iPad Review Roundup: eBook Edition

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Last night, The Wall Street Journal‘s Digital Daily blog posted a roundup of the first round of iPad reviews–the fancy folks at the big papers got their media loaners early. We’re going to do one better, at least for eBook enthusiasts. Here is a culling of eBook quotes from those early reviews.

While nobody says it’s perfect, the critical consensus is it’s pretty damn great. Most reviewers note real limitation to iBooks, but they also universally say it’s a great experience.

David Pogue, The New York Times:

There’s an e-book reader app, but it’s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries (sorry, media pundits). The selection is puny (60,000 titles for now). You can’t read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (the Kindle is 10 ounces). And you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine–not even a Mac or iPhone.

Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal:

The iPad is much more than an e-book or digital periodical reader, though it does those tasks brilliantly, better in my view than the Amazon Kindle…I also found iBooks, Apple’s book reader and store, easy to use, and read a couple of books on it. I consider the larger color screen superior to the Kindle’s, and encountered no eye strain. But the iPad is much heavier than the Kindle and most people will need two hands to use it. The iBooks app also lacks any way to enter notes, and Apple’s catalog at launch will only be about 60,000 books versus more than 400,000 for Kindle.

Find three more reviews after the break.


Edward C. Baig, USA Today:

Amazon retains some bragging points for avid readers, starting with a cheaper $259 price that I suspect will need to drop a lot further. At 10 hours or so, the iPad battery life, while impressive, falls far short of the two weeks you might get off a Kindle charge. It remains to be seen whether reading on a backlit screen for hours will be as easy on the eyes as the Kindle is. Curling up in bed was more comfortable with a 10.2-ounce Kindle than with the weightier iPad.

Tim Gideon, PC Magazine

Kindle: I like you, but I am nervous about your future. The iPad displays books in a way that is much flashier than your black and white e-ink screen. It shows illustrations in color. Page turns actually look like page turns. And Apple gets the extras right, like being able to bookmark any word in the book you’re reading and then find it on a menu of all your bookmarks, sorted by date. The Search function is also excellent. Want to reread a conversation between two characters early on in the book? Type in what you remember about it and iBooks will guide you to the closest approximations. Or search a character name or a reference not only in the book, but in Google and Wikipedia. Some people will never put down actual paper books in favor of a device like this, but those on the fence will likely be swayed by the excellent graphics, ease of use, and extra features like Search and an adjuster that lets you dim the iPad’s screen brightness. What remains to be seen, however, is how it will be to read for long periods on the iPad. Kindle, and other e-book readers’ e-ink screens are known for being very easy on the eyes.

Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing

Tapping and swirling my way through iBooks (the store includes free, public domain titles in addition to the $9.99-$12.99 bestsellers), and iPad native apps provided at launch such as the spectacular, game-changing Marvel Comics app (crisp, lucid art, the choice to either flick through pages as you would in “real paper life” or navigate frame-by-frame, rendering spoilers down the page obsolete), the Epicurious recipe browser, and the news browsing app by Reuters (free app in which video is, again, a seamless delight), the idea hits. This is what we wanted e-books to be all along. Rich, nimble, and dense with image and sound and navigability, right there inside the flow of the story. And this is what we wanted the web to feel like all along. We just want it to work, and we don’t want to be aware of the delivery method while we’re enjoying what’s delivered.