Late in 2011, I broke down and purchased my first Kindle, and at the beginning of 2012, wrote about what I loved so far and what I didn’t love so much. In March, while in Nashville, I upgraded my Kindle to the Touch (Emily is now enjoying my original Kindle) and that pretty much took care of most of my complaints about the Kindle experience. Then, a few months later, I did something crazy:
I bought an iPad.
(This is really only crazy from my perspective–I usually don’t go on a huge tech binge like I’ve done this year.)
This summer gave me the opportunity to try a lot of different kinds of digital reading experiences, from the Kindle for iPad app, the Kindle itself and a dipping a toe into iBooks as well. How’d I like them? Here’s my take:
I love touch-screen interfaces. This was, pretty much, the biggest frustration I had with my original Kindle (that and it being useless for note taking). The on-screen keyboard, while a little clunky, is super-easy to use and I’m so glad they upgraded the highlighting function to cross pages when necessary. Grabbing highlights from personal documents is easy (just connect to a computer and open the text file), sharing is no problem, text is sharp… all in all, the Kindle Touch offers a terrific reading experience. In fact, it’s my primary reading device when I’m at home. When I’m out, though, that’s another story.
Kindle for iPad
As much as I love the Kindle Touch reading experience, I don’t like always travelling with multiple devices. It’s a bit awkward to be carrying around the Kindle and a laptop and an iPad, y’know? So when I’m out and about during the day, I take my iPad with me. What I love about the Kindle for iPad app is it keeps track of progress across devices (when connected to WiFi), has decent highlighting and note taking tools, and sharing quotes is still a snap. Whenever I’m reading a book purchased from Amazon, my highlights are stored online at kindle.amazon.com, which is helpful.
The one thing I’ve not done (yet) is read a personal document on it. Honestly, I’m kind of afraid to. The concern I have there is that I won’t be able to access any highlights or notes I make (I’m not sure if they come across to the primary Kindle device or not—I know they’re not stored online, though). And because I do so much reading for review purposes, I really need those. (If a reader knows how to do this and can tell me, I will be in his or her debt.)
The one thing I really loved reading on the iPad was a graphic novel. This summer, I was challenged to read some “fun” books as I am a giant nerd. So, I bought a Superman graphic novel and read that, which was awesome. The colors were vibrant, the images were clear… It was definitely something I’d be happy to do again sometime.
But this year I didn’t limit myself to just the Kindle and the Kindle app. I tried one more, with less than favorable results.
I’m an Apple geek. We have multiple iDevices kicking about our home and that’s likely not going to change anytime soon. However, iBooks is by far the worst reading app I’ve used so far. While, visually, it’s nice and clear, but that’s pretty much it if you’re not reading an ePub book. If you’re reading a PDF, you’ve got nothing but the little bookmark thing and that’s it. While I’ve not given up on the app entirely, it’s definitely not been a favorite of mine so far.
Although I’m not 100 percent sold on any one type of digital reading experience (I’ve not tried the Kobo app yet and haven’t really gotten into some of the others that are out there), the Kindle and Kindle app are definitely my favorites at this stage, if for no other reason than I have so many Kindle books. I suspect they’ll continue to be my top choices for the foreseeable future.
Are you a digital reader? What’s your preference for device/app?