Posted on by & filed under Product Updates & Tips.

Since we launched the Safari To Go iPad app on November 3rd, we’ve kept a close eye on your reviews and feedback about the app.  While some of you told us the app has useful features, many have also told us that we have work to do before this app delivers the quality experience you have come to expect from Safari Books Online. We hear you loud and clear, and are removing the Safari To Go iPad app from the App Store until we can deliver an updated, improved app. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

If you have already downloaded the app and would like to continue using it, you are welcome to do that. You can also access your account on your mobile device via our mobile site, From the mobile site you can enjoy Safari Books Online while on the go from a variety of mobile devices and readers, including the iPad, Kindle, Android, iPhone and many others.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress via the Safari Books Online blog and our social sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) and will let you know when the improved app is available for download in the App Store.

As always, we appreciate you letting us know how we can make Safari Books Online better.

CJ Rayhill, SVP
Product Management & Technology
Safari Books Online

Tags: ipad app, Safari Books Online, safari to go,

98 Responses to “iPad App, Safari To Go, Update – November 24, 2010”

  1. Edd

    Good decision. An iPad app will definitely keep me a subscriber for many moons to come, but I don’t think this version was it. You need an app that provides an experience that will do your fantastic service justice, and once that arrives I am a very, very happy customer. :)

  2. Andrew B

    That is excellent news and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of this… even though it will likely be a longer wait than last time.. but I trust it will be well worth it!

    A couple of quick suggestions:
    1) Please do not try and fix your current app… PhoneGap is completely the wrong framework to use.
    2) You really need to expand your beta testing. I understand it can be difficult (dealing with device IDs and wot not), but your last round of beta testing was extremely limited (I actually can’t imagine much testing was done at all; clearly no-one that had ever used an iPad app or an ebook reader was involved).
    3) Seriously consider developing an API that will allow third parties to create applications… it would mean you wouldn’t have to develop an app for every platform as the community of developers who love your resources will probably do it for you!

  3. Tommy Knowlton

    I agree, there are aspects of the user experience that are not up to the standards that I have learned to expect from Safari Books Online.

    However, I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you, the “offline book bag” feature of the iPad app has made my Safari Books Online subscription much more valuable to me. In tough economic times, I feel I’ve got to justify each expense, and although I’ve subscribed to Safari Books Online since 2003, this has been one expense that I’ve been wondering whether I really needed to keep. With the offline book bag on my iPad, that doubt has been removed; now I can use the digital form of the books I need, without network access, and without paying $50 per book, on average, for books that are indispensable now and will be obsolete in 2 years.

    Thank you.
    ~Tommy Knowlton

  4. Kristopher Johnson

    I’d like to repeat everything Andrew B said. I suspect it will be difficult for anyone to make a decision to throw away the PhoneGap-based app and start over, so a third-party API would be very welcome, as that would make it possible for others to develop a native app.

    As for beta testing, it is clear that either this app was not tested by anyone who knows how an iPad app should work, or nobody listened to the testers who complained. I hope that part of your process will be improved.

    I am still looking forward to a Safari Books app for the iPad. I recommend a Safari Books subscription to everyone I work with, but it really needs a good mobile book-like experience.

  5. Daniel Laughland

    I really appreciate the honesty and communication coming from your company. It’s rare to get a mea culpa, so that means a lot. Interesting choice to pull the app completely. It was at least functional, if not high-quality. I guess it’s better not to have it sullying your good name! ;)

    I agree with Andrew B that PhoneGap is not the right technology at all. It’s an iPad app, not a web app. So treat it like one. An API would be amazing, but I can understand that copyright issues might make that difficult. You’ve got at least a few dozen books on iOS development in your library…why not make the new app a Coder Contest?

  6. Chris Kimpton

    Hi, I agree with Tommy and while the news of rewrite/rework is good to hear, I would vote for you to keep it on the store for those that would like to get it still… IMHO

  7. Bryan Miles

    uh? OK all I wanted was offline Book Bag.
    I wouldn’t pull it because some people whined.
    OK you showed up with a line of people with buckets to put out a house fire.
    But you don’t have a fire truck yet, so in the mean time we should all be happy with the buckets of water. Seriously, It’s better than nothing.
    Now moving forward with fixing it is definitely the right thing to do.
    I commend you on that move.
    Thanks for all your hard work.
    I am looking forward to see what you do next.

  8. miroadamy

    Do you have any ETA on updated application ?

