With iBooks on your iPhone or iPad (or iPad mini, my favorite reading device), you can download electronic books from the convenient privacy of your very own iOS device. You never need to enter a bookstore again (sorry, Barnes & Noble!), making purchases of guilty pleasures and important intellectual tomes equally simple.
A real bookstore, though, lets you browse through the books before you buy them. Heck, you can pick one off the shelf, riffle through the pages, and even (gasp!) read some of it without paying for the book. iBooks has a way to allow you to see inside a book before purchasing it, as well, and I can’t believe I keep forgetting that the feature is there.
If you’re like me, and constantly forget about sample iBooks, here’s your reminder.
When you’re looking at your iBooks Library shelves, tap on the Store button in the upper left corner of the screen (on the iPad–the iPhone Store button is in the upper right hand corner, go figure). This will take you to the wonderful world of the iBooks store, which is like iTunes or the App Store for books.
Now, via a combination of searching and/or browsing, find a book you want to read a bit of before you commit to the purchase. Tap on the cover of the book there in the iBooks store, and it will pop up a detail page. Right next to the button with the price on it? That’s where you’ll find the Sample button in all its ALL-CAPS glory: SAMPLE.
Tap that button and a lovely little sample will download to your iPhone or iPad, ready for you to look through. It will even have a cute little red Sample sash diagonally across the right top corner of the book cover on your iBooks shelf, so you can be sure not to mistake it for a full length book. Whew.
Tap the cover to read the sample iBook as you would any other title in your collection. You’ll get a nice bit of the whole thing: the sample I downloaded of Iain M. Banks’ science fiction novel, Matter, came through with a full 76 pages.