Reef Fish Identification — Tropical Pacific
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, PC
Description: Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific is one of the largest, most comprehensive (and the most popular) fish identification books available. It is now available in digital format via the Blio eBooks app. It works “offline” if you download the app/book to your device before you go offline.
Pros: The book is well laid out in 20 identification groups. There are high-res photos of every fish in the book, and a brief description about each fish. Easy to use and you will never have to pay excess for lugging a fish ID book with you to the Indo-Pacific. It worked on four devices of mine simultaneously: an iPhone, iPad, iPod, and my Android tablet. (I don’t see a documented limit on Blio’s page.)
Cons: This book uses the Blio app, which takes some getting used to. The fonts do not scale to screen size automatically and there is no interactivity.
Bottom Line: This isn’t an app per se, but it a) still relates to diving and b) utilizes a mobile device, so I had to give it a good look over. On merit alone it’s great, truly the most comprehensive fish identification book I’ve ever seen and a blessing now that it’s “digitized.” The print version of this book is huge (at over 500 pages), so having a digital copy saves you from having to pack one in your luggage. The only disadvantage I felt related to the Blio ebook reader — while Blio is now installed as a default reader on some PCs and laptops, it’s not a true ebook format and not very widely known (yet). The book/app itself acts more like an indexable PDF file so you lose the interaction and auto scaling that you would get with the Kindle Bookstore, Amazon Bookstore, or Apple iBook Store. A small request, but I would have liked to see interactivity in the book/app. Interaction is getting popular in the ebook environment (and what ebooks were originally created for). A simple example would be double clicking on the picture of the fish and making it full screen. I had to do a lot of zooming in and out of the book to navigate around. All in all it’s a great start though, and we’re excited to see New World Publications digitize their other ID books — especially the Florida and Caribbean ones. If you want the most thorough fish identification book out there and don’t want to carry the full weight of a print book, pick this one up.
To dowload, go to Reef Fish Identification — Tropical Pacific.
Publisher’s note: Blio is currently available for purchase only in the USA, Canada and Mexico. They are close to having it available in the UK and plan to expand to other countries later this year. The book can be downloaded into your device and used out of the US, but you must have an address in one of those countries to make the initial purchase.