Those who own an iPad or iPhone have a new way to experience the pleasures of reading: eBook Treasures. Created for the British Library by new media agency Armadillo Systems, eBook Treasures aims to bring readers facsimile editions of "the greatest books in the world" now in the collections of prestigious libraries. In using the interactive format, readers will be able to explore text and hear critical commentary about or interpretations of rare and wonderful texts.
Currently, eBook Treasures offers Shakepeare's Sonnets, A Medieval Bestiary, The Bedford Hours (a medieval prayerbook), Henry VIII's Psalter, Sultan Baybars's Qur'an, William Tyndale's English translation of the New Testament, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, The Luttrell Psalter (a medieval prayerbook), William Blake's Notebook, and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Underground, in addition to Gerardus Mercator's Atlas of Europe, Jane Austen's History of England, and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Arundel. Plans are to increase the number of offerings to at least 75 titles within the next two years.
All of the books are viewable in full-screen high-definition, and can be read offline after being downloaded. All are available via iTunes. They also may be purchased directly from the eBook Treasures site.
You may search for books by institution (currently, British Library, Natural History Museum, and John Rylands Library) or by type (currently, science and nature, literature, sacred texts, and Shakespeare).
Take a look at how eBook Treasures works:
You'll find information about required devices and downloading capabilities in the FAQs on the eBook Treasures site.
Currently available eBook Treasures for Kindle, Android, and Windows tablets are found here.
An iPad app providing access to an extraordinary 19th Century collection of some 45,000 titles in the British Library is described here.
eBook Treasures on FaceBook
The Fine Books & Collections blog published earlier this month an interview with Michael Stocking of Armadillo Systems. Stocking talks about the creation of eBook Treasures, the process of selecting books to feature, upcoming launches, and plans to extend eBook Treasures to other devices.