When the iPad was introduced to a resounding, “meh,” from the geek community, Apple quickly pointed out the various things that an iPad can do that an iPhone really isn’t very good at. One of the major functions touted by Apple and by iPad fans everywhere is the device’s abilities as an eBook reader.
This is unfair to eBook readers, because Apple’s iPad is quite simply a bad substitute for a decent eBook reader like the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook. I’m not saying that the iPad is a useless device; it’s very useful, it’s just that it isn’t a good eBook reader. Here’s why.
The backlit screen problem. While the iPad has a magnificent, huge screen, it doesn’t look too great outdoors. This is because of the backlit design of the screen. Competent ebook readers use a “digital ink” (which is similar to the new iPhone’s Retina display) to make each page of a book look realistic.
The iPad is more or less using a standard computer screen, and that sort of precludes book lovers from reading at the beach, on their porches, or any of the many sunlit areas that book readers enjoy. Perhaps future versions of the iPad will overcome this problem, but there’s no comparing the Kindle or the Sony eReader to the iPad’s display-at least for books.
It’s a bit too hefty. Apple recently announced a slimmer iPad, as some users have been complaining about the weight and size of the original. This is especially noticeable while reading, unless you’re one of those types that prefers reading on your stomach. Books are read in a number of ways, though, and they’re more suited to the slim, easy to hold design of the specialized eBook readers on the market.
Apple’s not a book company. Apple’s done an admirable job of offering some major books on the iPad, but even with the help of app developers-not the least of which is Amazon, which offers a version of their Kindle software for the iPad-they can’t offer the same book buying experience as the professionals. This is especially true when compared to the Barnes and Noble Nook, which has taken great pains to replicate the book owning experience. The Nook can share books, and Nook owners can read books for free if they’re in a Barnes and Noble. Apple doesn’t offer anything but high prices and a somewhat limited selection.
Finally, the iPad simply wasn’t designed to read books. Other eBook readers are, and they do the job much, much better than the hefty tablet. The iPad can handle a number of functions much better than its competitor devices, but unfortunately, it’s an awful eBook reader.
What do you think of the Apple iPad’s abilities as an eBook reader? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.