Barnes & Noble jumped into the eBook market late last year with the Nook in hopes of competing against Amazon's Kindle. Now they have released their Free B&N Reader App for the iPad.
The App is new, but it has a lot of functionality. It's the most customizable of the big three readers. For one, you can choose between four different margin widths. We haven't found much use for that option, but people like choices. You can use a color picker to choose the background color and text color, meaning you can have green pages and pink text if you so choose. Though this option sounds silly, adjusting completely custom colors may make things a bit easier for those with dyslexia.
Another great thing about this App is that it has a built-in dictionary. It's not quite as nice as the dictionary in iBooks, but its something that the Kindle App still lacks. On the plus side, you can also choose to lookup the word in Google or Wikipedia. Which is definitely a cool function.
As for stuff we don't like, our home screen is cluttered with books we don't want. They are in our library by default, and we are still trying to figure out how to get rid of them. We don't want that clutter. Sorry, B&N, but if we want to read Little Women, or Laura Bush's Spoken from the Heart, we can search your store.
The selection isn't yet as vast as Amazon's Kindle, so you may not be able to find everything you want. That may change eventually, but Amazon is still number one in this department.
Nothing says you can't have iBooks, Kindle and the B&E Reader App installed on your iPad. In fact, that probably gives you the most options. However, because of the wireless syncing between your eReader and iPad, the App you ultimately make your favorite depends largely on which eReader you have in your household.
Verdict: It's much more versatile than iBooks and the Kindle, but the home screen is absolutely terrible. This App doesn't offer enough to deter us from making the switch from Amazon, since we already have the Kindle App and several books. There isn't yet as much reading material here. And to us, that's the most important thing.
It's good, but probably won't matter to those who already own the Kindle App (which has been around since the iPad's launch).
4 out of 5.