Last night, I curled up in bed, and read three sample downloads of books on my iPad. Two of them were business books: Little Things and The Corner Office. The music was playing, I learned a lot, and I loved the experience.
I’m ready to weigh in… The iPad is the way to go for book lovers.
First, this caveat… I do very little reading outdoors. (make that none…) Yes, I’ve read that the iPad does not work as well as the Kindle for outdoor reading, but to me, that is a non-issue.
So, let me tell you how I am using the iPad to read books. To start, let me remind you of what I have written before. If you want to know what is in a book, read the book. That is the first, preferable approach. (I have never jumped on the audio books train, but to some, that may be as good an approach). But, to read the book, carefully, thoroughly, is the best way to glean the wisdom in a book. Everything else is “lesser.”
If you don’t have time to read the book, then download one of our 15minutebusinessbooks synopses for books we have presented (recorded at our live presentations at the First Friday Book Synopsis). You receive the audio of our synopses, plus the multi-page handout.
If you don’t have time to do that, then read the reviews of the book, and the best reviewer I know is Bob Morris, who shares his excellent reviews on our blog, among other places. Has he reviewed the book you are interested in? A good/quick way to find out is to simply google the title of the book, like this: Enchantment Bob Morris First Friday. It will take you right to his review (click here) of the new Guy Kawasaki book, Enchantment.
It is after this step that the iPad has become a wonder. When I read a review by Bob, and think “I really want to know more about that book,” I now immediately go to iBooks in my iPad and download the sample. It is a long enough excerpt that it really does give me a major taste of the book itself. I then can decide whether or not to read the entire book.
Here are a few observations from my experience, so far:
#1 – Of the two apps, iBooks is better than Kindle. Yes, you can use both the Amazon Kindle app, or the native to the iPad iBooks app, on the iPad. I have read books, and downloaded samples of books, on both. To me, the more readable/usable format is the iBooks. (Of course – that is what Apple is so good at).
In both formats, I like to hold the iPad in the landscape position, with two columns of text – practically like holding a book open. I make the print plenty large, so there are more “pages” in the book, but it facilitates a really fast reading pace. And I prefer the sepia background – just easier on the eyes, to me.
The highlight/note feature is easy to use on iBooks. Kindle has the highlight feature, but I do not find it as easy to use. (Maybe I am just a klutz).
#2 – With apology to Karl Krayer, my colleague who has weighed in heavily on this blog against e-books, and with apology to myself (I have written before about my love of actual, physical books), I hate to say this, but… reading a book on the iPad is actually every bit as fulfilling an experience as reading a physical book is. And, it is easier. The book is never too heavy, too big, the pages never flop closed. I hate to say it, but it may simply be a better experience.
Now, I know the worries – I share them. What will happen to the book business, to bookstores? And, yes, browsing in a bookstore, picking up volume after volume to flip through, is still superior to the iBooks and Kindle experience. But, once you’ve decided to read the book, I am really liking the iPad.
#3 – And, of course, the iPad beats the Kindle because of eveything else you can do. With a tap on the screen, I can turn my music on. I can, in a flash, check my e-mail or check a web site – and then, go right back to reading the book.
I don’t remember who first said it (it might have been Farhad Manjoo of Slate.com), but the iPad is the perfect device for “input.” It is not as good as a desktop or laptop for “output” work, but for input, like reading a book, it is a marvel.
Now, don’t take me wrong. I will still buy, and read and use, physical books. (For the First Friday Book Synopsis, I will have to – we give the books away at the end of each session). And I will still be adding to my physical books library.
But it is not an either-or proposition — it is a both-and proposition. And the iPad has become the “and” that I am really enjoying.