Review of "Nautical Books" App
Don't Buy Books with This App When You Can GetThem Free!
Sailorslike to read nautical books, so when a free app of this name is noticed,there's a moment of excitement. Read on to see why this app essentially wantsto take your money for what you can get free.
Versionreviewed: 1.0 for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad - free
No Android version
What It Does
This"free" app basically just wants to sell you books. It is nothing morethan a simple alphabetic listing of book titles (authors and other data notidentifiable until you ask for a sample of each) that you can download for$2.99 each.
It's noteven searchable.
But there's an issue here: apparently all the books are alreadyin the public domain and available free in epub and other digital versions (seebelow for how to get). This includes the "top in-app purchase" (periTunes page) of Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast and hundreds more, like Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Every one of the books I checked in the "NauticalBooks" listing was available online already from Project Gutenberg - forfree. Simply go to their website
and search the catalog, or search there for "sea" tofind lists of almost 500 nautical books (including almost all, if not all, inthe app). You can also browse the sea books by subject (such as "seafaringlife - fiction," or "sea songs," or other subjects. When youfind something of interest, click it to see many available formats, oftenincluding audio versions. Then download it directly on your device or to yourcomputer and transfer it.
I foundevidence that the "Nautical Books" app developer may have simplydownloaded the free Project Gutenberg digital versions (under a CreativeCommons license) and is selling the exact same thing.
I myselffind this rather sleazy.
BTN, theapp developer, describes the app in a way that suggests they simply programmedthe app to redistribute online content to an unsuspecting public, rather than,say, having any real feel for or appreciation of nautical literature: "Thereaders will get more knowledge about Mother Sea and wild sea animals whichneed be protected from oil spills human has caused. Especially, these nauticalbooks also supply much knowledge and experiments about cruising, chartering,sailing, sailboats."
BTN apparently has a whole series of different book "collections" ondifferent topics they sell themselves. And apparently people do buy them asin-app purchases - maybe for the convenience. Doing it once for $2.99 isn't atragedy, but you could spend a few minutes online to get a dozen or more of thesame, and the savings will add up quick!Since these are older, public-domain titles, you won'treally see many contemporary books or information about sailing. For this, takea look instead at the Boater's PocketReference appor the History of Sailingapp