Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, May 3, 2010


Yes yes, it's time for my obligatory iPad review! Sure, you've read a million of them ever since the wireless-only iPads came along last month as I waited for the 3G version, but you haven't read a review WHERE THE IPAD IS HELD FOR RANSOM BY DERANGED MUTANTS.

Actually that didn't happen. This really is just another review.

First of all, the all-important question: is this a game-changer for the world of books???

Yes. Kind of. I think so. I don't know.

In my opinion the iPad is a pretty radically awesome e-reader and I love reading on it almost but not quite as much as life itself. It is awesome to read on. During the day. At night. On the couch. On the bus. I zoomed through Fellowship of the Ring like I was being chased by ringwraiths, downloaded The Two Towers faster than you can say "mellon," and yes, I started acting like Gollum when my wife wanted her turn with it. PRECIOUSSSSSSSSSS.

However, the iPad is also a pretty radically expensive e-reader and holy cow is it kind of distracting to be able to access so many shiny things with a few clicks while you're reading. (It is the best interface for reading e-mail ever).

Let's break this down with e-book reading in mind:


Pros: The screen is incredibly crisp and clear, and no matter which e-reading app you're using the page turns are smooth. Even better, you can adjust the brightness of the screen in all the apps, and some reading apps have a night function where the background is black and the text is white so it's much easier on the eyes to read in the dark.

Cons: It's not the really-looks-like-paper e-ink you find with the Sony Reader, Kindle, and Nook, which I realize bothers some people, so you should decide which type of screen you like. I personally vastly prefer the iPad/iPhone screens because there's no flicker when you turn pages, there's color, and I like not having to worry about a nightlight. But the iPad isn't as good as e-ink in the sun, and it's also heavier than the Kindle, so it's tricky to read with one hand (which is a consideration for bus/subway riders).


Meanwhile, as has been well-documented on this blog, there is also a book app war afoot on the iPad - publishers have moved over to an agency model for selling e-books, in part, in order to open up the marketplace to other e-book vendors.

But wouldn't you know: in my opinion Amazon has a substantial early lead in the iPad book App wars, even if iBooks and Kobo also have nice apps and they all will likely improve greatly in the coming months/years.

The best thing about Apple's iBooks is that it has the most beautiful display - WINNIE THE POOH comes free, and the colors of the illustrations pop. Apple has knocked the page-turning animation out of the park, and the pages curl beautifully when you turn the pages. You can also choose between several different attractive fonts, if that's your thing. And for all those people frustrated that Kindle doesn't have page numbers: iBooks does.

However, iBooks lacks some key options that are really important to the e-book reading experience. There's no night reading option (though you can dim the brightness), there's no note-taking ability, and while I gather this functionality is coming, ironically enough, you can't yet download iBooks onto your iPhone. So if, like me, you like to read on your phone in a pinch and have your books sync automatically when you pick up the iPad later, the Kindle and Kobo apps are so far better than iBooks.

I also wasn't a fan of the iBooks formatting. When you turn the iPad sideways it automatically transitions to a two-page layout that looks like a real book, but while it looks good I just don't find it as easy to read as a full page in landscape mode, my preferred reading method.

Meanwhile, the Kindle app has nearly everything I want out of an e-reader. While you can't customize fonts and unfortunately some images (like Tolkien's maps) aren't very high resolution, the display is very functional and crisp. You can take notes and highlight, change into night mode when you're reading in the dark, and best of all, you can sync between your devices.

I downloaded all the books I had previously bought for my Kindle and iPhone straight to my iPad, and now I have quite the attractive library of books with color covers, something I always missed with the Kindle.


So. Will people flock to the iPad in large numbers for e-book reading?

I honestly don't know.

For me the iPad is what I have been waiting for as an e-reader. I love that I can read and edit anywhere, I can access both books and manuscripts instantaneously, and it's the hyper-portable and multi-functional device I've been waiting for. I don't think I'll be able to live without it.

But if I didn't have the job I have and if reading/editing weren't such a central part of my life I would see the iPad more along the lines of a luxury. And as a writing device it has a long ways to go. It can't beat a laptop for ease of use if you're going to type something longer than a quick e-mail.

