Reading eBooks on my iPad2: My experience

About a year ago, I purchased the nook so that I could read eBooks since my iPad was almost entirely dominated by my children’s use. Last fall, my loving husband bought an iPad2 for my birthday so that I could have my own iPad to use. I share this one with my daughter, but she doesn’t use it nearly as much as my son uses my original iPad.

This year, I decided to give reading books on the iPad a try.

My first eBook was, naturally, the Biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson. I purchased it via Apple’s iBooks store more out of loyalty than any other technical or monetary reason. I have the nook and kindle apps for my iPad, so I could have easily purchased it via Barnes and Nobel or Amazon respectively.

I enjoyed the experience of reading on the iPad2 more than I thought I would. Initially, I though that the lighted screen might be a strain on my eyes. While I still prefer the eink technology for eBook reading, I did enjoy the ability to read in the dark while getting my children to bed that reading on the iPad2 gave me.

Aside from the backlighting, the first thing I noticed was the speed contrast between my Wi-Fi + 3G nook and the iPad2 iBooks book. There was no comparison. The iPad2 page turning was responsive. The nook’s page turning was slow.  The iPad2’s iBooks layout was more book like, the nook’s was less so. Given that my nook is a generation old now with the introduction of the nook simple touch, I would hope that the new hardware might provide a little snapper response. I’ve only had the chance to check out the nook simple touch at Target in demo mode, so I cannot speak to it’s function.

Not all book reading apps on the iPad are as nice. I have tried out three other apps to read books checked out from the library (article with instructions coming).

First I tried Overdrive, an application recommended by my local library. For some, but not all, eBook (epub and pdf format) titled in my local library’s eBook catalog, I can check the book out from and read it within the Overdrive application itself. While the ability to do this within the app, and without having to go to an additional Browser or my Macbook in order to get the content onto my iPad was nice, the interface left a lot to be desired when compared to the iBooks reading experience. Gone were the paper-like page turning graphics. Instead of a page turn, the page simple changes to the pervious or the next page depending on which side you’d tapped on. It works and it’s fast but there’s something less graceful and less book-like and more computer-like to this experience.  What I did like was the ability to set type size as well as page color between white to ecru, both of which made reading easier on my eyes.

The next app I tried for reading library eBooks was Bluefire. From the app, it appears that there is a way you check out books out from within BlueFire through some of their affiliates, but since I don’t see my library listed there, I have not tried that method. How I got the content onto my iPad2 here was to check out the book via my Safari browser, download the DRM key to my Macbook. Use Adobe Digital Editions to verify the DRM and download the file. Upload that file via iTunes to the BlueFire app with my iPad2 mounted. Once in the BlueFire reader, you can also set night mode (white text on black background) and text size, as well as fit to page width in the settings. The page turning here is a slide to the left or slide to the right motion, not a page flip. It reminds me of the old microfiche readers our library at work used to have.

To read pdfs, my go-to application is GoodReader. I could write a blog post on GoodReader alone (perhaps I will). The GoodReader app is available as a free and a paid version. I liked it enough that I paid for the full version of both the iPhone and iPad versions. There are a variety of ways of getting pdfs into GoodReader to read on your iPad2. I’ve used most of them. You can use iTunes and upload to your iPad or iPhone at sync, you can link to a dropbox account, your MobileMe iDisk (for as long as that will be around), or download pdfs directly from the web. The application is easy, quick and intuitive. It’s hands down the best pdf reader on iOS.

Overall, reading on the iPad2 has been a really good experience. I don’t find the iPad2’s form factor too big and bulky to use as a ereader. In fact, the Isaacson book is heavier than my iPad2 even in it’s Protenzo case.  Now that I’ve figured out how to check out library books both directly to the iPad and via an iTunes sync, my nook might just be relegated to sitting unused on my nightstand.

Your experience might vary, but the iPad2 has become an everything device for me.


About rocketsciencemom
I am a rocket scientist in my day job, and a mother of two all the time. I'm a pop culture addict and amateur artist in my spare time. My typical preferences tend toward sci-fi and fantasy genres but I love a good drama or comedy. Reading the blogs of fellow Lost fans over the years has motivated me to finally write my own. All drawings and images on this blog are property of RocketScienceMom

One Response to Reading eBooks on my iPad2: My experience

  1. Pingback: The end of my iPad only experiment « Rocket Science and kids

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