Yep, you read that right. The Netgalley Shelf app has been updated. You might have noticed it yourself, but after using it for a few days, I want to talk about it.
The Netgalley Shelf app is one that’s had plenty of complaints. I know many people have problems with the audio pausing – though I never had that issue – and the general accessibility wasn’t that great. Was it a helpful app before anyway? Yeah. I’d been reading e-books on it and requesting audiobooks for a reason.
But this recent update has made some steps forward in accessibility, and since Netgalley really need to take that further? So I thought, why not highlight the positives so those can be improved upon?
Text To Speech
In the past, if you wanted to use text-to-speech on your ARCs, you either had to download an app or use a specific service. This isn’t so bad for iPhone users who have something practical already built in, but for Android users? It was more of a pain in the arse. Fortunately, Netgalley now have text-to-speech built into the app itself!
This is such a useful feature and should definitely help visually-impaired people and those who struggle to focus on text on a screen.
However, this feature isn’t perfect. You currently have to highlight what you want to be read out loud to you, and you can only do this one page at a time. I tried in scroll mode, where I could see further pages, and I couldn’t highlight further. You also can’t select all on the page, and when testing this feature, I did a few times have to highlight multiple times just for the entire page. Which isn’t the most practical, but it’s a good start, for sure.
Personally, I’ve always preferred reading PDFs solely because they have the correct page numbers. I like to put the page count of the book on my spreadsheet, so that was practical. But I was having to zoom in on the pages, and scrolling down wasn’t always the best way to read.
Now scrolling through a PDF is a choice. The app now zooms in automatically and allows you to swipe left and right through the PDF book just like you do an e-pub. Only, you still have your page numbers. And if the numbers aren’t printed on the page? You can select the page number of the file to always be visible as you read.
These updates are making reading on the Netgalley Shelf app so much nicer.
When reading a book for review, many people like to be able to make notes and highlight. That’s always meant that reading on Kindle -whether app or device- was going to be preferable.
Well, Netgalley has made it so that if your file is an e-pub, you can now annotate within their app. It’s a shame that you can’t do this with PDF files as well as the option still shows if you long-click on the book cover. But this is pretty useful for annotators. I can definitely see why they’ve put this feature in place, even if it’s one that I won’t likely use myself.
I do like the updates they’ve made. You can now also mark a book as read, but I’m not quite sure what that actually does. I also don’t know if any changes have been made to audiobooks as I don’t have any to listen to on there currently. But I’m hoping there will have been improvements there too.
The app itself feels more accessible, and I’m hoping that they’ll continue to work on that.