As a longtime Kindle user, one of the first books I got for the Kindle was a travel book. I thought this would be an ideal fit. I’m *traveling* and not carrying a big, thick travel guide. Turns out the Kindle wasn’t then and isn’t now an ideal way to read a travel book. That said, I’ve bought travel fiction and other fiction and non-fiction and found it to be a fine and wonderful thing to be able to carry thousands of books in a small, light format with a long lasting battery.
As a recent iPad user, I’ve been enjoying reading magazines on the iPad. It is an ideal fit for magazines in some ways, given the importance of visuals, layout and the ability to flip easily back and forth with the famous iOs flick and scan interface (fingerprints, be damned!). Faves so far: Vanity Fair, Esquire, New Yorker (loved the Department of Explanation video with Jason Schwartzman)
This got me to thinking…the reason the iPad is good for mags is that you don’t usually (well I don’t usually) read them page by page in a linear fashion. You flip back and forth, you open at random, you go directly to the the table of contents and from there to the article you want to read. Plus with some enhanced content you can have video, links to web sites, the ability to buy things directly from iPad catalogs (only a few now, but the possibilities are exciting). Of course, occasionally the iPad app loses its mind and refuses to stay open–then I have to delete and re-install it. I’m not bitter.
So, it occurred to me, that this is precisely the problem with travel books and Kindles–it’s really not a flip back and forth sort of UI. It’s a start on page 1 and proceed to the end–an immersive reading experience. Travel books, you have pictures, you flip, you scan, you go to the TOC and then directly to a section. I didn’t find any travel book apps in the app store but perhaps iBooks (I haven’t gone there yet, I’m kind of exclusive with that Kindle guy).
Still to my surprise, I got an issue of the New Yorker on my Kindle to compare it side by side with the iPad New Yorker app version and did not get the result I was expecting. An article by David Sedaris on language in the July, 2011 issue was the guinea pig. On the iPad I could play an audio file of David reading an excerpt from the article and I flipped through the rest of the article quickly. On the Kindle, I actually read the WHOLE article and I was able to highlight and share a quote easily. Also I could read it one-handed on my exercise bike. Flippin’ A, that was not how I thought this would turn out.
Well, digustibus non disputatem, as they say… It’s good to have both options and its good to have plain old print sometimes. But I’m not paying 2-3X for a magazine subscription in any case. I’ll probably stick to the iPad for now for this magazine… until my (rumored) Kindle Tablet comes along anyway…
But I still have to figure out the eTravel Book solution…more when I find out more…. Meanwhile…here’s the New Yorker Cartoons side by side: