Pholium is a new iPad app that helps users to create and share eBooks using the photos stored on their iPads. In the gallery, users can import pictures stored on their iPad, except for unprocessed RAW images. Images can be stacked, and brightness, contrast, and exposure settings can be adjusted. There are also some basic photo effects you can add, like black and white or sepia.
The studio is where users can create eBooks out of those pictures (the idea is that you can create themed books to remember weddings, vacations, and the like). Photos can be arranged in any combination from one photo on a two-page spread to four photos on a two-page spread. There is a limit of 42 photos that can be placed in a single Pholium book. Once the images are selected, Pholium optimizes photo size and makes the finished product resemble a book, with faux shading near the “binding” and page-turning animations, along with front and back covers that users can personalize with images and text. You can’t add text to the images within the eBook, though – just on the cover.
The finished product is published to the library, from which you can share your eBooks with others, using Pholdas. Each eBook can be sent to 10 other people for free, with each person after that requiring a $0.99 in-app purchase. Those without the Pholium app will receive the books in PDF format.
All that said, it’s difficult to recommend this app. With a limit of 42 images and a fee for every person you share a Pholda with past the first 10 people, Pholium makes sharing images both more difficult and more costly. The eBook format is nice, but considering that most people you know will not have the Pholium app, an eBook in PDF format isn’t a convenient or particularly aesthetic means of sharing, and will almost certainly result in diminished image quality for the recepients. Needless to say, there are countless ways to share entire photo albums, without an unnecessary 42 image limit, online and for free in a format much easier to browse through than a PDF.
If you think you’ll be able to convince everyone around you to join in and download Pholium, you might want to think twice. The app is selling for $9.99 on the iTunes App Store, which is asking an awful lot for just about any app. Paying $9.99 so you can send 10 people PDFs with an image limit tacked on seems unreasonable.
CORRECTION: Each additional Pholda purchased for $0.99 will allow for ten additional shares, not just one.