My favorite app for reading documents on iOS is GoodReader. This app does an excellent job of rendering various document formats. This is a great way to go paperless. GoodReader allows you to annotate a document, with markup tools for highlighting, text boxes, sticky notes, and freehand drawing. I mostly use the highlighting tools, as it helps me mark important information. Bookmarks are also helpful for keeping track of where you left off or reference items.
I’m now in the habit of buying books in PDF format when available instead of print and reading them on the iPad. I favor PDF because the file format does not lock you into a specific platform or vendor. They can also be created using a number of free tools. Even the Chrome web browser supports Print to PDF.
Two tech publishers that I believe do an excellent job with e-book distribution are Apress and Addison-Wesley. I became convinced this is the best way to read tech books after buying a softcover PHP and MySQL reference that is rated at 3.4 pounds and is thicker than the Yellow Pages. It included a CD with the book in, wait for it… PDF format. I ended up using the digital copy much more than print once I had my iPad.
Cloud access is a huge plus with GoodReader. I can keep documents on Google Docs or Dropbox and download or upload from within the app as needed. Any docs I find online through Mobile Safari can be opened in GoodReader and then uploaded easily. This makes viewing product manuals online a breeze. If you anticipate having limited wireless access then you can download your docs to GoodReader for offline viewing.
This app has so many features I really can’t list them here, but I have mentioned those I use regularly. GoodReader is priced separately for iPhone and iPad, but I still think it is a great value. I own both versions. I would not use my iPad as much without it. I have a lot more room on my shelves but I’m still reading more, and as a small business owner I do a fair share of reading on tech and marketing topics. The iPad plus GoodReader make me much more productive.
GoodReader on iTunes