Seeing the coming iPad shockwave, Amazon was very, very savvy. The company wants to sell books, and developing a killer app for the Kindle Killer was a brilliant move. Could Kindle develop an app to compete with Apple’s iBook? The answer is YES! Amazon has done a spectacular job in creating Kindle for iPad.
Although the Apple iBook app is excellent, Kindle has done just as well, and in some respects, better. Launching the free Kindle app and signing in to my account, the software recognized me and asked if I’d like to download anything from my archive of books. Over two and half years, I’d downloaded more than 100 books! And there they were: not in a cumbersome list that I had to slowly navigate one page at a time (lots of pages) as they appear in my standalone Kindle, but organized by full-color book cover, quickly and easily navigable by simply sliding my finger through the collection’s bookshelves.
Every book was there: those I’d finished and deleted (putting them into the Amazon.com archive space) and my latest purchases. It was a pleasure to browse through all those books (some of which I’d forgotten I’d ever purchased). I selected several to download into my iPad Kindle, including the book I’m currently reading, Wolf Hall (a novel about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s advisor).
Opening the settings, I was given the choice of reading backgrounds: white, sepia or black. I thought white was a bit too bright for me, and went with sepia, which more resembled a physical printed page. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would pick black background with white letters (but I’m sure someone will enlighten me). I adjusted the brightness down a bit, and the font size up a bit for a comfortable and easy-on-the-eyes reading experience. Page turning is effortless and instantaneous, much more satisfying than page turning with my Kindle standalone.
The iPad’s touch screen allows you to touch any word, phrase, or entire section for easy note-taking on the generous pop-up virtual keyboard. (Note to self: get one of these for my college student next year.) In the iBook app, when you highlight a word, you also have the option of looking it up in the dictionary—or searching the term on Google or in Wikipedia. Fantastic. (And score one for the iBook app.)