iBook vs paperback

Hello! I will be spending 2 weeks in Europe, (1 in Paris, and 1 in Rome)in September. I have an iPad mini, and I'm wondering what would be preferable, the Rick Steves books in the iBook format or paperback. I realize that this might be personal preference, but if anyone can share some personal experiences where using one over the other is better, I would appreciate it! My iPad only has wifi, so I'm not worried about any roaming charges for data, just about he ease of use for guidebooks.
Thank you!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1735 posts

I much prefer bringing my key guidebook in paper. Flipping through to locate the correct page/topic/bookmark is SO MUCH easier in a paper book. Also, while I don't know if it has improved, the RS Italy guidebook I have from iTunes (2011, I think), has a nonfunctioning index (ie, just a list of topics with no functioning links). Consequently, the way to find specific items is with the search function, which is slow in the version I have. However, I do not use the RS guide as my main guidebook; I just use a few parts of it (eg, a specific walking tour, or instructions for navigating a specific train station). So, in the past I only brought isolated pages from RS guide, to supplement the Blue Guide I use for touring. So for my purpose, the iTunes guide was kind of OK. I bookmarked those isolated items on the plane on the way over, and mostly used my paper Blue Guide when touring.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4208 posts

I think that I would try for the Ibook. I didn't use either in a recent trip as I was going somewhere familiar. But, I did use a lot of apps. These were downloadable apps about the city I was visiting. Some were definitely better than others. I just love that I can have so many books on my iPad. I never have to worry about running out of reading material. ; ) Pam

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21451 posts

Erin, I tend to use both methods on most trips. I like the convenience of having E-books immediately available on my iPhone / iPod Touch or Netbook, but for "functionality" I much prefer to leaf through a "normal" book. I usually pack along a hard copy for the country where I'll be using it the most (which is typically Italy). For those countries or cities that I may only need to refer to occasionally, I use the E-books. I should mention that I don't usually pack the Guidebook along when I'm out touring in the daytime. I refer to it only at the Hotel. The E-books I'm using are either in iBooks or Kindle format. Kindle has free Readers available in iPhone / iPod Touch / Mac / PC versions, so that makes it easy. I'm assuming they have an iPad version also, but I haven't checked. I've found that at least on an iPhone / iPod Touch, the functionality is noticeably better with the Kindle books. Although the iBooks provide more colour, the operation seems to be somewhat "sluggish and awkward" most of the time. The Kindle versions seem to be more user-friendly and quicker. The Maps take a bit of "getting used to" in both formats. Good luck with your decision!

Posted by Lexma
568 posts

The last several trips, I have used Rick Steves books on my Nook. They are not my main guidebook, I use them mostly for information inside of museums. It's worked for me, and helps keep down the weight of what I'm carrying around during the day.

Posted by Erin
Blaine, MN
20 posts

Thanks everyone! I do use both the iBook and the Kindle readers on my iPad, and I like them both for ease of use and clarity. I always make sure to book a hotel with a safe, so I think I'll leave it there during the day and buy the paperback versions for use while sightseeing.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1735 posts

Erin, one thing about carrying the paper guide books: I have Kinkos cut the binding off the guide book and spiral bind only those sections that I'll be using on the trip. And if that's particularly large or heavy (eg, some of the Blue Guides weigh a ton), I have them bind it in several geographically based sections. That way, I only have to carry paper that's relevant to places I'll actually visit.

Posted by Erin
Blaine, MN
20 posts

Sherry, that's a great idea! I've done something similar in the past, but it hasn't been pretty, rough edges and slightly torn pages...

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
757 posts

For planning purposes I purchase and use the paperback, mark up high light and am very familiar with where thing are and how it's organized. Then I buy the same book on my kindle. Thanks to a previous post in this thread, I downloaded the same book using my kindle account onto my ipod (only purchased 1 electronic version). The ipod is probably not good for reading books, but it's more user friendly to zoom in/expand maps in the RS guide than the kindle. So the paperback will stay home, the kindle will come for reading other books or reviewing the RS book on trains/hotels. And the ipod will be for quick reference as we are out site seeing.

Posted by Glenn
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
307 posts

I have an iPad, wifi only as well, which I took on my last trip to Europe, complete with 3 of Rick's travel guides loaded on it. This enabled me to surf the web ( free, not only at the hotels I stayed in, which were budget accommodations, but also many, many other places such as airports, coffee shops, restaurants, etc), keep in contact with home through emails and phone calls using Skype, reference the guidebooks whenever I needed without having to carry books, play music and watch movies( loaded on before I left home), etc, etc. One awesome travel accessory that I won't travel without in future. As many guidebooks as you want, all in one convenient package. ( I use iBooks reader)

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

The great thing about a paperback is that if you leave it out while you are on the beach or at a cafe or on the train or in a museum you don't really need to worry about it being stolen. Once you've "been there, done that" rip out the pages you no longer need and toss them.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
954 posts

Travel with the ipad and use it for reading in your hotel room (not to mention skype and looking up stuff on the Internet and posting to this forum). Buy the paperback and with a razor knife cut out the sections for where you are traveling. I carry it with me when sightseeing. For example once I started looking up restaurants nearby I had much better meals than when we would just pick something that looked decent. The walking tours are great (carry a small compass). I don't like to carry the entire book but just keep the small section on me during the day. It comes in very handy to find interesting things close by when you have a flexible itinerary.