Sunday, May 16, 2010

E-Reader Applications for Today, and Beyond
The iBooks app for the iPad offers automatic brightness adjustments.
Published New York Times,: May 12, 2010
It’s no longer such a novel thing to read a book on a mobile phone, and on the iPad, it’s practically a requirement to download “The Elements” or open Winnie the Pooh” to give your friends a glimpse of the future of book reading.

The Barnes & Noble eReader iPhone app, left, allows readers to lend a book to a friend, but the Kindle app for the iPhone, center, does not. The company behind the Kobo app for the iPhone, right, says that after users buy a book, they can read it on multiple devices.

But for many people, choosing the best book-reading app is a challenge, especially for iPhone users, because of the wealth of choices in the App Store from Apple.

The problem is not really the small things — the differences in how the iBooks and Kindle apps, for example, turn a page, or enlarge the fonts. The better apps are all pretty good in these respects already, and they will all reach parity on such things quickly enough. And they’re all free, so it costs nothing to switch.

Nonetheless, the iBooks iPad app offers a generally better reading experience than its rivals, because of automatic brightness adjustments and overall ease of use. But its store has fewer books than the Amazon Kindle app or the Barnes & Noble eReader app.

Kindle and Barnes & Noble for the iPhone were good, although the Kindle app lacks the ability to lend books to friends, as you can with the Barnes & Noble app.

On a BlackBerry, Kobo was the most full featured, and on Android phones, Aldiko was the best in a sparse field, although it is greatly hampered, at least for now, by a lack of recent titles.

But since the reading experience on these apps is not significantly different, the hard choice comes down to differentiating how you select your books, and how you may one day like to use them — beyond reading on your Android, iPhone or BlackBerry.
More at NYT.

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