Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

ipadreader   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]As an avid reader of books, I’m finding the experience of reading e-books on the 9.7″ screen of the iPad worth at least half the price of the device, especially after having read about five e-books on the Kindle version for the iPhone.

On the launch day of the iPad, both Apple”˜s e-reader, iBooks. and Amazon”˜s Kindle for the iPad were ready for download. Both readers share similarities that will make avid e-book readers want to use both or similar iPad e-book applications coming online in the next few months.

The purpose of this article is to introduce how to read ebooks on an iPad with free applications, and discuss some of the pros and cons of each.

Downloading Books

Both Amazon and Apple allow users to download sample copies of their e-books. My decisions to purchase or not purchase an e-book has many times been influenced by reading a sample copy first.

ebookreader7   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

In terms of the number of e-books available for download, Amazon of course has a much larger stock than Apple. So Apple allowing the Kindle app on its mobile devices is a wise decision.

To browse Amazon e-books, you are linked from the Kindle iPad app to the online Kindle store, whereas with Apple”˜s iBookstore you browse and purchase e-books in the iBook’s application itself. You’re not sent to a separate website. This experience is a little better than with iBookstore, but at this point the limited stock of books in the Apple store will send many customers to Amazon or elsewhere.

Reading E-Books

Simple reading of e-books in both applications is pretty much the same as well. In both apps you tap on the right and left side of the iPad screen to “turn” pages. Each app includes a little animated feature in which if you “turn a page” slowly it replicates the look of turning a real paper book. This feature is not turned on, I think, by default in the Amazon reader.

You can also change the font style and size of pages as you read, in both readers. Also very useful is the ability to dim the light of the backlit screen, which can be done in both apps. If you need to look up a word in the dictionary, each app has a tool for that.

Mobile Photo Apr 9 2010 1 04 21 PM   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

Page Locations

The most frustrating part of reading in both of these apps is getting lost when you turn too many pages.  In iBooks you can move your finger across the bottom of each page to select a page number in a chapter. Also , the bottom-right side of each page tells you how many pages are left in each chapter.

The Kindle reader is similar, but not as practical. The page numbering in the Kindle does not come close to the actual page numbering in the paper version of a book. The numbering can go into the thousands, when the paper version is actually say 296. And it only gives you the percentage of pages read in an e-book.

pagenumbering1   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

Both apps also include a table of contents tab, and a tab for getting back to the last page you were on before turning to the contents page.

The large iPad screen makes for comfortable reading in both apps, though some readers may be uncomfortable with the bright back-light of the screen or possible glare when reading outdoors. Other users have complained about the iPad being too difficult to read out in direct sunlight.

Making Annotations

If you’re needing to make annotations in the books you read, both apps offer some basic tools in this area. They including highlighting, bookmarking, and in the case of the Kindle, note taking.

With each of these tools you press down on the word where you want to start highlighting and drag your finger across to where you want to end the highlight. In the Kindle app you tap on the upper corner of a page to bookmark it, whereas with iBooks you must use the highlighter tool as a bookmarker. Ironically, the tool is called Bookmark, but what you’re really doing is highlighting.

ebookreader 2   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

The highlighting tools work great in both apps, but the iBooks app includes a feature for going back and changing the color (to yellow, green, blue, pink, or purple) of a highlighted passage by simply pressing down on the highlight which will result in a pop-up menu of color selections.

ebookreader 1   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

Each app also includes a way to retrieve a list of your annotations.

Other Features

Where both applications really begin to differ are the unique features they offer. In the Kindle app, you have the preference of reading pages in black with white lettering, which can’t be done in iBooks.

iBooks, on the other hand, has a universal search field where you can type in a keyword and it gives you the results of each page on which the searched word appears. You can also press down on a word and do a search. The search can also includes queries in Google and Wikipedia.

If you are reading a Kindle e-book on more than one device, Amazon has a syncing feature which updates to the furthest you’ve read in a selected book. If you sync between say your iPhone and the desktop version of the Kindle, it will also sync your highlights. But that does not occur if you sync between the iPad and the desktop version. Only the furthest pages read syncs.

