Last week I got the chance to buy myself an iPad 2 right before my trip to Kauai. (We had lots of fun by the way.) My main motivation in doing so was not just to have a nice e-reader, but to have a device that could substitute for a laptop while on a trip.
You see, I travel quite a bit to far flung places. My mother owns a travel business specializing in exotic locales, which facilitates all this travel because I’d never be able to afford these trips otherwise. While I actually do work part-time for my mom’s business, I can’t exactly put my other clients’ work on hold whenever I travel unless it’s Christmas-time and everyone is on holiday.
But it’s hell to drag a five pound laptop to South East Asia, or Europe, and back, especially considering how you also have to drag it in your carry-on luggage all the time. It also kind of sucks to bring a ton of books on a trip, even if they’re paperbacks. (I’m a fairly fast reader.) Often times, I’ll wish those lovely, entertaining books weren’t taking up room in my suitcase because we bought too many souvenirs & gifts. Again.
The iPad 2 has so far been a great solution for both problems. I haven’t actually gotten to test the PDF reader/editing app on iPad yet, but it exists and it can do most of the things I need to do with the large PDFs of manga I usually get to copy edit. I also haven’t decided which word processing app to use, but only because I knew that none of my clients were sending scripts (or PDFs) my way during this trip. That and I got to download all the fun comics and manga apps onto my phone to play around with during the trip.
I mostly used the Viz Manga app, but only because it had the most manga I wanted to read. I downloaded Ai Ore, Toriko, Captive Hearts, multiple volumes of Beast Master and Dengeki Daisy, and read most of them on the trip. The in-app experience was pretty seamless and I really loved the bookmarks that kept my place when I was doing other stuff on the iPad.
The prices in the Yen Press made me too reluctant to buy anything. While I do appreciate that the OEL titles and manhwa may cost the publisher more to put out, $8.99 is way more than I want to spend for a digital copy of a single volume of manga. (Not to mention the fact that I’m not sure Yen Press would honor those purchases elsewhere if the iPad became obsolete in the future. At least on Viz’s app, I’m sure that I can retain those purchases on their web site.) I also downloaded, but didn’t buy anything from, ComiXology just because I couldn’t find anything to really pique my interest that I didn’t already own.
As for Kodansha’s app (full disclosure: I’ve done work for Kodansha, but not on the app or the titles I bought), which was released while I was on vacation, I bought Arisa and Until the Full Moon, but felt a little disappointed that the app would crash every once in a while. Since you couldn’t bookmark a place in the manga, I often lost my place when the app decided not to cooperate. There was also a problem with moire in the tones and a few titles pages not being scanned in properly, but I was still satisfied with my purchases.
Aside from the aforementioned apps, I’m not really sure where else to find manga on the iPad. I’ve downloaded the Kindle app in the hopes of getting some BL manga eventually, but a search for manga in the App Store mostly came back with scanlation readers. I would be very grateful for some comic book-related app suggestions.
I’ve been absolutely delighted by my experience with the iPad so far. Since we were still in the U.S., I got a data plan to last me the duration of the trip and used the device every single day. We used it to help navigate around the island with our rental car (admittedly something we never do in foreign countries), find places to go, prices for various activities and look up good places to eat. I was even able to keep up with work-related Facebook and Twitter duties easily.
As far as I’m concerned, the thing’s already paid for itself.