iBooks is a stylish, crisp-looking, colorful e-book reader and storefront that runs on Apple's iOS devices. The latest version of the software includes support for textbooks, a new addition to the iBookstore for students.
As with other e-book readers, iBooks responds to the device's accelerometer and switches between landscape and portrait modes. Its controls disappear when unused, and a swipe (or tap on the left or right side of the screen) will cause the pages to turn. iBooks' page-turning is smooth and engaging, with page corners digitally curling toward you as you advance, but this behavior is only a minor cosmetic difference between what you'll find in other digital readers. iBooks also includes a progress bar to show how far you are along in a book, and you're able to change the reader's font size.
Also like other e-readers, you can add bookmarks, define individual words, do quick Web lookups, and add notes. You also can underline words, sentences, and paragraphs for later viewing. All five major book publishers stock iBooks' digital shelves (Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, MacMillan, and Hachette), which makes the content stack up against competing apps and electronic bookstores.
iBooks 2 added support for textbooks and gave students the ability to purchase and download course textbooks that are supported. Newer features launched alongside the new iPad give users the ability to highlight text in a number of colors with the swipe of a finger. The interactive media and features for textbooks will definitely be useful to students. It's hard to say how many schools will adopt all iPad textbooks because of price limitations, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out as we get closer to the new school year.