Mobile Photo Apr 9 2010 7 30 09 PM1   Reading Ebooks on The iPad with iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac]

Missing Features

Neither reader seem to handle indexes, which I guess is an issue with how e-books are published. There is also not a way to export or print out your annotations from each device; nor is there a way to copy and paste text from either e-books or your annotations. If Apple, Amazon, and other e-book stores are going to attract say students and the academic market, they will need to include these and other advanced features.

I have no preference for one e-reader over the other. I think they both work great, though the iBooks is a tad bit more stylish in its execution, which is mainly a result of Apple building off of Amazon”˜s previous versions of their e-reader app.

I look forward to the growth of these apps. They may not ever stop me from reading paper books, but they certainly are helping to reduce the need for more bookshelf space in my house.

So tell us about your e-book reading. What reader do you use? Have you tried either the Kindle or the iBook app on the iPad? Likes, dislikes?

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21 Comments -

0 votes

Steven

I’m currently a college student going for computer networking. Would the iPad be at this point an alternative to buying actual books? or any reader for that matter?

Between iBooks and Kindle those 2 seem to have the most books to offer, but not all. Overall great info on the ebook feature of the ipad. Thanks

0 votes

Elvin

I think is the most comfortable way of carrying a huge collection on books with you. Searching in your collection, downloading samples, knowing whats the best book for you, it’s the best experience you can get. + if you are not satisfied with the book results you can try to find over the internet. It’s like having the entire library with you.

0 votes

Anonymous

Best Free iPad App Top 1 – iBooksiBooks the obvious first choice for a free app that almost every iPad owner will want. The iBooks app gives you both an e-book reader as well as access to Apple’s iBookstore where you can sample or purchase books and download them directly to the iPad. It features a landscape two-page view, page flip animations, a dictionary, and a highlight-bookmarks feature.
see more and download best free apps for ipad.

0 votes

Bakari

Steven, it’s hard to say how well these ebooks would work for academic text. I think it depends on how u use and access text as a student. Do u flip back and forth between pages and chapters? Are you comfortable working from a screen? I’m learning to work from a screen more and more, but I’m not sure what that experience would be like as a student. Let us know what you decide to do and how it works out for you.

0 votes

Steven

I’m really flexible as for as how I use the textbook. The main features I would use it already has built in; being able to select a page, and highlight portions. The iBooks feature of a universal search would also be really handy. I’m more concerned about the books themselves. We use a lot of books by Wiley publishing, and they aren’t listed on Amazon as offering ebooks at all. Their website shows they have ebooks in Adobe Reader format, but can you use that on the iPad?

0 votes

Mark O’Neill

Features like this make me want an iPad more and more. But they are not even on sale yet over here in Europe, and when they are, they are expected to cost around 800 Euros! Far too much money for the average person. Who has a spare 800 Euros knocking around these days?

0 votes

Aibek

WTF? 800 EUR? Maaaaan, that’s crazy…you can but a pretty good laptop
for that money.

0 votes

Aibek

WTF? 800 EUR? Maaaaan, that’s crazy…you can but a pretty good laptop
for that money.

0 votes

jeffcard

Nice guide, it’s really useful for my new iPad. I also found a guide regarding how to convert PDF to ePub for iBooks.

0 votes

Jim Britton

Nice article on the differences. I just read my first Kindle book on the Ipad and was going to try iBooks for another book. I might just stick with the kindle app to sync between multiple devices and you can copy down the highlights if you log into your account at http://kindle.amazon.com, click on Reading List, then select the Book, and then click on the See all your highlights and notes on one page link.

0 votes

Jim Britton

Nice article on the differences. I just read my first Kindle book on the Ipad and was going to try iBooks for another book. I might just stick with the kindle app to sync between multiple devices and you can copy down the highlights if you log into your account at http://kindle.amazon.com, click on Reading List, then select the Book, and then click on the See all your highlights and notes on one page link.