Basically: it's nice to have if you can spare the dough, but something short of a necessity.

At least until the App for killing deranged mutants is released.


Julie said...

I have to say I love my iPad, but not as an ebook reader.

(Then again, I love my light, compact, no-distractions eInk device, and have learned to click 'turn' a fraction of a second before I actually need the page to turn).

I think the iPad will change what content creators do with 'books'. If you look at the Pixar Toy Story 'book', with its games and video clips, I think that's where the iPad will change things.

Watch out for those mutants, though.

LGS said...

I read today that Apple has sold one million ipads in the first month - double the iphone sales when it first came out. (Yea for me! I was smart enough to buy Apple stock years ago. Grin)

I have been against this whole e-reader thing, throwing a fit every time you or someone else blogs about it. And yet I can't live in denial about it anymore. Even my eighty-year-old father bought a kindle recently. AND HE LOVES IT.

I give up. The e-age is upon us. Long live the e-book. I guess. Whatever.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the review, Nathan. Very informative.

T. Anne said...

My husband and I are getting one and I'm pretty excited. I too miss color book covers (Kindle).

Just FYI I reviewed the Secret Year today over at my blog.

Janice said...

I don’t need and iPad, but want it – badly.

I love the Kindle App on my iPhone and I thought I’d love the Kindle – wrong! It arrived this weekend and it’s going back. It needs to be a little more PDF friendly , a little easier to organise and how about some colour. Since I’ll never be able to justify an iPad maybe I’ll get a Sony Reader instead.

Keith Popely said...

We bought one for work. It feels very fragile to me. It's slippery and all that, I'd hate to see that thing hit the deck. Unlike with my iPhone, which is very easy to hold, the iPad seems like it wants to jump out of my hands. Maybe it's better with a case of some sort.

Mark Terry said...

One more score for the iPad is an app for magazines, I believe it's Zinio (I'd have to check to make sure). It's amazing and the color makes all the difference in the world.

Nathan Bransford said...


Yeah, I got Apple's case along with it and feel much more comfortable about the prospect of dropping it. It is pretty clever and folds over so you can prop it up in a couple of different angles, but the drawback is that the edges are kind of sharp so it's not totally comfortable to hold in your hands.

Thanks for the magazine tip, I can't wait until the New Yorker app comes out.

Professor Pan said...

My new iPad just sold me on ebooks. I love reading on it, and now can't imagine *not* having it on hand. The iBooks app will mature and become more and more useful, as will the Kindle app. It's a win-win for both Apple and Amazon, from what I can tell, as I've already purchased more books from Amazon than Apple.

I write, so I love dead-tree books and always will. But having caught ebook fever now, I'm certain probably 75% of my book purchases will now be ebooks. The new world is here, for better or worse.

Anonymous said...

yeah, IMO the Winnie the Pooh was the best book on there. Admittedly, I'm not a fan (of any electronic readers) but the picture book actually worked.

Text wise - and I looked at it in an Apple store, so it wasn't the longer, more immersive experience you describe - it was, eh. Maybe it's a matter of acclimation, but the expandable nature of the text (thus, pages) didn't work for me. There's something about a logical process of turning the page. Yes, I know, just get used to bigger / smaller type faces.

The apps weren't really too compelling either. I don't play device games, as is, and checking the weather is of limited interest. Actually, I wish these devices were a bit larger. The MacBook screen is perfect. For me, there's something to having space outside the window, if that makes any sense.

I'm curious what you think about the Atlantic Monthly's paper / virtual dance (there's a piece on the Millions about it, & how they've progressively anticipated and shead - shed?)

I read so much on-line these days, and have started noticing typos galore. Plus, content, because there's such a demand for it to drive page views & so forth, is starting to blend together. "More" seems to be trending towards poorer quality.

Which makes me think, as compelling as these devices are, if the gestation period built into print is eventually rendered obsolete - and it seems to be heading that way - ugh. This gives me a headache.

But I liked your review!

Nathan Bransford said...


