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In a June blog post, I told you about my summer plans to read books on the iPad and Kindle and decide on a favorite tool to use for reading.  I have to tell you that I began my summer reading experiment thinking that the iPad would easily win over other e-reader hardware.  I was wrong!

The major problem that I have reading on the iPad is the back light and the screen glare.  On vacation in Mexico, I found a great spot on our ocean view balcony and discovered that I couldn’t see a thing on the screen except for myself.   The iPad makes a great mirror if you’re outside!  I would like to see someone invent a clip-on hoodie for the iPad that would minimize the glare.  Amazon got it right with their latest commercial featuring a man reading an iPad by the pool next to a lady with a Kindle.  He asks, “How are you reading that in this light?”

I’ve been trying many of the iPad reading apps including Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and iBook.  All of them fall short for one reason or another.  I spend a lot of time adjusting screen brightness, changing the background color and changing font size.  I experience a lot of eye strain when I read a back-lit screen for an extended time.  I also find it hard to fall asleep at night if I’ve been reading on the iPad.  A final problem with the iPad is definitely the weight.  There are ways to prop it up while reading, but sometimes I can’t find a comfortable reading position.

What I do like about reading on the iPad is the color and graphics.  The iPad does win for me as a news, magazine, and textbook reader.  I want color photos and nice graphics for that type of reading.  It also works well for many nonfiction books that feature charts and images.  I love the fact that I can bookmark my page and go right to the Internet to find other information. This can be a plus and a drawback.  Many days I find myself surfing the web for an extended period of time instead of reading.

On summer vacation, I finally gave up on the iPad and went back to reading a book on my Kindle 2.  I could read at the beach and didn’t have any eye strain.  About a week ago, I walked into a store and tried out the Kindle 3 for the first time.  It was love at first sight!  I went home and immediately placed an order.  The smaller size, light weight, and improved screen contrast make the Kindle 3 a wonderful e-reader.  The Nook has a lot of followers, but I think the new low price for the wireless Kindle 3 is going to be very appealing to many people.   Even more amazing is the fact that the Kindle 3 can  hold 3,500 books.  That’s a lot of books for a tiny device!

I know many people who like the smell and feel of a book in their hands, but I have to say that I haven’t missed it very much.  The fact that I can take this small device with me everywhere and choose from hundreds of books makes this the perfect device for me.  Our physical bookshelves may be slimmer in the future, but our minds will be full from the many books that we read.

Happy reading!

D. Teuber

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