Reading on the iPad

I’ve been carrying an iPad since the second day it got released in the United States… That makes me somewhat of an early adopter. I’ve been reading e-books on the iPad using iBooks (via O’Reilly’s Safari) and also via GoodReader when people release them as PDFs. I never did purchase an iBook or Kindle book until recently.

Last week, right before a long flight back from San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur, I decided to purchase: The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations by Paul Carr. I had enjoyed reading his previous book, Bringing Nothing To The Party: True Confessions Of A New Media Whore, which he at one stage even released as a free PDF.

GoodReader has been my most popular application on the iPad. And I do a lot of reading using Instapaper. But for books? I bought an iBook using my US-based iTunes account, and I read the entire tome from Carr on the flight back. I was hooked.

This weekend, while sitting down in a hotel in Seoul, I decided to try my luck with the Kindle. Lo and behold, I can do one-click purchasing using my Malaysian-issued credit card. Now you’ve got me hooked! First I used the Mac application — figuring out though I would not be reading too much on the Mac (I really only read technical books on my laptop, and that is served very nicely from the Safari bookshelf).

Next I proceeded to download the iPad/iPhone application (they’ve made it universal). Enter my username and password, and I’m off to reading straight on my iPad. I paid for three books last night and have already made some headway in reading one.

I can highlight bits of writing, which is a lot better than me dog-earing books and sometimes forgetting to come back to snippets. Now with Kindle? I have a webpage, in where I can see what I’ve highlighted, write notes, see my own highlights, see other people’s public notes, and lots more. I forsee that right after I’m done reading, I can just save my highlights in Evernote, and I’ll have a digitally searchable copy of everything.

This changes the way I read. This changes the way I buy books (currently I bulk purchase them every couple of months, since I visit the United States pretty often). This also probably means I’ll have a lot less to carry in my travels.

The Kindle experience so far beats the iBooks experience for me. Of course, to buy a book, I’ve got to do it via a web browser and not in-app (thanks Apple for making life a little more difficult for me). Makes me wonder how much longer my Audible subscription will stay alive…

All that said, the iPad has become a whole lot more useful for me. And an iPad upgrade for myself to the iPad 2 has become a whole lot more appealing as well…


  1. Anonymous says:

    how old is your iPad now? did the battery life actually deteriorate after so many years? I think after so long, waiting, it’s high time to “invest” in such a tablet for casual surfing and reading.

    reading on a notebook is just not as comfortable, and smartphone is still a little small (even with the galaxy s2 i have now)

    • colincharles says:

      Its over a year old naturally… 1yr 4 months? The battery can still hold up, I don’t know if I’m getting the so called 10 hour battery life any longer, but it lasts me without me having to ever think about battery life.

      Most importantly, lots of planes now come with either USB charging/media hubs, or power sockets. Battery hasn’t been a problem so far

      • Anonymous says:

        i did not know that the iPad is still so young :) i am more interested in using it to read and annotate – which that also means to get a compatible pen (and software?) for this purpose. I think HTC Flyer has got this but not sure if it is that good for the time being. 

        when you talk about battery life, i would go for an extra battery just in case.. there are nice USB/solar external batteries nowadayys, that we can keep in luggage for after long flight purposes… 8-10 hours are already very good for the time being.

        you use Kindle on iPad i assume?

        • colincharles says:

          I can read and annotate with my finger(s)… Write notes too. And access it all online at Amazon’s website
          I’m using Kindle on iPad. I hear the actual Kindle has way better battery life, like several weeks even. I’m not a fan of extra luggage, hence have never been a fan of external batteries