Book Review: “Reveal Athens”

athens, Cr-hostelbookers

athens, Cr-hostelbookers

Submitted by Vivienne Mackie

“Reveal Athens. Enjoy the Delights of Greece’s Capital City in Just a Few Days”. Authors Eleni Koi and Nikos Kapsalis. Design and main photography by Carl Ottersen. Inaossien Ltd., Nov 2012, 85 pages. This ebook is 101MB and is available on iBooks through iTunes, for $1.99 on special right now, normally $9.99

If you’ve been to Athens before, this book is a nice refresher course. If you’ve never been before but are planning to (or are dreaming of it) this will definitely whet your appetite.

For me, and for most frequent travelers I’m sure, there are a number of considerations when deciding on a guidebook to a place. In days gone by, our only choice was a printed guide but these days travelers can also choose to download an ebook of some kind. Ebooks have the very obvious advantage of being able to be updated easily and quickly, whereas most/many printed books may already be out of date when they hit the shelves. However, it’s very easy to flip through pages of a print book, to go back and forth, to mark pages or items, or to cut out relevant pages. So, in buying an ebook (as with a print book) I think that ease of use is almost as important as content.

So, how does “Reveal Athens” rate with this? I have an old iPad (the very first generation) but it still works fine and I could download this lovely little book very easily, and it appeared on my iBooks shelf. The book is very clearly laid out, with two pages on each screen, usually text on one side and a picture on the other. At first I found it a little hard to navigate my way around the book, and it was very difficult to flip forward back and forth from beginning to end or from section to another—until I realized that the small dots on the bottom of the screen designate the chapters. Press a dot and that chapter comes up, with all its pages small and scrollable at the bottom. It’s also possible, via the schematic maps, to tap on a place and go to the relevant page about it.

The book has 4 main sections: What to See, What to Do, Where to Stay, Where to Dine, each with many pages. In the “What to Do” section I like the way the authors give suggestions about what to do in one evening or in one day.

The text is clear and concise and the photos are stunning, both giving a good idea of what to see and look at. There are nice descriptions, especially of the old sights and sites, helping us to imagine what they were like. But, I think it would also be helpful to have addresses and some information on how to get to each sight.

The places to stay and the places to eat are clearly described, with their addresses and telephone numbers, plus a city map, and a link to a website. Unfortunately, some of those links didn’t open for me. (However, the authors assure me that they do all open, so maybe it’s my old iPad!). I would also like to see an indication as to price or price range, to help the reader plan.

Overall, for me this book is more conceptual than practical, so is great for getting a general idea and picture about Athens. But, I’m happy to have this book and will definitely read it again before going to Athens.

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