PIBO is an iOS† application for reading picture books (絵本). It offers more than 360 titles, which I believe are all fully voiced. The application is free, and free users can read three times a day (not, it seems, read three books a day). There is an all-you-can-read (読み放題) membership available, which also provides some additional features around saving books to favourites and filtering.
PIBO is not difficult to use, but the UI is obviously in Japanese. Because it’s probably more helpful the less Japanese you know, I have thrown together some quick and non-exhaustive notes on what you might see in the user interface, so you can feel less nervous about mashing buttons. My Japanese is pretty bad, so I apologise in advance for what follows.
The first loading screen. “画像ダウンロード中残り: 308件” means roughly, “Downloading images: 308 remain.” You’ll see this on startup, followed by (if it’s your first time), some welcome and instruction screens - it will be much quicker on successive launches. Translating the introduction slides is left as an exercise to the reader except to point out that you go to the next one using the “次へ〉” button at the bottom right.
The main menu. On the left hand side, the buttons from top to bottom are:
- いちらん (一覧, “Catalog”)
- おきにいり (お気に入り, “Bookmark” / “Favourites”, a members only feature.)
- りれき (履歴, “History”)
- せってい (設定, “Settings”)
The “3かい” near the top left indicates how many reads you have left today. The すべて (全て, “all”) in the top right indicates the status of the age filter (“年齢でかんたんフィルター” in the introductory slides). The age filter is also a members only feature.
You can just click on a book to start reading, and you’ll get a screen like this, describing the book and showing its recommended age level.
Press the yellow button marked よむ to begin. The controls are pretty intuitive. Once you get to the end (おしまい) of the book, you’ll be invited to either exit out with the cross at the top right, or to read it again - もういちどよむ - just a note, I think reading the same book twice this way uses up another one of your ‘reads’, so take good notes the first time through.
Once you’ve used up all your reads for the day, you’ll get this message: “きょうはこれでおしまい！” (“That’s it for today!”). I recommend you then go and sleep until the app refreshes itself.
If you click on something that is a members only feature, you’ll get a dialog box like the following:
“キャンセル” (“Cancel”) is probably what you want, but the text is saying in this case, “お気に入りは読み放題会員の機能です。「読み放題会員」について確認しますか？” means roughly “‘Favourites’ are an all-you-can-read user feature. Please confirm your membership.”
I want to read the opening slides again
You can get them to reappear by resetting the application. Go to せってい, swipe twice in the direction it asks you to disable the child lock, and then look for データリセット in the menu, tap it, and confirm it by tapping リセット again.
Please feel free to reply to this post with corrections, comments, or vocabulary summaries for PIBO books you have read. Here is my short review of こころのもり (心の森, “Forest of the Heart”):
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
† It seems there was once an Android version, but it has gone away?