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In-flight reading: iPad, Kindle, magazines or a good book?

By David Flynn     Filed under: iPad, travel tips, ebook readers, Kindle, business travel

So you're off on (another) business trip. You've settled into your seat on the plane, with many hours stretching ahead of you.

You reach into your carry-on bag and pull out – what? An iPad? A Kindle? The latest issue of your favourite magazine, or a book?

I'm guilty of packing two and sometimes three of the above: an iPad, a Kindle and a magazine. Yes, that mitigates against my penchant for travelling light.

But these days the iPad is almost a must-have for my travels and is best for digital editions of magazines and newspapers (such as catching up on The Sydney Morning Herald each day using the superb SMH iPad app) alongside its many other functions.

The Kindle offers an experience that's optimised for books, while the device itself is far easier to read and lighter to hold than the iPad.

And now and again I'll grab a copy of a favourite magazine to dive into through during the in-flight downtime – something I too-rarely indulge in back on terra firma.

But I long ago gave up on taking books on my travels. They demand too much carry-on space – especially with the trend towards larger print sizes, spacey layout and hence more pages per tome – and as a fast reader, knocking over one book during the flight means I'm carrying dead weight for the rest of the trip.

And if I don't finish the book before I land, I almost certainly won't have time to read it once that my work begins.

On the other hand, fellow AusBT journalist John Walton favours paper over pixels. "I do a lot of screen-reading all day, so it's nice to pick up a book at the end of the day" he says.

"A paperback tucked into my carry-on (usually something easy and accessible, like a mindless thriller or quirky comedy) is a better option for me than a magazine. There's very little that I'm interested in that isn't online these days, and I'd rather open up a few browser tabs containing a magazine article or save a webpage in the lounge for later reading on my laptop."

But John's iPad doesn't get a look-in on flights. "I travel with a tiny 11-inch MacBook Air laptop, which is about the same size as the iPad. So I very rarely end up bringing the iPad with me on trips any more. It's just one more device to keep charged."

So now we're throwing this over to AusBT readers: what's your choice of in-flight reading, and why?

Click on our poll and then share more details in the Comments box below!


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 15/2/12 by julseo

iPad and magazines..! 

2 on 15/2/12 by Shaun

I use my iPad to read magazines. Magazines I read include Wired and The New Yorker.

I use my Kindle Touch 3G for books. The strain on the eyes is much less when you're reading for a few hours.

3 on 15/2/12 by here2go

Studies have shown that reading anymore than three pages on a refreshing screen at once can cause damage to our eyes, which explains why we are using more paper than ever than in this digital age as we prefer not to have the screen continuously refreshing before our eyes.  eInk devices such as the Sony Reader and Kindle avoid this by only refreshing when you change the page.  Hence, when I'm inflight, my Sony eReader and/or a good magazine help pass time.

iPads when travelling are for games and movies.

4 on 15/2/12 by Al

My iPad is all that I need. I subscribe to some digital editions of magazines but also load up PDFs of some other publications along with some ebooks. That's enough for me and I can also surf the Web and do basic email at the lounge or at the airport while I wait for luggage and customs as long as the airport has fee wifi.

5 on 15/2/12 by tronixstuff

Motorola Xoom tablet with Kindle and .pdf reader. There are more tablets on the market than the iPad you know.

6 on 16/2/12 by djb

i agree with john much prefer my Macbook air, love having the keypad & its virtually the same size. Use my iphone for digital reading if not using the mac & much prefer the different experience of a book. Too much digital, computers, iphones & especially movie screens on the flight it good to go back the the tactile pleasure of paper & ink & it never runs out of power!


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