#iPadOnly book » Section 3 - There's an app for that! » Chapter 12 - Reading

Chapter 12 - Reading

As an ultimate consumption device, iPad is great for reading

Obviously reading is a big part of what the iPad allows you to do in a very convenient way. You’ve got Newsstand, iBooks, Kindle and many other applications that will allow you to read magazines, books and much more content directly on the iPad.

Amazon Kindle

Let’s start with the Amazon Kindle and the Kindle app on the iPad.

Here’s Augusto’s take:

“I remember when I got my first ebook. It was 1998 and it was a book that I read on the Palm Pilot. I knew then that I didn’t want to read another paper book ever again. I met this revolution head-on. I read on all of my devices, including the iPad. I bought four Kindles, and honestly until the Kindle Paperwhite came out, my preferred device to read was the iPad. But I fell in love with the backlighted e-ink screen and ever since, I have been reading much more there than on the iPad.”

Michael’s take:

“I love the Kindle as an idea - to get ebooks to your device, over the air, just when you want them. In my family we’ve owned all the Kindle models (my wife used to love them) and yet, I still prefer to read on the iPad. As I said, my wife loved her Kindle device… until she got her iPad Mini. Now we both read on the iPad only. The Kindle devices are now collecting dust. The only drawback I see to the Kindle iPad app is the fact that you have to go to the Kindle Store web site on the iPad to get new books. I’d love to have it in the app, but apparently Amazon doesn’t want to pay Apple 30% commission on each book sold.”


Even with the investment we’ve made over the years in our numerous Kindle books, we can’t ignore the presence and importance of iBooks as an ebook reader application. Apple has come a long way to not only make their application useful but also really cool.

They created an accompanying software suite called iBooks Author that allows writers to create very interactive books. This new breed of interactive and iPad-friendly ebooks, that basically look and work like apps, makes the iBooks platform very appealing. That is the reason we decided to publish our #iPadOnly book in this new format.

Michael and his wife increasingly prefer to get books on the iBooks. They like the experience of the iBooks app vs the Kindle app… and very often the books on the iBookstore are just less expensive and you can get them directly from the app with in-app purchase instead of going to the Kindle web site like Amazon wants you to. Less hassle. Easier purchase process and very often better prices.


Augusto also uses an application called Overdrive that allows him to get eBooks from the Public Library. The selection isn’t big, but once in a while works like a charm.

Other eBook apps

There are other applications like the Nook or Kobo, but in the end, on our devices we use iBooks, Kindle and (in Augusto’s case) Overdrive. We buy most of the books in the Kindle Store and some of them on iBooks.

Advantages of reading eBooks on the iPad

One of the cool things of reading electronically is the ability to increase the font size as you start to tire; that usually allows you to read for a couple more hours. Also, you can read on black background with white text. In our experience, this is much easier on the eyes. If all that it is not enough, you also have access to dictionaries and can carry with you an infinite collection of books.

Amazon Kindle storage

There’s more - Amazon gives you 5GB of space for your documents in their ‘Amazon cloud’. Michael uses it for his PDFs:

”Before the iPad I used to collect many PDFs but never got around to reading any of them. I had many folders with many PDFs hidden deep in my laptop. Thanks to Amazon’s Kindle - that workflow has changed as well. I send PDFs to my Kindle. Every Kindle device has an individual email address. Just go to your Kindle app on the iPad and check in ‘Settings’. Now, add this email address to your contacts.

Every time someone sends me a PDF version of a book or a chapter of a book… or I receive a PDF worth reading through Dropbox or any other sharing app… I forward the PDF via email to my Kindle. This way the PDF is uploaded to the Kindle cloud and is available on all of my devices. It’s also automatically downloaded on my iPad. I now have many choices available as to where I’d like to read it – iPad, iPhone, or my Kindle.

Thanks to going #iPadOnly I’m no longer saving PDFs in many different places or taking time to think about where I should save them… I send them all to the Kindle Cloud… and with 5GB of space offered by Amazon, there’s still lots of space before it fills up.”

