I have been using a Kindle for many years now. Most recently, I was using a Kindle Oasis as my primary book reader. As I was looking at some upcoming books a few weeks back, I realized that I was not too fond of the purchasing process on iOS for Kindle. I started thinking about if the Kindle (and the Kindle apps) were still the best place for me to purchase books. Apple Books vs Kindle: what’s the best way to read books and listen to audiobooks?
Amazon is undoubtedly the top e-book seller in the world, and there are plenty of reasons why. They offer low-cost hardware and run frequent specials on popular books. Over the past few years, I’ve picked up countless books as I built up my library. As I sat and looked at the mobile interface for purchasing Kindle Books, I started thinking about how slow and dated the overall Kindle interface has become. While I love the idea of the Kindle hardware, the software hasn’t advanced very much. The overall experience is quite clunky. It feels like the current Kindle hardware is still running the original software. I argued last summer that Apple should build a competitor to the Kindle as well. There is something to the e-ink display, but it needs a fresh approach.
Getting back to my original point, I closed out the mobile version of the Kindle website, and I reinstalled Apple Books. As I opened it, it felt like a breath of fresh air. The overall design is just stunning. I hadn’t spent a lot of time with the new interface that Apple released with iOS 12, but I was quickly blown away. I had a few purchases from years ago, so my library certainly isn’t as big as what it is on Kindle (I still think there should be a ‘Books Anywhere’ service). I am using a lot of Apple’s services in my daily life (iCloud, Apple Music, etc.), so does it make sense to move my book reading into Apple Books?
After pondering Apple Books vs Kindle for the rest of the day, I realized both of them have their benefits. Amazon has dedicated e-book hardware and a massive bookstore. Apple has excellent support on iOS with a built-in store. I feel like Apple’s overall app design is much stronger as well (comparing to the Kindle iOS app). Before I could change my mind, I sent a tweet asking if anyone wanted to buy my Kindle. I told myself that if I sold it that night, I would take the plunge into Apple Books.
Benefits of Apple Books
Once I sold my Kindle Oasis, I decided that the iPad mini would be the best device for reading books from Apple Books. While it’s more expensive than the 7th generation iPad, in the long run, it’ll be a more comfortable device to hold for reading.
One thing I quickly noticed was that Apple Books has audiobooks built right into the app. With Kindle on iOS, you generally use the Audible app. I expected Apple’s audiobooks to be very expensive as I remembered from a few years back, but to my surprise, they were all in line with Audible’s pricing. I picked up The Rise of Skywalker as an audiobook for the same price as the e-book version.
Overall, the interface for everything in Apple Books is first class. Reading books is delightful, and the audiobook player is also well done. You can sync audiobooks with Apple Watch as well. I’ve spent some time picking out some books I plan to purchase in the future. I am frustrated to lose access to my existing library by switching vendors, but I’ll wait till I have the urge to re-read them and buy them one at a time. I can always reinstall the Kindle app, as well.
Wrap-up on Apple Books vs Kindle
As good as the e-ink experience is on a Kindle, Apple Books provides a first-class experience from beginning to end. Purchasing books is easy, thanks to in-app purchases. It’s nicely integrated with iOS. Highlighting content is much easier on an iPad compared to an e-ink Kindle. I’ll miss the waterproof design of the Kindle, but that only helped me in the summer months at the pool. Since I have young kids, I didn’t get to read much by the pool anyways.
Are you using Apple Books? What are your thoughts on the overall experience?