Interesting thoughts, and I don't disagree with it. I think the Atlantic is probably a vision of the future - a free-ranging daily experience of bloggers and yes, typos and the occasional ill-thought out argument combined with a slick and polished magazine (hopefully soon available nicely electronically) full of brilliant in-depth articles.

I don't think a shift to e-publishing has to be met with a decline in quality, but we'll see what happens.

ICQB said...

Anonymous, a columnist from the Atlantic recently used a picture from my blog. He referenced it, but didn't ask permission to use it. I wonder if the in-print version would have done that. Lots of people visited my blog from his online column.

On the subject of lesser quality, the e-readers are really opening up the self-publishing doors. Not only are unpublished writers publishing ebooks right and left, but published authors are also giving it a go. There's an interesting NPR piece which highlights this phenomenon and how the ipad may open the door wider, it can be found here:

Ink said...

T-u-r-t-l-e POWER!

Okay, yes, I took that mutant thing too far. But electrothingamajiggies make my head hurt. :)

Kim Lionetti said...


Thanks for the review. I've been wanting to hear more from pub professionals on it.

Since 95% of my Kindle usage is for reading client material and submissions, I was really hoping the iPad could revolutionize the way I work. If there were a "track changes" function in Pages, I would be sold. I'm frequently frustrated with having to skim through my clients' manuscripts to insert changes after I've already read it on my Kindle.

I'm also still frustrated with the lack of page numbers. Do Word document page numbers and formatting correspond to Pages when you convert files to read them?

Do you like using the iPad for work purposes?

Nathan Bransford said...


I'm frustrated by the lack of track changes on Pages as well, though this weekend I downloaded a manuscript into Pages and it worked really well. It's a little awkward to scroll through the document (the scrolling isn't completely smooth and I wanted to turn off the keyboard), but it got the job done.

I'm counting on Pages getting better or a better word processing coming along, but in the meantime it's been working fine. It's definitely more convenient than trying to take notes on the Kindle, and it's really nice to have both e-mail and Word processing in one place in a portable device.

Nathan Bransford said...


Oh - and yes, the page numbers corresponded and so it was easy to keep up with where you are in the manuscript.

Kim Lionetti said...

Thanks for the insight.

Hmmmm..... The page number correspondence is big for me. Still, I'll probably wait until they improve on Pages...or at least until my Kindle dies. :)

Ed Miracle said...

Nathan, does the iPad have the cursor-directed on-board Dictionary that I love so much on my Kindle?

Other Lisa said... far, of the straight eReaders I've seen, I liked the Nook the best. But I'm a huge Apple fan. I'm wondering how good a road-warrior the iPad will be (I have a really old iBook for travel that is both dying and a brick). Maybe with a docking keyboard?

eBook-wise, I feel like I'm still waiting for the device that has the functionality I want. But I may make do with an iPhone in the meantime.

Sissy said...

I played with an iPad at the Mac store recently and really liked it, but don't neeeeeed it. My husband, of course, wants the $899 version, while I just want to read a book. I don't know that I will get one, although my 68 year old mother wants one, just because you can make the font size really large and the screen is lit and she doesn't see well. I may have to laugh if she gets one first!

Thanks for a great review!

Nathan Bransford said...


No, the Kindle App doesn't have a dictionary, nor does Kobo (or at least if they do I haven't figured out how to activate them). iBooks does though.

MeganRebekah said...

I'll be watching the progression of the iPad with great curiousity.

One of my favorite features of my Kindle is the ability to email my manuscript and have it show up looking (and reading) like a real book. I catch so many more errors or awkwardness when I'm really reading it, and not just going through it in Word.

John N said...

A tech whiz friend of mine who has to have everything concurred with some reviews I have read: it's great for content delivery, but content creation is another story.
While I would love the color for newspaper and magazine subscriptions, a couple things keep me on the Kindle.
1. the iPad's 3G subscription ain't cheap (from what I hear)
2. when I doze off in bed with my Kindle propped on my chest it hits my chin and wakes me up, but I think the iPad would chip a tooth.
Still, as someone who said he'd never read e-books, I definitely have come to love their convenience. Full speed ahead!

