Three to One

So I’ve given the iPad a test spin and so far, very impressed. Still waiting for the Dock and the case to arrive (case especially as it will allow me to use it as a writing desk. Of sorts.)

In the meantime, my biggest experiment is figuring out which e-reader I’m going to use. I’ve downloaded both Amazon’s Kindle app and the Kobo app, which is the reader that Chapters/Indigo has gone with. And of course, Apple’s iBooks application.

I bought two books, Gail Carrager’s Soulless and Cat Valente’s Palimpest. (Links to follow, or maybe I can figure out how to do it through the iPad WordPress app …) I tried to buy a third book through iBooks, but frankly the Canadian iBookstore is barren of all but un-copyrighted works, classics mostly. They have a section for a list of New York Times Bestsellers, but it is empty. This is the one major hiccough; if I don’t have books I actively want to read on all three app-platforms, there will be some bias built in to the test. For iBooks, I downloaded the iPad Guidebook and the classic Vanity Fair.

But this is what I have to work with. So here we go! First impressions only.

Kindle: I hadn’t bothered with this before now, as i was happy using Stanza and eReader on my iPhone (and BOO to both developers for not creating iPad versions). The splash screen of a person sitting under a tree with a background that changes based on the time if day is pretty, thou having my books float in space above that nameless reader is rather odd. The formatting looks good. I haven’t yet tried the annotation feature, but will as that strikes me as rather useful. A really big plus? Being able to download samples into the Kindle. Good stuff.

Kobo: I wasn’t expecting to like this application. I figured, since the Kobo was such a late comer to the eBook market that it was made as a begrudging concession to a changing market, But the application is slick, everything from their mini-bookshelf to the page format to the bookmarks. You literally dog-ear pages and you have your choice of bookmarks, including a leather placeholder, a golden tassel, or even a fish. So far I’ve read the most in this application.

iBooks: Unlike the other two, iBooks can be used in either regular or landscape modes. Now to be fair, both the Kindle and Kobo apps were intended to be used on an iPhone, which would be ridiculous in landscape mode, and it’s not like their own physical eReaders can go into landscape mode, either. But there is something about having two pages side-by-side that is familiar, comfortable. I really hope that both Kindle and Kobo build in this feature in upcoming versions as it is something that will become a deal breaker for me.The page turning animation is ridiculously satisfying. This has the potential to be among the best of the lot, but the empty iBookstore makes that hard to test for sure.

But of course, it all comes down to access. I already have about six books locked into a format that can only be read on my iPhone. While I may have minor technical preferences, ultimately the format that has the greatest number of books for sale, specifically books I want to buy, will be the winner. And it’s way to early to know that for sure.

Also, I’ll need to keep my fingernails clipped short. No way you can type effectively on the iPad with long fingernails. Another thing, you have to get used to not having your fingers on the keyboard itself. While on a computer keyboard your fingers can rest on the keys, any errant stroke on here registers instantly. My retraining is coming along swimmingly, tho’.

Next up, my editing workshop experience!

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