You may have been following myself, @tomtivnan, and intrepid Bookseller senior reporter Graeme Neill's (@gnei11) attempts to buy an iPad this morning on #bookselleriQueue. I, alas, didn't manage to snag one, but Graeme at the Apple store in Westfield did, and has brought it into Bookseller Towers.
I've managed to have a play around, and my first thought on iBooks: yeah, this is the real deal. Miles ahead of the Sony Reader, Kindle or any other e-reader on the market. I have been reading e-books on the iPhone, but the far bigger size of the screen adds a new dimension. The 'flip' page technology is smooth and comes as close to a real book experience as you are likely to get digitally. After having a look at this, I can't really see anyone ever wanting a monochrome e-reader.
The screen is crystal clear, and reading the pages is easy on the eyes. It's the little things that help. One of the things I dislike about e-books on the iPhone or other e-readers is that you can't really 'feel' how far along you are in a print book—I like to flip a book around, figure out how many pages are left in a chapter before I have to make a cup of tea. On iBooks on the bottom right hand corner it says "you have X pages left in this chapter". Downloading books is quick and easy. Books out in HB are generally priced around £11.99, those out as frontlist PBs about £5.40 - £6.99.
No, I probably won't bring it to the beach, or in the bath. And it is big. With it in your hands, you feel like one of the Borrowers holding an iPhone. I imagine it is unsuitable for digital books that require some mobility—I can't imagine, say, trying to use it on a walking tour of Rome with a travel app.
Still, quibbles. This may be the first flush of excitement post-launch, but it's brilliant.