Yes, I am among the gushing new iPad owners. My hope is that this smaller device will take the place of the MacBook I usually schlep around from meeting to coffee shop to meeting during the day. I was going to hold off until the next generation of iPads before purchasing one, but after seeing Shaunna Mireau‘s when we were at the CALL conference, I knew I couldn’t wait that long.
Aside from work applications, I am hoping this reduces the weight of books in my knapsack. As a prolific reader, I typically carry one or more books with me in addition to the MacBook. I have held off buying one of the other ereaders until I could try this out.
As a first test, I am trying out the Kobo app for the iPad. Kobo, the brand linked to Chapters Indigo in Canada but also available in other countries, has applications available across platforms as well as their own ereader called Kobo. Here is what my Kobo bookshelf looks like after the purchase of just one book:
They have included a few sample public domain titles for me. Here is what one version of the screen looks like, with the print set fairly small:
Above is a page from The Disappeared by Kim Echlin, the book I am currently reading for my book club and purchased to read on the Kobo. Cost was $11.89 Cdn compared to the $13.68 if I had purchased it in paper copy from Indigo.ca. Not a huge savings. This is the rotated, wide view. I can also turn the iPad around to make it more vertical like a traditional book page. I can make the text larger, and make the screen brighter. To turn the pages, I touch the screen with my finger. I have an option of how the page turning appears and have gone with something that looks the closest to a page turning. There is also a fun option called “night reading” that inverts the view to white text on a black background, presumably to allow you to read without disturbing someone else with a bright screen.
One competing app promoted by Apple is iBooks. It comes with A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh to help show off the app’s ability to show text and illustrations. I went into the Store where they also have a number of public domain titles and downloaded a copy of Jane Austen’s Emma. They unfortunately didn’t have The Disappeared available. My bookshelf so far looks rather empty:
To compare the look of the reading pages, here is a sample from Emma:
They have laid it out to look like a traditional book (albeit with fewer words per page). When I go to turn the page, I swipe my finger across the screen and the animation looks like the page turning, more so than with the Kobo app. With this application, there is also the ability to adjust brightness and size of text. I notice a search function available on iBooks which I have not discovered with the Kobo.
I do not notice any note-taking or annotation functionality other than the ability to set bookmarks within books.
I notice when I purchased the book from iBooks, it appears in iTunes on my computer under “Books” (once I synch up my iPad). I did not see where the book I purchased from Kobo was stored on my iPad; however, when I sign into the website it is still held in my Library on the Kobo site from which I could download again. Since I didn’t purchase a book from iBooks, I’m not sure how that application handles this.
These both feel more book-like than computer-like because, like Shaunna, I also invested in the incase “book jacket” which has a leather feel. The one thing I like about this more than a book is that this cover acts like a stand. When I read, I can sit the book upright on the table in front of me and not have to strain my arms holding the book up or strain my neck looking down as I read.
I’m hoping my wrists and neck will thank me later. We’ll see how my eyes do after some extended reading!