    While I see many areas for improvement, the fact that there is an iPad app makes huge difference.
    What danger would be in keeping the existing (however imperfect) application in the store ?

  9. Behrang

    Good decision. Some of the problems the current version had:

    1- Unresponsiveness
    2- No support for landscape viewing
    3- Usability problems (IMHO, a bookshelf metaphor like iBooks should be used)
    4- No HTML available in offline mode
    5- Scrolling problems (not smooth, sometimes flickers, etc.)

  10. Chris Miles

    After a couple of attempts at using your iPad app I reverted back to reading in Mobile Safari which continues to provide a better experience. I’ve been a Safari subscriber for years and do most of my Safari book reading on the iPad. Your native iPad app was disappointing and of poor quality.

    I am impressed that you guys have the guts to admit that your product is not what it should be. Pulling the app was a wise move, as it only hurts your brand. Please consider starting again and creating a quality native app. Shortcut solutions like PhoneGap always produce lower quality results, with this being another example.

  11. PatrickI

    Great decision. Thanks, CJ, for keeping us informed. I have literally been checking this blog daily to see if Safari Books was even acknowledging all of our posts, so I am glad to hear that you were reading them. We all know that, if done correctly, this iPad app easily has the potential of becoming a huge success for Safari Books resulting in many happy customers.

    • PatrickI

      On second thought, I retract my excitement. After rereading I realized that nowhere does CJ actually say that they have come to their senses and dumped the sllly PhoneGap and are finally working on a native iOS app; it was just wishful thinking on my part.
      You know, within all the time that has passed since we all started complaining about this app, an iOS app developer could have already completed a basic native Safari Books reader. Not necessarily with advanced features, but a simple one that works and addresses the clumsy interface problems of the PhoneGap app. Stop wasting months of your time and money trying to get the PhoneGap app to work like a native iOS app.

  12. Andy Dent

    Interesting news, especially that PhoneGap is the framework you’re using. This is not a success story for them! With a rich web app like the main Safari site, I can understand your desire to get a quick port using the same technologies.

    I was building up a series of comments whlch I’ll just include below rather than continuing to save them for a later report to tech support. Hopefully they will help you with a new version.

    I am very encouraged by your release of Safari to Go, especially with the offline feature. Frankly, the relatively poor performance of paging through books on Safari has caused me to spend hundreds of dollars buying ebooks elsewhere. I’m hoping that Stg will alleviate this.

    Issue 1:
    The List view of My Favourites is unscrollable – attempting to scroll almost always results in the book I touch being selected. There appears to be the start of a drag motion – there’s some difficulty between a drag gesture, possibly to assign to a folder, and trying to scroll the list. Maybe a scrollbar is the solution?

    Issue 2:
    Overall, the startup experience is slow and that’s just not desirable in an iPad app. I shouldn’t have to wait around for it to check in and show me the latest books etc. In particular, if I have books in my Offline collection I may want to load them quickly or, even more likely, return to the last offline book I’m reading (much of the point of being offline is to be able to have quicker reading). I also suspect 3G users will start to wail at the amount of data bandwidth being consumed unnecessarily by this startup.

    I suggest a splash screen with fast choices “Safari Home, My Favourite, Offline Books and Last Read” with an option to make one of those the default on opening. My iPad use is typically one of diving in and out of applications and Stg is a slug to enter. That kind of startup time is acceptable in high-quality games but not a productivity app.

    You may think that your own notes facility in Safari will replace any external notes but it won’t – I use Evernote for all my casual comments and research notes because it is synchronised across all my devices. An ideal would be Evernote synch from within Safari’s notes but, failing that, I’ll probably be bouncing in and out of Evernote and Stg as I record thoughts on books, with occasional digressions to Instaviz as I draw mind maps to help me remember books. So with all this reliance on external apps, I need to be able to quickly regain my current place in a Stg book. Maybe Ios4’s multi-tasking will help with this – I just wanted to reinforce the importance of this scenario.

  13. Rom

    I agree with the other commenters. Please don’t use PhoneGap, it clearly delivers a substandard user experience. I understand the desire to use a cross-platform framework like PhoneGap to reduce development cost for multiple platforms but I have another idea.

