Advantages of E-Books on the iPad

The iPad functions as an e-reader for e-books. Nothing is wrong with physical books — except maybe that paper, over the long term, is fragile, and they tend to be bulky, a potential impediment for travelers.

Having said that, though, now consider the electronic advantages:

  • No more weight or bulk constraints: You can cart a whole bunch of e-books around when you travel, without breaking your back. To the avid bookworm, this potentially changes the whole dynamic in the way you read. Because you can carry so many books wherever you go, you can read whatever type of book strikes your fancy at the moment, kind of like listening to a song that fits your current mood.

    You have no obligation to read a book from start to finish before opening a new bestseller, just because that happens to be the one book, maybe two, that you have in your bag. In other words, weight constraints are out the window.

  • Feel like reading a trashy novel? Go for it. Rather immerse yourself in classic literature? Go for that. You might read a textbook, cookbook, or biography. Or gaze in wonder at an illustrated beauty. What’s more, you can switch among the various titles and styles of books at will, before finishing any single title.

  • Flexible fonts and type sizes: With e-books, or what Apple prefers to call iBooks, you can change the text size and fonts on the fly, quite useful for people with less than 20/20 vision.

  • Get the meaning of a word on the spot: No more searching for a physical dictionary. You can look up an unfamiliar word on the spot.

  • Search with ease: Need to do research on a particular subject? Enter a search term to find each and every mention of the subject in the book you’re reading.

  • Read in the dark: The iPad has a high-resolution backlit display so that you can read without a lamp nearby, which is useful in bed when your partner is trying to sleep.

  • See all the artwork in color: Indeed, you’re making no real visual sacrifices anymore. For example, the latest iBooks software from Apple lets you experience (within certain limits) the kind of stunning art book once reserved for a coffee table. Or you can display a colorful children’s picture book.

The grayscale electronic ink displays found on Amazon’s Kindle and several other e-readers may be easier on the eyes and reduce fatigue, especially if you read for hours on end. And although you may indeed have to supply your own lighting source to read in low-light situations, those screens are easier to see than the iPad screen when you’re out and about in bright sunshine.

You can buy an iBook using iTunes on your Mac or PC, but you can’t read that iBook using iTunes (or any other app) on your Mac or PC. You can read iBooks only on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

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