Last week we took a look at four of the big e-Reader app contenders, Amazon, Borders, B&N, and iBooks and reviewed how they handle purchasing content. Today, we'll take a look at how the reading experience differs in these apps. Since the price points are so similar, at times only differing by less than a dollar, it can be difficult to choose which app to use for your reading needs. By pointing out some of the pros and cons of each of these apps, we hope to make the decision for which e-Reader you should use just that much easier.
Most of our reading occurs on our commute, and one of the things we realized rather quickly is how easy it is for our place to be lost if we are without internet access. The app that is the worst about this is Borders. B&N, Kindle, and iBooks, will all be within a few pages if not spot on where you last read the book if you are without internet access, but Borders is often off by chapters. The only workaround we found for this was leaving a "Bookmark" in Borders. All of the apps have the ability to save certain locations in a book, but Borders was the only one in which we needed to use this feature in order to reliably save where we were in between reading sessions. The ability to save locations comes in handy in all of the apps when dealing with footnotes. We found saving the location was the easiest way to navigate back to where we were after reading a footnote, this is especially true in the Kindle app.
Since we use our iPhone to access e-Reader content as well as our Kindle, we were curious how each of their iPhone app versions performed when it came to saving your place across devices. For the Kindle app selecting and syncing which content to send to each device is required. For iBooks, it takes a click to Store, then Purchases, to access content already purchased on the iPad, and then a click on Redownload to acquire the content on the iPhone. iBooks has high marks for picking up where we left off on our iPad on our iPhone.
All in all, we think the pretty solid winners are iBooks and Kindle, despite not having the ability to lend books (we think this feature should be on all e-Readers). Overall we think the reading experience on iBooks is better, but Kindle has a slight edge purchasing wise with how many more titles are available. B&N and Borders have some nice features, but neither are near as polished as iBooks and Kindle. We hope that the ability to make in app purchases, two page viewing when in landscape, and seamless syncing will be added soon to the Kindle app. With these three features the Kindle app would almost match iBooks in terms of features and would be a real front runner thanks to the large amount of titles in their store.
What is your favorite e-Reading app?