The top 4 iPad eBooks apps are Apples’ iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle, Border’s eBooks, and Barnes & Noble. Even though the apps are free, the books are not free so it might help to have a comparison of each one. Here are the pros and cons of the three iPad eBooks apps.
A report released in July shows that 36% of iPad owners will use their device to read ebooks exclusively after trying it out; and they won’t be using their current eReader device any longer. This is a very important number because not only will it grow larger but it means that the iPad could kill the single-purpose eReader market.
It stands to reason that if eBook app developers can deliver something on par with the eReader device itself then why not just use the iPad? Afterall, you can not only read but play a game, check email, and surf the web. It’s a clear win. Here is a comparison of the three iPad eBook apps.
The iBooks app was the original one available for the iPad when it was released. It is Apple’s own app and you use it to buy books available in the iBook Store. You can also load PDF’s into iBooks.
Some things about iBooks that users are not happy with:
- App is very slow
- Tends to crash a lot
- Not enough books
- No Harry Potter Books (yes there are a lot of complaints about this)
Overall the iBooks app is a great eBook app from Apple. It feels like reading a real book. The book prices are what you would expect although there is a much less selection than, say, Amazon’s selection. I suspect the iBookstore, however, will continue to grow.
The kindle app was quite a surprise, but not when you consider the statistics above. This app gives you access to over 600,000 ebooks within the Kindle store, including the latest releases and bestsellers. The really neat thing about it is that it includes Amazon’s Whispersync technology which syncs your last page read and bookmarks across all your devices. The Kindle app does not have a nice virtual bookshelf but it has access to far more books. It also does not yet appear to have in-app purchasing.
Some features users are not happy with:
- Have to look up words outside of the app
- No search integration
- Harder on the eyes than the Kindle appliance
- No PDF import
- No ability to read in layout mode
Borders eBooks is the newest app to arrive on the scene. I think Borders sees the writing on the wall and figures that since their CD sales aren’t so great, their cafe is busier than the bookstore, and because they didn’t create their own eReader device like Barnes & Noble did (Nook), then why not join the party! Borders has had eReading capability for awhile now with their Borders.com online initiative but this is their first official app. I think this app looks great. It gives you some free books to start off with, the graphics are really nice, and there are multiple options to choose how to read the books.
Some features users are not happy with:
- No ability to use Borders gift cards to buy the books
- No ability to highlight and take notes
- Generally has some bugs to work out
- Books are expensive
The Barnes & Noble ebooks app seems to be a favorite of a lot of people and you can see why when there are so many amazing features. In fact of all of the above it has the highest ratings in the iTunes store. They have over 1 million books, free books, newspapers and magazines that you can access. And if you own a Nook, you can read items on both your iPad and your Nook.
In general, I looked at each ebook store and the prices were all about the same. Amazon had the best deals of course due to their larger selection than other two, but for best sellers or new releases the prices hovered around the $9.99 to $16.99 price range. Overall, it really comes down to your personal choice and perhaps you have all three apps. This market is not going to go away so not only will there be more e-reader apps but the volume of books available will grow and perhaps the pricing will change as they all compete.
So what is your favorite reader?
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