Next Read, revisited
Charity may be a virtue, but wanton praise borders on sin. I liked Next Read ( ), but I didn’t love it. In particular, I had quibbles with certain cumbersome and counterintuitive aspects of the app.
Unfortunately, my review of the book-tracking app for the iPhone and iPod touch appeared the morning of a major update. The good news is, the updated app is much better than the app I reviewed. So in the interest of fairness, I’m revising and extending my earlier remarks.
I didn’t like that Next Read wouldn’t let users swipe and delete items from their book lists. You had to “zero out” a title by changing its numerical rank, which was clunky and silly. The new version remedies that problem. You can swipe and delete everything.
Next Read’s cumbersome rating system bugged me even more. “The trouble with Next Read is its confusing and inscrutable rating system,” I wrote. “Next Read wants you to rank your books. That’s fine. Setting priorities is generally a good thing. But the ranking system makes no sense.”
Square Wheel Software’s Mike Ostman helpfully pointed out that you can simply delete all of the sources and their associated rankings. “If you go and delete every source (or all but one), Next Read will then allow you to simply add books to the suggested list without having to pick a source,” Ostman wrote in an e-mail. “This makes the scoring system optional.”
Indeed, it does! And since you can swipe and delete the sources, the task is supremely easy. I would only note that if your list did have numerical ranks, the books retain the ranks even after you delete the sources. But that’s a minor quibble.
If I merely “liked” Next Read before, I love the update. Bibliophiles will find much to love, too.
Next Read is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.2 software update.
[Ben Boychuk is a freelance writer and columnist in Rialto, Calif. Feel free to e-mail him.]