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Books on the Go: A Student’s Review


If you’re like me, you don’t own a reading device, but you own an iPhone and/or an iPad. In perusing the different options for buying and reading books on these devices, I have tried them all and concluded that that not all are made equally. However, what I settled on became a subjective choice.

Before reaching my selection for my preferred reading app, I went through five different stages.

  1. Pricing
  2. Immediate Availability
  3. Long-term Availability
  4. Ease of Purchasing
  5. Functionality

Here are those stages in more detail, because you will likely go through them too.

First, I used to go with pricing every single time. For example, if it was cheaper on the NOOK, then I bought it on the NOOK. You too may feel the need to check all four apps to determine if one will save you a buck or two. However, this desire will pass.

Second, I went with immediate availability. Not all books are available across all platforms. For example, Conquering the American Wilderness by Guy Chet was only available for Google Play, so I bought it.

Third, after making several purchases across all four platforms, I became concerned with long-term availability. I have zero concerns that Amazon, Apple, or Google will disappear in the future, but after watching Borders vanish, I have no confidence that Barnes & Nobles will remain alive to support the NOOK the rest of my life. Thus, I quit purchasing books on the NOOK.

Fourth, I became impressed with the ease of purchasing. iBooks has the rest beat, because it is the only app that you can browse the store and shop. It is alluringly, quick, and simple.

Fifth and finally, I became concerned about which had the best functionality. As smooth as the interface and shopping capabilities are in iBooks, the Kindle app has so many more attractive features. For example, I can borrow purchases from friends while lending out my own. In addition, the Kindle app is available on just about every platform, including my Windows computers whereas iBooks is not.

My hunch is that most folks will settle on either the Kindle, or iBooks with Play, and NOOK always being the undesirable choices. The best part about Play is the easy access to the massive library of copyright free material on Google Books. However, this is not enticing enough for me to make any more purchases on that platform.

Have you tried out these reading apps on your device? Which do you prefer and why?

By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor


About Scott:

Scott Manning is currently an undergraduate at American Military University working on a degree in military history. He subscribes to the statement by Malcolm X that says, “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory man is demoted to the lower animals.” Everything that occurred in this world has accumulated to produce our present day. Scott writes about his passion for history and military history on his blog, Historian on the Warpath.