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What’s the Best eBook Reader App for the iPad?

The iPad owner can use Apple’s own iBooks app to do all of her or his screen reading – but doing so, like listening to music in iTunes, locks the content into Apple devices for ever more. There are plenty of apps out there to make the reading experience more user-controlled: but which one’s the best?

eBook Reader


Amazon’s Kindle has gone from strength to strength over the last twelve months, with both regular and Fire versions showing up well against competition. But there’s always been a market segment outside the reach of the eBook reader, even with its connectivity and tablet format – and that’s the people who already own non-Kindle tablets.

The iPad owner, in particular, is a fussy beast – he or she is likely to own Apple products across the board, so the only way the Kindle was ever going to find its way into the hands of this bunch was as an app. And there’s little to complain about with the Kindle effort, which scores over iBooks in almost every way. It’s spacious, easy to use and even syncs with all your other devices (your eBooks are stored remotely) so you can pick up where you left off no matter what screen you are using.

iAnnotate PDF

OK, so Kindle can’t do everything. PDF readers have a definitive place in the business and publishing worlds, which isn’t really filled by the Kindle platform. For reviewing and annotating PDFs, iAnnotate is the way forward. It lets you write notes in the margins of the documents you’re dealing with – perfect for those locked versions that send you scrabbling through your bag for a stray piece of paper and a pen. You can share the annotated documents you create, and make notes in Word and PPT files as well.

Good PDF Reader

Same idea, different provider. The Good PDF Reader handles bigger PDFs with ease, and allows the user to write directly onto the document in various coloured “inks”, using a finger or stylus. The reader also supports sticky notes, a variety of different proofreading and editorial marking schemes, and allows you to append attachments to a document in progress.

Comic Zeal

Comic Zeal is an eBook reader designed specifically for enjoying graphic novels and comics – something the Kindle can’t do either. It allows you to zoom in on specific panels, to see more detail. You can rotate pages if you don’t agree with the reader’s own smart sensors, which detect the orientation of panels in the comic (some comics have both landscape and portrait layouts to their pages, depending on the size and context of the content). You can also organise comics and graphic novels into series and lists of your own, for easy cataloguing and future geeking out!


A multipurpose eBook transfer and reader app, which also lets you store and read large PDFs and documents. Ideal for business purposes, but great for pleasure too – because Readdle basically acts as a gateway to get anything you want from anywhere you want, onto the iPad. It can handle photo, video, audio and multiple document files and standards – all of which can be annotated at will.

Kindle wins; overall, for straight eBook reading – but the others all have their key selling points. Just make sure you make the most of that new Retina display, and get an iPad screen repair before you try to read your comics on a cracked device!

The Author is a professional web writer, whose articles and blog posts are published on more than 150 technology web pages. He is also a frequent guest contributor to a number of internationally recognized technology news sites and industry journals. His own network of technology blogs gets more than half a million views per day.

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