Why There Are No Books on My iPad

I will chime in again with just about everyone else who’s used an iPad for any amount of time – its a very good device for consumption-based reading/browsing, and the battery life is phenomenal. Thing is, its not so great when you want to read certain types of content – mainly because, some things just aren’t available anywhere but in a browser (hence the title of this post).

When I purchased the iPad, I knew that there was a smattering of (e)books that could be downloaded to it. And I was very excited and intrigued about any perodicals which would use the Bonner’s Mag+ Concept as I knew that for such a device, making the content fit into a unique immersive reading experience was very key to enjoying the device.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d have to grapple with vendor lock-in and a lack of being able to port content easily.

It’s an Apple device. There’s not Windows, webOS, Symbian, MeeGo, or any other mobile platform coming out that can skillfully run on this hardware (without a ton of hacking). It’s not meant to be open or opened, and that keeps some things in a positive light – until you want to do something more and not go through iTunes or the AppStore to do it. I wish that in the respect to other software platforms, other tablets would use platforms as a means to enhance the consumer experience, not just tie them down.

The major beef for me though has to do with porting content from the iPad to my N97 (or whatever the mobile of the week is). Outside of those things that appear within a browser, I’m generally having to make the decision to either download on the mobile and put in a email draft folder to share with the iPad, or put it on one device and ignore the fact that I switch between devices frequently, but want to keep my content wherever.

And therefore, I’ve only downloaded samples of books. I can’t handle the idea of reading something on an iPad to be locked there, and then between Apple and the publishers to not have access to content that I purchased on any other mobile device that I own.

Saddest of these is that I’ve not really liked the Bible experience on the iPad. I’ve been looking at YouVersion for a few weeks now and it comes closest to the functionality that I get from Google Reader – I can read and note on any device, and both the native and web-based applications keep my information accessible no matter which device I’m using. There aren’t too many apps – or content streams – which do this in the PC world, let alone the mobile world.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to simply purchase the licenses to a (e)book and then be able to read/consume/share that content accordingly. But, right now, this has to happen more on the side of the Bible software developer to account for the user and the licenses, not so much on the side of the publisher. And with such the niche that Biblical software is, some items just are better left not purchased unless you can make the time investment into the device they are targeting.

So I’m left reading samples of some items, and sharpening my search and research skills for other items. I refuse to get into the game of jailbreaking (hacking) my iPad just to share content easier; and definitley don’t walk the line into piracy – the men and women who take the time to create, test, and market this software deserve to be compensated fairly for their labors. I just wish that it were easier to abstract the content from specific platforms, so that it would make for a better value proposition for me the consumer of the content.

Maybe if that happens, I can stop looking to paper books as models of truely mobile content.