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Old 04-06-2010, 10:11 PM   #1
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iPad Review and iBooks Review

Just got my initial review of the iPad posted, along with an in-depth look at iBooks.

The main review is here: http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/apple-ipad.html

And here's the iBooks review with lots of screenshots and a video: http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/ibooks.html

I'm also going to post detailed reviews of the Kindle app and Kobo app in the next couple of days or so, depending on how side-tracked I get playing with the iPad, and then other ebook and PDF apps after that.

Update: Here's the link to the Kindle app review: http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/kindle-ipad.html

And the Kobo iPad app: http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/kobo-ipad.html

The Kindle app has a few different features than iBooks like being able to add notes, go back, change background color, and zoom in on images. But it's lacking a dictionary and search function. It says those features are coming soon on Amazon's website, and I bet Apple adds a note feature to iBooks sooner or later, seems odd not to when the Kindle app has it.

I didn't go into a ton of detail in the Kobo review yet because I have a feeling that they're going to release an update soon. But there are several screenshots and a lengthy video.

Last edited by The-eBook-Reader; 04-09-2010 at 06:13 PM. Reason: update
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:39 AM   #2
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To be honest, I'm not very impressed with iBooks myself. I guess i was spoiled with Stanza, it was a much better reader app. I know Amazon has no plans to port it to the iPad so i hope someone else takes up the torch and releases a more featured reader for epub files. The nice thing the iPad has (over my 600) is the variety of sources, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and more to come. Competition is a good thing, to me at least.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:42 PM   #3
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After going to an Apple Store, I'm very underwhelmed by the iPad in general. iBooks has a long way to go to rival Stanza on the iPhone. I also found it very uncomfortable to hold especially while trying to use the other hand to do something on the screen.

I might consider the second generation iPad if it addresses these issues.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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I also found it very uncomfortable to hold especially while trying to use the other hand to do something on the screen.
Definitely true. It (and most tablets) will probably be "lap" devices as you really need it resting on your lap, a desk, your chest if you're laying down etc. for it to be comfortable.

This will improve as technology advance, but we're probably a few years away from having something that can do all this, get 10+ hours of battery life etc. and be super light and easy to hold in one hand.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:17 PM   #5
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I don't quite understand the excitement for Stanza. I have it on the iPhone and it's really nice and all, but from what I've seen in videos so far (the iPad is not available in Europe yet), iBooks blows the hell out of it. The presentation is awesome, I can search, copy text, bookmark, change fonts, … – seriously, what the heck could possibly be missing?
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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I don't quite understand the excitement for Stanza. I have it on the iPhone and it's really nice and all, but from what I've seen in videos so far (the iPad is not available in Europe yet), iBooks blows the hell out of it. The presentation is awesome, I can search, copy text, bookmark, change fonts, … – seriously, what the heck could possibly be missing?
You can't take notes. You can't tell which books you are currently reading or where you are in those books. You can't tell what books you've read and which ones are unread. You can't access your own library from outside of the computer. In order to get a book on iBooks, you have to manually tether the iPad to the computer and sync with iTunes. With Stanza you could download anywhere, anytime, over the air.

You could share via Stanza, either twitter, email, facebook (I think).

You could organize your books on the fly, changing the name, author, categories. You could make up your own categories and sort your books from within Stanza. You could add a cover if your book was missing one (like the other poster who bought Butcher's recent book for 12.99).

It was easy to make a book mark. Just tap the corner. With iBooks, you have to highlight a word to bookmark.

With Stanza, you, the reader were in charge. You could change the background color and the font color. Determine the justification, line spacing, paragraph spacing, the size of the margins. You determined whether there was a page turn effect or not. You determined how to turn the page (swipe or tap). I find iBooks unresponsive at times.

In general, the only thing that Stanza didn't do is read the book for you.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:00 PM   #7
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Stanza does not support embedded fonts. So that's a big strike against it. Also iBook does not at well. So that makes these two apps rather blah.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:34 PM   #8
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I agree about the ebook reader apps being blah so far, especially ePub-wise, but I remain confident that some really good apps will show up in time.

Perhaps a Calibre for iPad app? That would be freakin sweet. Hell, I'd even pay for something like that.

