Blogshelf for iPad is an RSS reading app with a difference. Instead of displaying a list of blogs you’re subscribed to in a boring, standard style, Blogshelf changes things a bit and displays your feeds on an iBooks-like bookshelf. Each of the feeds appear on your bookshelf, just waiting to be read.
As you’d expect, this feature is really quite nice. Touching a book-like feed opens it, allowing you to read as much as you like before retuning to the bookshelf to check out a different feed.
Like Reeder (probably the most popular RSS reader app available at the moment), Blogshelf costs $4.99 in the App Store. Both apps support offline reading in the same way – by caching all missed blog posts so they’re available when you need them, definitely a very handy feature.
There is one big negative to Blogshelf that does make it questionable as a solution for pro-bloggers: the app only allows users to subscribe to 90 feeds. This might be enough for the casual browser, but serious RSS users will find this to be a major limitation. Since this is an early version of the app, we can hope future updates might remove this cap, or at least increase it. For now, do be aware that 90 feeds is the max for current Blogshelf users.
Personally I think Reeder is easily the best RSS reader app currently available for the iPad; it’s smooth, easy to use, and (though it doesn’t mimic iBooks), organizes feeds in a neat, attractive way. Chances are, if you go with Blogshelf, it will be for the iBooks-like look and feel of the application. Reeder, on the other hand, draws people in with its many features and great functionality.
Let’s not forget: iBooks has already added support for PDFs. Perhaps in a future upgrade iBooks will also allow your Google Reader account to sync, giving feeds the authentic iBooks-treatment for free. Who knows? In the meantime, let us know what you think of Blogshelf and Reeder in the comments box below.