We were recently offered the chance to review Credit Secrets Investigated, an ebook by Tony D’Andrea published for the iPhone by AppEngine. You may have noticed, that we don’t do too many book reviews around here. However, there’s been a lot of talks recently about reading on the iPhone — especially after the “there’s an app for that” commercials started highlighting apps like Classics, closely followed by the release of Stanza. So, AppCraver is going to look at a few ebooks. To be clear, we’re not going to do too much in the way of judging the content. There are shelves and shelves of books, but there are fewer book publishing companies for the iPhone. Each company has its own unique reading program. So, we will focus more on the software behind the app.

Credit Secrets Investigated is one of 150 books released by AppEngines for reading on the iPhone or iPod touch. AppEngine has a pretty good system for mobile reading. It’s not as easy on the eyes as the Classics app, but I found it much more pleasurable than reading in Stanza which tends to have the text squished together.
Like other e-reading apps, users can tap or swipe to move to the next page or pinch to zoom in and out.

AppEngine also includes a search feature. This is especially handy in a book like Credit Secrets Investigated because you can search for terms like bankruptcy, or credit report and then scroll through the pages to find the highlighted terms. I wish that results could be returned more like an index with hotlinks to the search term because browsing for a word like “credit” in several hundred-page books can take a while. Still, it’s a nice feature to have available.

AppEngines’ e-reader offers quick access to navigation and options by tapping at the top of the screen. A quick tap gives readers access to chapter listings and the search function, as well as a light/dark toggle that inverses the screen color from black text on a white page to white text on a black page. Experts will tell you that light text on a dark background is harder on your eyes, but there are some situations where it is easier, it’s nice that AppEngine’s let me choose. Overall, I still prefer reading on the soft cream background of Classics and would love to see this added to the options menu.

When it comes to mobile reading AppEngines has done a more than decent job of creating software that will make the process enjoyable for the majority of folks that choose to do their reading on a tiny screen. I still think many ebook publishers have some growing to do before I’m ready to stop buying paper books, though.

Credit Secrets Investigated is a good candidate for this type of reading. The search feature and ability to skip around at the tap of a chapter are ideally suited for ebooks that attempt to educate the reader. Whether readers will find the information useful is less clear. Thankfully, the author has provided a sample chapter for download. (Warning: email sign-up required.) You can read it first and buy it later. If the information suits you, the iPhone reader from AppEngine is a good way to browse the content.
If you decide to buy the book, be sure to check out the helpful how-to for AppEngine’s electronic book reader.

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