A while back I wrote a column called “Why I Bought a Kindle 3 and Why I Stopped Using My iPad to Read eBooks” in which I explained why I had moved away from reading ebooks on my iPad in favor of my Kindle 3. Well, with the introduction of the high resolution iPad I have reversed myself. I’ve stopped using my Kindle 3 and am now using my new iPad 3 exclusively for ebooks.
In case you aren’t familiar with it, the new iPad has basically double the screen resolution of the iPad 1 and 2. The iPad’s resolution went from 1024 x 768 to 2048 x 1536 (which amounts to about 264 pixels per inch). It even beats an HDTV!
If you’re coming from an earlier iPad then you will notice the difference immediately. Text in ebooks looks much crisper, without the fuzziness that you saw if you read ebooks using the iPad 1 or 2. It’s not just ebooks that look so much better though. Photos, games and anything else that takes advantage of the iPad 3′s screen just looks phenomenal compared to prior versions of the iPad.
If you looked at my earlier column, you know I had a few gripes about the iPad. Strangely, they all seem rather nitpicky now. I haven’t noticed a problem reading ebooks before bed on an LCD screen. Was it just the fuzzy fonts on the earlier iPad that bothered me? Perhaps so. The challenge I’ve been facing now is putting my iPad 3 down and not reading well into the night.
iBooks and the Kindle App
iBooks and the Kindle app have both been updated to the iPad 3′s higher resolution screen. So ebooks in both look terrific. I own ebooks on both platforms and I have no problems using either app. Right now I think iBooks is just a bit slicker and provides a slightly better overall reading experience than the Kindle app since it has better highlighting and font choice.
But the Kindle store is better laid out than the iBooks store and the Kindle store has way more books. So I’ve found it advantageous to keep both apps on my iPad and I recommend that others do so as well. Why limit yourself to one store or the other? Sometimes you can get the same book for less on the Kindle store, though I have found that iBooks sometimes has better formatting.
iBooks also seems to offer graphics novels. Last time I checked in the Amazon store you could only get graphic novels for the Kindle Fire, not for the Kindle iPad app. I think that’s a mistake on Amazon’s part as I’ve found myself buying Marvel graphic novels from iBooks and really enjoying them with the new high res iPad screen. If you haven’t tried graphic novels then download the free Marvel Avengers graphic novel and check out how it looks on the iPad 3. Comics finally look the way they should on the iPad 3.
Anyway, the gist of all of this is that you should have both apps on your iPad 3. It gives you more flexibility when it comes to finding and buying ebooks and graphic novels.
The Kindle iPad App Versus the Kindle 3
Ars Technica did a sort of head to head comparison between the e-ink Kindle and the Kindle app on iPad.
Here’s their final conclusion:
If you love reading and are looking to invest a chunk of money into a device as a dedicated e-reader, then the iPad is not your best bet. The value you can get from devices like the Kindle (or several other competitors like the Sony Reader or Kobo), will allow you to save money to spend on what is presumably your main passion: books. The iPad’s retina display is sharp and bright, but the display is unlikely to be the sole deciding factor for spending more time with the books you love.
The trouble comes when you start to think of your e-reader as more than an e-reader. E-ink Kindles are abysmal at Web browsing, for example, and they don’t run popular apps and games like the iPad and other tablets on the market today.
Things won’t always be this way, though, because color e-ink and other technologies are still on the horizon. There are other types of reading, like webpages and magazines, that matter just as much as books to many readers, too. For those needs, an iPad’s retina display will display images and text like a champ. But if your focus is on reading many books for many hours, e-ink still provides readers with the best support.
While I found the article interesting, it was also a bit silly to compare apples and oranges. When you get right down to it, it’s really just a matter of personal preference when it comes to e-ink versus LCD screens. Some people are simply going to gravitate toward one or the other. I’m glad that both devices are available, and I hope that remains the case in the future.
The Kindle: Still Great, Just Not for Me
The Kindle is still a great ereader if all you want to do is read ebooks. If you own one or want to buy one for ebooks alone then I don’t think you’ll make a mistake by getting one. Kindles still have an advantage in sunlight and the e-ink screens can be more comfortable for some people’s eyes.
So don’t interpret this column as a bashing of the Kindle in any way. My own habits and the new high res iPad screen have just made the iPad work better for my reading needs than the Kindle. I’m still a big fan of the Kindle and I look forward to seeing future versions of it.
But I’ll be using my iPad for ebooks from now on.
What’s your take on this column? Tell me in the comments below.