Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Vectorworks ebooks on the iPad

I have been experimenting with ebooks for some time. I have tried ebooks on the Kindle device, iPhone and iPad.

The iPhone screen is just too small for me. The screen size is acceptable for reading a novel, but it is just too small for reading a tutorial manual that has screen shots in it. Sure, you can make the images bigger by pinching, but then you can't see the words. 

The Kindle device is limited by the screen size and display. It has a greyscale display that makes it hard to see screen shots clearly. I can kind-of make them out, but they lack real clarity. The screen size is much better than the iphone, but it is not as good as the iPad. PDF's on the kindle are hard to read, mainly because of the greyscale screen and the lack of a touch screen for zooming. 

There is a kindle book reader for the iphone, iPad, Blackberry, PC and Mac. This means that any kindle books you buy, can be read on several devices. So, while the kindle device is limited, any books you buy for the kindle will be useful an many devices. 

The iPad... there is so much to say about the iPad. The iPad has a decent sized screen. You can read Kindle books, ibooks, PDF's and so on. The touch screen is very easy to use, and before you know it you expect all computers to work with such ease. 

Ebooks on the iPad look great. When you open then in landscape mode, you get two pages next to each other. If the books are formatted correctly, you can get the cover and table of contents next to each other. 

When you get into the book, you get two pages next to each other. The text is clear, the images are clear. If you drag your finger along the bottom, you can see the chapter and page numbers. When you release your finger, the book jumps to that page. 

You can't make the images bigger, which I think is a shame.  

Unless you write your own books, you have to buy books from the Apple iBookstore. At present, there are no Vectorworks books available on the iBookstore. I have tried, but they are not showing up. You can buy Vectorworks manuals at

PDF's in ibook look very good, and these you can zoom. This is an image from one of my monthly manuals, the June 2010 edition. The text is clear and very readable. If you want, you can zoom the PDF to make it easier to read. 

If you copy the PDF files to your iTunes library, they will be copied to iBooks. You could add all the monthly manuals to your iTunes library so you can read the manuals away from your computer. 

The manuals tend to be small enough to copy quickly, and not take up too much of your valuable storage space. They display the text and graphics clearly. And if you need to, you can zoom the page to make it bigger. 

You can see thumbnails of all the pages as well. This makes it easy to jump to different parts of the manual. When you tap on one of the thumbnails, iBook will jump to that page. 

Kindle On The iPad
As I said earlier, the great thing about buying a Kindle book is that any books you buy can be read on many devices. The iPad is just one device. 

The Kindle bookstore has so many books, and you can get Vectorworks manuals there too. 

The Vectorworks manuals look great on the big screen of the iPad. The images are in color, you can see a whole page, and you can pinch the images to make them bigger.

If you make the iPad landscape, you do not get two pages, you still get the one page, but it is wider. 

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