Modernist Cuisine at Home has finally been release in an e-book edition! It is published by Inkling in two editions - a standalone iOS app, and through their new Inkling eBook reader.
Yes, I know, yet another format. I've already got Kindle books, iBooks books, Nook books, and I think I have a Kobo book floating around somewhere. Now I need Inkling books?
But...I can see why the Modernist Cuisine people went with Inkling. The book is gorgeous. It maintains the formatting of the print version, and the stunning photographs jump off the page, particularly on the high resolution screen of a retina iPad.
The ebook edition has the additional features I expect from e-books; search for text, and an integrated notebook so I can add my own notes. It also includes cookbook specific features, like recipe scaling - the recipe serves four, but you're serving seven? You can increase the servings, and the quantities in the recipe change. Then the next feature comes into play - you can save the recipe to the shopping list; pick a few recipes, add them to the shopping list, and you're ready for the store. The book also includes multimedia - videos of techniques in MC@H. This shouldn't be that out of the ordinary, but it feels like multimedia in e-books hasn't really started happening yet, and they make good use of it here.
The interface for the books confused me at first. Inkling uses a "a chapter is a card" metaphor. To switch between chapters, swipe left and right; to read a chapter, scroll up from the bottom (and wait for it to load each section within a chapter as another "card".) I'm used to e-books scrolling right to left, like physical books, so I kept trying to change pages by swiping left, when I should have been scrolling down. I'm sure once I get used to the navigation it will be OK. After all, it's how most webpages work...including the one you're reading right now. But I'm still adapting to it - sometimes I feel like I'm swiping in different directions at random, hoping the book will go where I want it to.
The other downside is: this book is expensive, particularly for an eBook. The paper version costs $120; the digital edition is $79.99. Yes, you get the entire MC@H, with all the digital advantages...but I already own the book, and I can't bring myself to pay another $80 just for the digital edition.
I'm an e-book fan, though, and I love the idea of carrying Modernist Cuisine at Home around in my pocket - the paper version weighs 11 pounds. But the paper version also has the gorgeous, 11 by 16 printed photos. It's a tough choice. If you're the kind of person who wants a copy of MC@H, I think you'll be happy with either edition, eBook or hardback.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Anne: If you're a registered owner of MC@H, you can get the ebook for 50% off...through January 15, 2014. That's right, it's tomorrow. You should have received an email on how to order it (I didn't), or try emailing [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Good luck, and let me know if anyone gets the book at a discount.
One other advantage to the Inkling eBook version - once you've purchased it, it's stored in your Inkling library, and you can read it through your web browser if you don't have access to your iDevice.
Now, about the iPad app version? I don't know why anyone would buy it. It's exactly the same as the Inkling reader version - but it runs as a standalone app. It doesn't get loaded into your Inkling library, so you can't view the web version, or download it in the reader on another device - you have to re-install the app. Absolutely positive you'll never buy another book from Inkling? Love Modernist Cuisine at Home so much you want it as an icon on your home screen? Ok, then get the iPad app. I won't judge.
Not sure if you want to drop $80 on MC@H yet? Try before you buy. Download sample chapters from Inkling or get the free Lite version of the app from the Apple App Store.
Modernist Cuisine at Home - editions
Modernist Cuisine @ Home eBook at Inkling
Modernist Cuisine @ Home standalone app at Apple App Store
Modernist Cuisine @ Home - Hardbound edition at Amazon
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