What are the iPad applications for reading

The iPad as an e-book reader

Apple's answer to the e-book market is called iBooks. At the start of the first iPad generation, there was a dedicated digital store for electronic books. Over the years and subsequent iPad generations, Apple has constantly changed its reading offering. In the meantime, for example, the newspaper kiosk had its own area for digital newspapers and magazines. However, this has now been discontinued. Apple's e-books are still available in their own iBooks store. And underline the advantages of the iPad compared to other e-book devices.

The iPad as an e-book reader

The iPad's large, colorful touchscreen is by far the best selling point for Apple's tablet computer. This means that picture books and comics in particular shine in all their digital glory. The touchscreen also makes marking text passages particularly easy. You can do this in the iBooks apps with PDF files - you don't even need a pen. Another advantage of Apple's platform is the wireless exchange of reading stands: With the iBooks application you can start your book on the iPad, continue reading on the iPhone while on the move and finish the last chapter on the Mac. The iBooks app synchronizes your bookmarks thanks to the iCloud without any further action. Another great advantage of digital books over their printed equivalents is the search function. This simple function is a great help, especially in a school or academic environment.

Apple's iBooks Store

You will find your own digital shop for e-books in the iBooks app. The prices and availability are based on the rest of the e-books market. However, all iBooks purchased only work on Apple's own devices. The iBooks app also serves as a reading app for your purchased books.

In landscape format you get a double column view. In the iPad portrait format, the app displays the book pages individually. With a tap on the left or right side of the screen, you can scroll back or forth. Scrolling is meant literally: the app changes the digital pages with an elaborate animation. This can interfere with reading in the long run. Alternatively, you can change the view to a scroll navigation in the settings. This allows you to scroll through the entire book instead of switching individual pages. On the other hand, it is not possible to simply turn the page without animation.

You can also change the font, size or the page background in the settings. With the automatic night mode, the text appears in white letters on a black background. This is supposed to be easy on the eyes when reading in a dark environment, because the display emits less light as a result.

Free e-books and audio books

If you don't want to spend money on e-books or audio books, you can still read it online - completely legally and free of charge. The reason: The copyright no longer applies to old texts, so they can be freely distributed. For example through the “Project Gutenberg”: the oldest digital library has been taking care of copyright-free texts since the 1970s. The platform prepares these digitally, prepares proofreading and posts the results online. The result: a selection of currently more than 50,000 e-books. Most of the time, however, is in English. If you want to read German texts, take a look at the offshoot called Project "Gutenberg-DE".
Those who prefer audio books, on the other hand, can also find corresponding projects on the net. At Librivox you will find audiobook versions of public domain texts. If you want to read aloud yourself, you can take part in the project. The German-language alternative is called "vorleser.net". There are more than 750 free audio books in MP3 format here.

In addition to Apple's own e-book format, you can also populate the iBooks app with PDF files. This is particularly useful if you have bought digital books in this format from other online shops. You can also edit these files with the built-in marking tools. You can do this without the iPad Pro or Apple's own pencil. You can mark text passages with your finger or write down your own keywords in the margins. Anyone who reads texts at work or in a school context can make good use of these aids. Unfortunately, the use of the Apple Pencil in the iBooks app is more restricted than necessary. For example, you cannot highlight or edit books in iBooks format with the pen.

In addition to the iBooks Store, there is also a separate book category in the App Store. Here you will mainly find interactive books for children. These offer, for example, small puzzle games or animations and sounds.

Amazon's Kindle app

In addition to Apple's own e-book format, you can also use your iPad to read the e-books you bought from Amazon - the free Kindle app makes it possible. This app gives you access to your Kindle books with the iPad, iPhone and Mac. The same applies here: bookmarks and purchases remain the same between the devices. However, there is one important catch compared to the iBook Store: you cannot buy books in the app itself, but have to go via the iPad browser.

To compensate for this, Amazon's offer has an advantage: flat rates. With Prime Reading, Amazon Prime customers get free access to a selection of hundreds of books, magazines and comics. If that's not enough, the "Kindle Unlimited" offer gives you access to more than a million books and over 2,000 audio books. Kindle Unlimited costs 9.99 euros per month, the first month is free. You can borrow a maximum of ten books at the same time and read them for as long as you pay for the Unlimited subscription. Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading content is also available in the Kindle app on the iPad. Amazon's body library - another service for Prime customers - is not available in the Kindle apps.

The so-called "Kindle Singles" are an additional advantage of the Amazon offer. This digital short format equips the Amazon platform with exclusive content. Here you will find medium-length formats such as short stories. Well-known authors such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have published exclusive stories for Amazon in this way. You can also read these via the Kindle app on your iPad.

The reading comfort in the Kindle app is comparable to Apple's iBooks application. In portrait format, you can also flip through the pages one at a time. There is also a search and note function. However, important differences can be seen in the details. Instead of annoying leaf animation, the leaf just jumps on when turning the page. The text formatting options are more varied. For example, you can change the line spacing or the page occupancy. The X-Ray function provides you with further helpful information about your book: where characters appear, for example, or short definitions of important terms in non-fiction. With such functions and offers, Amazon is clearly superior to Apple's range of e-books.

