One of the new features added to iBooks 3 that I wanted to try was sharing bits of a book via Twitter. But when I tried it, it didn't work. I thought maybe it only worked with purchased books, or DRM'd books, or some other kind of book I didn't have. Nope, the problem once again, as with MathML, hinted at by Baldur Bjarnason, was that I was still resisting upgrading to iOS6.
Now that I've got iBooks 3 and iOS6, sharing bits of books via Twitter (and Facebook, Mail, or Message) works swimmingly. Start by selecting the text you want to share.
Once the text is selected you can either highlight it or share it without highlighting (by clicking Share at the far right). I want to highlight first, so I click Highlight.
Once the text is highlighted, iBooks offers me additional options. I can change the color of the highlight, remove the highlight, add a note, or share—with the Away arrow—which I now click.
Once you click the Away button, iBooks offers you a choice of sharing methods. I'm going to use Twitter.
Then iBooks will show you the selection (or a piece of it if it doesn't fit within Twitter's 140 character limit), along with the iTunes link to the book, if it's a purchased book. You can share from sideloaded (e.g., non-purchased books) but iBooks won't be able to link to them in the iBookstore.
You can add your own comments (as long as they fit). And, of course, you could edit or remove the shared bit or the link as well.
Finally, click the Send button.
If you've highlighted before sharing, that's what you'll be left with.
The tweet becomes part of your regular Twitter stream, as if you had used your regular Twitter client. This was just an example, and I didn't expect a response, but Twitter is like that, and someone was listening:
Indeed, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of tweeting interesting parts of books that I'm reading. I imagine I'd do it less with fiction than with non-fiction, but I'll let you know.
Twitter is limited to 140 characters, but I was curious how much iBooks would let me email. I made the text as small as I could, and then selected two full pages of text, and emailed it to myself.
Apple automatically clips the selection to 199 words, and then adds the cover, author, title, publisher, publication date, and copyright notice, along with a link to the book in the iBookstore.
Also notice that the excerpt is centered, and images and all formatting instructions (including bulleted lists) are stripped. For example, if I select a section of my Read Aloud EPUB book as shown here:
The resulting email looks pretty dreadful:
I also tried copying text and pasting it into the Notes app, but that excerpt, too, was clipped to 199 words, and the formatting and images were removed.
I was able to copy successive paragraphs out of books and thus cumulatively copy out more than 199 words. Given that they feel compelled to limit copying, this at least is a sort of reasonable compromise: Keep readers from simply copying the entire book out, but let them share as much as they want in bits and pieces. Note that iBooks limits how much can be copied whether the book is DRM protected or not.
Finally, I also noticed that no highlighting or sharing is allowed in fixed layout books. I don't know why not. Seems like a recipe book, which might well be in fixed layout, would be just the place you want to add notes and perhaps comment on what you're making on Twitter.