Earlier this month I managed to talk Josh into buying me a tablet. (Okay, it might have been retribution for having to stand in Best Buy for 45 minutes while he quizzed a salesman about the games that he needed to purchase for his History in Video Games course.) My very, very early birthday present/pay back, is a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. And it’s awesome.
So far I’ve spent a lot of time (probably too much) playing games, checking my email and downloading apps on it. Since this is technically taking the place of my now somewhat retired ereader (a Nook Color, for the record) one of my first tasks was to find apps that would allow me to read ebooks and magazines. I’ve come across these five thus far:
1) Next Issue. This app works like Rhapsody’s music service. For $14.99 a month, you get access to over one hundred magazine titles – both new and back issues. If you’re a magazine addict like me (I once had over a dozen different subscriptions) you’ll love this. I’m only a few days into my 30 day free trial, and I think that it’s completely worth it. Just think of all of the magazines that I can read without killing trees and having them in stacks all over my office!
2) Zinio. Since I’ve already stated my sheer love of magazines, I’ll rank this one second. With this app, I can purchase (or subscribe to) magazines that aren’t covered by Next Issue. I’ve purchased single issues through Zinio in the past, but found reading them on my computer to be a complete and total pain in the rear. Having an app for it makes it much easier.
3) Kobo. After Barnes and Noble pissed me off several years ago (I haven’t purchased either a book or an ebook from them since, although I do buy textbooks from them, because they run my school’s bookstore), I turned to other sources, namely Kobo. They are a Canadian company that sells ebooks online, and they also have an array of tablet and standard ereaders that I was drooling over. Plus, they have a free app that syncs with my account, so I no longer have to side load books onto my tablet. Yay.
4) Mantano Reader. This was an app that I actually had to pay for (although not really, since I received $10 in Google Play credits for registering my tablet.) It handles all of the ebooks that I didn’t buy from Kobo, and has a number of other functions that I’m not going to use. I do not plan on hooking my device up to social media, so while some people might get a kick out of sharing the books they read with their internet “friends,” I have no desire to do so and won’t use that option. They also have some sort of cloud option where you can sync up the app with your computer, but it costs money to use and seems overwhelming complicated.
5) Google Play Books and Play Newsstand. Both of these came preinstalled on my tablet. I haven’t much of a chance to use them, other than to connect Newsstand with my Wired magazine subscription so that i can read it both in my office (in old-school paper format Woo Hoo!) and when I have a break between classes on my tablet. I’ll have to play with both of them more in order to give them a fair review.