ipoe collectionRemember how I said I didn’t much like enhanced ebooks? I might have to change my opinion if more publishers offered books like the iPoe Collection. I confess to being dubious when the developers offered me a free review copy, but then I started reading, and I was completely entranced.

We’ll start with the downside. These are ebooks done as apps, so, no, you’re not going to be able to read them in your ereading device of choice, unless that device happens to be an iPad or iPhone. Each app (currently 3) cost between $3.99 and $4.99, and you only get a few short stories and poems by Edgar Allen Poe in each app.

They sent me iPoe 3 to test, and it had “Eldorado,” “The Cask of Amontillado” (one of my least favorite Poe stories), “Alone” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (one of my favorites). I started with “Eldorado” to see how it worked and then jumped to M. Valdemar.

It took me a few minutes to figure out which pages and elements to interact with, but once I got the idea, it was fairly intuitive. Here’s an example which lends itself well to a screen shot. You tap the letter and it opens.

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Many of the panels had significantly more animation and sound effects, some quite dramatic. (Wait until you see M. Valdemar go into his full mesmeric state.)

The music was suitably eerie and added to the effect of the stories. There is a feature in this app to “Poe” yourself, but, no, I’m not sharing. I don’t “Poe” well at all!

For the money, I think I would like more than 30 minutes or so of thrills, but it was the most enjoyable enhanced ebook experience I’ve ever had. I’ve seldom been more mesmerized or had so much fun with a book. It reminded me of the interactive books my son had on our computer when he was a toddler, but with more screams and spookier music.

Check out the trailer video to get more of a feel for the app. I like to think Poe would have approved.


  1. Like a lot of things, use enhanced books in moderation.

    Just before The Lord of the Rings movies were released, I tried to get friends who’d not read the books to read them first. “Once you’ve seen the movies, their characters and scenes will be forever etched on your minds.” I said. “This is your last chance to imagine them for yourself.”

    I don’t know if I persuaded anyone. Some people simply don’t read long books and LOTR certainly is long. But it is true that visuals done by others will override your own imagination. Do that enough, and your ability to imagine tales for yourself withers. You become the imagination equivalent of couch potatoes, forever in need of assistance.

    While children’s story books need to start with lots of pictures, over time parents should encourage them to read books with few or no pictures. If they don’t, the world of unillustrated books will be forever off limits to them. And it’s my belief that an ability to imagine events as your read them strengthens your imagination in a host of other areas.

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