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Old 04-07-2010, 09:36 PM   #9
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Definitely true. It (and most tablets) will probably be "lap" devices as you really need it resting on your lap, a desk, your chest if you're laying down etc. for it to be comfortable.
You're right about it definitely being a lap device which kind of defeats the portability aspect. With my old Sony Reader, I could stand on the subway, hold the reader/flip pages one handed. There's no way I could do the same with the iPad.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:00 PM   #10
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You're right about it definitely being a lap device which kind of defeats the portability aspect. With my old Sony Reader, I could stand on the subway, hold the reader/flip pages one handed. There's no way I could do the same with the iPad.
Yep, I seldom use my Kindle out of the house. And when I do it's when sitting down and it's carried in my briefcase, so for me something like the iPad would be just as usable and portable other than adding more weight to my briefcase.

But for your needs, it wouldn't fit them well at all as your main reader.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:25 AM   #11
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I'm looking for info about the Kobo app.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:56 AM   #12
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If you are thinking of buying an IPAD and need further input, here is an article in my local paper from a tech person who ranted and raved about the product before seeing it and now has second thoughts regarding buying.


http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf...e_but_sti.html
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
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honestly, if someone is interested in an ipad they really need to just go to an apple store and play with one, or borrow one from someone they know. the reviews out there go from love it to hate it but it is truly a personal device and whether it does or doesn't fit into your way of doing things is up to you.

i was interested in getting one back in january when it was announced, as time went on my interested cooled off, i figured i'd wait for version 2. but i figured what the hell and threw in a pre-order the week before they were released and picked up a 64g unit on saturday. i expected to be slightly disappointed with the ipad and found myself very impressed with it. the hardware is ok, yes it is missing a few things I wish it had right now (like a front facing camera, and a SD card slot) but i'm living with those limitations right now. but what makes the unit is the software that is out there and will do what you want it to do. my favorite app right of the past few days is NewsRack, a RSS reader. it's great being able to sit on the couch/in bed/in an airport and just easily sit and read the news feeds of my favorite sites out there without the bulky laptop. i never expected this to be the "killer app" for me. mail access is ok, but i find some quirks about apple's mail app. web surfing is just fine, better than i expected. pages/numbers/keynote are good for on-the-run viewing, editing and [i]light[i] creation of these types of content (i think of it as "office lite"). even some of the games are entertaining. ibooks leaves me missing stanza, but at least i'm able to read my books and am no longer carrying my 600 with me. i'm not so thrilled with the current newspapers, they're all quirky and operate differently. would be nice if we had some standards for navigation in these types of applications. and there's a good selection of entertaining games out there. my personal feelings go on..

my point is. this is a completely different type of computer than we're used to, it's not a desktop, it's not a laptop, it's not your smartphone. it's too bad apple doesn't have a "try before you buy" period. well, there is the 14 day return policy with a 10% restocking fee, if you really regret buying one. or there's always craigslist or ebay. but if you're really interested in the device, i say go try out one out first. you might be pleasantly surprised, or find yourself saving $500+.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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I'm looking for info about the Kobo app.
I'm working on the review right now and it should be finished this afternoon, but I'm having trouble with their app crashing. I was hoping they'd update . . . It really needs to be updated, there's virtually no features at this point except changing what the page-turn animations do and font size and type. Their store is really well laid out, is easy to search through and looks great on the iPad, and so does the bookshelf view. But every time I download a sample and then try to open it it crashes .
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:30 AM   #15
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hmm. i don't have any crash problems with the kobo app. but i agree with you, there's very little customization or functionality to their reader, even less than apple's ibook. and their store is far better looking and functional than itunes for browsing books, plus a much larger selection. best of all, you can download their books in multiple formats, epub, pdf, mobi, rtf, depending on the book. buying from mobi you can download and read on both your ipad and ipod, and any other device you might have. can't do that with apple's offering. kobo's prices are just as competitive as apple and amazon's as well.

amazon kindle - best selection, almost the best on prices as well. reader app is ok. no 3rd party book support (unless you email yourself mobi documents). proprietary format. supported on multiple platforms. sync between platforms.

apple ibooks - smallest selection. good prices. reader app is decent. import drm-free ePub documents. apple's own fairplay protected books can't be exported. ipad platform only (can't even read the books on your mac). no sycing between platforms.

kobo books - good selection. competitive prices. app is decent, looks good, but bare-bottom in customization. best format support. best platform support. app doesn't sync between platforms, but you can usually download different formats from their web site. app doesn't import any other documents.

watt pad - low selection. good prices (from free to expensive). app looks horrible. minimal functions. minimal customization. more like an ipod app quickly ported to the ipad. various formats on web site, including drm-free epub. app doesn't import, only downloads from their web site.


my advice, get ibooks, kindle, and kobo. no reason you can't have all three. when purchasing books i always choose kobo first if available, then it's a toss-up between kindle and apple.

Last edited by scottjl; 04-08-2010 at 10:38 AM.
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