By Harry McCracken | Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 5:02 pm
I’m pleased–but not surprised–to report a happy ending to the tale of Eucalyptus, the iPhone e-reader that had been rejected from the iPhone App Store on the grounds that it could be used to download and read the Kama Sutra. Today, developer Jamie Montgomerie got a call from an Apple representative, and all was resolved. An uncensored version of Eucalyptus is now available from the App Store. (I won’t say anything snarky about Apple here–if you’ve made a mistake, it’s far better to correct it than to dig in your heels.) The iPhone already had an embarrassment of e-reader riches, but Eucalyptus is a welcome addition, with one of the prettiest, most functional user interfaces to date on any iPhone app.
Eucalyptus competes neck-and-neck with Classics (and handily beats Amazon’s Kindle for the iPhone and Stanza) for the handsomest e-book interface on the iPhone, with crisp, hyphenated type that’s very easy on the eyes. (You can change the type size by pinching and stretching, something I haven’t seen in another iPhone book reader.)
Like Classics, it has fancy animated page turns:
Classics limits you to selected public-domain books, but Euclyptus offers all of Project Gutenberg’s riches, with both a well-done search interface…
…and bookstore-like “picks…”
And yup, the Kama Sutra is available.
Like all the best iPhone applications–all the best applications period, really–Eucalyptus is both useful and fun to use. My only gripes are that you’ve got to swipe to turn pages–it’s easier on the thunb than with the original version of Amazon’s Kindle app, but I’d still prefer to simply tap–and that if there’s a way to create bookmarks (other than for your current location, of course), I can’t find it. I’ve heard some grousing about the app’s $9.99 price, but I hope that the app thrives at that price: I want the world’s best developers to see enough profit in the iPhone platform to spend the time it takes to build the world’s best applications. And how can the equivalent of a library of 20,000 beautiful books you can slip into your pocket not be worth ten dollars?