How can you read an ebook on an Apple iPhone?

How can you read an ebook on an Apple iPhone?

Summary: One reason I continue to carry a device other than my iPhone is for ebook reading while commuting and traveling. Kevin Tofel posted some thoughts on reading ebooks on the iPhone using Amazon Upgrade that then prompted me to email myself a PDF version of a book. The PDF version is viewable, but emailing PDF ebooks to yourself is not the optimal solution either. I prefer to read Mobipocket formatted books, but I couldn't find any way to print these books to PDF. Another possible way to read ebooks was brought up by Mike Cane and referenced The Open Library collection that is still in beta/demo mode.

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One reason I continue to carry a device other than my iPhone is for ebook reading while commuting and traveling. Kevin Tofel posted some thoughts on reading ebooks on the iPhone using Amazon Upgrade that then prompted me to email myself a PDF version of a book. The PDF version is viewable, but emailing PDF ebooks to yourself is not the optimal solution either. I prefer to read Mobipocket formatted books, but I couldn't find any way to print these books to PDF.

Another possible way to read ebooks was brought up by Mike Cane and referenced The Open Library collection that is still in beta/demo mode. I went with the default search for Tom Sawyer Adventure and then opened up one of the full text versions (designated next to the book title) and then saw a JavaScript error appear that stated:

Only Internet Explorer 6+ and FireFox are currently supported. You should download Firefox or use Internet Explorer to properly use the Flipbook viewer.

eBook on iPhone I then tapped OK and proceeded to view the book using the navigational buttons. Magnify does not work at this time in the Flipbook viewer, but you can simply use the two-finger Safari trick to zoom in on the text and the book is actually very viewable. Illustrations are shown and the book appears with a virtual book look. Since you are viewing in Safari you can read in either landscape or portrait mode, but with the way these books are setup like real books I found portrait mode to be easier to navigate. You will have to move around to read the book, but that is quick and easy with the iPhone. The Listen button is inoperable on the iPhone at this time as well. Search appears to work and you can see the yellow tabbed results, however as you move around the page I found it turning white and no longer showing you the results. There are a few texts that are available as full texts and if you want to read ebooks on your iPhone this may be another alternative, but you need to remember you will actually need a connection since the pages are downloaded as you turn them.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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13 comments
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  • Ebook

    Read an E-Book?Whatever happened to the days when a phone was a just a phone to
    call somebody?
    Kobashrer
    • nonsense

      The faster that crap like ebook dies the better. If you can buy a paperback and loan it to 100 people, why is anyone still supporting a format like ebook?

      Vote with your dollars and tell them to stuff their DRM.
      croberts
      • Don't spread FUD

        No eBook I've ever purchased has been DRM-ed. Pick who you buy from. They are fantastic - I carry a library of books around with me everywhere where I can whip out my phone and read anywhere at anytime in all those little dead minutes waiting for someone or something.

        All my scifi novels cost me $6 from baen.com instead of $20-25 and the phone is self-illuminating so I can read in the dark or wherever. I can also read one-handed not having to use my second hand to flip pages. Baen has a lot of free ebooks (often the first books of a series so you can read it first at no cost before deciding to purchase the rest of the series - you can also pass on the free copy to anyone else. (You could also pass on the purchased ones as well but I'd rather support the authors and hope others would do so as well.)

        My Sony Ericson P900 phone and O2 XDA Iis despite having much lower res and dimmer screens than the iPhone are fine for reading from ? I?ve read for hours at a time off them without problems, so the iPhone would be a revelation.

        I can?t bear reading books printed on dead trees anymore, how about joining the 21st century rather than trying to keep us back with the horse and cart. Sheesh.

        -Mart
        marthill
        • ditto kudos - for Baen.com

          don't forget those advance versions of Weber's "Harrington" series before it even gets printed !! huzzah !
          Jim888
    • huh?

      yeah, and whatever happened to the days when a computer-thing was just for computing really big numbers. Now they write fancy letters (with pictures!) and send electronic mail things and connect to this internets thing. *shakes head*

      -Mart
      marthill
  • Wow you can almost make it work!

    Been reading eBooks without a problem for over 4 years on my WIndows phones - once again Apple substitutes style over design.
    tonymcs@...
  • Read a Book on a Phone?

    Leave it to these people to think that the only way to
    read a book is electronically. Stop complaining and buy
    the book and hold it in your hand!
    kristinh
    • Luddite

      Sorry mate, you're stuck in the past century. Give me a self-illuminating, searchable, hyper-linkable, one-hand, 1cm thick, library collection of books connected to the web in my hand anytime. Beats expensive dead trees.

      Luddites!

      -Mart
      marthill
  • This is insane...Just buy the damn book

    The only <i>real</i> downside to buying the book is the cutting of trees for the paper. However, more and more editors are using recycled paper so this is not really a fatal argument for the use of the paper version.
    I think the only interesting application of electronic books is for reference such as dictionary, encyclopedia and the like. For cover to cover reading nothing beats the paper version.
    jslarochelle
    • Cos it's damn cheaper, easier, more portable, greener etc etc

      Enough of the insane "why get a motor car when nothing beats riding a horse" statements?

      How about some attempts at logically rebutting some of the arguments for electronic books rather than falling back on the "if it was good enough for me Dad, it's good enough for me" non-arguments?

      sheesh
      marthill
      • You did not understand my point

        The main argument to choose a paper copy is that it is still a [b]better[/b] way (not a sufficient way) to read a book that an IPhone. With a paper book you get better random access that with the electronic version and better readability. Like I said in my previous intervention the only advantage of the electronic form are for keyword search in large document and because they save trees (the electronic form is not necessarilly greener if you take all factors into account).
        jslarochelle
  • To the enviro snobs

    Yeah, books use paper and lots of chemicals go into them (I know, I did tech support in a Pulp Mill).

    How about hearing from someone who works at an Intel Fab plant. I bet a year's salary that chip, pcb, plastic, and metal production generates way more toxic pollution than making paper.

    And when you throw the book away it bio degrades. I wonder how many iPhones will end up in Africa at some "unofficial" recycling facility... err scrap heap.
    croberts
  • RE: How can you read an ebook on an Apple iPhone?

    Just finished Kitchen Confidential by A Bourdain and it is great!
    Lots of opportunities (waiting on line, riding subway, waiting for
    dinner) would have been lost because I wouldn't have had a
    physical book at hand. Used text-on-phone and am thrilled! I'll
    continue to curl up with my favorite physical book when available
    but this fills a LARGE gap.
    Kathleenq