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One of the coolest uses of the iPhone is the fact that the internet is always on, and when you are out trying to make a purchasing decision, you can turn to your iPhone for advice. Buying books is one situation where you will seek the opinions of others before you take the plunge. After all, reading a book can be a serious time commitment, and you want to make sure it is good before you dig in and start reading.
All that said; searching the web would lead you all over the place. It is much easier to have applications dedicated to book reviews, this way you do not waste time with all that other stuff. That is where these applications come in.
They are dedicated to book reviews and nothing else. They will always be on your phone, ready to lend you buying advice before you throw down your hard earned money for the next great read. Best of all, they are all free!
Goodreads is an awesome application for getting book reviews and recommendations. Average people, not haughty book reviewers, leave the reviews. Let’s be honest, most book reviewers don’t look favorably on popular fiction, and even if you enjoy reading it, you may find it hard to find a professional review that isn’t biased.
You can explore books based on genre. This is great if you know a genre that interests you but aren’t sure of a particular book. You can also view the most popular books overall, so you can get a feel for what the community as a whole is enjoying.
In addition to book reviews, Goodreads has their bookshelves, where users can keep track of the things they have read. This feature is available on the iPhone application and their website. You need to create an account to use this feature, and registering for an account takes only a couple of minutes. You can view the books on your virtual bookshelf as well as add new one right from the app. You can add a book under the each books page, or use the apps built-in bar code scanner.
BookYap is similar to Goodreads, but it lacks the bookshelf. Their recommendation engine is very good though. The top of the browse screen says “Find a book fit for a…” and shows a whole bunch of types of people. Some examples are a CEO, an alpha male, a wizard and a foodie. There are many more categories, and this is a cool way to narrow down the millions of books out there and find some that fits in with what you are in to.
Once you are in a type of book, you can click the filter button on the top right of the screen and trim the results even more. There are keywords that you can remove, as well as deciding if you want fiction or non-fiction and a slew of other parameters.
Once you find a book that interests you, click on it and you will be able to see what other BookYap users are saying about it. You can sort the reviews either by newest, oldest or most helpful.
Amazon may be the online giant that sells everything under the sun, but they started as an online bookstore, and the fact is, they still are one of the best booksellers in the world. If you browse and buy many of your books on Amazon, it gains an insight into what you like, and it will show you books that suit you.
Even if you don’t buy your books on Amazon, you can still use the mobile application’s search function to read the thousands of user reviews left on there, and find a description and plot synapses. In addition, you can use the Amazon Kindle Store to order a free sample of any book and read it right on the Kindle iPhone app.
Because Amazon is a retailer, when you read the reviews and see something you like, you can easily purchase it right from your iPhone.
With these three iPhone applications, you will be ready to head to the bookstore and decide which books are best for you. Before you commit hours to reading a book, make sure to find out if it’s worth your time. These apps will do exactly that!
Have you found some great books through these applications? Let us know in the comments!