Books on the iPad

Collected media quotes from April 2010


A collection of quotes about digital books on the iPad. I was keeping these for myself in a text file and thought it could be a useful resource for others. They are displayed in reverse chronological order by date of publication. If you'd like something included here please mail

Winnie the Pooh is included as a free sample, and the choice is genius — it’s a beloved story, a good read, and best of all (from Apple’s perspective) it can’t be read properly on the Kindle because the color illustrations are a big part of the experience. No book on the Kindle will ever look this good. The Kindle has its own advantages — its books are generally cheaper, its selection bigger, and e-ink works better in bright sunlight — but Winnie the Pooh epitomizes the iPad’s advantages.
John Gruber, Daring Fireball, April 7th, 2010

I see the consummate iPad reading experience to be one that is, on the surface, traditional: heavily textual, quiet, hand-held. But lurking beneath the words is the whole Internet, ready to be questioned — “Find other works that quoted this,” “Where was the Marshalsea prison?”, “Which of my friends is also reading this?”, “What is that attractive person across from me reading?”
Liza Daly, The New York Times, April 6th, 2010

Sharing, embedding, extending, is what gives promise to the networked book. Without it, we are reduced to linking out, which, while more simple for the reader on a digital device, is really no different to giving a source in a footnote in a printed book. In a closed container, we deny everything that the possibilities of electronic books bring; we’re limited to the syntax of the static web page and the boundaries of the printed book.
James Bridle, Book Two, April 6th, 2010

I've been looking at the iBooks app with an eye toward designing eBooks for the iPad and have a first collection of observations I hope you find useful.
Liz Castro, Pigs, Gourds and Wikis, April 5th, 2010

Overall I’d say iBooks is pretty good for a first-generation ePub reader. The biggest concern is of course that once you purchase books from iTunes, you’re locked in to only reading them in iBooks.
Liza Daly, Threepress Consulting, April 5th, 2010

I suspect many people expect the iPad to put the Kindle out to pasture, but I’m not entirely convinced. What the Kindle has going for it is its simplicity as a unitasker. The Kindle does one thing well: allow you to read books. (It also lets you read magazines and newspapers, though it does that a bit less well—but then again, Apple’s iBooks app doesn’t support magazines or newspapers at all.) It’s cheaper than the iPad, and will presumably get cheaper still in the face of such stiff competition. If a friend or relative came to me and said that all they wanted was a book reader, nothing more, I would happily endorse the Kindle.

So is the iPad a great device for reading? I have to say yes, mostly thanks to the remarkable flexibility allowed by the variety of apps in the App Store. Now, people who find it hard to stare at backlit LCD screens for long periods of time will probably not share this opinion; but as someone who stares at backlit computer screens all day, every day, I didn’t have a problem with it.
Jason Snell, MacWorld, April 4th, 2010

... will the iPad dethrone the Kindle?

I don't claim to have the answer but I may have clues. There are more than 40 e-book readers out there. Apple may be the largest threat to the Kindle among them, but it is not a slam dunk. At least in the short term, I do not see the iBook reader as a Kindle killer. I read a lot of books and I don't buy any that are not available on the Kindle. I am Kindlzed. The 5 once device never burdens the wrist. The iPad is just one and a half pounds -- not a lot compared to a laptop or even a netbook -- but compared to the 5 once Kindle it is almost five times as heavy. If you spend a lot of time reading you may develop a need for a wrist brace. The other thing is the lighting. The Kindle uses e-ink -- it is reflective -- like paper. The more light the better. The iPad has back-lighting. I was using the iPad out on the terrace today and it was very difficult to see the screen clearly. The Kindle was clear as a bell. (I watched a movie on the iPad indoors later and the quality was fantastic). The journalists that got to see the iPad in person in January reported that the room was dim. Why would that be? I suspect because good lighting makes the backlit screen harder to read.
John Patrick, Patrikweb, April 4th, 2010

We know there's a lot of talk about reading with this type of display versus a Kindle or other E-Ink device, but we'll just be straight with you -- it didn't hurt our eyes to use this as a reading device. You're able to crank the brightness down a significant amount, but it's also just a matter of adjustment. After a few minutes we didn't see the device or the screen tech anymore -- we saw a book. We won't speculate on what prolonged use will feel like, but there is data out there that suggests the technology might not be as important as some people think it is when it comes to e-reader displays.
Joshua Topolsky, Engadget, April 3rd, 2010

Compared to iBooks, Kindle for iPad feels a bit more pedestrian, as it doesn't feature fancy animations. Pages just slide left and right and instead of two-page view when you flip the iPad to landscape mode, you just get a single page with a very wide layout. The Kindle app also doesn't allow users to customize the font of a book, though it does offer the standard screen brightness and font size settings.
Frederic Lardinois, ReadWriteWeb, April 3rd, 2010

Subscribe to my newsletters

Join some ~30,000 other subscribers.

Roden: photography × literature × tech × film (monthly)
Ridgeline: walking × Japan (weekly)

Always one-click to unsubscribe.

Popular Essays