“Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:12b ESV


Google Play Books iconPreaching requires a significant amount time dedicated to preparation, and much of that time is spent reading. This is yet another area where the iPad can play a signification role as an aide to preaching.

There are numerous iPad apps available for this purpose– even better, most of the apps are free! Therefore you can experiment with different apps to find the one (or two, or three…) that you like best.

However, there is something else to consider that is arguably more important than the app itself. And that is the ‘ebook ecosystem’ in which the app operates.

If, for example, you commit to using the Kindle app as your primary app, you will find yourself operating in the Kindle ecosystem. Therefore you will be primarily purchasing ebooks from Amazon, Inc.

Will Amazon still be around in 5 to 10 years? Does Amazon offer the authors and publishers that you are most interested in? Can you access your Kindle ebooks on devices other than your iPad? (the answer to this last question is yes.) These are some of the questions that you should keep in mind while considering various app(s).

Here are some of the best iPad eReader apps to consider:

  • iBooks – This is Apple’s own eReader that comes preinstalled with the iPad. This is an excellent app to start with… it is easy to use, looks beautiful, and has a large selection of titles available.
  • Kindle – Amazon is perhaps the best known company in the world of eBooks. Amazon is also a large, successful company likely to be around for a long time to come. Their iPad app does not disappoint, it is worth downloading and experimenting with. Also, most public library systems loan Kindle supported eBooks for free! Why buy that brand new book you want to read when you can borrow it free? Without ever leaving your home? The Kindle ecosystem is also accessible from numerous devices including Amazon’s popular line of dedicated ereaders.
  • GoodReader – Of the six apps reviewed this is the only one that is not free. However do not let the $4.99 price tag deter you from considering this app. GoodReader is my favorite app for reading popular file types including PDF, MS Office files, iWork, HTML, and many more. GoodRerader also allows you to annotate your documents. You can highlight text, and draw or handwrite in multiple colors, add sticky notes, etc. GoodReader also handles very large files with ease.
  • Google Play Books – Google’s ereading app offers all of the basic features you would expect, however what really makes this app standout is the large number of books that are available for free. Google has built an extensive library of free ebooks from works that are freely available in the public domain. Many excellent Christian books are available for free including The life and times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim and The Book of Leviticus by Samuel Henry Kellogg.
  • Vyrso by Logos Bible Software – Logos is perhaps the best known name in computer aided Bible study. Logos also offer the most extensive collection of Christian titles in electronic format. If you use Logos as your primary tool to study the Scriptures then the Vyrso app is a natural choice for your your iPad. One word of caution: Logos tends to be expensive. Many of the older titles that are sold by Logos, can be found for free (legally) elsewhere with a little bit of searching.
  • Bible+ by Olive Tree – Although Olive Tree does not offer as extensive of a library of books as Logos does, Olive Tree still deserves to be mentioned in this listing. The best aspect of their app is how it seamlessly integrates ebooks with the Scriptures. You can quickly navigate from a Bible reference and then back again to the eBook.

So, there you are! Six excellent iPad apps to consider for all of your electronic literary endeavors! Enjoy!

Although beyond the scope of this article if you spend a significant amount of time reading electronic books (an hour or more a day) I would suggest that you seriously consider purchasing a dedicated eReader that uses electronic paper technology. Such devices feature screens that are not backlit, and therefore result in significantly less strain on one’s eyes. Amazon’s Kindle is one example of such a device, however the Kindle Fire is NOT.

Thanks for joining with me as we explore this topic together! Please add to our ongoing discussion in the comments section.

Preaching with an iPad series topic guide: