Take a look at iBooks reading options on the iPad. WIth iBooks 3 you can change the font, font size, background style and even switch to a continuous scrolling mode. Each style has its merits depending on what you like, the size of your iPad and whether you are holding it horizontally or vertically. But textbooks and PDFs will not give you as many options.



Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at different fonts and theme adjustments that you can make in iBooks.

So here we are in iBooks on my iPad Mini. Now if you go into a book, a regular book not a textbook, you have various different options for reading text. You can see here the default. The text here is rather small and you can see there is a little bit of a theme. You can look around the edges and you can see it looks like you are looking at pages in a book. The background isn’t pure white either. It is just kind of off white like pages in a book.

You can adjust all of this stuff by tapping on those two letter aA’s at the top of the screen. Here you have a bunch of different adjustments. Of course you’ve got your brightness adjustment. You are not going to see that here on my screen shot. But more importantly you’ve got the font size adjustment.

Now before I change the font size look at the bottom of the screen. You can see I’m looking at page 10 of 180. Watch what happens when I increase the font size. You can see now I’m looking at page 10 of 209. What will happen is that the page count will recalculate each time I do this. If I go to a font size that I have not tried before you can see that it doesn’t appear right away at the bottom. It actually has to recalculate itself. You can see it doing it there at the bottom. Now it is page 10 out of 252. So I’m going to shrink it back down here to that size. So you can adjust the size to get something that is comfortable for you to read. For instance I find on my iPad Mini I want to make it a little larger than I do on my standard size iPad.

Now the next thing we can do is we can go to fonts. Here you have several choices of fonts. These are all very nice fonts to read. I have trouble choosing between them because I find them all pretty good. So you have the original set there but you can go through all the different ones and see how each one of these looks. Some of them are a little bit smaller and can fit more words on the screen thus the page count at the bottom of the screen is going to recalculate when you use them just like it does when you change the size. Let’s go back to original there.

Now let’s get into some new stuff. If you go to themes there, this is different now in the latest version of iBooks that just came out and this is with iOS 6 and the latest version of iBooks, iBooks 3, you get some different options.

So the first thing you get are three different color type options. So you get white, sepia, and night. So sepia gives you a slightly color there for the background. Maybe a bit easier on the eyes. Also night kind of reverses the entire thing. This is great for reading in the dark because with this you kind of have this bright light shining in your face. This will make the room a little darker and will make it easier to read and could be easier on your spouse lying next to you at night too. You’ve got those options.

In addition you’ve got three options for kind of styles. The book option is the one we have been looking at where you see the edges of the book around the edges of the screen. But you can go to full screen and it gets rid of that. It is just a white screen. So a lot of people may like this a little bit better and it works with the different color themes there as well. So there really is not much of an advantage to having it set to book over full screen. You can see that it does fit more on the screen if you switch to full screen and you just get a little less of the style there.

Now what’s very new is this scrolling feature. So you go to scroll and now you aren’t using pages at all. You actually are scrolling up and down through the text. You can see the dots are on the right side of the screen rather than at the bottom. It still gives you a page count at the bottom so you have kind of an idea of your progress in the box. But it is a continuous scroll through the entire book. Which has its advantages and disadvantages.

I know for me the big advantage to having it go by page is the sense of progress. As you flip through the pages you get the sense that you are moving forward in the book and also you are kind of reaching the end of a reading session. You get the sense that, well let me just go to the end of this page and the next page and then I’ll stop. With scrolling it is just kind of endless. Now some people may like that, like one over the other and other people may prefer the old fashion page method.

Now a lot of this is going to change too when I flip the orientation. Notice now I have 289 pages because each of the half pages on the screen horizontally are smaller but I have all the same basic options. If I go to themes here, I’m on full screen here, I can go to book and I can also go to scroll. Scrolling can be really wide. On an iPad Mini it’s not too bad but on a full size iPad reading across the screen like that is a little much. So you’ve got all the basic same options here in horizontal mode.

The interesting thing is in textbooks it is different because textbooks are created in iBooks Author and there are tons of options. The creator of a textbook can actually change what appears. So here I’ve got no control of the fonts, no control of the style because I’m not using a certain style here. You can see it is taking me full screen. So I can change the brightness, that’s about it. In fact if I switch to the vertical mode you can see that it is set in scrolling in this particular book and actually I do have controls now vertically to change the font size. So sometimes it depends whether you are horizontal or vertical if you are in a textbook.

Furthermore if you are dealing with pdf’s, which you are going to read in iBooks as well, then you are not going to have those options. You can see I have the brightness option but of course I’m not going to be able to change the fonts and sizes and style of a pdf because that is all set in design by the creator.

So here is a look at what you can and can’t do in iBooks in as far as changing the style of the text that you are reading. Of course some of the stuff is new like the scrolling and the plain background and in the future we may find that there are even more options, more fonts, maybe more colors from Apple. So always keep checking whenever you see an iBooks update.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.


6 Responses to “MacMost Now 787: iBooks Reading Options”

  1. Kendall says:

    Is there an option to use a finger gesture to turn the page but have it actually look like a page is turning? I know my calendar simulates the page turn when I swipe to switch to a different month but I didn’t see that option for iBooks.

    • Yes, that’s the default in fact. If you are using the Book or Full Screen theme (not Scrolling) then just drag from the right side of the screen to the left side to have the page turn. It does this for standard ePub books (like novels, etc). But text books will behave as the author intended, with sliding or scrolling, etc.

  2. Kendall says:

    I just realized I was viewing a PDF and not a book. PDF’s slide from page to page. Books simulate a page turn.

  3. Marcia says:

    Why can’t I read my iBooks on my MacBook Air or on my iMac?

    • You need the iBooks app to read books bought in the iBookstore. It is only for iOS, not for Macs. No idea if Apple is planning to do it for Macs in the future.

  4. Joseph Allen says:

    I have an iMac and use Kindle for books, but I’m an Apple-bigot and would prefer to use a version of iBook written for the iMac … ((<: }

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