August 22, 2012
The Bluebook: There's an eReader app developer selling that
Bob Ambrogi reports that the first moble editon of The Bluebook has been launched for the iPhone and iPad using Ready Reference Apps' rulebook as its platform. While the rulebook app is a free download, the content is not. The Bluebook via Ready Reference Apps costs $39.99 or a one-year online subscription costs $32. Bulk licensing discounts are available. Bob notes that the print edition of The Bluebook costs $34. There is also an online web-based subscription service not produced by the app developer for the The Bluebook.
Ready Reference Apps also sells the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence priced at $1.99 each for it's rulebook platform. Bob notes that today (August 22) and only today the federal rules but not the The Bluebook will be available for free to all rulebook app users.
For more on rulebook's functionality, see Bob Ambrogi's LawSites post. Bob does not indicate plus I have my doubts that Ready Reference Apps has an exclusive license to be the sole provider of a moble edition of The Bluebook. [JH]
I disagree with Theo's snark. I also bought the app and I like it. I use the print Bluebook at my desk a lot, but since it's 512 pp. and 1 lb. 5 oz., I don't usually take it with me--and yet I write and edit at home and in coffee shops a fair amount. Having the Bluebook on my iPad will be useful to me.
I don't find the interface difficult to navigate. If I know the rule I'm looking for, I can go directly to it. If not, I can use the index, which links to rules, or I can search.
I was disappointed that I wasn't able to turn pages by swiping a finger across the iPad screen, so I wrote to the developer (Greg Hoole is President of the company). He said that swiping works IF you swipe over text, but not if you swipe over white space. He hopes to fix it so any swiping will work. This is a quirk, but once I learned it, I was happier about scrolling.
Greg also tells me that they are working on a new release that will improve searching. A problem we've corresponded about is that anything formatted in a table (that includes all the examples!) can't be searched. They're working on it.
I have found that writing to developers with gripes or suggestions can often improve a product, whether it's a jumbo company (Westlaw), a medium company (HeinOnline), or a little app developer (rulebook). Of course there are times a product is such a mess it doesn't seem worth it to make a suggestion, but that's not the case with this one.
My post about Bluebook versions is here: http://gallagherlawlibrary.blogspot.com/2012/08/bluebook-technologies.html
Posted by: Mary Whisner | Aug 27, 2012 12:56:52 PM
Two days ago, I purchased this app to test drive it before recommending/mentioning it to faculty and students, and, boy, am I glad I'm the only one who will waste $40 on it.
The interface is clunky and difficult to navigate, scrolling is a pain, you can't do a robust text search, and it's just an all-around fail in terms of usability and ease. In short, the app developers neglected to provide any improvements over the print. (In fact, I'd argue it's less effective. At least with a book, you can flip easily between sections and tables!)
P.S. It's also only available on Apple devices. Consider yourselves lucky, Android users!
Posted by: Theo Belniak | Aug 22, 2012 10:42:41 AM