WriterGirl said...

i'm not interested in the ipad, i also don't have an iphone or even and ipod. and i get along fine without them. it seems ridiculously expensive and for no good reason- i don't really need to be able to play games or look at maps while i'm reading so i'm not going to pay extra for the privilege

Anonymous said...

This is the best review of the iPad I've seen. Thank you!

WriterGirl said...

interesting post about it though! forgot to mention that bit :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm liking the iPad for a cat toy. Go iCat! Not my personal iPad (I've got a nook), mind you, but someone else's. :)

Ann Marie Wraight said...


Did you actually get onto Book Three,


before that magical iPad was whisked out of your hands....or did your spouse slip on the RING and do a Gollum-like runner with that shiny new object...before you managed to slip into Mordor...?

Just asking!

MJR said...

I can't quite figure out the appeal of an iPad over a netbook, especially for writers. I can't read books on my netbook, but I can write, it's light and portable, it's connected to the internet, and it cost less than $300. Maybe I'm missing something?

Liz H. Allen said...

We have an iPad and I rarely use it. I would much rather use a keyboard for writing and read a real paper book. The back lit screen is hard on my eyes and I love writing notes in my books. It'll take a lot to convert this diehard paper book fan to an eReader.

Nathan Bransford said...


I think it's a matter of preference - I find the iPad much more pleasant to curl up with than a Netbook and so it really disappears into your hands a lot more while reading/watching movies/surfing the Internet. The display is also better than most Netbooks I've seen. I just think it depends on your priorities.

treeoflife said...

It's all about price-point with something like this unfortunately. $899 for the top model? How many books do you have to buy, saving $5-10 each, before it pays for itself? By then, it'll be obsolete and you'll need a new one.

I'm holding out from buying an e-reader purely because I think they're still overpriced. As they become more widespread, the prices will drop and you'll be able to get a kindle or equivalent for $100 or less. Call me a late adapter, but that's when I'll make my move.

I don't hate paper books so much (or at all) that I'm willing to pay more overall for electronic reading.

Don said...

On the deranged mutants front, I would strongly recommend against buying Plants vs Zombies unless you're willing to give up other aspects of your life.

The Red Angel said...

Hmm, personally I don't think the iPad is worth the money, plus I've heard some cons such as the screen is so shiny that your own reflection often distracts you from what you're reading/watching on the ipad. xD But then again, I'm not a big fan of e-books and e-reading in general, and I'm sure that the iPad has other nice functions besides being an e-book reader. :)


Malissa said...

I think I would have drooled over the iPad if my hubby had not gotten me a netbook. I use it as an ereader, as a writing tool, and it fits in my purse, *trust me, that's cool*.

I read with my iphone all the time but I can't say I want to go out and buy an ereader just for books.

Of course, if I happen to try one in person, the drooling might start!

Renee Collins said...

I can see you crouched in the corner, gently stroking your iPad.

"So bright. So beautiful. Our preciousss."

D. G. Hudson said...

iPads look very good, but I agree that they're a nice-to-have.

Within a few months, we'll know how iPad withstands the test of consumer use. By that time, I might reconsider.

As for the mutants -- they aren't all bad, nor are they all deranged. Kind of a sneaky hook. . .

Jen P said...

Waiting for it to become available in the UK and with note taking capability, by which time it will no doubt be lighter too - aka the iPod progress. Question is, will it be on the market in time for this year's stocking and if so, how good do I have to be for Santa to say yes?

Dawn Maria said...

I love a blog post with multiple LOTR references! Glad you're having fun with the iPad.

Dawn Maria said...

I love a blog post with multiple LOTR references! Glad you're having fun with the iPad.

Gypsyroz Poet said...

I have to admit, I felt inclined to stop by the Nook display at B&N today.

This is not the first time I've considered these types of devices, but every time I get close to purchasing one I imagine myself lying in bed flipping the darn machine over and over just to satisfy my urge to physcially turn the page.

I don't know if I'm ready for the eBook world.

Nathan Bransford said...


What's funny is that after reading ebooks for a while your temptation is to tap the edge of a paper book rather than turning it.

ryan field said...

At first I didn't think I wanted one. But the more I hear, the more I'm thinking about it.

Johnaskins said...

