iBooks or Kindle?

Here's a comparison of both apps with the same book - Sway by Amber McRee Turner - on the Kindle app (purchase book here) and on iBooks (purchase book here).

Both books appear in their apps fairly similar and obviously the content is the same but the presentation is controlled by the app you read the book in. These are how the books appear on your 'shelves' in the apps. You can't resize the book 'sizes' in the apps but the Kindle does show a larger cover.

The Kindle app takes over the whole screen to show the book pages.
Ibooks on the other hand shows the background slightly at the edge of the book.

Tap on the centre of the page and both apps show hidden options for font/colour/text settings. The Kindle has slightly more options compared to the ibooks app. The usual options to increase and decrease font size and contrast are present but the Kindle app also adds options to increase and decrease line spacing as well as change between single and double column layouts (only available in landscape mode). Font selections are minimal but there is always a "publisher font" to allow for unique fonts embedded into the kindle book.

Comparing the ibook app, the options for font size and contrast perform the same tasks as the Kindle app (or maybe its the other way around?). The unique option in the ibook app is the availability to show book content as a continuous stream instead of page by page (the full screen option removes the 'borders' mentioned earlier)

The Kindle app allows normal, sepia and night time modes for viewing books and this is how they look like.
The ibook app has the same options (called themes) and displays the same content as the Kindle but note how the ibook app tries to tint images to match the background as opposed to the Kindle app in which the images always remain bright white in nightime mode.

Screenshot below show the normal, minimum and maximum font sizes available for this particular book.

Comparitively, the ibooks app screenshot below shows the normal, minimum and maximum font sizes. You'll notice that the Kindle app manages to show a smaller minimum font size and the ibook app has the larger maximum font size - although both extremes are basically impossible and impractical to use anyways.

Landscape mode on the Kindle app defaults to a single column layout but the options allows for a switch to a easier to read two-column layout so that each sentence does not extend too long.

In the ibook app, the landscape mode always displays as a two page book spread ... I personally like how the little details like the shadow cast in the middle spine of the book is rendered to make the book 'feel' 3D-ish.

So ... which app is better? Well, both apps have very strong pros and cons.

Kindle Pros
  • Smaller app size
  • More books available in the Kindle Store - and more free options
  • Flexibility to view and sync books on the app (both iOS/Android), Kindle readers, web app (using Google Chrome) or with the Kindle application on PC platforms
  • Has some iOS enhanced books that only work with the Kindle iOS app - mainly because of animations/videos

Kindle Cons
  • Many books are unavailable outside of the US region (but workarounds possible)
  • Less interaction/interactivity in books - mainly as display only
  • Syncing takes time - especially with a large library
  • Although app size is smaller, overall data usage is larger in the Kindle app because of syncing
  • No control over what displays in the library - shows all books in account

iBooks Pros
  • Many tie-in books are available for free
  • iBooks offer more interactivity - especially in kid books and textbooks
  • More reference books and educational books available
  • Less region restrictions
  • More control over syncing and library display

iBooks Cons
  • Smaller selection of books in comparison
  • Less 'free' optons availablt
  • Only readable on the iOS app
  • Larger app size

General Pros
  • Both apps offer options to sync to your own ebooks and PDFs
  • Both offer subscription based services (although the ibooks option is through the newstand instead)

General Cons
  • You don't own any of the ebooks you've purchased - both iTunes and Kindle store is allowed to delete books from your account based on their discretion

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