I might have my issued with Barnes & Noble corporate but every so often their engineers make me sit up and take notice. There is a new update for the iPad app which quietly makes it more competitive against the many other Epub readers on the market.
My first favorite new feature has actually been there for a while (I can see it mentioned in Google searches), but I just noticed it today. While lots of apps like Aldiko, eReader, and Stanza offer many font, margin, and justification options, the Nook app offers those formatting options as well as several stock themes with specific colors for text, background, links, and highlights.
You also get to create your own themes by choosing a set of colors for those 4 options:
What can I say, it’s pretty. When given the option I am an exceptionally picky reader, and that’s half the reason I stick with Aldiko on Android. But now that I know about an iOS option I won’t be quite so resistant to switching over.
Some of the real improvements today include better support for sideloaded ebooks. If you download a DRM free ePub to your iPad you will usually be prompted to open it with one of several apps. The Nook app didn’t used to show up in that list (not for me, anyway), which obviously resulted in me not using it. Now that I can actually use B&N’s apps to open the Epub and make it look the way I want that might change.
The app also now boasts a more complete dictionary. As some users have noted, the Nook app sometimes can’t find definitions for common words. Now that should change. The change list also mentions more font and margin options, though the app offers so many now that I’m not sure I could tell any was added.
But the one feature that most interests me is new support for PagePerfect/PDF. As funny sounding as that is, it’s not just another name for PDF support, nor is it B&N’s fixed layout format or the Epub3 fixed layout (which came later), but that’s about all I know at the moment.
From what I can tell B&N has introduced another PDF-like format into the ebook market, and it dates back to late October 2011 (when it shipped with the then new Nook Tablet).
And don’t you find that detail to be rather curious? B&N had a fixed layout. They also had the option of selling PDFs. And yet they chose to do much the same as Amazon and come up with their own incompatible PDF format.
I wonder why they did that? I mean, I know Amazon developed the PDF like Kindle Print Ready format; they didn’t have PDFs so they wrappe d their DRM around the existing PDF files. But B&N had PDFs as well as other options. So there really wasn’t much reason to release PagePerfect – not at first glance, anyway.
It bears further investigation.