Why I Don’t Read Books on My iPad

I’ve been a Kindle user for a few years now. I love it, mostly because it’s great at one thing and one thing only: immersing yourself in reading. Everything from the screen, to the store, to the battery and the size, provides a perfect experience for reading books.

When I got my iPad, I didn’t know what would happen. Would I end up selling my Kindle and replacing it with my iPad, or would I end up using both. I think you can guess for yourself what happened. Here’s why…

Reason #1: It’s Distracting

App Store

Everything, indeed.

The iPad has so much potential, there are so many things to do with it, so many cool apps to try out. Holding my iPad always seems so hectic because I never have any idea what I’m going to do with it first. While I’m using it, I’m always thinking stuff like “maybe I should be catching up with my Reeder, since I’ll never get that done while on the computer.” That’s the main reason I don’t feel comfortable reading books in my iPad. It just doesn’t quite feel right.

Also to blame are the notifications that interrupt me every once in a while during my reading. I know I should turn off the notifications on my iPad and leave them for my iPod/iPhone, but I actually like receiving notifications on my iPad (while I’m not reading books).

Reason #2: Color & Backlight


But what about the backlight?

I spend enough time on the computer every day to strain my eyes. I’ve never really tried to read on the iPad for more than half an hour, but I’m guessing it’s not as nice on the eyes as people say it is. Even if that’s true, I still get headaches when I spend too much time in front of a screen, regardless of what kind of screen it is.

My Kindle, on the other hand, has no color and no backlight. It actually looks the same (if not better) than paper.

Reading magazines is different because you actually need to see color, and it doesn’t require as much attention as reading a book does. In this regard, reading a magazine is more similar to reading articles on a website, which is something that the iPad works great for!

Reason #3: Simplicity

Kindle 3

Kindle 3

As primitive as my Kindle looks when compared to the iPad, I still think it’s a great device, even up there with the iPad in terms of genius-factor. The iPad is great at many things, and maybe that’s part of my problem with it. It tries to do a little bit of everything.

The Kindle doesn’t. It does one thing, and it does it great. It has some other features like web browsing, but they aren’t very convenient to use, and so I don’t use them unless it’s extremely necessary. Therefore, I’m forced to use it for what it was meant: reading books. I don’t even have to worry about anything with it, not even the battery (it lasts forever).


I know many people that use their iPads to read, and love it. I wonder if it’s because they’ve never tried a Kindle, or because they use their iPads differently than I do.

I consider myself a high-end, and proactive, iPad user. I am always buying the latest apps, up on all the freshest news and I use most of the apps that I have, a lot. So, I never really run out of things to do with it. Whether it’s beating the next level of the game I’m currently obsessed with, or viewing what’s new on my Flipboard; I always have something to do. Maybe those people don’t. Maybe they only use their iPad to read books, and so they don’t feel so restless when they are on their device.

This is not a “this is better than this” kind of article. The Kindle and the iPad are very different devices. I love my iPad (I wouldn’t be writing for this website if I didn’t), but as an avid reader, I have to admit that reading books is one area where it doesn’t make me happy.

Simply put, my iPad just doesn’t feel like a device that I would use to read. I use it to catch up on my RSS, to play games and browse the internet; but as far as reading books goes, I’d rather keep my old Kindle.

What about you? Do you read books on your iPad? Do you own, or have you ever owned, a Kindle, Nook, or similar device? Or do you still buy physical books? Discuss!