Meet Addr, a brand new iPad app to read your ePub ebooks. In some way, Addr is very reminiscent of Readmill’s now defunct ebook reader. It’s all about importing your DRM-free ebooks and adding a social layer to take annotations and share them with your friends.
But the comparison stops there as Addr is a very different take when it comes to design. First, the app goes a bit further than the traditional highlighting system. When you are reading a book, you just drag your finger in the margin to select a block of text and add your notes in the margin.
While it sounds like a gimmicky feature, it makes sense when you go back to your previous annotations. You will see them right next to your text in the margin. You won’t have to tap on a button or a sentence to open an impractical and ugly popover. And of course, you can share these annotations with your friends even if they are not using Addr.
The second interesting feature is the minimap view. If you want to get a sense of where you are in your chapter, you can see a column of your current chapter in one gesture. It looks like the minimap in Sublime Text, and makes a lot of sense for people who read long form articles on the web. Even though reading a book is very different, seeing a sort of improved scrollbar gives a good sense of your position and the length of your content.
“No other ebook reader (abandoned or not) provides this kind of experience,” co-founder Simon Guigue told me. “This experience goes even beyond the experience of traditional books as you can only know the number of pages left in the paper book.”
Addr’s current version is an interesting reader. But there is still a long road ahead to make it indispensable, like an iPhone version of the app and more customization features. It’s a promising start and could turn into an interesting tool for heavy readers who rely a lot on annotations. Now, it remains to be confirmed whether there is room for an ePub reader that doesn’t come with an ebook store.