Apple iBooks

“Did people once read books on paper?”

Don’t be surprised if you have to answer this query from a curious kid someday. Although we figure that time is still a ways off, the idea behind the question no longer seems so far off or far-fetched. For proof, check out Apple’s own iBooks.

The beauty of electronic books, or e-books (or iBooks according to the Apple lexicon), is that you can schlep a boatload of reading material with you when you travel without breaking your back. And e-books can enhance your reading experience with a bevy of nifty tricks: You can look up the meaning of a word on the spot, change fonts and type sizes, and easily add highlights or bookmarks. Moreover, you can search for every mention of a particular term or subject in a book. Heck, with the iPhone, you can even read in the dark.

Apple introduced its iBooks app and companion iBookstore online bookseller with the iPad tablet. Apple eventually brought both app and bookseller to the iPhone (though you still have to go to the App Store to download the iBooks app). As a result, electronic reading will never be the same.

The covers for the books you buy in iBookstore — more than 700,000 titles were available in the U.S. as our own book went to press, with hundreds of thousands outside America — land on the handsome virtual wooden bookshelf shown in Figure 17-14. More than 180 million books have been downloaded. Some are gorgeous illustrated children’s books, photo books, and cookbooks. Apple has also ...

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