As an avid reader I’m always excited when I come across a new app dedicated to the book enthusiast. There’s something about a good book that you just won’t get from a movie or a TV show. When you read a book you get to decide how the characters look and act; it’s not decided for you by some Hollywood director. The only limits are your own imagination. That’s why I was pretty excited when I came across iShook, an app that’s billed as “an interactive way to read books.” Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to the hype. This is a free app and it’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Reading on an iPhone or iPad is definitely different than reading a traditional paperback book. There will always be those who refuse to adopt new technology and for these people what makes a book special is the smell of the paperback pages. There’s certainly something to be said for this way of thinking, but reading a book on a smartphone or tablet has the potential to be so much more than the old fashioned way of reading. The developers of iShook have tried to create an app that takes advantage of the interactive capabilities of such devices to take reading enjoyment to another level, and while they do have some innovative ideas, there are just too many things wrong with this app to make it your go-to book reading app.
The most glaring omission from this app is the lack of access to a real bookstore. All of the books that I found within the app were from Project Gutenberg, an online resource which provides access to public domain books. These are all classic books that were generally written more than 50 years ago or more. If you’re looking for modern bestsellers, you’re not going to find them in this app. The app couldn’t even access my existing iBook collection. The other thing that bothered me about this app was that the help section simply wasn’t helpful. When you tap on help all you get is a couple of email addresses and a link to their web page which is little more than an advertising plug; there is no comprehensive user’s manual to be found anywhere. This app will require 17.9 Mb of free space on your iOS device.
How it Works
At first glance iShook seems to have a lot of promise. They have an innovative interface that presents your books on a simulated reading table next to a lamp which is a positive start. Once you’ve added a few books to the table you can simply open one by tapping on it on the table. To add a book you simply tap on the menu tab in the top left corner and then tap on store. There are a few different ways of searching such as by featured books or by author, but this is a little misleading. I’m not sure how you can really have a featured section for books that are generally more than a hundred years old, unless of course it’s for a history class.
It’s too bad the book selection is so poor because there are some promising features in this app. One feature I really liked was the ability to isolate a section of text and share it on social media. It’s great to share your favorite part of a book with those you’re close to. You can also select favorite pages, and of course bookmark your current page to come back to later. The pages turn very smoothly and the app really does work well it’s just lacking in relevant content which makes it hard to recommend this one.
Can easily share sections of text over social media
Pages can be favorited or bookmarked for later viewing
There is no modern content available in their bookstore
The help section has no manual of any kind
iShook has the potential to be a fantastic little app. It works well and has some innovative tools to make the reading experience more fun and interactive , but the total lack of any modern content makes it hard to give this one any serious consideration. Perhaps once they manage to get popular publishers and authors to use their platform it will be more worthwhile.
Cherry is a hard-working writer and an aspiring web designer who can't go a day without using her favorite apps. She's always on the lookout for new apps and enjoys discovering ones that others have overlooked.