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Reading Books on the iPad Versus the Kindle

Updated on November 9, 2012

I recently purchased an iPad, I resisted as long as I could but I eventually gave in. I am such a sucker for gadgets and new technology. It's probably worse since I had only purchased a Kindle less than 3 months ago. However, I did not buy the iPad for reading on, I bought it for the media, videos, movies, all look great on the iPad.

That being said. I have been comparing the two devices in terms of how easy and comfortable both are for reading ebooks. Both have different strengths and different weaknesses. Maybe this will help you choose between the two if reading is your main goal.

Reading in Bed

My first comparison test was reading in bed, the Kindle is definitely superior in this regard. The Kindle is light and it's easy to hold up for long periods of time. There are several sizes of text to choose and the device is easy on the eyes because it is not backlit. It you fall asleep and drop the Kindle on your stomach it will not wake you up.

The iPad on the other hand is not easy to hold up without your arm getting tired very quickly and it is heavy for resting on your stomach. The text is just like computer text and it is backlit. I found my eyes got tired much faster. I also flopped the iPad on my stomach and it hurt. I got tired of the effort of changing pages with the iPad, with the Kindle you just click a button with one finger to change the page.

So, in this first test, the Kindle definitely came out ahead:

Kindle Pros for Reading in Bed

  • Light
  • Easy on the eyes
  • Change pages with a click

Turning pages on the iPad looks like the real thing and the colors jump off the page
Turning pages on the iPad looks like the real thing and the colors jump off the page
The Kindle text is plain and you turn pages by clicking the "next page" button
The Kindle text is plain and you turn pages by clicking the "next page" button

Do You Like Pictures?

My next comparison was graphic capabilities, on this there is no question that the iPad is superior. The colors are bright and they leap off the page. Photographs in books show up as they should.

The Kindle only offers grey-scale graphics. There are quite good for what they are but there is no comparison with the iPad.

I downloaded several Beatrix Potter books to check out the illustrations and I was not disappointed. They look just like the hard-copy books.

iPad Pros for Graphics

  • colors are beautiful
  • illustrations can add to the enjoyment of a book
  • page turning is animated to mimic the real action

Graphics are very nice on the iPad
Graphics are very nice on the iPad
Kindle graphics are grey-scale
Kindle graphics are grey-scale

Easy to Buy

Both devices make it easy to buy books right from the applications. The iBooks store is hidden behind the bookshelves, click on store and it turns around. For the Kindle you click on the menu button and you have the option of buying books directly from amazon.

Book prices seem to be more expensive from iBooks. The average price I noticed was around $15, the average for Kindle is $9.99.

Reading Outdoors

The Kindle also wins out in ease of reading outside. There is no glare on the screen and you can read in the harshest sunlight. With the iPad I couldn't even see the screen when I was sitting outside on partially sunny day.

Kindle Best for Reading

Of course, there is no comparison on price. The iPad sells for more than three times the price of a Kindle. But it does offer a lot for that price. The Kindle is an ebook reader with a couple of perks like a browser, however, it will not be used for much more than reading books and maybe listening to an audiobook.

In terms of reading though, I find the Kindle so much easier and kinder on the eyes. I will use the iPad to read illustrated books and books with many diagrams. I will also use the iBooks application on the iPad to read PDF files, which need to be formatted to be read on a Kindle. However, when I want to read in bed or outdoors it will be the Kindle I will favor. On those points there is no comparison.

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments section below.


Submit a Comment

  • norbertmercado profile image

    Norbert L. Mercado 5 years ago

    Thanks for the informative article. I was wondering which device would be more convenient for e-book readers. I don't suppose you plan on buying a Nook too. =) That would help further in the comparison for e-book gadget supremacy. But for now, I guess the Kindle remains king.

  • zann17 profile image

    zann17 6 years ago from Bristol, England


  • Andyjerylei profile image

    Andyjerylei 6 years ago

    Every one of the ebook viewers also make it pretty simple to entry and download the latest eBooks on the market place nowadays. The Sony Reader Contact version includes a backlight put in from the product or service that can assist you to read even from the darkest rooms. You’ll find a multitude of elements which have finally introduced the trade thus far. Though Sony has sold eBook readers for several many years (such as the well-liked PRS505) and Amazon is now on into the Kindle 2,

  • pylos26 profile image

    pylos26 7 years ago from America

    Thanks for the good info.

  • Kim Lynn profile image

    Kim Lynn 7 years ago

    Thanks for the insight. I appreciate information from people who actually own and operate the new tech gadgets. I am close to illiterate in this area. Nice to hear the comparison.

  • sunforged profile image

    sunforged 7 years ago from

    Well thought out comparison, Have you found your backlighting options on the iPad yet? Both the Ipad controls and the individual reading apps have various settings that can help you find the right adjustments to lessen eye fatigue.

  • profile image

    Wooded 7 years ago

    Thanks for this really good info. I am currently trying to decide which book reader to get. I like the ipad, it's kind of sexy. But I agree with your reviews. After researching, I have also come to the conclusion that the new kindle is the best. You just reaffirmed it.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Uninvited - I guess the iPad is best for the kiddies! When you go on trips, imagine all the kids' books you can put on the iPad! Very cool. I don't have either, but am trying to pick up information on all the ereaders.

  • rebekahELLE profile image

    rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

    nice hub, UW. I don't have an ipad, so I can't compare, but I do love my Kindle. I read outside a lot, and living in FL, there is almost constant sunshine, so that is a huge priority for me. I want to be able to read easily at the beach and I can. I do like the ease of one click and the page is turned.

    I'm sure the ipad is nice, but with so many features on one device, I tend to prefer something less technical to do my reading. I do have the ipod touch and while nice, I don't feel the urge to upgrade.

  • Cari Jean profile image

    Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

    Very interesting. Sounds like the Kindle is great for reading. We are thinking of getting our daughter who has cerebral palsy an ipad - the touch screen makes it way easier for her to get around on the computer. I think it would be nice to have both gadgets!

  • Pcunix profile image

    Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

    NPR is a favorite. I like the new ABC News app too. Cool interface.

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Sometimes it's less of an effort to change pages on the Kindle. I can click on the button with one finger without having to put the Kindle down. I found the iPad too heavy for that since I am weak :)

    I tried to read outside on Friday and no matter what angle I moved it to I couldn't read.

    So, what are your favorite apps? I love the NPR one...

  • Pcunix profile image

    Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

    I don't entirely agree, especially with the page turning. I can turn pages with one finger, a tap or a swipe, so I am confused by your comment.

    The iPad is definitely heavier than the Kindle, but it is lighter than most books.

    Finally, I have seldom had a problem with glare that I couldn't solve by shfting position slightly - yes, that would have been unnecessary with the Kindle but I think the issue is overblown (not here, but at some reviews).

    So, no, I would NOT recommend the Kindle because of those things. On price, sure. On features, no.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Thanks for a good comparison as I am thinking of purchasing one and after your review it would definitely be the Kindle.