    As far as I know Safari Books is the only service that provides the breadth a depth of content and a subscription for unlimited access to that content. Imagine an iPad app that works like iBooks (as others have suggested) except you can browse/search the entire library (both on/offline). You can easily download books for offline reading and everything syncs automatically when you go on/offline (notes, bookmarks etc.). All navigation is done with intuitive gestures like swiping for pages and pinch for zooming. All content is delivered using high quality PDFs/ePubs and multiple viewing orientations is supported. And everything is fast, fast, fast (depending on internet connection of course).

    If you could do all that then I could see people actually going out and buying an iPad and a subscription to your service specifically so that they could get the experience I’m talking about. Safari Books would have something no one else would have; the experience of unlimited, searchable content on a device for fast and seamless access. Once the money starts rolling in go ahead and build for Android or whatever other platform you wish. In the meantime people will always have the mobile site.

  14. Ravi

    I would add also that the iPad app should also access the videos as well as the books.

  15. Eee

    I didn’t download the app yet – so can I still read my Safari Online books with an iPad?

  16. Jason

    Offer your books for $9.99 through Amazon and I’ll read them with Kindle. Problems solved.

  17. lorentey

    The iPad app was so horrible that I quit my Safari subscription the day that it was launched. I never liked the web interface and I hoped the native iPad app would solve my usability issues, but it turned out to be even worse.

    I think choosing PhoneGap was as expensive mistake. The app’s user interface needs to be rewritten from scratch, preferably after a full redesign that follows basic user interaction design principles.

  18. Gary

    Whilst the existing app did appear clunky and not quite as easy to use as a standard iphone app, such as using buttons to turn pages rather than supporting dynamic up/down scrolling or even just a swipe gesture to turn the page, it did at least work.

    I wish you’d left it in the store, since it was a free download and just added a big note in the app comments that you’re aware of the issues users are having and looking for feedback on how to improve it. That would at least allow us to use the app if we can put up with the rough edges and if not, we know you’re working on something better.

    Hope you go with a native UI for the next version.

  19. Ian Blackburn

    I didn’t find it bad at all – just had to restore my iPad and now I don’t have the app, and can’t get it ( unless you fancy sending me a dev provisioned one and I’ll help beta test)

    Missing it already… For whatever faults it had it still delivered value, and I would much rather have it than not – so looking forward to the updated version asap (or access to the old one even)

  20. Behrang

    By the way, IMHO, you should publish your books in ePub format to the iPad app. That way changing font family/size, background color, etc. should be much easier.

    • dking

      Agreed. Unfortunately, it appears that Safari’s hands are tied with regards to the format provided. Here’s a quote from a customer service ticket I filed regarding this issue:

      The publishers determine what format(s) to make available from Safari. In the case of “Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook”, Prentice Hall has opted, at least at the present time, to make only the PDF available.

      And here’s one from Prentice Hall themselves:

      Unfortunately ePub is only recently available through Pearson and it is not being distributed through Safari which is subscription based online format. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

      Another case of a company just not getting it. The funny thing is, you’d think Prentice Hall would want Safari to be successful? I believe they were one of the founding members.

  21. Noel ong

    I bought the ipad for this app, this app will justify the cost of the safari subscription, please fixand put it back on app store

  22. CK

    This sounds familiar to the iPhone/Pod app from a few years ago. It never worked very well and eventually disappeared – never to return. Rather than a native app for any of the iP*’s or Android or Your System Here, I think time would be better spent initially getting more books into ePub or mobi formats. Or at least formatting the PDFs so they’re actually readable on smaller screens. My 2¢.

  23. Taylor

    I subscribed for use with the iPad app. Unfortunately, it’s not working for me. I will keep the subscription for a few months in support but will have to cancel unless there is a decent iPad app..

  24. vuebuyer

    An IPad app for safari is a must. Spare no expense. No shortcuts. In the meantime what is the best solution for iPad users?

    • dking

      Current solutions for iPad users (you can decide the “best” one for yourself):

      1) Safari Subscription – Go to Safari’s mobile site or even the full site. You’ll need an internet connection to read books. It’s usable, but leaves much to be desired for iPad users and can be frustrating if you normally use one of the other reader apps.

      2) Safari Purchase – Buy the book (or use your tokens) and download it from Safari on your computer. Then use iTunes to load the book into iBooks on your iPad. Keep in mind, Safari may only be able to offer the book in PDF format (which some people find frustrating compared to the ePub format).

      3) Use other apps like iBooks, Kindle, or Nook. You can’t use your Safari subscription with these, but it’s an option if you want a native app reading interface.

