Getting used to the iPad reading experience

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

I’m now officially an iPad owner. My boyfriend unexpectedly bought me one for my birthday after seeing how much I enjoyed using his whenever we went on road trips or were lounging around. It’s one of those gifts that I wouldn’t buy for myself, but that I’ve secretly wanted for a while.

I’m still getting used to it. The iPad isn’t the most conducive device for writing blog posts or sending emails, but I’m finding other uses for it. For starters, the iPad gives me an opportunity to limit the number of emails I send after hours. I’ve been trying to view it as more of a leisure device. I set up my personal email on it so I wouldn’t feel as tempted to check my work email after hours. (Ok, who am I kidding? I still keep my work email open in Safari, but I try not to look at it too often.)

I’m slowly starting to download some news apps, and today I downloaded Zite — an app that analyzes the types of stories you read and creates a personalized magazine with content that’s likely to interest to you.

So far, my favorite iPad feature is iBooks. Most recently, I downloaded “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding” by Sarah Burns. I got the urge to read it one night and was able to purchase it right away rather than having to find time to go to the bookstore and spend more money on it there.

I don’t go to the bookstore nearly as much as I used to. It’s not because I don’t want to keep buying books; it’s that I’m trying to save money and I don’t have room for them in my apartment. The built-in bookshelves in my room are full, and the gigantic bookcase in my guest room is overflowing with books. (I’ve always dreamed of having a house with a room reserved just for books — a mini library of sorts. Then I’d never have to say “I don’t have room for more books.”)

I still love going to bookstores, and I love holding books in my hands and marking them up with notes. But I’m starting to really like the iPad book-reading experience, in part because it feels more interactive. I like swiping the screen to turn the pages, and I like that the screen tells you how many more pages you have left in a given chapter.

iBooks make it easier and more fun to read books at night. I would have loved the brightness of the iPad screen as a little girl. Instead of “borrowing” my dad’s flashlight so I could use it to read under the covers when I should have been fast asleep, I could have read books on my iPad. Prior to getting the iPad, I always had to get out of bed to turn off the lights after reading. Now, I can read and simply close my iPad when I’m done — without getting up. I’m probably making myself sound really lazy right now, but reading relaxes me so much that the last thing I want to do is get out of bed when I’m done, especially when my cat is cuddled up next to me.

I still use my laptop a decent amount at night, but I’m trying to use my iPad more instead — not just to read books but to surf the Web. I think I just have to make a habit of using it consistently.

If you have an iPad, what do you like to use it for? Have any recommendations for apps I should download?