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eBooks

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” wrote Charles Dickens, in a sentence that happens to sum up almost every human experience in my opinion. But for technology, the one thing that brings that quote to mind most is eBooks. See, eBooks are a brilliant idea. With a simple tap, you can download a full book that’d otherwise have taken a trip to a book store or a wait of a few days from Amazon. That downloaded book can be read on your phone, tablet, Mac, or eReader, devices which you already cary around and most of which weigh less than the average hardback — and which can also hold hundreds and thousands of books. It’s a bookworm’s dream come true.

And yet, eBooks are far from perfect. For every beautifully detailed eBook, like those made for iBooks with iBooks Author, there’s a horribly formatted Kindle book that doesn’t do justice to any text. Or, there’s the low-quality scanned PDFs of books that you’ll find online from questionable sources, that’ll quickly convince you eBooks are a terrible idea.

But eBooks shouldn’t be a bad idea, and you shouldn’t need an interactive, multimedia eBook to make it nice. Enter Vellum.

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Reading is a topic that a lot of us get fired up about, mainly because we all do so much of it. It’s a field many of us are very experienced in. When people make decisions about buying a hardcore or a softcover book, they’re using their experience to make that choice. That’s why talking about the perfect reading experience is so tough — no two people have the same tastes.

That’s my word of warning as I enter into this: the following article, even more so than usual, is nothing more than my opinion. But let me be the one to tell you, and I hope you’ll agree, my opinion is certainly the most correct one. I’ll start by saying that the new iBooks for iOS 7 is terrible. Whereas before, choosing between iBooks and Kindle was tough, the decision just got a whole lot easier. Quite simply, I’m about to tell you why I prefer the Kindle experience over iBooks.

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It’s been nearly 4 years since Steve Jobs originally announced and demoed iBooks on the original iPad, marking Apple’s first steps into the eBook market — ones that’s cost Apple a DoJ lawsuit. iBooks is a great iOS eBook app, one backed by an extensive library of titles and great support for DRM-free ePub and PDF eBooks. The only thing that’s kept many of us from switching to iBooks for our book purchases is that there’s no way to read iBooks books on a Mac.

That ends today. With OS X Mavericks’ release, iBooks for Mac is finally a reality. It’s a best-in-class eBook app, though surprisingly is far less integrated into OS X than we would have expected.

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Amazon jumpstarted the eBook revolution with its Kindle devices and companion apps for every platform, and Apple’s kept up with the trend with its polished iBooks apps for iOS. The Mac has lagged behind mobile devices with eBooks reading, but there’s at least been the Kindle app and a number of half-way decent apps for DRM-free eBooks.

This year, though, that’s all changing. There’s the new Clearview that’s a very nice app for DRM-free eBooks, and Apple’s finally bringing iBooks to the Mac with OS X Mavericks. And for tech eBooks, the new Safari Flow web app makes it easier than ever to learn from eBooks without spending all day reading. It’s an exciting time for eBook fans.

That’s why we’re wondering how many eBooks you read per month. I tend to read at least 2 or so a month, more some months, but how about you? Leave your answer in the poll, then let us know if you’re excited about iBooks coming to the Mac this year in the comments below.

Several weeks ago, tired of waiting for iBooks for the Mac, I put together a roundup of the best eBook apps for the Mac. I tested over a dozen apps, discovered more bugs and weird rendering than I ever had in one session, and came to the conclusion that Adobe Digital Editions was the best app for reading ePub eBooks on a Mac, non-native UI aside.

Then, in the comments, Igor let me know about Clearview, an eBook reading app I’d somehow missed. Clearview, it turned out, was the missing eBook reading app for the Mac that I’d managed to not discover. Here’s why it’s the best alternate to Apple’s iBooks on the Mac today.

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If you like to read on your Mac, then Apple’s WWDC 2013 announcement of iBooks coming to the Mac with OS X Mavericks was a breath of fresh air. Macs have had a great PDF reader — Preview — built in for as long as we’ve had OS X, but for ePub eBooks, we’re left to forge for our own best reading app. There’s tons of contenders, but very, very few exceptionally good apps in the category.

Even if you have Mavericks Developer Preview today, though, you still can’t get iBooks just yet. If you want to read eBooks on your Mac today, you need another option. And if your Mac can’t run Mavericks, or you don’t want to upgrade when it comes out, you’ll still need something else then.

That’s why we’ve got though every major eBook app for the Mac, tried them out, and put together the very best for you. There’s two standout apps, that we really recommend, and then others that fill in other gaps.

Here’s to the readers!

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While it’s no secret that iBooks hasn’t been a runaway success as Apple had hoped, the company is trying their hand at revolutionizing the book industry once more -but this time they’ve shifted their efforts towards the education market. Along with the new iBooks 2, Apple introduced iBooks Author, their simplistic, yet feature-rich solution for creating textbooks, cookbooks, and just about any other kind of book, for the iPad.

In making the app both user-friendly and free, Apple is clearly striving to make publishing available “for the rest of us”. Although the app is free, many will argue that the price of staying within the Apple ecosystem is too high for the budding author. So do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Read on.

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Kindle for Mac brings your entire Kindle library to your Mac desktop. While the book purists may cringe at the idea of reading a book on your computer, having such quick and easy access to all your books (and their full text) is certainly convenient.

If you’ve ever had a free moment between tasks and regretted leaving your book or Kindle at home, Kindle for Mac solves that problem.

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Quick Look posts are paid submissions offering only a brief overview of an app. Vote in the polls below if you think this app is worth an in-depth AppStorm review!

In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting AnyBizSoft PDF to EPUB for Mac. The developer describes AnyBizSoft PDF to EPUB as an app designed to convert PDF eBooks from PDF to EPUB format on Mac OS X. EPUB (short for electronic publication) is designed for reflowable content so that the text display can be optimized for diverse devices. After PDF to EPUB conversion, Mac users can transfer EPUB eBooks to iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, etc for fantastic reading experience.

Read on for more information, screenshots and a 30% off discount from the AnyBizSoft team!

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