  25. Don

    Guys, there’s this cool website out there called O’Reilly Books. They have all sorts of books on how to natively program for the iPhone and iPad. Books on how to create the most awesomest experience for user and make your application best in class. You should read one of those books sometime.

    Hey, even Microsoft got smart and ditched their cross platform version of Office.

  26. TchaTcho

    What a mess. Maybe, for now, EPUB with some DRM options could solve the problem. Because the iBook is far way the best experience to read on ipad. And we know that a new software will be take a really long time to be done (considering the present safari experience). Until there we, the costumers, deserve read our books on Ipad. Don’t you agree?

  27. Josh

    You need to leverage the iPad’s REAL UI widgets. Not some half-assed “cross-platform” toolkit. All that does in ensure that everyone gets nothing but a mediocre experience. INVEST in creating a truly native iPad app. Use the platform for it’s strengths, rather than simply checking off a requirements list. iOS has raised the bar on what mobile apps should feel like, and you have to deliver the quality that people are now expecting.

    This app is going to get used a lot by those that need it, and so it must be an enjoyable and reliable experience.

    Also, I agree with many posters, you should provide an API, and allow others to create apps for your service. You would get high quality development for free.

  28. Cody

    My God, so now it is impossible for me to read offline books on my iPad?? You’ve got to be kidding. Yes, the app was bad and show be redone, but why remove it? At least it provided offline reading.

    I am absolutely amazed at the repeatedly terrible decisions you make. I think this is the last straw for me.

    • Ian Blackburn

      I agree -just bring the old app back for free, perhas call it beta or preview. At least we can have offline reading until you complete the new app (which would I guess be at least 6 months down the line). It really wasn’t that bad.

  29. Ken

    As a subscriber who recently just purchased an iPad mainly for this purpose, I’m very disappointed that the app was pulled before I could download it. I am not picky at all wrt user interface as long as I can access the content. Pls put it back!!

  30. seattlite

    Seriously. This was pretty much the whole point of my iPad purchase. As a QA Engineer, I’m used to putting up with sub-par experiences full of workarounds. But a less-than-optimally-convenient solution is often better than no solution at all. Those who don’t want to use the initial version of the app don’t have to use it. But it is preferable for many of us to still be able to use it until a better version is available. Put it back in the app store? I’m tired of having to choose between staring at a laptop screen as the only portable(-ish) solution for reading in native print form or choosing to use up precious few download tokens to print out chapters. Waste of paper and of my tablet technology.

    Bring back the old one until you get it right. Better than nothing.

    • seattlite

      On second thought; I’ve now read many more of the reviews and seen the screen shots. I wouldn’t bring that thing back. Mobile version will hafta do ’til the real iPad app arrives.

      • Ian Blackburn

        hmm – I used it before it was taken down and it delivered value – in fact I was delighted that it was available and the fact I could read books offline completely outweighed any ui nastiness.

        I believe most users would be fine with it – but the techy audience that this is aimed at is a much tougher crowd, looking at many other aspects that can cloud the key fact that it allowed you to read offilne.

        My advice would be pacify us with the eta of the version 2, but put this one back now as v1. I was not sure whether to renew my subscription this year, but this was one of the major factors that made my decision for me, and I was more than happy with the app (until I have to restore my iPad and lost it)

        But we also need you to set out a roadmap with dates for version 2.

        On a wider point, there are many media companies that have struggled with iPad editions – take a look at the many negative comments initially for “The Times” UK newspaper – but they have managed to turn that round by regular updates and by giving free subscriptions for a few months – that has actually worked in their favour. By pulling this version completely you are pleasing no-one, and will I think lose more than you could possible gain by such an action.

  31. Jake

    While the original version was quirky and not ipad friendly (i.e. i couldn’t change pages with a swipe) it was at least functional, and I was getting a lot of value out of it.

    After upgrading to iOS 4, no such luck. The app is totally unusable. I understand the desire for a rework, but it needs to be done in measured steps. First, make the current version functional!

    Then work on updates.

    I believe pulling the product was short sighted (ever heard of Agile development?)


  32. Graham

    I agree with pulling the app. I would say the most painful thing os that depending on the book, you may or may not get all of the content.

