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111 posts

Master Geek

#87520 30-Jul-2011 21:02
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Hey all,

Considering getting an Ipad 2, to use as a media consumption device but also as an e-reader while I complete my MA thesis - sometimes having my own copy of particular books would be a real help, and some of these books are pretty hefty in terms of price. Of course, the e-book forms are significantly cheaper. What is the Amazon reader application for the Ipad like? Where is the best place to buy an iPad 2? I'd probably go for the 16gb wifi version - I can tether it to my Galaxy S II to use a 3G connection if I need to. 

Interested to hear opinions on using the iPad 2 as an ereader.  

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  #499911 30-Jul-2011 23:05
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There are a few issues with ebooks. First there are multiple generally incompatible formats, with incompatible DRM.

Second the books are still generally a scanned and OCRed version, so there are spelling/grammatical errors aplenty.

Not sure whether any of the readers are specifically designed to easily snippet information out of them (unless they are PDFs) for reference, although in some you can bookmark and highlight and note stuff.

I generally use ibooks, which is adequate, but uses far too much space for frivilous UX, and I would rather see more words, in order to change pages less often.

All that being said I have read a few books recently using my ipad2 and have enjoyed the process, and will continue to do this more than paper.

Hope this helps,


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  #499938 31-Jul-2011 07:39
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IMO it makes a pretty good reader. The Kindle app works well as does the iBook. Have had no issues downloading or reading books from Amazon using Kindle. There are some reasonable free PDF readers or you can can get a full featured one for a couple of bucks. Have not had any DRM issues at all.

If you just want a reader then get one, but considering everything else the iPad can do I think its a pretty good choice.

Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman

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Uber Geek

  #500161 1-Aug-2011 08:40
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exception is you still can't read a kindle in the dark :)

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Wannabe Geek

  #500819 2-Aug-2011 14:54
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Hi there,

I've only had my iPad2 for a couple of weeks but I can give you my e-reading experience to date. First up, let me say that I am loving this device. I've heard others say that they can't see the point of a tablet, but it seems to fit my lifestyle (hate that expression) perfectly. I do a long daily commute, and it's so much better than lugging a laptop around with me, and much more comfortable to use for reading and email than my iPhone (eyes aren't what they were.)

As far as e-reading goes, the first thing you need to know is that the Apple Bookstore isn't available in New Zealand. Opening the iBooks app presents you with an empty shelf, and clocking on the Store button leads you to a list of out-of-copyright authors where you can download free copies of various "classics" in dreary beige generic covers that look like old school books. Fine if your into Jane Austin or Aristotle but not very sexy.

The good news is that Kindle is available free on the AppStore, and gives you access to the entire Amazon Kindle Store - for a price obviously.

The Kindle App itself is elegant and simple. There are few bells and whistles, but I have to say it does the job very well. A friend of mine has a first generation Kindle Reader and I would have to say the iPad experience is much nicer, with bright clear text and nice full-colour cover art. The touch screen makes page turning very natural and so effortless you don't even know you're doing it. The screen contrast is adjustable, as are the paper background colour, font size (a feature I love being a bit short sighted), and you can even format the text in single or double columns, quite nice if you prefer to read in landscape mode.

There are also tools to highlight and/or annotate words or passages, you can set multiple bookmarks, and the app always remembers where you've got to in any given book, great if like me, you have several books on the go at one time. Finally, the built in dictionary is great. come across a word you don't know, highlight it, and you get an instant pop up definition, with links to a full page dictionary entry and even Wikipedia links. Brilliant.

Inexplicably, in the latest update to the Kindle iPad app, the button linking to the Kindle Store has been removed (Pressure from Uncle Steve perhaps?), which depending on how you look at it, could be a good thing. It is rather easy to indulge in late night spending binges while laying in bed at night. The iPad is great for night time reading, not too heavy, and you don't need to have the light on (Except to read your credit card number of course.)

The Kindle Store itself is pretty good, and its presentation is much the same as the rest of the Amazon site. The range of books isn't as comprehensive as the main bookstore but I guess it's only going to get better. There are all the usual best sellers and genres, along with a fair smattering of what look like vanity publishing efforts from obscure authors with amateurishly designed covers and optimistic prices. If you have more specialist or esoteric tastes you might find it a bit harder to find what you're looking for.

Prices seem very variable, but mostly reasonable. I just bought Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5" for $4.75 which seemed like a bit of a steal. The most I've paid is $31.62 ("The Apollo Guidance Computer" by Frank O'Brian - another guilty late night impulse buy)

I believe the Barnes and Noble Nook reader is now also available for iPad, but I haven't looked into that yet. I'm guessing it will be a very similar offering to Kindle.

The other aspect of the iPad as a reader that I'm enjoying is the purpose designed magazines that are becoming available. I have a subscription to Wired magazine, which looks absolutely gorgeous in the iPad screen, and the designers have really gone out of their way to offer something more than the print equivalent with cleaver non-linear page layouts , interactive features, and embedded animation and video. I've also bought a couple of copies of National Geographic which use a similar user interface and look equally stunning. The prices are quite high - expect to pay similar to newsstand prices, but again, I expect they will come down as circulation and competition grows.

So there you go. I'd give iPad a big thumbs up as an eReader, it does the job at least as well as most of the other devices I've seen or read about, and of course not being a dedicated reader is capable of a whole lot more.

hope this helps



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  #500867 2-Aug-2011 15:57
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Thanks for a very informative and well written post Linds, welcome to Geekzone!

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Wannabe Geek

  #500921 2-Aug-2011 17:17
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Cheers Scott!

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Wannabe Geek

  #500938 2-Aug-2011 17:48
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Posting earlier about Amazon removing the "Shop at Kindle Store" Button from their iPad app got me thinking and I started looking into it.

I seems there is a major bun-fight going on between Apple and the other eBook vendors, Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, Sony etc., regarding their respective iPad apps.

As I understand it, Apple - as part of their T&C's claim 30% of any goods sold through any Apple approved app. The way the eBook vendors have been getting around this is by having a button within their reader apps link to their own retail sites, such as Amazon's Kindle Store.

Apple are now insisting that users must have the "opportunity" to but the goods from within the app, using Apples eCommerce system - and allowing them to carve of their 30% - or remove the "Shop" buttons entirely. Hence Kindles recent "Update" to their app, removing the ability to browse and buy directly.

The B&N Nook iPad app has also suddenly disappeared from the AppStore today, presumably for the same reason.

Clearly the book sellers aren't / can't afford to give Apple 30% of the cover price, and readers aren't going to stand for an equivalent price hike - so at the moment it seems like a bit of a stand-off. I guess worse case scenario is that we will see Kindle, Nook and the others withdraw from the iOS platform, which would be a real shame for everybody concerned. not least of all us the readers.

And Apple used to be such a nice outfit...

I also saw a rumor somewhere today that Apple might be considering buying Barnes & Noble since their IBookStore offerings don't seem to be exactly flying off the virtual shelves and the latest Nook reader is by all accounts a bit of a show-stopper, they'd be keen to kill it off. Guess with 78 billion in the bank they can afford it!

The plot thickens.

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