Available as a free iPad app [iTunes link], as well as a free desktop app, Copia is accessible at home, on the go, and gives you a way not only to download and read eBooks, but allows you to also catalog your actual library of books. While Copia’s library is significantly smaller than its competitors, its social network features make it an interesting option to keep in mind as its virtual library grows.
Signing up for a free account will get you 7 free books to get started reading books on the iPad. The 7 free titles include E.M Forster’s A Passage to India, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. To download a book, Copia will redirect you to their website where you can choose from their selection of books and get reading. In order to read books purchased from Copia, you have to sign up for a free Adobe account to access the content, which can easily be done from here.
Your library can be displayed either as a mosaic, as a list:
Or as a grid:
Even if books are not available to download as eBooks for Copia, you will find that titles are catalogued anyway, allowing you to add it to your library as books that you have already read or want to read.
In this sense, Copia becomes a little bit more like GoodReads, where you can still add books to your library, and show off just how well-read you are. It is also accompanied by a community rating and value, which we assume is determined by the number of users who have catalogued and rated the title.
To rate a book, you can only do so from the website itself, rather than on the iPad app or desktop application. From there you can also share the title through Facebook, add a review, start a discussion or even check out the Google Books preview, if available.
You can start or join groups, with existing groups including Books For Geeks, Armchair Journeys and groups for fans of specific authors from Douglas Adams to Shakespeare.
You can use these groups to share thoughts and start discussions about the books you are reading, and it can also serve as the motivation that you need to finish the book that you’ve started. Copia introduces a unique opportunity to start a reading club, whether locally with your friends, or even with a group of people from all over the world.
When it comes to reading the book itself, rather than using the same page flipping method as Kindle and iBooks, you have to scroll the page up and down to navigate. The app supports landscape and portrait mode.
You can create notes for specific pages, that will be visible on the Copia website, by clicking the pushpin icon.
This can also be done for specific passages, by highlighting the passage and clicking the highlight icon. That said, to highlighted the desired passage is anything but user-friendly, particularly in landscape mode. When in portrait mode it’s a bit easier to get the exact passage you’re going for.
All of your notes can be accessed from the Notebook tab, regardless of which eReader you are using.
download for Mac and PC users, giving you the added feature of importing PDF files from your computer to read on the go, once you sync your device. Windows 7 and Android apps are in the making. Using your free Copia account makes it easy to sync all of your titles on your devices, so that not only will you have access to the same titles, but you will also be able to access your bookmarks and annotations.
Copia is not without its kinks. The interface can sometimes be less than user-friendly, and the swiping method used to get from page to page is not very intuitive, especially if you have become accustomed to the Kindle or iBooks apps. However, if they continue to add more titles to their library, it could easily become an ideal way to take book clubs into the virtual world.
What is your favourite way to read eBooks? Let us know in the comments.