    I am very surprised they released such a bad app in the first place. Can’t wait to see a useable app for the best subscription money can buy

  33. ipen

    Smart. Now write it native and provide an API simultaneously. When someone writes a better app, buy it. Your future depends on getting this right before someone else does. When iTunes rents bookshelves and licenses content, you will lose. What’s that? You own the content? Not if they buy you or over the next 5 years authors sign with another company that provides better distribution. Tech books age rapidly. The day someone pays better or provides more accessible knowledge you begin to lose. I already bought a brand new tech book on iTunes not available on your site and it’s easier to read and is local to my device. It’s starting. Better catch up.

  34. Jorge Garifuna

    I recently purchased an iPad mainly to read my books with the safari to go app.

    By the time I bought the iPad, the safari to go app had already been pulled from the app store.

    I’m starting to read some tech books with the iBooks app and the experience is awesome!

    Not having the safari to go app, is making me reconsider whether I should keep my sarafi subscription or not.

    I hope the safari to go app gets put back on the app store really soon.

  35. Safari reader

    Appreciate the transparency. What’s the ETA for a new iPad app?

  36. TchaTcho

    Ok guys, i did try to keep my subscription. I really did. But your service for mobile, specially for Ipad, show me that your company miss something. Im a good costumer and I really believe that you have a good product and the worst technical manager and executives ever. “Crunchies Award” WTF?!?! You loose the most important movement for the company ever and you are loosing costumers… I did ask to freeze my account and “We do not do that”. I dont gonna wait for this company no more. And every guy like me goes away go to the foruns and make your brand worth nothing. And Mr. CJ Rayhill sorry but to write 2 post on this blog dont erase the fact you build a terrible product. Thats it. Good bye everyone. Dont loose your time paying for that… use kindle app or buy the book directly from the publisher

  37. Safari reader 2

    What is the ETS for the iPad App? No comms for >1 month? Just received an Ipad and looking forward to using my subscription and tokens, which expire in 2 days, maybe the App will come out in 3 days???

  38. Victor Volle

    I think it is really great that you officially admit that the App was not good. I can understand that you removed it from he App Store, which must have been a very difficult decision. But I very much appreciate that you are stiving to deliver a quality product. From my point of view: an unusual and very good decision

  39. Gary

    BUMP ETA? It would be great to have access to these books on the iPad.

  40. Kris

    What is the update on this? Having an iPad and not being able to use it seamlessly is very frustrating. C’mon guys it is not like you cannot find good Objective-C developers out there. Please fix the app and release it soon. Thx.

  41. Ian Blackburn

    Not good enough for a paid service I’m afraid – we need an estimate at the very least. I am losing faith with your service fast. Meanwhile many more opportunities are arising for reading technical books on the iPad – and I am left wondering why I bothered subscribing.

  42. James

    Too much fuss over nothing – it is simple that at the moment safaribooksonline are offering a service that no one else is able to match (either from a price or content perspective) YET.

    This is simple economics – the moment a similar service is able to offer similar content and prices to the punders as well as a good iPad experience people will leave a sinking ship.

    The problem at the moment this ship is sailing solo and till such time CJ and Co can pull. push crappy apps all day long..

    • TchaTcho

      “In July 2001, two of the world’s most prominent technology publishers,
      O’Reilly Media, Inc. and Pearson Education, joined forces to create Safari Books Online. ”

      In other words, you don’t gonna see similar content anytime soon. Im happy without safari books. I no more buy O’Reilly books too.

      It a little strange but there are a lot of good publishers out there. And you gonna find great books for 6-9 dollars. Think about, truly how many technical books you could read in a month? with your subscriber account you could buy up to 4 books.

      Install kindle app and be happy! It gonna work anywhere. Buy epubs and enjoy the best app ever, iBook.

  43. Simon

    Might I suggest that your developers read some of the many good IPhone/IPad/Objective C books that you have available on your site ;-)
    Seriously as are most people who comment here, Im really looking forward to seeing an updated version of the app which fixes some of the key issues. Its going to be a fantastic app that adds a lot of value for many people so getting a bit of a buzz around it should help you.
    Getting regular updates on progress and ETAs for the release would be really appreciated. Dont forget that most of your readership are techies – we understand that ETAs are estimates not commitments and I would rather be given your best guess on progress than the silence we are getting at the moment. thanks Simon

  44. T Scott

    So there were things that could have been improved, but I really like the app. Is there any way that the app can be made available to less whiny users who would really like to use it as is? Thanks!