I have a bunch of apps on my 'pad, but use it almost exclusively for reading, with a little solitaire thrown in. The main lack I see is physically copying files off the device. Yes, you can get them off wirelessly, but sometimes you're not near your other computers. You'd hate to edit somebody's ms and then break or lose the iPad with the edited file on it, I bet. I'm getting something called an Air Stash that's a wireless drive, but it ain't cheap -- approx $100.

Nathan, I think you need an app designed to make the jobs of agents and editors easier. I bet one or more will come. iRep!

Andrew Mayer said...

I'll be interested to hear what you think after having spent some more time with it.

I've had mine for a few weeks now, and my experience and opinion have really changed since I first got my hands on it (all for the better).

Some of the coolness and utility of the device definitely isn't apparent at first blush. I've been surprised how good it is for note taking, or more free form thinking, especially now that dedicated apps are starting to appear.

I still wouldn't try to write a novel on it, but it's definitely had a bigger impact than I initially expected it to.

Henry said...

You forgot one very important difference between a Kindle and an iPad. Battery life. The gorgeous backlit screen comes at a cost. It eats electrons!

I would love to hear what the real world experience is with battery life for both. My guess is that ten days of hard use is possible on one charge with a Kindle and you would be lucky to get more than one day out of an iPad. That can be a serious bummer if you are on a weekend trip or a long flight to Asia with no power cord.

Nathan Bransford said...


That's true. I get about 9-10 hours out of the iPad, which is enough for most days but peobably not enough for a very long plane ride without a plug.

John N said...

Andrew - interesting to hear your reactions. From what I saw, definitely some substance there. Especially as writing apps are developed.

Kristi Helvig said...

Hmmmm...I'm a longtime e-book adversary but an Apple supporter. I played with an iPad in the Apple store a few weeks ago and a very nice young man (geez-I sound like I'm eighty) answered a ton of questions for me. He even showed me how to read on it (I read a few pages of The Help). It was really fun - really, really fun. Hmmm....

Amy said...

The iBooks app is coming to the iPhone with the next...OS thing. I think it's OS 4.0, but I might be off by a decimal point or two.

When my husband first got the iPad, I wasn't convinced. I was holding out for a Sony or Nook, but once he started buying books...

Now it's almost a custody battle, who gets possession which day, who has more down time and theoretically more time to enjoy the iPad.

I still run into people who use the argument there's nothing like the feel of a real book. But when you commonly read 3-4 books a day, an ereader is so much easier to fit into a bag or backpack!

I just shudder at the future of e-textbook prices.

John Kurt said...

@ Henry, 6:13pm:

Battery life of Kindle is (approximately) 10x as long... Here's a link to CNET comparison

There's also another good comparison of the eBook products HERE

Then there's the coming iPad competition here.

Joseph L. Selby said...

For me professionally, nothing has changed what I do as quickly as the iPad. Within weeks of its release, I received project requests asking for QuickTime files instead of Flash files so that students could watch the videos on their iPads if they wanted. Educational publishing never adapts that quickly. Ever. The iPad is being treated as a big f*ing deal.

WhisperingWriter said...

I think I'll stick to my iPod Touch.

I don't need the iPad. If I ever got one, I'd probably just want to make fun of the name. So yeah. I'll stick to my iPod Touch.

Gavin Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

Thanks for the review Nathan.

I've been waiting on this actually. You bring up some interesting disparity between all the e-readers. My feeling about the advanced features though, is the same as for all of them.

Why do you need a book to do more than offer you a good read? I mean, if you don't expect a paperback to surf the net and make phone calls and be handy for opposable thumbs and you're willing to shell out near thirty bucks for a long awaited hard back; why are we quibbling about the price of an electronic book or the fact we can't send twitter messages to the universe about the passage we're reading while we're on the page?

What I want in an e-reader is something with the megabytes (yes, my computer literacy is showing) to hold all the books I want to buy and read.

My two book shelves are limited. I have to give away books sometimes because I don't have the space to add another book shelf to the apartment. At any given moment, I probably have over $3,000 in paper books of any form. I miss my purchased books every time I have to clean off the shelves to make room for more; whether they cost me $1.99 or $35.