Google's range of books

In addition to Apple and Amazon, Google also has its own e-book store. This is called "Play Books" and offers books and audio books. The selection and prices are comparable to the competition. However, as with Amazon, you have to use the iPad browser to make your purchases. The free iPad app can then display the books for reading. On Mac, you can also upload books to your Google Library in PDF or EPUB format. This will give you access to these books on the iPad as well.

The reading view is comparable to the other two apps. You switch between the pages with a scrolling animation. In portrait format the app shows a single view of the pages, in landscape format you read with a double column view. You can also create bookmarks and notes. The translation function is particularly practical: Select a word and hold it down for a long time to open an options menu. Here you can view an automatic translation.

In addition to this offer, Google has a real ace up its sleeve: the Google Books search. For several years, Google has been scanning entire books in cooperation with various libraries and publishers. Especially old stocks that are no longer in print benefit from digitization. The result is its own book search function that accesses more than 25 million individual titles. You can use it to search not only for title, author or ISBN, but also for individual key words within these books.

Unfortunately, there were repeated problems with copyright. Google has also scanned and digitized protected works without permission - associations and authors took action against this. The result: The Google book search only shows limited results. For some books you can purchase the right e-book for full access, but not even that for many, especially old titles. The book search and view is also not optimized for the iPad. With the iPad browser, navigation is therefore too complicated and fragmented.

Hopefully Google can improve this service. Unfortunately, the Play Store with its range of books is hardly worth mentioning on its own. With an integration of the scanned book libraries it would look very different.

Reading feed in the App Store

In addition to the major providers' e-book stores, there are also apps for special reading needs. For comic fans, for example, there are special applications in the App Store. With Comixology, you get an application with a few tricks and tweaks for displaying comics. Thanks to the guided view technology, the app guides you from comic panel to comic panel if you wish. The purchase offer includes some popular titles from major US publishers. Anyone interested in superheroes from Marvel or DC Comics can use the corresponding apps from the publishers. These also rely on the technical principles of Comixology. Marvel also offers a flat rate offer for older titles. With Marvel Unlimited, you pay a fixed monthly fee instead of each individual issue.

Those who mainly rely on e-book readers with eye-friendly e-ink technology (electronic ink) can still use the iPad from time to time. Thanks to the two largest platforms' own iPad apps, you can continue reading on Apple's tablet. There is a free app for Amazon's Kindle platform. You can't buy books with this, but your Kindle purchases are linked to the iPad app. You can download and read them on your tablet. That works just as well with Tolino: the platform is an amalgamation of several large booksellers. When you register in the app, you choose one of these dealers. You then download your purchases to the iPad.

There are also suitable apps for magazine readers. Many newspapers and magazines have their own apps for their digital editions in the App Store. You can either buy these individually or link your print subscriptions to the apps. With the provider Readly, for example, there is also a flat rate solution for magazines. Here you also pay a fixed subscription amount and then use the entire range of the app.

With the iPad you can not only read books, but also listen. The large e-book stores from Apple and Google have their own audiobook departments. There you buy the audiobooks individually and then download them. This is particularly useful for occasional enjoyment.

On the other hand, if you are a real audiobook fan, you better look around at Audible. The service does not rely on individual purchases, but primarily on a flat rate. You can download a new audiobook every month for the price of 9.99 euros. The selection consists of the complete Audible catalog of over 200,000 titles. This is particularly useful in connection with Amazon's Kindle app: If you obtain the audiobook from Audible and buy the appropriate e-book from Amazon, then you can use both together. The reading progress is then exchanged between the services. You can then read the e-book on the iPad at breakfast in the morning, and on the way to work you can simply continue to listen to the appropriate audio book. Unfortunately, this useful feature is not automatically possible with all e-books and audiobooks: Amazon and Audible have to support this function separately. The function called “Whispersync for Voice” is possible with many popular titles.

Anyone who owns a large e-book collection needs the right software to manage it - especially when these e-books are available in different formats from many different sources. Caliber is best for this. Use the application to organize your e-books on Mac. You can change metadata, convert e-books and send them to your reading devices. The open source tool can be downloaded free of charge from caliber-ebook.com.

More reading pleasure

1. Do not disturb mode: Activate the "Do not disturb" function in the iPad settings. This means that you no longer receive push notifications from other apps and you can now browse your e-books completely undisturbed - for example before going to sleep - without the distractions of tweets or a midnight email from the boss.

2. Night shift mode: If you read very often in the evening and right before you go to sleep, you should try Apple's night shift mode. You can switch this on in the settings. After activation, the colors on the iPad change: Instead of cold blue tones, the display now shines in warmer colors. The reason: Light sources are supposed to have a sleep-disturbing effect, especially those with cold or blue colors. The warmer the light, the easier it is to fall asleep later - at least that's the theory.

3. Night mode in reading apps: Another tip for reading in bed is the night mode of the various readers. E-book apps like Apple's iBooks, for example, have this function. This reverses the black and white ratios: After activation, you will read white letters on a black background. The advantage: The iPad shows more black than white and is therefore less bright. Those who like to read secretly under the covers are the least noticeable.