  45. Trevor

    Hello Dev Team,

    I love and use the current version of the app a LOT, especially the offline bookbag. I just wanted to provide the following feedback:

    For the app in General
    -support multi-tasking so that the application doesn’t launch from scratch when you switch to another app.
    -automatically resume any book from the last page read (should be able to keep track of last page read from multiple books, not just the last active book)
    -include a setting to disable auto screen lock

    For offline mode
    -enable bookmark, search, and highlighter functionality

    Thanks from a big fan!


  46. Shawn S

    It is now 8 months after announcing that the mobile app was ready for Beta testing (May 31, 2010), and is it still not here. In the world of mobile app development, a 1 year SDLC is a lifetime; 8 months of Beta testing is flat out ridiculous.

    In addition to reading up on Safari Books on iPad app development, the folks at Safari might want to check out the great books on Agile software development that are available from Safari books, so they can do a better job at decreasing TTM for their software. – Otherwise all we have is vaporware.

    • James

      Dude – the app was released back in Nov (albeit it failed – in fact it failed so bad it was withdrawn). Safari Books are getting their s**t together and putting another app together that will be better, faster and stronger :-) – so saying 8 months of beta testing isn’t quite what happened.

  47. Andrew Savikas

    I just wanted to let you know that we are reading these comments, and I hear you loud and clear. Since we pulled the app from the App Store there’s been a change in leadership at Safari. I’ve stepped in from the Board of Directors as interim CEO, and am personally overseeing the work on a replacement app that will meet what our customers have come to expect both from Safari and from an iPad reading experience.

    After blowing it so badly the first time around, I’m not ready to commit to an ETA until I know what’s coming will be worth your time. I can say that development is active and aggressively scheduled, and I’m personally reviewing regular builds. Within a few weeks, we hope to open up another round of beta testing.

    We’ve also made several updates to the Safari mobile website, including removing some of the clutter from the reading pages, adding swipe for page turns and opening-to-last-position (plus a reading history for quickly returning to a recent book). A more thorough refresh of the mobile site to complement the iPad app is in progress.

    Thanks for your feedback and for your patience.

    Andrew Savikas
    CEO, Safari Books Online

    • Travis Marlow

      Do you have any updates, even if to say there are no updates? The silence is deafening.

      • Safari Books Online

        Hello. We are working on an app but don’t have any details that we can share at this time. As soon as I have something concrete to share, I certainly will. Thank you so much for your patience.


      • Andrew Savikas

        This Friday I’ll be reviewing the build that’s the candidate for internal beta. 1-2 weeks later we expect to have a Release Candidate for a public beta. That may change of course, but we’re definitely working on it.

      • Kip DeGraaf

        Andrew, it’s good to hear that there is some movement. I hope the candidate fulfills the requirements.

  48. Jason

    Good god, has Apple’s new subscription plan killed the iPad app? Somehow I don’t think you guys will be able to afford being forced to sell subscriptions with a 30% cut to Apple. Any word on how this will affect you?

  49. Will

    I’ve been a subscriber for a couple of years now and really enjoy your service. I’m looking forward to the release of the iPad app and am confident that the wait will be well worth it. Keep up the good work and please update us on the progress when possible.

  50. Gretchen

    I commend your team for its humility. Bravo! Your commitment to a top-tier experience says a lot, and makes me a very happy customer! Thank you very much :)

  51. David

    I’ve been a Safari subscriber for years. I now do most of my reading on my iPad, and I really look forward to the next release of the iPad app. My biggest complaint about the original (which I still have installed but rarely use) was it’s overall sluggishness compared to other e-reader apps on the same device. I hope that you won’t let the Apple subscription garbage prevent you from releasing the next version.

  52. PatrickI

    Mr. Savikas – three weeks ago you said that you were about to review an internal beta candidate. Any comments on that would be great for a lot of us anxiously waiting for this app. “It’s coming right along on schedule” would be perfect, but even “It wasn’t up to standards and back to the drawing board” would be fine too at this point, given the recent history of this app, because that would assure us that the embarassment with version one won’t be repeated again. Thanks!

    • Andrew Savikas

      We aren’t yet satisfied with the app’s stability and performance (though it’s vastly improved over the previous app). A few issues have also come up around support for some of our corporate customers, who have particular requirements around their own authentication systems.

      We’ve also had to evaluate the impact of the recent changes by Apple to their terms around subscriptions and content apps, something that’s on the minds of a lot of content providers.

      I intend for us to begin the public beta this week or next, and when that happens we’ll also post screenshots and video.

      Thank you for your patience, I assure you I’m anxious too!

