Favorite Things: Bookmark App

Speaking of audio books, I have been meaning to share about one of my favorite apps for my iPhone: Bookmark.

Years ago, when I got my first iPod, the main reason I decided to take the plunge was the idea that I could store multiple audio books on it and not have to drag around umpteen CDs. Since then, I have greatly expanded my use of my iPod but my main use still remains to listen to audio books. Unfortunately, the iPod does not handle audio books in the most graceful manner.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with Bookmark. For $2.99 it is well worth it if you listen to a lot of audio books and podcasts. One of the best features is what they call the “Time Ribbon.” The time ribbon allows you to easily jump forwards or backwards 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes and 30 minutes. It is very easy to operate…no more trying to gauge exactly how much you are moving some tiny scroll button like you have to with the regular iPod controls. Bookmark also has a “heads up” mode which allows you to start/pause with a swipe of a finger…perfect if you listen in the car.

The organizational features make finding and listening to a book incredibly easy. You can sort by title, author and my favorite, recent which lists the books from the most recently listened to to the least. As I mentioned in my last post, between the boys and myself we usually have about 4 or 5 audio books going at a time. Sorting by most recent means that I no longer have to scroll down a huge list of books to find the one that we want.

I have only just begun using the bookmark function…it allows you to create user defined bookmarks in the audio book so that instead of scrolling through looking for a specific chapter or part of the story, you can click on the bookmark. So far I have used this on Pride and Prejudice to bookmark some of my favorite parts and in my Pema Chodron books to highlight specific teachings that I might want to come back to. Along with the bookmark functionality there is also a notes functionality where you can type in comments.

A recent upgrade added a whole host of new functionality and improvements, including the ability to use Bookmark for podcasts. This had been something that I was going to suggest as an improvement as I listen to a lot of podcasts and appreciate being able to use Bookmark for this. It also now has a built-in sleep timer which allows you to shut off the book after a specific amount of time (perfect for listening before bedtime). I had previously been using the iPhone’s timer function to do this, however, I find it much nicer to have it incorporated into the app itself.

Bookmark is fully integrated with the iPod functionality which means that it automatically finds your audiobooks on your iPod without needing to import them. It also means that you can go back and forth between listening via Bookmark and the iPod and it will always know where you are. You do not loose your place if you do not listen via the app.

One minor complaint that I do have is that it seems a bit slower since the last upgrade. There is a bit more of a lag when loading the library when you first open the app as well as when you first start playing the book. I have also had a few times where I had trouble getting it to play (said volume was not available). So a tiny bit buggy still. During those times I either listen via the normal iPod player or I resync my library and that seems to reset it. Even with these minor glitches, I have found Bookmark to be well worth it. I am sure that these glitches will eventually be fixed as the developer seems very dedicated (the last major upgrade was a HUGE jump forward in functionality and hit on many of my “would like to see” features (adding podcasts, the built-in timer, better sorting capabilities).

Bookmark is by far the most useful app I own. I can genuinely say that it has made my audio book listening experience demonstrably easier and more enjoyable.

There are other reviews here and here. Quick note, these reviews discuss the previous version of Bookmark…all the issues mentioned have been addressed in the latest upgrade.