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Apple iPad Showdown: Battle of the eReader Apps

An overview of the major eBook reader applications for Apple's iPad
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Topic: Hardware
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1 of 46 Jason Perlow/ZDNet
The default view for browsing content in iBooks is using the bookshelf view.

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The content list view is actually a more efficent and faster way to browse through long lists of EPUB content that has been uploaded to your iPad through iTunes.

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The reading experience on iBooks is designed to mimic an actual book.

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iBooks only has a minimal amount of settings that can be changed to alter the reading experience.

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The iBooks Store has a similar layout to the App Store, and is easy to browse and search.

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The Barnes & Noble Reader has an extremely attractive but efficient user interface.

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The Barnes & Noble Reader has an extremely attractive but efficient user interface.

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This view shows you the information about a particular book you've purchased.

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The B&N eReader app has many settings that can be tweaked to improve the reading experience.

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The B&N eReader app has many settings that can be tweaked to improve the reading experience.

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Text margins can be adjusted directly from the page view screen.

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In my opinion the B&N Reader app provides one of the most pleasant reading experiences on the iPad.

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The Barnes & Noble eReader application uses the built-in Safari browser on the iPad to purchase content through the barnesandnoble.com website.

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The Kindle home screen for iPad.

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There are only a few application settings that can be adjusted on Kindle.

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Kindle for iPad makes good use of the screen real estate.

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The reading experience on Kindle can be adjusted with six font sizes and three color themes.

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The Kindle application uses the built-in Safari browser on the iPad to purchase content through the amazon.com website.

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Ibis Reader is a unique application because it is written in HTML5 and is a cross-platform EPUB reader that will work on iPad, iPhone, Android, and many other web-enabled devices. It has the ability to connect to remote content libraries that use the OPDS format which includes Feedbooks, the Internet Archive Book Catalog, Smashwords, the Pragmatic Bookshelf, as well as personal OPDS catalogs that you may wish to host on your own Cloud storage, such as on Dropbox.

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The Ibis reader website allows you to directly upload EPUB content or connect to remote OPDS book repositories.

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Ibis reader has a very clean and simple interface. Here is the content description for a book.

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Ibis reader's settings are spartan compared to the other ebook reader applications, but it gets the job done.

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You can connect to a OPDS repository on the internet using this screen in Ibis reader.

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Here I've uploaded David Gewirtz's "How to Save Jobs" in EPUB format through the Ibis reader website, and reading it on the iPad.

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Here I've uploaded David Gewirtz's "How to Save Jobs" in EPUB format through the Ibis reader website, and reading it on the iPad.

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Lexcycle Stanza is the most mature and sophisticated eBook reader application for iOS. Originally developed for iPhone, the product was purchased by Amazon in 2009.

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Stanza allows you to purchase EPUB and MOBI format books from several sources and also allows you to import your own EPUB and other file format content thru iTunes or via the Open Source Calibre Content Server application.

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Here is the content description for a book in Stanza.

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Stanza has by far the most comprehensive adjustable application settings for fonts, themes and just about any text adjustment you can think of, including a wide array of fonts to choose from.

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Stanza has by far the most comprehensive adjustable application settings for fonts, themes and just about any text adjustment you can think of, including a wide array of fonts to choose from.

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31 of 46 Jason Perlow/ZDNet
Stanza has by far the most comprehensive adjustable application settings for fonts, themes and just about any text adjustment you can think of, including a wide array of fonts to choose from.

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Here is how a sample Table of Contents looks like in Stanza.

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Many controls are usable directly from page view in Stanza.

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Here is Stanza in full page mode.

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Like iBooks, you can import EPUBs and other formats into Stanza using iTunes.

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You can also run a Calibre server on your Windows, Mac or Linux machine and browse through your content over the network.

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Here is how a Calibre repository is added in Stanza.

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Here is a sample listing of my content server.

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Browsing a book description from the Calibre server.

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VBookZ is an unusual application in that it is primarily for reading Gutenberg content with Text-To-Speech.

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The VBookZ store is easy to browse and find public domain content from Project Gutenberg.

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Here is the VBookZ playback screen.

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Kobo is a new eBook reader and service that works across multiple platforms. The iPad version is very well-designed and has an attractive interface.

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Kobo has a clean reading interface.

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Table of Contents view in Kobo.

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Kobo has an attractive and streamlined book store. With Kobo, you can read all your purchased books from Kobobooks.com on several different computing and smartphone platforms, including PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Palm.

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