I know a number of people received the iPad for gifts this year, either for Christmas or some other event. I’ve got a list of my favorite apps that I think no iPad should be without. Most of them are free.
1-3. Reading Apps (all Free)
- Nook App – download this ONLY if you are a BN reader otherwise for ePubs, use …
- Bluefire App – this is the best ePub reader out there if only because it allows you to use library downloads but also because you can add ePubs via sideloading or via dropbox/email. The Nook App does not allow this. Overdrive is another good library reading app. If you have a Kobo, you will want the Kobo app which accepts unencrypted epubs. Read more about how to use the Bluefire App here.
- Kindle App – This app reads mobi or prc books, but unecrypted only. Another unecrypted mobi app is eBookMobi.
4. Dropbox (Free)
I barely remember what I did before Dropbox or it was so terrible, I blocked it from my memory. Dropbox installs a small program on your computer and you designate a place on your computer for your dropbox folder. Whenever you put something in that dropbox folder on your computer, it automatically syncs with the remote Dropbox computer. Then you can access the dropbox files from any internet connection.
Why is this great for ebook readers? Because you will always have easy access to your ebooks. You can add your encrypted ePubs, your unencrypted ePubs, Mobipocket, PRC, PDFs into the dropbox folder and then access it from your iPhone or iPad so long as you have an internet connection. This way you don’t have to plugin your iPad and do a tedious sync to get one book on your iPad.
NOTE: You can also email yourself books and open them in various ebook applications including iBooks, Bluefire, Kindle and Stanza. I’ll have a tutorial on this next week.
5. Goodreader ($4.99)
Goodreader is my favorite PDF reading application. It does not read encrypted PDFs, you’ll need to use Bluefire for that. But for regular PDFs, this App has incredible features. You can annotate the PDF and then simply email yourself a summary of your notes. You can access your EMAIL attachments as well as your dropbox files and any number of remote file storing sites to access your ebooks. It has a file management system allowing you to organize your PDFs into folders. It’s definitely worth the $4.99.
6. Instapaper (Free)
I often see links to articles that I want to read, but don’t have time until later. I used to email myself the link or sometimes I would bookmark it. Now, I use instapaper. Using a Bookmarklet (a bookmark for your webbrowser that contains a small script), I save all these articles to read later. This is the tool I use to write up my midday links. I save a dozen articles a day and then read them all at night, writing up some notes about each article. The Instapaper app allows me to read all the articles in one place.
7. Evernote (Free)
It took me a while to figure Evernote out but now that I have, I simply love it. I know that I am not using it to the fullest extent. Right now, I use it to write notes to myself but you could use it save lists of books you want to buy. Evernote is a bit like Dropbox. It saves your work (automatically) and then syncs it so what you have on your computer is exactly the same as what is on your iPad.
8. Audible (Free)
Yep, there is an App for that. Actually, the Audible App is designed for the iPhone only but it is useable on the iPad. One of the things I look for in Apps is how much cloud access I can have. I want to be as untethered to the computer as possible. (I hate iTunes and syncing and all that crap). From within the Audible App, you can download your purchases without syncing to iTunes. You can’t purchase directly from within the app, instead, like the other apps, a purchasing link launches Safari.
9. Zinio (Free)
I’ve subscribed to a couple of magazines via Zinio and while not perfect, it’s a good way to access many of your favorite magazines. However, more and more magazines have their own apps although I have found the price of the individual apps to be very expensive. Zinio subscriptions are often under $10 for an entire year. There are geographical restrictions for some magazines. There aren’t a lot of backlist issues which is a disappointment. I think many magazines are trying to figure out how to make the jump to digital. Sound familiar?
If you are into comics, this is the app for you. It contains the comics form Marvel, DC, Image and many more. The App is free but the individual comics cost money. Others like Comic Zeal ($7.99) if you have a large library of digital comics. You can load your comics via wifi or dropbox as well as via iTunes. You can organize your comics by series, making it easier to find your comics. Stanza reads comics as well and is free but doesn’t have the features of Comic Zeal.
Other Apps that I love include
- Houzz (Free) – It’s house porn. I love this app. Seriously.
- Twitter (Free) – I’ve tried many apps for Twitter, even paid ones, but I like the look and feel of this one. Another Twitter app I like is Osfoora ($3.99)
- LogMeIn ($29.99) – I know. The price of this app is SO HIGH and there are cheaper ways of getting your iPad to do what LogMeIn does but not easier. I resisted for a long time, but ultimately broke down. LogMeIn allows you to control your computer or laptop from your iPad. Basically, whatever you can do on your computer (except watch movies) you can do on the iPad using this App in conjunction with software you download to your computer.
- Angry Birds ($.99) – Because you can’t read all of the time.