Several folks on Twitter have asked me whether the iPad mini is good for reading screenplays.
It is. It’s really good.
Everything on the mini screen is slightly smaller than normal — annoyingly so in the case of some UI elements — but because screenplays are set at 12 point, the text is plenty big enough for comfortable reading, even when zoomed out to full-page.
The screen isn’t retina, so text isn’t as sharp as it can be on the newer full-size iPad. But the screen is not bad at all, and you’d only notice the difference if you directly compared the devices.
If you’re considering getting the mini to read screenplays, I’d advise you to take a look at it for yourself next time you’re at the Apple store. Scripts for most of my movies are available in the Library here at johnaugust.com, so pull up one of the PDFs and see how you like it.
Both Safari and iBooks can handle screenplay PDFs, but for anything more complicated than simple reading, I’d suggest you pick a dedicated app. When the iPad first launched, I recommended GoodReader as the best PDF reader. It’s still solid — but it’s complicated, and kind of ugly. There are many PDF readers available for iOS, and they’re all cheap, so it’s worth trying out a few to see which you like the most.
Is the iPad mini better for screenplays than the full-size iPad? Maybe. It’s smaller and lighter, and much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. If I were buying something primarily as a screenplay reading device, I’d get the mini. But the truth is, I’m not reading ten scripts a week. For me, my full-size iPad is just fine.
For reading books, I still prefer the Kindle Paperwhite. The sidelit screen is nice, but the main advantage is psychological: it’s only good for books, so there’s no temptation to check email or play another game of Ticket to Ride.