The iPad in Japan Versus the Kindle

April 17, 2010

Some time ago, I was lamenting the fact that the abundance of books I had accumulated in Japan would be too costly to make the trip back to the U.S. with me. I wrote an open letter on this blog appealing to Amazon Japan to make a Kindle in Japan. I wanted Japanese language functionality, a color screen, and to be able to use it as well in Japan as I could in the United States.

Right now, though people who can get their hands on an iPad in Japan can pretty much live the dream by having a lot of the things the Kindle should have delivered.

  • It looks better.
  • It handles Japanese like a pro (or rather like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and all Mac computers)
  • It is color
  • Music!
  • Doubles as a computer, not just the e-reader functionality which is already worth the price
  • WiFi
  • Works with e-Pub files, means you don’t necessarily have to rely on just one company
  • If you use iBooks, you can sync among devices, meaning that you can start reading on the iPad, continue on your iPhone, and switch to your MacBook at will while still keeping your place in the book
  • The backlight is an advantage over the Kindle’s more realistic, but unlit design.
  • Color. ‘Nuff said. (how good will manga look on the iPad?)

In conclusion, it seems that the Kindle is a good option for people in Japan if you like the design and want something this focused on being an e-reader device. If you want to pay a little more for a lot more functionality, Japanese language capability, and basically for a giant iPod touch with e-reader functionality and access to a very large and steadily growing number of e-Pub books, the iPad is best.

Right now, I would definitely be buying the iPad and filling it up with e-Pub books, and games and other apps from iTunes. Remember, part of the point of it all is to be able to bring your stash of book with you on your adventures around the world. Both are fine options, and the Kindle seems better for purists, but the iPad’s functionality and synchronization with other devices makes it hard to pass up.