Productive! Magazine as an app, not PDF

Michael is the editor of a free productivity magazine called “Productive! Magazine” and he’s been publishing it as a free PDF since 2008. Last year, after the publication of the first edition of this book, he decided to follow the “appification” movement mentioned earlier in this book and build a native iPhone and iPad app for his magazine. Now he can offer his readers a great reading experience on the iPad, much better than what a PDF can do. This also simplified the magazine editing process and enabled him to finally make Productive! Magazine a regular monthly magazine… and even better, get Augusto on board and make him the editor of the Productive! Magazine Español.

RSS feeds

Google Reader down. Feedly, Reeder and other apps to the rescue.

We are bloggers and we like to read other blogs, too. We used to use Google Reader web app to aggregate all of the blogs we read. Unfortunately last year Google shut down this service. Fortunately a new service called Feedly popped up to replace Google Reader beautifully.

Michael’s RSS reader of choice remains the Reeder app. It is a fantastic app for reading blogs. The interface is beautiful and makes heavy use of swiping gestures. It’s a joy to use, especially on the iPad in the vertical position. In addition, Reeder integrates with great apps like Evernote, Pocket and others - to easily share the most interesting posts with other apps.

As you’ll see from the next chapters there is a specific workflow that Michael has which starts with Reeder, goes to Pocket and then to Evernote and other apps and places.

Anyway - Reeder is his RSS and blog reader of choice and most of the content he consumes on the iPad starts with this app.

While Michael uses Feedly only as an RSS aggregator, you can use their iPad app as well. The gestures and the whole ‘reading flow’ is a little different than on Reeder, but we’re thankful someone decided to build a solution that helped us seamlessly migrate from Google Reader.

‘Read it later’ apps like Instapaper and Pocket

Especially if you’re using your iPad as a media and content consumption device, you will appreciate this new breed of apps that help you save web pages and blog posts for later allowing you to read them comfortably within these apps. As a bonus, the content you save for later is being parsed by these apps and re-formatted so that you don’t see the entire web site but just the article you’re interested in.

Apple also built this functionality within their Safari in the form of a ‘Reading list’ but both Michael and Augusto prefer to use more advanced, stand-alone apps for this purpose.

Augusto and the Instapaper app:

“Instapaper is one of these applications that I really enjoy and use daily on the iPad and the iPhone. The idea behind the app is that you save articles from the web and later, you read them offline; without the noise on the page, additional ads and graphics.

I am so used to Instapaper that if I am on the go and find a link that I want to read and the page is ‘polluted’ (meaning, it has heavy graphics and other distracting content), I send it to the Instapaper and read it there immediately. Fast. Clean. Efficient.

The problem, of course, is that you can fill the Instapaper inbox rapidly. I have been forced to learn to treat the Instapaper Inbox as that, an inbox. Instapaper allows you to create folders, and after the articles land in the Instapaper inbox, they get processed into folders. There are two main advantages to this, one when I am in reading mode, I can focus on topics. Second I can download a folder and create an ‘ePub’ or ‘Mobi’ file to read later on the iPad or the Kindle.

The number of articles that I clip is immense. I receive many RSS feeds and forward any articles of interest to Instapaper. From there, I do the actual reading. Having the ability to send an article to a folder, by topic, allows me to quickly organize my reading material. The end result is increased efficiency and productivity.”

Michael and the Pocket app:

“I use Pocket. I find the interface easier to use. It takes less taps to share something, and I can add many articles to Pocket from the many different apps I use.

To add an article I can email it, add it from Reeder app, Tweetbot app or from Safari with a Bookmarklet.

When I want to read something, I take my iPad and just fire up the Pocket app and read the articles. They are downloaded offline so even if I’m traveling with flaky Internet connection, I can easily read everything.

When I find an article worthy of sharing with my Twitter and blog audience, I mark it with a star and share it later. When an article has content that is very relevant to my work and I’d like to keep it for later, I send it directly to Evernote to my ‘Articles’ notebook.

The ‘read it later’ apps like Instapaper or Pocket make the iPad a fantastic reading device. Again, the articles are downloaded to your iPad in a pure form, without their web sites’ design - you just focus on reading.”

The iPad is a perfect reader’s companion

Because the iPad is a tablet device, it’s much more convenient to read on it than on a laptop. The fact that you can turn it vertically and read the content in a natural way, without the keyboard, is the killer feature of the iPad. Additionally, the variety of reading apps and formats make the platform so versatile that it can appeal to any kind of reader.

Next Chapter: Chapter 13 - File Management

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