This post started out as a quick overview of the pdf functionality in iBooks but I’ve added some extra information on how to convert your files into pdf format and at the end have added some free eBook resources.

In an effort to cut down on paper consumption I now keep a lot of documents on my iPod Touch. Especially for meetings. My format of choice tends to be pdf. I also convert web pages into pdf format for offline reading. To do that on a PC I use a small app called CutePDF Writer which converts anything you’d normally send to a printer into pdf format. Just print (Ctrl+P) in the normal way but rather than printing to your usual printer choose CutePDF Writer. You’ll then be asked to give it a file name and save it.

This functionality is built-in on a Mac. If you send anything to print  you have the option to save it as a pdf.

So for testing out the pdf functionality in iBooks, I headed over to JISC infoNet to grab one of their excellent infoKits. From their site infoKits “promote the effective strategic planning and management of information and learning technology within institutions”. Every so often my mailbox gets a little bit out of hand so I went for the Email Management infoKit. I downloaded the pdf version and emailed it to myself then opened up the email on my iPod Touch. I tapped the pdf attachment to open it then on the top right of the screen tapped Open in, then chose iBooks.

As I mentioned in the video above, if you don’t see the attachment and see a non-tappable image of the pdf instead, there’s a chance that you’ve got Stanza installed, another eBook reader. This appears to conflict with iBooks at the moment. You can read further information about this issue and how to resolve it here.

As far as pdf readers go the iBooks app offers pretty basic functionality. I tend to use ReaddleDocs for my pdfs which offers a feature called Text Reflow which repaginates the pdf making it a lot easier to read. ReadleDocs is a paid-for app and if you’re looking for a free app that does Text Reflow Goodreader lite is a good place to start.

Some free eBooks to get you started

There’s a whole wealth of free eBooks out on the web. Here some which you may find of interest.

A collection of free eLearning books (currently 28)

7 free eBooks on Social Media from makeuseof.com

11,000 free eBooks from the Book Depository. Just click on the Get Free eBook button next to the book title of your choice).