Walt Mossberg

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Transferring E-Books from One iPad App to Another

Q:

Can I transfer an e-book from one of the iPad e-reader apps you recently reviewed to another?

A:

No. Books purchased from the Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple online bookstores are stored separately online and on the iPad, and none of the apps has a transfer mechanism. Plus, the books likely use incompatible copy-protection systems. If you download to your computer an unprotected public-domain book in a format compatible with one of these—or another e-reader app I didn’t review—it may be possible to read that book in more than one of these apps, but I didn’t test that.

Q:

My wife and I often like to read if we awaken during the night. Are any of the e-readers back-lit, i.e. usable in the dark?

A:

None of the leading dedicated e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle or the Sony Reader, is backlit. In fact, they use special screens without backlighting to extend the battery life and make reading in sunlight easier. However, there are small accessory lights you can buy for these dedicated readers.

Also, the iPad, which I consider a very good e-reader, is backlit. If you’re willing to read on a small screen, you could use an e-reader app on numerous Android, BlackBerry, or Apple smartphones, or on the 5″ Dell Streak Android tablet. All of these devices are backlit.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and Walt Mossberg’s other columns, online for free at the All Things Digital website, http://walt.allthingsd.com. Write to him at mossberg@wsj.com.


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