So, give me something I keep every book I've ever bought, and pack it in my purse for convenience, and I could care less that it doesn't update me on Nathan's latest post the moment its available to read.


Gavin Brown said...

Nathan, your post some time about how you preferred reading on your iPhone to the eInk readers inspired me to set up my Droid for ereading. I'm loving it, and don't really see the need for a separate ereader at all.

It's just too bad that there's nowhere to buy DRM-free books for the best reader on Android, Aldiko, and the only app where you can buy modern books is Kobo's old Shortcovers, which even they admit is outdated.

I don't expect Apple to make an Android app, but Google, B&N, Amazon--come on, guys!

Eileen said...

I love mine with a white hot passion. Also I've bought more books in the past two weeks than I usually do in a month. When I am out and someone mentions that you have to read book x, I download right then and theree justifying that the per book cost is lower. I'll be interested to see impact on book sales.

I don't write my books on it, but I love it for reading, organizing projects and marketing and general time wasting on the Internet.

mkcbunny said...

Thanks for the review. It's really helpful to have a review from your perspective, vs. the broad techhie perspective.

Mike French said...

WINNIE THE POOH comes free !

Interesting choice, I wonder what the target audience is for the ipad.

Nic said...

I'm planning on waiting for iPad 2.0 next year with most likely a front facing camera.

Ellen said...

I don't have an e-reader of any kind, but I would think not being able to read outside in the sunlight is a major drawback.

Makes me wonder what it offers the reading experience that I don't already have with my little netbook ...

Mesmerix said...

I have to be honest, I stopped purchasing Apple products due to the proprietary nature of the company. I just couldn't agree with some of the things they do. The iPad does look pretty cool, however, I am looking forward to Notion Ink's Adam which has a brand new screen technology that makes it adjustable as both an E-Ink-like reader and an LCD screen. Notion Ink. Adam. Google it.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the big deal about colored pages. Whenever I buy a hardcover, I immediately take off the sleeve and throw it in the trash. The first reason is because I find it cumbersome. The other reason is because I hate it when illustrators (or even the author) tries to tell me what characters, settings, and such look like through an actual physical picture.

Mira said...

Cool. When you start channeling Gollum, you're really in the spirit of the books.

It's interesting to hear your take on the I-Pad. There's no way I can justify spending that kind of money right now, so I'll have to content myself with yearning at a distance.

I never really believed that a gadget could change your life until I got the I-phone. How I managed to survive without that is beyond my comprehension. I'm sure someday I'll feel the same way about the I-Pad or something similar!

I hope you'll let us know what you think as the kinks get worked out.

Ed Marrow said...

I agree with Mesmerix. I think Apple products are too closed and proprietary in nature for me. I can, however, see why people like it. I have a Nook and love it. The Adam looks like it may be worth a try.

I'm looking for a small computer, not a big phone. To me, there is a difference.

Malia Sutton said...

I saw the Nook advertised this morning on TV. I wonder if they are all going to start promoting now that ipad is out.

Chuck H. said...

Zzzzzzzzzzz . . .

Kimberly Kincaid said...

Wait, wait, wait! Does this mean that mutants are the new zombies (which are the new vampires, hello!)? Just checking!

I got to play with an iPad on Friday and must say I did love it. My husband has informed me in no uncertain terms that I must wait for my Kindle to fizzle before he'll let me get one for the sole purpose of being an e-reader...but since he's a gadgety guy, I may have him on the "lookit all the other stuff it does!" front.

But it's going to take Mother's Day, my birthday AND Christmas for, mmmm, the next three years in order for me to get one.

Sounds like you think it's worth it though, Nathan! Thanks for the review :)

Scott said...

I would think tools like the iPad and such will make graphic novels more popular, or at least usher in a hybrid of sorts that uses more visual story-telling and possibly the Internet in an innovative, interactive way. The novel may become something far more, erm, novel in the future.

As for buying something like this when new and used books will come to me in the mail for less than $10? Unfortunately, the iPad's too far down on my list of expensive toys I don't need. :P

Kourtnie McKenzie said...

Thank you for the compare-contrast of this with the Kindle. I'm still debating which eReader to invest in.

