6. How do you turn the pages – pressing a button, swiping? Is it natural, or does it feel clunky? How’s the response?
Michelle: With both the iBook and Kindle app, I turn pages by swiping. IBook seems more like a real book here, both in page turning and in overall look. Response on both is quick and smooth.
Arena: You can turn the pages by swiping, or you can just click the screen with your finger in the bottom corner of the page to turn the page. It is very natural and smooth.
Turner: The Kindle has buttons on both sides for “next page” and “previous page”. Nothing to it.
Nia : On both devices you press a button. It is natural out of habit but does not replicate the feeling of actually turning a page. The response is not immediate—there is a small delay. I’ve gotten used to it. Kindle DX only has the buttons on the right side (see #3) which is annoying.
Anil: I like the swipe feature which is very responsive. I wish I could change the swipe from a horizontal motion to vertical though.
Phoebe: You can use buttons or swipe with the nook. I prefer to use the buttons, which feel more intuitive to me, and requires only one hand. This is probably one of my favorite features–it actually feels like the designers have improved on the very act of reading a book. The response is quick.
7. What mediums do you read most often (books, newspapers, magazines, etc). Do you like how they’re formatted on the device?
Michelle: I read books only. Both iBook and Kindle books are formatted nicely.
Arena: I read books exclusively. I like that you can turn the device to landscape or portrait mode, viewing two pages at landscape or one page at a time in portrait view.
Turner: I only read books on the Kindle, but I understand it’s capable of receiving magazine and newspaper descriptions.
Nia : I read books and scripts. The formatting on both is great, especially now that the PDFs display like they would on a computer (rather than being reformatted).
Anil: Almost always ebooks and PDFs. Most free ebooks have some formatting issues but newer releases look like they would (mostly) in paper form. With PDFs it’s a mixed bag of just right and completely disorganized.
Phoebe: Books! Most look great. For some epub files, I’ve had to size them down to view them properly. They’re readable, but perhaps not ideal-looking. This has only happened twice, though.
8. What options do you have for customization as far as books and other reading materials go? Things like adjusting text font and color, background color, sizing – also, does it have any settings for those with vision problems?
Michelle: Both Kindle & iBook offer reading options. I can adjust fonts, sizes, and colors on both apps (but the Kindle app allows for black on white, which iBook doesn’t). I can highlight and make notes, and change the screen orientation, and I have search functions. Both apps and the iPad itself allow for brightness adjustments. Hopefully, some of these settings would prove useful to those with impaired sight.
Arena: In the Kindle app, you can choose from six different font sizes, three different color choices and adjust the brightness of the screen. In iBooks, there are two font size choices, but you can choose from six different fonts. You can make the screen “sepia” colored and adjust the screen brightness as well.
Turner: The Kindle doesn’t offer any colors other than black as far as I know, but the font style and size can be adjusted as needed.
Nia : There are eight different text sizes available. You can adjust how many words to display per line. On most books the device can read the text to you, and you can adjust the reading for speed and a male/female voice. (This isn’t available for some books, and not at all for PDFs.)
Anil: The nook allows you to increase and decrease fonts, background of the touchscreen, and sorting of ebooks. You can’t change the reading window though, there is no option to make the e-ink brighter or dimmer. A small reading light is the best alternative for that or when traveling.
Phoebe: Most books give you font options as well as several text-size options.
9. Once you’re out of the store, how’s the readability? Can you see the screen outside in daylight? Need any attachments to read in a dark or dim room?
Michelle: Since the iPad isn’t a dedicated ereader, it doesn’t use e-ink. That is, it’s full color capable. Without an anti-glare screen protector it can be difficult to read in bright sunlight. In a dark or dim room, I don’t have a single complaint and no attachments are required.
Arena: If the brightness is all the way up, it’s really hard to read in the sunlight. But I’ve found that you can adjust the screen brightness to compensate for the light in the room. No attachments needed since the device is backlit. I really enjoy the versatility of the iPad — it’s not just an eReader and you are not confined to just one source of books. As a book reviewer, I can even view electronic ARCs through NetGalley on the iPad. It is a great investment.
Turner: This was a concern of mine as well, but I can see it just fine in bright sunlight and the dark of night. There’s a built-in light.
Nia : You can read it in any place you could read a piece of paper in. In a dark room (as in, zero light) you would need a light. There is sometimes glare on the screen in extreme light situations (like a window or light bulb right behind you). Holding it at a slightly different angle will fix this.
Anil: The nook is great in daylight although doesn’t do well in dim conditions. That might be a bit from the fact that I like reading (books or otherwise) in very bright light, I find it strains the eyes less. B&N sells a small, flexible nook light for $~$15 that does the trick however.
Phoebe: Readability is great, even in bright sunlight. Since the nook isn’t backlit, I’ve had to buy a book light to clip onto it, but it’s much less awkward than, say, using a book with a book light since there are no intrusive, turning pages.