. Now the app offers me a lengthy overview of the plot including comments from newspaper reviewers, the publisher and date it was published, the ISBN number, the key subjects “Afghanistan, Betrayal, Boys, Kites etc.” and the size “324 pages, 12.9×20.0x2.5 cm”. Everything you would want to know and more. The app organises all of your books by author, publishers, subjects and series. You can also keep track of books you have lent, and who you have lent them too, what books you’re currently reading, have read, and want to read and of course you can mark all your favourites. I personally loved this app and although am not much of a book shelf organiser I can see why this would come in handy.
Just as the title suggests this app is for poetry lovers. It allows you to broaden your horizons and discover new poetry right in your pocket. As you enter the app you are offered to “spin”. This spins the dial of moods “passion, boredom, joy, etc.” and subjects “family, nature, youth, etc.” creating a random combination and offering a range of poems that falls into that section, for example, Love & Passion: 512 poems available. Even the more uncommon: “Frustration & Arts and Sciences” has 199 poems available. You can browse this way by scrolling the dials, clicking spin button, or my favourite, shaking the phone. You can also browse the range of poetry available manually, through groups of mood, subject, poet and audio. You can mark your favourites and sort by title, poet or first line and share your findings through facebook, twitter and email. This app makes finding new poetry easier and quicker than ever by bringing it into the twenty-first century.
The Waterstone’s app allows you to browse the entire store from your phone. The books are handily grouped into Bestsellers, Top pre-orders, New releases, Offers and by genre. Once you find a book that takes your fancy you can view the synopsis along with reviews, store availability and the option to add it to your wish list. You can even add books to your basket and order them from your phone. It really is the website condensed into an app allowing you to browse and order books wherever you are.
Wattpad is an app that gives you access to over 100,000 free books. The difference between this app and any other ereading app; Kindle, Kobo, Google Books etc, apart from the fact that most of these books are free, is that most of the content is user generated. So this is defiantly an app for fans of amateur or fan-fiction writers. You can browse the app through genre: humour, thriller etc, form: poetry, short story etc. or shuffle to find a randomly selected book to read. With Wattpad you can also interact with other readers, sharing views and opinions on the things you’re reading. My favourite thing about the app is that you can see how many reads each book has so can judge the popularity for yourself. The only thing it’s missing is being able to upload your own writing from your phone as you can do on the full website.