iOS 8 wants: Comic book reading mode for iBooks

Okay, technically this is an iBooks wish rather than an iOS 8 wish but what better time to ask for something as amazing demonstrable as a comic book reading mode than when Apple's about to kick off their first Keynote of the year? And given the recent sale of comiXology to Amazon and the subsequent removal of IAP from the Comics app, when better for Apple to give their own comic book reading experience some attention?

Right now you can buy comic books and collected editions right inside iBooks, right from the iBook Store. That's something you could never do from Amazon's Kindle app, and something you can no longer do from comiXology. It's a huge advantage for Apple and for the direct sales divisions at Marvel, DC, and other publishers. However, iBooks doesn't offer a comic-specific reading mode. Like Kindle, they open what's essentially a static page and let you pan, scan, and zoom your way through it. It's okay if you're on a large screen like the iPad Air and reading a recent, super-decompresed style comic with huge panels and few words.

Try to read anything dense, either in panel grid or word balloon, and you're left to gesture like your falling from a building and your web shooter just ran out. And that's a stark contrast to the magic comiXology's engine pulls off.

I realize building a great user interaction model for comic book reading is non trivial, and no doubt getting all the existing material into a format — and dealing with the publishers involved — makes non trivial look downright easy peasy, but wouldn't it be fantastic?

Anyone and everyone alienated by the changes to comiXology could just switch over to iBooks.

Of course, the cherry on any WWDC iBooks announcement would be a new, update version of iBooks Author that includes support for the iPhone. That and, you know, enabling all of iTunes, including iBooks and the App Store, to support international gifting. I can gift stuff from Amazon Canada to my U.S. friends, but not iTunes, and that makes all of us sad.

What? That's why they call it wishing, right?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.