Read college textbooks on iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ThoughtDesign, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. ThoughtDesign macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Hi I am commuting across 2 trains to get to my university and it is a burden to carry heavy textbooks. Is it at all possible to get ebooks to work on the iPad? I know the nook e-reader requires you to use their program which is not available on the iPad. So i guess i need to find a database that has an app for the iPad, or an e-book distributor that lets you download PDF files. Any ideas?

  2. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i bring a small man purse (Waterfield Vertigo) with me to campus every day and it holds: ipad + bluetooth keyboard + incase origami workstation. it is about the same size and weight as the macbook air, but at about half the price, with twice the battery life, and the ipad works wonderfully as an e-reader. i digitize everything, including my textbooks, so everything i need is in the palm of my hand. see my profile for threads about how to use the ipad at university, but this one here is probably the most relevant to your question:

    by the way, i managed to scan 15 books into pdfs today. not too bad, if i do say so myself :)
  3. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    Digitizing things isn't too difficult. That shouldn't be your concern.

    What you should be concerned with is this: Are you going to learn as efficiently on an iPad as you would with a regular textbook.

    The answer, of course, differs from person to person. For myself, I really do require the physical pages of a textbook when I'm learning various things. I flip between pages, and use the textbook in such a hands-on way, that a single screen simply can't do what having multiple pages can do for me. Not to mention the brain does operate differently when you deal with a tablet as opposed to a textbook: And this can be detrimental or even beneficial to a person... so it really differs from person to person.
  4. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011

    Digitizing everything has certain benefits: portability, ability to search text (after performing optical character recognition--you can search every text on your hard drive at once with your mac), annotations, etc.

    It also has weaknesses. You can only view one page at a time. This makes certain work (using a specialized dictionary or encyclopedia, for example, to look up a word in the text you are reading) less efficient.

    However, if you are traveling (as I do frequently) the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. After all, I can carry tens of thousands of books with me on planes and trains. In the old days, all I could manage were a handful of books. It is also an incredible relief not to lug around books all of the time.

    If I need to read something in paper form, there is always the library, but on the whole, I prefer my iPad (and for some things, my Kindle DX).
  5. LagFighter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Hi, comment from another college student here. I'm buying my textbooks from Amazon through their Kindle app. It seems like a good bet and will get me exactly what I need.
  6. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Yes. If you can find your textbooks through Amazon, that is a really great deal. E-books are superior to pdf files (scanned with camera or scanner) in just about every way. I would recommend downloading the book into your computer so that you can also include the textbook in any search results.
  7. libertyranger10 macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2011
    Amazon actually rents textbooks through their Kindle. If you don't need a book very long, it may save you some money.
  8. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    For me it's opposite, I have a really hard time reading off paper, especially since I cannot adjust the font and/or brightness. I digitize everything I own. Best way to do this is by purchasing an eBook from any online retailer and then printing it to PDF and pushing it into GoodReader. It seems to work well for me. If the retailer allows me to download the epub of the book, then I push the epub itself to iBooks but this is almost never the case. Also, at graduate school almost all my professors use their own books which they provide for free in PDF format. I simply push this into GoodReader and read as per my needs.
  9. AceCoolie macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    I've just started going back to graduate school. It has been difficult to find electronic copies of my textbooks. So far, I've only had one class where I was able to use a kindle ebook. It had it's pro's and cons.

    First, I ran into drm issues because I wanted to be able to read it on my home pc, work pc, and iPad. The limit was 2 devices :(. My feeling is that I should be able to read it on as many devices as I want as long as its one at a time.

    Second, while it was nice to be able to search the text, some of the diagrams, even when zoomed to fit the screen, were fuzzy and difficult to read.

    Third, the Kindle app does not show pages. It shows "locations". This is because it allows you to change font size etc. which would make the same amount of text take up different amounts of pages. This made it difficult to cite specific pages for references or look at a specific page for an assignment.

    Fourth, the Kindle app would do funny things when jumping back and forth. For example, I would have the iPad turned to landscape orientation so I can see two pages. I would be reading the page on the right and the text would refer to some fig. which would be a hyperlink. You click it to view the figure and then click the back button to return to your reading. The problem would be that your page now changed to the left side of the screen and because the combination of the two pages now looks different visually, it disorientates you. I could find no rhyme or reason for this. Sometime, the page I wanted was on the left, other times, it was on the right. This isn't a problem if you use the iPad in Portrait orientation but then you can't see as much.

    Fifth, I can't resell my ebook. For my next class, I'm going to go with the Amazon rental but it bugs me to have spent $80 on a book that I can't resell. If I wasn't getting reimbursed thru work, this would have been a deal breaker for me and I wouldn't have bought it.

    Overall, I think I prefer the ebook but it's a tough call.
  10. drewc1138 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2007
    That's what I was just about to say.

    I've been using the Kindle app for my past few classes...I've discovered that it does seem a bit more cumbersome than using an actual book. But...come quiz time, that search feature has paid for itself in spades. ;)
  11. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Ebooks have many positive features, but DRM and other issues limiting their usefulness can be rather unpleasant. I highly recommend digitizing books yourself using one of three methods: an office quality scanner (kinkos?), a digital camera + tripod, or scansnap.

    One of the benefits of generating your own digital copy is that you can store it on your computer's drive and search not just one book (as in the Kindle app), but thousands all at once.

    For information on how to digitize your library of stuff, see this:
  12. Bj93 macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2011
    Of course you can. One of the major use of Ipad that I have witnessed so far is reading e-books on it. Its not a problem at all. I have been reading a lot of e-books on my Ipad and its always more comfortable than a regular textbook. Perhaps, in the beginning you'll find it difficult to read on an Ipad but its just a matter of time. Give yourself a little time to get used to Ipad. And then it will be much more comfortable for you. [​IMG]
  13. Nuc macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2003
    I'm old school but not that old (Graduated 4 yrs ago with my MS). Nothing beats the good old book. I don't believe in writing notes on the computer either. Pencil and paper is all you need.

    Enjoy the ability to not sit in front of a computer all day. You will most likely be doing that for the rest of your life, like I do.

  14. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Digitized books aren't for everyone. I think the more you read, and the more places you do it in, the more useful they become. I also take notes with pen and pencil, but I scan them into PDFs. I prefer to go paperless :)
  15. Wattser93 macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2010
    I'm curious about the same thing, going from paper to ebook for college.

    I've searched the apps available for iPad and only about half of my books are available for iPad through the various textbook apps.

    I'm also worries that during an open book test, a teacher will be suspicious of me using my internet equipped iPad as a textbook when google is also readily available on it.

    I typically take notes by hand, but never annotate or highlight my books, I refuse to even fold over the corners to mark pages.

    Is there a way to do quick flips between pages? IE: I'm working on page 694, but need to swap to 1036 for the glossary, in real life, I put a pencil in the page so it's easy to pop back and forth, is there some form of digital bookmark available through the apps to do this in a similar fashion?

    I've been thinking about buying an iPad to be used as a toy/textbook collection for college, but I'm not sure if it''s quite ready to be a full blown replacement for a paper book.
  16. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    If going digital with your textbooks, don't limit yourself to just the Kindle app. There is also two other apps supported by many campus "bookstores".

    VirtualSource Bookshelf
    Course Smart eTextbooks

    Depending on the publisher, many books have been supported by either of the three apps mentioned above. Since going back to school for a BS in COmputer Information Technology and Homeland Security, I have only come across one book not available in digital format either directly from MBS Books, Kindle, VirtualSource, or Course Smart. I always shop around to ensure I get the best price.

    Good luck!

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