0 votes

Anonymous

aha, Nice and cool guide!
Thanks alot!
ipad is really attractive, it’s so sleek and convenient. One of my friend said to me: “I am buying an iPad because I can’t open a laptop in cattle-car airlines without breaking my laptop or straining my wrists to work on it. I want to boot up and watch a movie or read a book in a matter of seconds, not minutes. I want to be able to quickly work on a document or e-mail only, not load an entire system when I don’t need all of it. I want a simple way to work while travelling The iPad fits that description without the extra weight of laptop, cords, mouse, and other accoutrements of work.”
you see this is ipad’s magic. Well, share some ipad resources and tips on iPads, such as “10 Best iPad Games We Can’t Wait to Play”, “Top 10 Best Free iPad Apps”, “The Beginner’s Guide to iPad Video Conversion on Mac”, “Apple iPad Jailbreaking Hacks”… Well, more: http://www.ifunia.com/ipad-column/index.html

0 votes

lemoon

aha, Nice and cool guide!
Thanks alot!
ipad is really attractive, it’s so sleek and convenient. One of my friend said to me: “I am buying an iPad because I can’t open a laptop in cattle-car airlines without breaking my laptop or straining my wrists to work on it. I want to boot up and watch a movie or read a book in a matter of seconds, not minutes. I want to be able to quickly work on a document or e-mail only, not load an entire system when I don’t need all of it. I want a simple way to work while travelling The iPad fits that description without the extra weight of laptop, cords, mouse, and other accoutrements of work.”
you see this is ipad’s magic. Well, share some ipad resources and tips on iPads, such as “10 Best iPad Games We Can’t Wait to Play”, “Top 10 Best Free iPad Apps”, “The Beginner’s Guide to iPad Video Conversion on Mac”, “Apple iPad Jailbreaking Hacks”… Well, more: http://www.ifunia.com/ipad-col

0 votes

MLNLAW

As a lawyer, I read a lot of information – cases, articles, briefs from other side.

This part is a killer for me, “There is also not a way to export or print out your annotations from each device; nor is there a way to copy and paste text from either e-books or your annotations.”

I saw one user’s experience, “I might just stick with the kindle app to sync between multiple devices and you can copy down the highlights if you log into your account at http://kindle.amazon.com, click on Reading List, then select the Book, and then click on the See all your highlights and notes on one page link.”

Is this a possible workaround? If I emailed myself PDF documents and highlighted them then I email them back to another computer and print.

Is there an app that allows me to highlight PDFs from emails? That sounds like an Adobe function. I hear Apple and Adobe don’t mix.

Any thoughts?

0 votes
0 votes

MLNLAW

As a lawyer, I read a lot of information – cases, articles, briefs from other side.

This part is a killer for me, “There is also not a way to export or print out your annotations from each device; nor is there a way to copy and paste text from either e-books or your annotations.”

I saw one user’s experience, “I might just stick with the kindle app to sync between multiple devices and you can copy down the highlights if you log into your account at http://kindle.amazon.com, click on Reading List, then select the Book, and then click on the See all your highlights and notes on one page link.”

Is this a possible workaround? If I emailed myself PDF documents and highlighted them then I email them back to another computer and print.

Is there an app that allows me to highlight PDFs from emails? That sounds like an Adobe function. I hear Apple and Adobe don’t mix.

Any thoughts?

0 votes

Aibek

Hi there

I would suggest asking this on MakeUseOf Answers as well,
http://www.makeuseof.com/answe

Aibek

0 votes

confused

when I download a book for college course it downloads to a black on black for text, pictures and graphs fine. What am I missing here?

0 votes

Scott

I would argue that paper books are still technologically superior to the iPad (or any e-Reader for that matter). I’m a user experience designer and I’ve been thinking a lot about e-Readers lately, and just wrote an article for my blog (http://uxshark.com) about this very topic. Check it out and join the discussion.

0 votes

Scott

I would argue that paper books are still technologically superior to the iPad (or any e-Reader for that matter). I’m a user experience designer and I’ve been thinking a lot about e-Readers lately, and just wrote an article for my blog (http://uxshark.com) about this very topic. Check it out and join the discussion.

0 votes

zholy

Best Free iPad App Top 1 – iBooks
iBooks the obvious first choice for a free app that almost every iPad owner will want. The iBooks app gives you both an e-book reader as well as access to Apple’s iBookstore where you can sample or purchase books and download them directly to the iPad. It features a landscape two-page view, page flip animations, a dictionary, and a highlight-bookmarks feature.
see more and download best free apps for ipad.