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iPhone App Review: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

iPhone App Review: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

August 4th, 2010 by

Fans of classic rock, rock memoirs, or first-person accounts of free concerts that end in a stabbing should all find something to like in Sam Cutler’s book You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

The iPhone app of the same name is basically the book made into a dedicated app. For less than the price of the paperback or Kindle versions on Amazon, you get the full text of the book plus pictures and videos (including interviews with the author himself, Sam Cutler).

Cutler is a conversational writer, and the book itself is very easy to get into. Even if you have little interest in the Stones (or the Grateful Dead, with which he also toured) you may find yourself sucked into his account of the classic rock era. He writes with a style that is unpretentious and vocal, reading on the page almost like it would be spoken from across the table at a party.

But you can find reviews of the book itself elsewhere I’m sure (and from more qualified literary critics), what I’m really here to talk about is the app itself.

The app starts simply with a quick splash screen and then the menu page. The options are simple: the book is first, as it should be, followed by videos and photos, bookmarks, a link to send an email to the developers for feedback, and a link to buy the book itself from one of several vendors.

Features

  • The book, of course
  • Several different font styles and sizes
  • Autoscroll
  • Bookmarking
  • “Night View” mode
  • “Audio” mode (someone, I presume the author, reading the book aloud along with the text)

Pros

  • The book itself is quite good, a raw look behind the scenes of the events leading up to the most infamous concert in rock history, and beyond.
  • It seems like a small thing, but having bookmarks linked directly from the menu could easily have been overlooked. Good choice.
  • Having several fonts, sizes, night view (reversed colors), and audio is good considering you would have most of those available on the Kindle version for the same price.
  • Lots of photos and videos.
  • Cheaper than the Kindle version by half!

Cons

  • When you start the book portion, and even every time you enter the settings screen, the book automatically scrolls the text for you. You must press pause each time to get it to stop. It’s irritating and unnecessary unless you’re following along with the audio track.
  • When you first start the app there is no indication that you need to tap to get past the title screen. It just sits there staring at you until you do something.
  • The buttons at the bottom menu bar when you’re in the book give no visible feedback that they’ve been pressed.
  • There is no bookmark indicator, such as on typical ebook readers. You can’t tell if the page you’re on is bookmarked without entering the bookmark list.

Overall

You Can’t Always Get What You Want is a great book on its own, packaged into a quality reading app that has a few rough edges to be hammered out. If this is a story that interests you I say save yourself the $5 and get this version over the Kindle, snagging yourself some pictures and videos in the process!

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