Three essential PDF readers for iPad

A while ago I wrote about ways to read PDF files on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. Well that post is showing it’s age, so rather than completely redo it, I thought I’d discuss my current three top PDF readers, and why.

GoodReader is my first choice, go-to PDF reader on my iPad.

First off, getting files into GoodReader. It’s simple, and supports iTunes file transfer, Network transfer via WiFi, or downloading from shared services such as;

  • DropBox
  • Google Apps
  • Mobile Me
  • SugarSync
  • FTP servers

Next, it’s under active development, with frequent new features, updates and bugfixes.

As expected GoodReader supports PDF and TXT files, but it can also display all of the most popular file types including:

  • MS Office – .doc, .ppt, .xls and more
  • iWork’08/’09
  • HTML and Safari webarchives
  • High resolution images
  • Audio & Video playback in some formats

Yes, GoodReader is my PDF reader of choice. But, there are cases where an alternative is important. Enter…

This is a more simplistic app that I use primarily for reading graphic novels and comic-book files. Some are in PDF format and others in CBZ or CBR format.

CloudReaders allows WiFi upload by running a small server that you connect to using your desktop computer. Here’s some of the cooler features of CloudReaders:

  • Multi-task support
  • Rotation lock
  • iPhone/iPod/iPad touch support
  • Automatically add books when files were transferred via iTune application
  • Auto page alignment (on iPhone/iPod touch)
  • Smoothing (from Settings app)
  • Default page-orientatin (from Settings app)

As a free eReader and PDF reader, it’s a bargain. There’s also an in-app purchase that allows you to share (via P2P) with other local CloudReaders users. Very neat.

This is my go-to eBook reader on the iPad, and has been one I’ve used on the iPod Touch previously.

I’d written about it here, and it’s still a solid app you should check out, especially since it’s free!

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6 Replies to “Three essential PDF readers for iPad”

  1. Hey Craig! iBooks is great as just a reader but is limited when compared to others listed.

    GoodReader really stole my heart with connectivity to DropBox and other servers (mail, WWW, MobileMe, iDisk, Google Docs,, SugarSync, WebDAV, FTP, etc).

    Very easy for me to be in a meeting and grab anything I need from my ‘cloud’.

    But since iBooks is free, it *is* a good reader to have in your toolkit — just not one that I use as often as the others.

  2. With the combination of the DropBox app, I’ve been moving away from the 3rd party apps. Its really easy to select a document in DropBox and add it to your iBooks library. I suppose if my life was strewn over a bunch of different services, I’d be more frustrated, but there is something to be said for the single, unified reading app. iBooks is far from it, but I still think its the closest thing you can get for an iPad.

  3. True that — there are a whole host of choices which can lead to a cluttered selection of apps when trying to do something. Trying them all to find the *best* could get in the way of actually just *using* one and getting the job done 🙂

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