various book apps, the good, bad, and the ugly

iOS and iPadOS

Hi, all, I just upgraded to the iPhone 6 from a 3gs that I used for several years. I have always been interested in book apps and have discovered some since upgrading to the iPhone 6. I am wanting to submit app directory entries but am still learning about these and other apps so am not quite confident enough to do this but maybe soon. I haven't tried out bookshare's app as I need to wait financially before purchasing that app; however, when I tapped related apps, I discovered that the project Gutenberg has an app and so does librivox live. I wanted to make people aware of these additions to the list of apps that are accessible and maybe we can all get on board and make other aspects of the app a bit more accessible. As far as librivox goes, it is close to fully accessible so far but I've not played any of the audio books but the download and search process seems fully accessible. The Gutenberg app has a few quirks but they are fairly easily worked around so far. Gutenberg only allows a certain amount of downloads and/or searches a day but you can download several books a day. It puts your books in a library tab and you can slide up and down the list and tap the books you want. The tabs that are not yet labeled are self explanatory even though they're not clearly labeled. The only negative thing so far is that I'm not sure how to mark your place in a text file, which is what the books possibly are; however, there may be a way I haven't discovered yet. I am impressed with the public domain books that are now available and continue to be made available to readers all over the world. I wrote this in hopes that others would explore and give their feedback on these book apps as well and hopefully we can make the developers aware of the few minor fixes that would make the apps more accessible and that there are many of us out there who download books to read on our phones and use braille displays and other technology to use books. Enjoy these apps and have a blessed day. PS: The librivox app is free and the Gutenberg only costs 99 cents.



Submitted by Jamie on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I also downloaded the learning ally app but haven't used it yet. Can you listen to books on the phone without paying for it or do you have to pay a fee? Do you just log in with your learning ally membership information and start reading? The website isn't the most accessible in the world or wasn't some time ago so I hope this has improved as I love getting books from this library. Happy reading and have a blessed day.

Submitted by brianna2393 on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Learning Ally app is free if you have a membership. The membership costs though. I personally don't like the app very much, but it is usable. You have to load the books on the bookshelf via the website, and cannot select them from the app. The app will then let you read books on your bookshelf, once you download them to the phone. THey take up a ton of space though.
I personally use the kindle app and bookshare's read to go for the majority of my reading. I love kindle and if you have kindle unlimited the books can be downloaded straight from the app. If you want books that are not offered on kindle unlimited, you get them from safari, and they are automatically put on your bookshelf. Highlighting, annotating, and many other features are accessible straight from the app. I absolutely love this app.

THe only problem I've had with read to go is that some of the books do not offer great navigation. I think it is just the way some of them were scanned in.
Ibooks is also accessible, although I do not personally think it is as user friendly as kindle.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Don't forget Voice Dream Reader as it allows access to multiple reading sites as well as allows you to add content directly from the web. Also, if you are going to purchase one, I would recommend you purchase Voice Dream over the app provided by Bookshare. It is not only cheaper but has way more functionality. Just my opinion.

Submitted by brianna2393 on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I prefer bookshare because of some of the formats. They are both great apps though, and either is very workable.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

But you can access Bookshare content through Voice Dream. I was working under the assumption you didn't know that, so if you did, I apologize in advance. :)

Submitted by Christina on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Personally, I prefer the VoiceDream app. It is cheaper and I can access BookShare books with it quite well. It also has a ton of other features for about half the price.
I have used the Kindle and Audible apps as well and find those experiences to be great too.
You can access Gutenberg through the VoiceDream app too.

Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

While Bookshare's Read2Go app supports reading DAISY books that include images, Voice Dream Reader and other apps do not. This may be the appeal of Read2Go for some users.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I have tried both Read2Go and VDR. Read2Go is much more expensive and is very limited in its features. It very rarely is updated, and some people claim that the interface is difficult to use. VDR is much more customisable; supports many more formats; has many options for people with low vision; supports many sources for books; and is half as expensive. However, I do agree that Bookshare's app is good if you need to see the images in certain Bookshare titles. I thought there was a new ap called Spotlight Text—or something like that—that was specifically designed for the needs of people with low vision.