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GoodReader for iPad

An iPad app (large PDF viewer)

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iPad + PDF -- Back in my day, if you wanted to read a book, you had to carry it!

  • Apr 13, 2010
The Los Angeles Java Users Group's (LAJUG) study group recently started reading the book, JAVA: Persistence with Hibernate.  The book is an excellent resource for anyone using Hibernate for their JAVA application, but at 800 plus pages, it's also an excellent way to build muscle mass.  Despite the obvious Geek Cred gained by carrying this book around, I wasn't psyched about the inevitable backpain I would incur by toting the book around -- instead I opted for the PDF version.  For the first few weeks, I read the chapters on my laptop.  Provided I remembered to charge the computer and take appropriate battery life precautions, this was a workable solution.  However, once I got my iPad, I knew the game was about to change....

The first thing I looked up when I got my iPad was how to get PDF's into iBook.  iBooks uses a file format called ePub, and a quick Google search led me to "Calibre" for converting PDFs to ePub.  Unfortunately, the results were less than stellar.

  1. Variable font sizes
  2. Clear text and easy to turn pages
  3. Bookmark ability
  1. Images and text styling did not transfer over
  2. Difficult to go to a specific page based on page number (when other members would say "turn to page 390, for example).
  3. Searching the document was slow 

I found the iBook route to be insufficient for my needs so I continued to search for PDF options.  I had tried GoodReader for iPhone, but the display was too small, and navigating was too slow.  However, when I saw there was an updated version for iPad, I knew I had to give it a chance.  GoodReader is specifically designed for large PDF or TXT files and it performed admirably.

  1. Image and text styling is maintained in PDF
  2. Searching and navigation are very fast
  3. Page composition is consistent with the print book ("look at middle of page 405")
  4. Only $0.99
  6. Easy to load documents (Wifi, download, etc)
  1. Does not use "iBook" style page turning
  2. Cannot highlight text and make notes or annotations
  3. Does not do "side-by-side" page display in landscape mode
Essentially, GoodReader accomplished exactly what I wanted in an e-reader for this specific book. It seems like the developers are actively working on this app, so I only expect even more refinement and features in the future.

The ease of use of GoodReader for the purposes of a textbook reader leads me to believe that all textbooks will eventually be stored and used in this fashion.  The web is still a great resource for finding solutions to specific problems, but it is difficult to beat the effectiveness of a textbook for providing a more focused education on a specific topic.  It's probably only a matter of time before Apple implements their own PDF solution on the iPad (such as Preview for OSX), but until then, it's tough to beat the $0.99 GoodReader App.
iPad + PDF -- Back in my day, if you wanted to read a book, you had to carry it! iPad + PDF -- Back in my day, if you wanted to read a book, you had to carry it! iPad + PDF -- Back in my day, if you wanted to read a book, you had to carry it! iPad + PDF -- Back in my day, if you wanted to read a book, you had to carry it!

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July 19, 2010
Hi! Do you know of any other apps that can be used to read e-books and highlight the texts on those books as well?
July 27, 2010
The new version of iBooks from Apple supports now supports highlighting as well as attaching "sticky notes" to the documents. It now also supports PDF files, but I'm not sure if there's a generic "eBook" importer yet. I'll have to try that out.
July 28, 2010
Thanks! That's good to know about the iBooks!
May 16, 2010
Can you annotate PDF's with GoodReader?

Ha! Never mind, you already answered that. Plus I just bought the app. 
April 13, 2010
Thanks for your contribution to the iPad Buzz community! I am going to KIV this as I do have plan to buy an iPad if someone else is not going to get it as a gift! ;-) It'd certainly be great to read on iPad compared to my netbook (Toshiba NB200 which has a v. decent 10 hour battery life, btw) and I'm hoping to read some reviews on those apps for converting the FLV media files to one that's readable on iPad too! Any idea?
More GoodReader for iPad reviews
Quick Tip by . April 14, 2010
posted in iPad Buzz
A must have app for reading large PDFs on the iPad. Easily worth $.99 price tag!
About the reviewer
Andrew ()
Ranked #23
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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