I've been reading books on my iPad for a while now and want to write a little about what I've found regarding the iBooks vs Kindle apps on the iPad. This isn't a new topic (in fact, it may have been beaten to death), but I'm a fairly avid reader and a fairly avid iPad user, and it's my blog, and I can write about whatever I want. Today, I'm in a book mood. When iBooks was first announced, I was pretty excited because (a) I thought it was high time Amazon had some pricing competition and (b) the eBooks format was reputed to be more open than the locked-down Kindle format. It's been a few months and I haven't seen any price reduction, and although the format is still more open, it's still got DRM. I'm not seeing the DRM as a vote for or against either the Kindle or iBooks route because they both have it, and it's a serious drawback. I've already written about the case for e-books in general, so I won't rehash it.
I'll come to my point and state that I use the Kindle app far and away more than iBooks. The Amazon selection is far better, there are more options for buying books (iBooks limits you to going through the iBooks app, whereas on Amazon you can use the Web from anywhere and specify where you want the book sent), the most recent updates include the popup dictionary function I sorely missed in the early versions, and my notes and highlights are available from the Amazon Kindle Web portal. I can read my books from any of my devices (true for iBooks only if you have all Apple stuff, which I do, but not everyone does, yet). I also like the Kindle app setting that shows popular highlights; it's occasionally interesting to see what the general populace has seen fit to emphasize or remember.
I do use iBooks for PDFs and free books, of which there are a metric ton on Google Books and Project Gutenberg. It's possible but not as easy to get this stuff on a Kindle or into the Kindle app on an iPad. With iBooks, you just drag the thing you want to read onto iTunes and sync, and it looks good on the iPad when you're done. I can't remember the Kindle process, but it seemed more painful than that. iBooks has a little more eye candy, but it's not useful. You can, for example, choose what color your highlights should be, but you can get to them only through the app on your device. What good is that? With my Kindle-format books I have them all available online through Amazon, complete with my notes, highlights, and ratings.
Those are my thoughts du jour on the state of e-readery on the iPad. Here are some links and resources as a parting shot:
-Project Gutenberg -Amazon portal: this is where you access highlights and notes -How to save PDFs to iBooks (through print menu on Macs or through iTunes) -Kindlerama daily cheap/free Amazon deals -Amazon's Free Kindle Books page
Update, 9/6/10: I just found this timely article on Salon.com espousing an opposite view, and it's a pretty good read.