The video of the cat playing with the iPad is definitely in the iPad's favor, as is your review. I like my handheld devices backlit.

Amy M said...

Really liked your review - very balanced.

I LOVE the 2-page layout in iBooks - that's one of my favorite things! To me, reading in landscape on one page is like reading in portrait on a shorter page with the words stretched out. I feel like the 2-page offers me more of a choice. I know -- all I'm getting out of it is just being slightly closer to the real book experience, but I guess that's enough for me.

The iBooks app is my favorite for reading, and I also like Kobo. Not a big Amazon fan, so I don't have that, but B&N should have their app ready this month from what I've read. I read that they redesigned it - it's not just a bigger iPhone app.

I don't have a smartphone or Touch - this just seemed to be the right time to me to jump in on this sort of thing. And I expected it to just be for fun -- allow me to catch up on blogs and email while I'm out of the house, and then I can sit down to work on my laptop when I get home. But I really could work on this thing -- if only Pages would track changes!!! Maybe one of these updates...

Beth said...

The PRECIOUSSS comment nearly made me fall out of my chair - my husband says that to me all the time about his gadgets. Hilarious. Thanks for breaking it down for us :)

Zoe Winters said...


Seriously, though, I love my Kindle. Not just for the e-ink, but I think an iPad would distract me from reading books cause there are too many other things to do with it.

Did you have another e-reader before this one or was this your first one?

Nathan Bransford said...


I've had a Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone and now iPad. Kindle wins for clearest e-ink display (though I prefer backlit screens to the grayscale of e-ink), I liked Sony's touchscreen display and the nightlight was indispensable, iPhone worked great, iPad works better.

I liked them all and my shoulders and back appreciate not having to lug around books and boxes of manuscripts these past couple of years, but I like iPad the best. I'm basically using it as a second computer at work.

Casey McCormick said...

I've been waiting for this review, Nathan! Thank you so much for the great info. I can buy one with confidence now. : )

Zoe Winters said...

Crap, that's a lot of e-readers! I like the grayscale because my favorite way to read is outside in the sunshine and I've found the e-ink displays awesome for that. Much easier to read the Kindle in the sunlight then even a print book since the print books pages are too bright for direct sunlight, reflects.

jml2 said...

Why don't the publishing companies just start making their own e-book readers and sell from their own websites?

Joshua Peacock said...

I'm so glad you're reading the Lord of the Rings.

christina said...

E-books are not better than the real thing. They are not books they are words on a screen. i would rather hold pages in my hands any day over a heavy screen. Sorry. my opinion.
and great post !!!

J. T. Shea said...


Linda C. McCabe said...


I am glad to learn that you love your iPad. I had a strong feeling you would.

BTW, there is a Dictionary app for iPad. Using that is faster than going to on Safari.

As for word processing I installed Pages my first day, but I'm not all that comfortable with it. I also have GoodReader. I'm still experimenting as to which works better to read files that I get via email.

This past weekend I used iAnnotate with a friend's writing. I used my Mac to change the submission from a Word document into a PDF, emailed it to myself, opened it in iAnnotate and got to work. I basically wrote little sticky notes in the margins to make comments.

I found it much more convenient to do this while outside on the patio with my family than holed up in my office in my computer. And definitely more convenient than printing it all out in hard copy to scribble notes.

You cannot send attachments via email on the iPad just yet, so I installed the Aji Reader Service on my computer and synced my iPad to my Mac. I saved the annotated document on my hard drive then emailed a copy to my friend.

Those pages that were annotated appear smaller with the notes in the margin. Pages without notes appear full sized.

I prefer iAnnotate for critiquing over Pages app. At least for now. I'm still playing around with this new toy.

There is another application you might find useful. StoryTracker. There's a lite version for free to test to see if you like the functionality and then pay for the full app.

Oh, and thank you for including the Alice in Wonderland YouTube video. I went and got the lite version, showed it to my son and then had to buy the full application.

It is so cool.

Have a great weekend!

Stuart said...

Here's an interesting piece in the New Yorker about how Jobs has approached publishers, in comparison to Amazon's Bezos.

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