Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of books; I typically read ten at a time, which, as you can imagine, gets cumbersome. When digital books first hit the scene my reaction was iffy; being a writer, I knew the dangers of digital media - my own book had been stolen more times than it had been purchased. That being said, the first time I laid my hands on an e-reader and "flipped" through my first few pages, I was hooked. No more complaining that I had too many books. No more losing one of the ten I had constantly in rotation because the cleaning lady hates me. Now I could keep them - and many more - all in one neat place.
If you have read my articles before, then you will know that I am also a huge fan of the book repository, Safari Books Online. So when I heard that the company had launched their own iPad app, it seemed the perfect marriage. Naturally I had to check it for myself and that is exactly what I did.
Known as SafaritoGo, the iPad app let's any user with a Safari Books Online account access every book in the Safari Books Online library. Users can also view videos and shortcuts (think articles), just as they could if they were sitting in front of their computer.
All of the standard Safari Books Online features are available; you can search books and videos for a given topic, create a bookmark as you read (in case you want to revisit a particular section at a later date), create personal folders, and more.
On top of the standard features, SafaritoGo has two other cool features I really enjoy and I feel takes the app to the next level. First is the Offline Bookbag, which let's you store a book for reading when you have no internet connection or are offline. This is great when you are on vacation or traveling and have limited connectivity.
The second feature is known as the Last Viewed button, which let's you go to the last page you were reading prior to closing the app - whether intentional or not. Great under normal circumstances, even better when you forget to charge your iPad and it powers down.
Finally, the app is pretty small (1.1MB) and comes at a price you can't beat: Free. Add to that the special promotion Safari Books Online is running for Developer Shed readers(10 days free + 30% off a Safari Library Subscription) and you have nothing to lose.
Don't have an iPad? You can also check out Safari Books Online mobile (m.safaribooksonline.com) geared towards users with the following mobile devices:
• Palm Pre • iPhone • Blackberry • Phones that support the Opera Mini browser 5.1 and Internet Explorer Mobile 6+
I've personally worked with the iPhone and Blackberry versions and can attest to the ease of use and power of their mobile site. It has saved me a lot of frustration when I'm on the road and get asked a technical question.
In addition to the iPad and the mobile phones listed above, you can also view the mobile site on the following eReaders and tablets:
• Kindle 2, 3, and DX • Nook and Nook Color • Dell Streak
You'll have access to many of the same features as you do on your desktop, including the ability to browse categories, conduct searches, read books, make notes and bookmarks, and much more. For a full list of features, drop by: