App Review: Shakespeare Pro

shakespeare-pro.pngIf you’re a Shakespeare buff like I am, you probably like having all of the Bard of Stratford’s works on your iPad or iPhone. It’s great to be able to dip into a play or poem when you have some down time, or when you’re waiting for an appointment.

You can download free or paid ebooks of Shakespeare’s works, but most of them are poorly designed (even those ebooks made by the big publishers). Or, you can spend $10 on Shakespeare Pro, and get all of Shakespeare’s plays and poems in one versatile app.

To start with, this app includes all of the plays, including those which Shakespeare may have collaborated on (Sir Thomas More, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Edward III, etc.). View a play, and you see something like this:

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As you can see above, a number of words are underlined; tap these, as I’ve done for “hap,” and you’ll see a note. The glossary comes from David and Ben Crystal’s excellent Shakespeare’s Words, so there’s nothing that you won’t be able to define with a tap. (You can turn off the underlining if wish.)

You can skip from scene to scene, to the beginning of each act; you can see a scene breakdown of each play, and lots more. There’s a concordance, a glossary (which lets you look up individual words; great if you want to read a play in a book and use the app for definitions), and a great deal of information about Shakespeare and his life.

There’s a free version of the app, Shakespeare, which lacks a lot of features, such as the glossary, the ability to store notes and highlight passages, and much more. One cool feature of the pro version is additional texts from the First Folio and various quartos in original spelling. These texts display in an olds-looking font, and it takes a while to get used to the display and spelling, but it may interest you to read the plays in a way closer to the way they were written. Here’s one example:

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This is a great app, well worth the $10. It runs on both iPad and iPhone, and takes up 150 MB. If you love Shakespeare, this is the best way to have all his works in your pocket.