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Apple iPad: Best reading apps

With the new iPad expected to offer a better than full HD display, it has fast become the best tablet on the market for reading ebooks and magazines. The high resolution screen will make text look considerably more crisp spread across its 2048×1536 pixels, and this in turn will make digital reading apps instantly more desirable. We’ve therefore updated our list of top iPad reading app so when your shiny new HD tablet lands, you will know what to install to show off your serifs and in-app imagery.


Well, this is an obvious one really. It’s Apple’s e-books app that combines a store and reader software. Launching alongside the original iPad, it’s got a growing catalogue of free and paid e-books to choose from, with its key advantage being the way you pay through your iTunes Store account in a couple of taps. Free samples, the ability to read PDFs, and a nifty page-turning effect add to its appeal. You can also sync your current page and bookmarks with the iPhone version of the app.


Amazon isn’t leaving iPad e-reading to Apple: it’s iPad version of its Kindle Reader app is available for iOS too. The big selling point is the size of Amazon’s e-book catalogue and the cross-compatibility with Amazon’s Kindle and other platforms including Android and PC / Mac. It syncs your current page, bookmarks, notes and highlights across other Kindle platforms and supports e-books with both audio and video.


Offering a charming alternative to iBooks and Kindle, in addition to an attractive UI offering up text-selection, an in-app dictionary and the option to highlight books, there are also over a million free books in the Kobo market. If therefore you’re one of many who’s saved all your pennies for an iPad 3 and need to be frugal with your app purchases for the time being, Kobo can definitely keep you entertained until next month’s paycheck lands.


Thanks to its highly customisable UI, Stanza gets a mention in our list of reader libraries. It not only offers the standard night or day mode, but enables an array of personalisation ranging from link colours right through to foggy starlit backdrops for your text. It also allows you to open PDFs and other eBooks through it which is very handy indeed.

Marvel Comics

Another area causing plenty of excitement on the App Store is e-comics, with the big guns of the industry early to launch their own iPad apps. Marvel’s offers hundreds of archive comics to buy and view inside it, including the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America. You can browse the pages in full, or switch to a ‘panel-by-panel’ view for a bit more visual flair. Marvel stores details of all your purchases too, so if and when you upgrade to the next-gen iPad, you’ll be able to re-download your collection. The individual comics tend to cost about £2.50 each.

DC Comics

Something’s missing from the Marvel app: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Sandman… Those characters/franchises are all published by rival DC Comics, which has its own iPad app. It has a huge catalogue of archive comics to choose from, as well as new releases. Like its rival, it has a choice between reading in full-page mode, or something called ‘Guided View’. And as with Marvel, it backs up your collection so you can access it on other devices too. It’s free, with comics also costing about £2.50 each via in-app payments.


Using your social media contacts and followers, Flipboard generates a bespoke digital magazine. Comprised not of your peers mundane goings on, but instead of points of interest you mutually share, give Flipboard a little time to generate its content and boom, you’re in a world of high quality images and up to the minute, interesting news. With an attractive UI, it not only fits the bill in terms of function, it’s also a pleasure to thumb through turning your iPad into a perfect device with which to pass the time.

So there you have our pre-emptive list of iPad 3 reading apps. Whether you’re after a book, a comic or a magazine created just for you, the apps mentioned will benefit from the iPad 3’s higher resolution display, delivering sharper serifs, tighter tails and pixelless perusing.


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