In my previous post about the iPad, I wrote a lot about the pros and cons about this new Apple device, however I didn’t actually touch upon one of the key selling points; the iPad is also an eBook reader.
Recently eBooks have been taking off in a fairly big way. Amazon really cracked it first with the Kindle, creating a good solid device mixed with a huge database of books that wa accessible anywhere through 3G connectivity. The thing just worked. I have a big love of eInk, I think they look beautiful, they are fantastic to read off of, and because it is eInk the screen requires very little battery to operate. Of course there are several other devices on the market at the moment, the Sony eReader, Barnes and Noble Nook, etc, however the one to have, in my humble opinion is still the Kindle.
One of the big things with the iPad is that it is going to rival eBook readers with its built in application called iBooks. The program gives you a nice little visual bookshelf, tap to read a book and then when you are done you can go and buy yourself a new book from the iBookstore being stocked from publishers such as Harper Collins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.
The app looks nice, and I really can’t pass a huge amount of judgement on the thing until I hold it in my hands and have a real play with the thing. However, with that disclaimer out of the way, I’ve read several books off the screen of my HTC Hero and, aside from the really small screen, I really really dislike having a backlight to read by as I am in bed, it feels really really un-natural to read by, maybe it is something with the light in my eyes while trying to read. This for me is where eInk really fits the purpose; it does (kind of) look like paper.
My second small issue with the thing is the implementation of the the iBookstore. I really wish that the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and perhaps even the online Apple store came under one banner rather than breaking them up to 3 or 4 different stores, the online login details work the same, however for a company that is so concerned about convergence and bringing things together I don’t understand how or why they have separated these is to very distinct entities. I believe that the only way to access the iBookstore is through the iBooks App on the iPad, but that isn’t the way I want to do things, I would like to download the book on to my iMac through an iStore flick through a couple of pages and then sync it to my iPad (or iPhone, or just any i device).
In my previous post I said I would be waiting until version two of the iPad, the thing is that this doesn’t really pull me either way, call me traditional but I do like a real paper book. However, if you are after an eBook reader, TUAW do make a very good point, if you compare the iPad next to Amazon’s Kindle, the Kindle DX is just $10 cheaper.