Thought Leadership


By Colin Walls

I have written recently about e-books and on earlier occasions, but this topic is advancing fast enough that I felt moved to visit it yet again. As I have mentioned before, my first serious foray into e-reading has been using my much-loved iPad. This has served me very well and convinced me that e-books are now the way forward. I often meet people in social situations, who claim that their love for “real” books will never allow them to “defect”. However, I have observed that the smarter book lovers – of all ages, I might point out – are open minded enough to give the technology a chance and tend to become converts quite quickly.

My e-reading has moved on: I just bought a Kindle …

A valid question might be: why would I want a Kindle, as I already have an iPad, which can read Kindle e-books and do a whole lot more besides? And I was asking myself this for some time and arrived that the conclusion that a Kindle might add just enough to my life to make it a worthwhile investment. Let’s look at the pros and cons of an iPad [as an e-book reader] and a Kindle:

Advantages of an iPad:

  • Reads Kindle books very well.
  • Can also read other e-book formats.
  • Does lots of other things.
  • Illuminated screen means reading in low light is easy [like in bed without disturbing anyone else].

Drawbacks of an iPad:

  • A little heavy to hold for long periods [though iPad 2 is improved].
  • Illuminated screen disturbs some people’s sleep patterns.
  • No good for reading in bright light or sunshine.
  • Battery life is limited for long trips.

Advantages of a Kindle:

  • Very light and easy to hold.
  • Fantastic battery life.
  • Good visibility in bright light and sunshine.
  • Does not affect people’s sleep patterns.
  • Very reasonably priced.

Drawbacks of a Kindle:

  • Cannot read unaided in low light. [Needs more light, I feel, than a paper book – my bedside light is barely adequate.]
  • Has very limited additional functionality.
  • Cannot read other e-book formats [except PDF].

I think that this analysis shows that the two devices are quite complementary. Only time will tell whether my usage pattern bears this out.

My life is slightly more complex, as I also use a very small notebook PC [netbook]. I am beginning to think that I really could get away with just having the iPad when traveling, but I have not yet been brave enough to try that. For someone with no iPad, I think that a netbook and a Kindle would play together very well.

Ask me again in 6 months …


0 thoughts about “E-reading
  • A few hours after I made this posting, I read the story that Amazon are now selling 105 e-books for every 100 “real” books. I really thought that this would occur 3-6 months hence …

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at