      • Dan g

        Not to pour gasoline on the fire, but have you also considered android? Specifically honeycomb, as it’s designed for the impending onslaught of android tablets… While my android development skills are purely hobby-ish, I would be happy to throw my hat to help…

      • Jeff Kuckelman


        I have been patiently waiting along with everyone else on this blog. I still have the original application on my ipad, and I agree it is subpar. I am inquiring as to when you realistically say the beta will be ready. In your post above, you state in a week or next. Well, it is now March 21st, tomorrow will be 3 weeks. Safari has been incredibly unreliable on the ipad application from the very start.

        I do have to say I am looking forward to it when it arrives. :)


  53. Billy B

    I am looking forward to this app coming out. I need to ability to read offline badly

  54. Thomson Tan

    Any update or plan about Safari To Go in iPad? I need it to read my books offline.

  55. Roy Wagner

    “Fortunately” my original version is still working on my iPad. Even though it has the problems that caused it to be pulled as a release, it is still a great app. Looking forward to the re-release.

    This app IS the future of technical book reference, reading, and access!

  56. Ian Blackburn

    My judgement is that because of the change in terms for subscriptions on the Apple Store and the non-appearance of the proposed updated version coupled with the vague comments here from Safari Books Online, this is most likely NOT going to happen.

    Either way – I am past waiting for any solid news and have already cancelled my subscription renewal (after many years of a full subscription) because there are better options elsewhere for me now – most importantly for off-line reading.


    • Boo Yip

      Sounds like there could be further delays which have nothing to do with app functionality or quality. Anyway I can get a copy of the old app on my new ipad? Can anyone provide a copy? Would ipad need to be JB-ed?

      As others have said already, some offline capability is better than nothing, frustrating though it may be.

      Also throwing my hat in the ring for any beta testing of new App, if it comes to light….

      • Jake

        @Boo Don’t bother with the old app. I had it installed when I unfortunately upgraded from IOS3 to IOS4. The app became TOTALLY unusable.

        Even though the old app was quirky, it at least worked.

  57. Andrew Payne

    I, too, cancelled my Library subscription last month because of the app not appearing.

    Safari, please realise these delays are costing you real money.

  58. Ajay Gautam

    (Posted this on a different thread, but looks like this is the place to post it)

    Hi Guys.
    Looking for the Safari books ipad app. Whats going on?

    (Our company subscribes to both Safari and Books24x7. I am dying to show off this (offline-book-bag) app :)

    If its not yet available, please add me as a beta tester. Would be happy to provide my UDID.



    • Ryan Thompson

      Is there no update on this? We have Andrew Savikas saying that there should be a release candidate in February, and it’s two months later, and no real communication.

      Look, you’re dealing with developers, so we are obviously aware of all the issues the team may be experiencing. All I’m asking is for weekly updates to effectively manage expectations. I’m going to be onboarding new staff, and I would like to know if we can expect to use this service.

      • PatrickI

        I completely agree with you. Mr. Savikas came on board and took over like things are going to be different, more straightforward with the subscribers, many who pay $480/year. Really all it would take is weekly reports, even “we’re stuck on a particular issue”, or “beta tests went poorly”…anything would be fine. Most of us are professional or hobby developers and know the hurdles that this project would present. Instead, we get less and less, and only responses when enough subscribers ask, leading us to have to make speculations.
        Here’s my speculation: Instead of listening to the subscribers and just simply developing a native app, you spent the past few months still trying to get PhoneGap to work like a native app. Instead of just using UITableView, you keep hoping javascript can simulate UITableView and people won’t notice. Then you started your beta testing and people complained that the app still sucked.
        If you don’t update us, we are left to speculate. And as you can read from above posts, speculation leads to cancellation of subscriptions.

  59. Ajay

    Wow! Never realized safari books online was such a poorly run business. I have been recommending safari books online to coworkers and employers for a while now! Makes me feel cheated.

    I bet there are enough iOS developers (including me) listening to this thread that if you just provide an API to the books, you would get an awesome iPad app in a few weeks. So… What say you?


  1.  Tweets that mention iPad App, Safari To Go, Update – November 24, 2010 « Safari Books Online's Official Blog --
  2.  » Safari To Go: how not to build an iPad app
  3.  Safari to Go iPad App: Where Did It Go? | Sphaerula
  4.  Recent updates to Safari Books Online’s Mobile UI « Safari Books Online's Official Blog