My first article for Thaddeus Publishing, makers of iPhone Life, was printed in 1992 and it was entitled "On the road with my HP 95LX." I am about to go on another road trip, for Voices That Matter iPhone Development Training in Philadelphia. Technically, it's a train trip, and with a nearly ten hour commute each way, I want to be prepared. My iPad is not the 3G model so I am looking for apps that let me load up on reading material for the ride. I could get some books via iBooks, but I'm more of a magazine guy.
Here are the apps plus one accessory that I use most often during my down time. I can't guarantee they are best in their class, but I can strongly recommend each one.
Head-to-head comparison of Apple's iBooks app with Amazon's Kindle app, B&N NOOK, eBooks by Kobo, and Stanza
Despite numerous attempts, I never thought the iPhone was well suited as an eBook reader (see the Summer, 2009 issue of iPhone Life: iphonelife.com/issues/Summer09/eBooksOniPhone). Despite having a number of apps available for the purpose, there were too many problems associated with the small display. I stuck with my Amazon Kindle, which provided a fantastic reading experience and was backed by Amazon's vast selection of eBooks. I thought I'd be perfectly happy with it for a long time, but along came the iPad and everything changed.
There's no reason to lug around your paperback and hardcover books if you've got an iOS device. Whether you're looking for best sellers, classics, poetry, scripture, graphic novels, kid's titles, or even the iPad Users Guide, you'll find them in the App Store's Books category and through the eBook readers there. The free eBook reader apps that link to online stores let you download popular eBook titles that don't have stand alone apps.
I've written before about the power of a truly interactive multimedia eBook reader, but two iPad apps have really taken the idea and run with it. The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross is a unique children's book with a hauntingly stark design.
I just recently made the switch to iBooks (from Stanza) on my 2G iPod touch. Not a permanent switch, but at least to give iBooks a go. There is a great selection of free material available, and finding it is a cinch. Kaplan has teamed up with Apple to make a bunch of study and reference ebooks available gratis for the back-to-school season. Go here on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch (which links directly into iBooks library) to get these free titles... Promotion dates and more info below...
(Note that a cleaned up and extended, easy-to-digest version of this article – without the lengthy section on the chart – will be published in the iPhone / iPad Buyer's Guide. Go buy it ;-) ).
The iPad offers an excellent way of reading PDF files. While you can do this right in Safari (with web based PDF's) or can freely download Apple's own iBooks, it may be still worth checking out how almost all (!) the currently available PDF reader solutions. Knowing what the alternative PDF readers are capable of is essential as reading online PDF's with Safari lacks any kind of features like in-document searching. In addition, iBooks lacks some essential features too.
Great idea this, especially for the iPad... iStoryTime has created a first in book app publication for iPad. A hearing-impaired friendly childrens book. The book format features an option to display an animated sign-language interpreter on the right side of the screen as the content is displayed.
I've always felt that it was shortsighted for eBook readers to merely try to emulate the traditional book experience. Sure, it's fun to see the page curl as you swipe the screen, etc., but for eReaders to really take off, they need to leverage their technology and offer advantages that a traditional book cannot. vBookz, $4.99 from Mindex International, is an attempt to do just that, with an eBook reader that reads out loud, using Text-to-Speech.
According to the Atlantic Monthly, on Monday, a bible app cracked the top 10 highest grossing iPad book apps of all time. The NIV Bible Reader is currently getting 3,000 downloads a day. The app is also ranked number 2 on the iPhone just behind Green Eggs and Ham.