The Bluebook is now available for iPad and iPhone users for $40 to download for use in the app called rulebook, from Ready Reference Apps. This contains the full text of the entire 19th edition of the book, which is fully searchable. You can bookmark sections, add notes and highligt sections. There’s been an online version of the Bluebook for a while, but this is the first time this content is available in a native mobile app. You can’t get it on an Android or Windows Phone device, but if you own an iPhone and an iPad, you can get it on both devices with a single purchase, as long as they share the same iTunes account.
Because it’s available as an app, this version of the Bluebook gets you easy access to the book’s contents. Searches are quick, and it should be easy to get to find what you need. Following is a view of the search results for “parallel citation” with the iPhone and iPad results shown together. Text in the iPhone display is understandably truncated, but it shows rule number or bluepage reference. By comparison, the web-based version of the Bluebook lets you sort search results by table, rules, bluepages and personal notes. Both are pretty easy to scan.
In terms of pricing, the Bluebook app cost is comparable to the other electronic version. For $40, you get the 19th edition to keep. By comparison, current price for the other version is: $32 for 1 year, $42 for 2 and $50 for 3 years. On that system, you get access to the 18th and 19th edition, and there are differences to the way materials are browsed and searched. In print, it costs around $34.
The app version is very useful, but there are a few small features not yet fully implemeted. Though you can highlight text, you cannot copy and paste it yet. The app designer says that this feature is expected in an update soon. This will be especially helpful if you use this app platform for other content, such as court rules.
One quirk to the rulebook app is that moving from section to section isn’t a smooth reading experience, like you find in a Kindle or iBooks. Sometimes it works to browse from one section to the next, but the app is a bit finicky right now. Admittedly, the Bluebook isn’t exactly a “pager turner” kind of publication, so this is probably okay. Also, this might be something addressed in a future update to the rulebook app.
If you use an iPhone or iPad and have to reference the Bluebook, consider this app as an option. To explore the rulebook app platform before buying, you can dowload the free app and get a version of the Federal Rules of Evidence for free to try the platform.
Georgetown Law students are reminded that we’ve got a comprehensive Bluebook Guide to help understand many of the features of this citation resource.