Originally posted on Gigaom:
As a voracious reader, the main appeal of the high-resolution Retina display of the new iPad(s AAPL) is the improved text viewing, with the enhanced graphics as a secondary, but welcome, improvement. In theory, any app that uses Apple’s built-in text rendering API will render fine on a Retina display. The problem with the reading apps is that few of them use that API. Instead, apps like the Kindle(s AMZN) and Nook(s BKS) apps use their own rendering mechanism. Fortunately, the Amazon app has been upgraded to take advantage of the new display — unfortunately, the Nook app hasn’t. Below I detail my experiences with the major reader apps that are now Retina-capable: the Kindle app, iBooks, Comixology and Zinio.
Apple’s iBooks app was my default reading platform until I got a Kindle device. Amazon’s selection, Whispernet technology, and the ability to read my books on just about any device I owned moved me to that platform. Now iBooks uses your iTunes account to sync notes and reading position, and the selection for new releases seems to match Amazon’s new releases. What I had forgotten was just how good books in iBooks look. When reading the sample chapter of Michael Connelly’s The Drop via iBooks I noticed the typography overall was crisper and the design markedly different from the Kindle app. Even side-loaded books looked better, probably due to different fonts in the iBooks app.