Blog Post

Reading ebooks on your phone- why do it?

Books_learning_189514I have long been reading almost nothing but ebooks because I like always having a book, or many books, with me no matter where I am.  There is nothing better than finding an unexpected five minute window open up that can be spent enjoying a good book.  The only way that can work is if I have my ebook reader with me all the time.  I have been reading ebooks on my phone for as long as ebook readers have been available for them.  The key to the unexpected free time scenario I mentioned is that I must have the reader with me at all times.  My experience has taught me that the only way I can guarantee always having the reader with me is if it lives in my cell phone.

This is so important to me that when I first got the BlackBerry a while back I even switched from the eReader platform, my long preferred choice, to the MobiPocket platform.  At that time MobiPocket was the only choice for the BlackBerry and I couldn’t go without a reader on that phone.  Happily I am back with eReader once again, but that’s just my personal choice.  The key is to use whatever ebook reader you can on your phone of choice.  Having an ebook reader on the phone is definitely the way to go.

When I recently wrote about the great eReader for the iPhone I pointed out that in the first two weeks of iPhone ownership I had read six books on it.  I heard from a lot of folks who asked how I found the time to read so many books in such a short time.  The answer is easy, having the reader and books on my phone means I capture all of those short pockets of time that present themselves that I would otherwise miss.  I love reading so much that I don’t have any wasted free time ever, I pull out the phone and read.  Just yesterday I was at the optometrist to pick up new glasses and unexpectedly had to wait 20 minutess.  I pulled out the iPhone and read to my heart’s content.  I have no wasted time anymore because these unexpected time delays, which would normally be frustrating, are now things of great value to me.  I love reading a good book and I cherish these moments now instead of being annoyed that I am delayed for some reason.  These precious moments add up and with my ebooks on my phone I am reading more now than I ever have before.  It is a great benefit for me and I feel it would be for most folks too.  If you have the chance to try reading books on your phone give it a shot.  I think you’ll find that any comporomises you might be making due to the small screen on your phone are more than met by the joys of finding time to read you would otherwise miss.

17 Responses to “Reading ebooks on your phone- why do it?”

  1. Reading this post and others about how people happy with reading from PDAa, phones, etc. I guess this way will be always popular in parallel with reading from specially designed eBook Readers. Despite of obvious achievements in that area (e-inks, color, flex screens and others). What many people name as a competition for e-reading market is actually development of two different mainstreams. But it’s hard to imagine that libraries will provide e-books using smart phones or PDAs in the future. This is a task for specially designed gadgets, e.g. like Sony’s PRS or BeBook.

  2. I finally broke down and bought an iPod Touch last night at Circuit City. By the way, the staff all carry Fujitsu 1620p’s on a strap to look up inventories, etc. they keep them mostly in slate mode. Thought that was interesting. I downloaded the eReader app from the app store and bought a couple of books. The reading experience on the touch is awesome. I love it! What took me so long? I also downloaded a rental movie from iTunes called Vantage Point. Great movie and it looks great on such a small screen. This is going to be such a great device for my plane travel. Thanks for the recomendation guys.

  3. Question: I have decided to take the plunge into ebooks. I am comparing 3 sites. eReader, Mobipocket, and Deisel. I have to say that all 3 seem to be about the same in terms of the books they have available at least for the authors I’ve checked. Deisel is pretty good because of all the formats they offer. Is there one of these sites that really stands out for some reason? I’ve also noticed that some authors like Tom Clancy for example have no ebooks available on any of the sites. I wonder why that is since he is so popular. Thanks.

  4. JLC, if you have an iPod touch with the new 2.0 firmware you can use the AppStore, in which case you could download the eReader client app for free. Content would cost extra of course. You can do this right over WiFi with the Touch. I highly recommend signing up for the eReader newsletter if you go this route: they include a 10% coupon code in each one.

  5. I am very intersted in this. I have to use a blackberry on Verizon because of work. Are there good options for that? I have looked at Mobipocket but it is kind of limited in the genre I like. (scifi). Only older books and incomplete series. If I got an ipod touch, would I be able to use eReader? I wouldn’t want to pay for the ATT connection so could I just download to my phone and synch the book to the touch? Sorry for all the quesions.

  6. Hi JK–
    Absolutely agree with you that having a book that’s with you, that you can start reading again without hunting for your place, and that doesn’t look like you’re bored and reading a book, is a huge deal. I take out my Palm and read while my wife is birdwatching, while I’m waiting for a late executive to start a meeting, and even while I’m in lines at the grocery store.

    Rob Preece

  7. Oliver – before you shell out for an iPhone just for the reading you should see if your regular cell phone can do the job. If you have internet connectivity on your phone you can install books with a few clicks from

    They also support some other ways to install via a PC and nicer browsing of titles at

    I have been reading their stuff for ages and as James says you really cannot understand the convenience till you try it.

  8. Oliver

    Maybe I should just give it a try, but I tend to like to read short pieces when I know I only have a few minutes to focus on it. So I fill my spare moments with catching up with email, RSS, newspaper articles.

  9. sundae1888

    Actually, I want to invest in a mobile device which is great for ebooks, especially PDF. Would you suggest iPhone, BlackBerry (probably Bold), or something else?

  10. JakeWhite

    Agreed. I have read e-books with so many different readers it’s hard to keep up, but the iphone/ipod touch (so far) trumps them all! It has such an amazing, clear, backlit screen. With an app like Zachary Bedell’s “Bookshelf” (you need to get the latest update, it’s much improved btw)
    the autoscrolling feature is great.

    Not sure if Steve Jobs is even literate but e-books could be truly a sleeper, killer-app for the iphone.
    I’m currently reading Margery Allingham’s tremendous “Campion” detective series. Great stuff!

  11. Daniel H.

    I use iSilo with my Windows Mobile 6 device (VX6700). It works great, and I can create the books myself from any .doc or .html files. I saw that had the Battlestar Galactica book for free on their site – I turned it into an iSilo .pdb file in two minutes and uploaded it to my device.

    However – I wish there was a way to get more free ebooks (especially recent ones) in the iSilo format (or .doc or .html – open to suggestions). I am DEFINITELY not paying $20 for an ebook, or even $10. There’s no paper, no shipping, no sales people. I’d say $5 is about right.

    Lastly – I wish there was a good way to read PDFs on a mobile device (like my VX6700). I have the Secret History of Star Wars in .pdf and it looks terrible on my mobile device. Too much scrolling just to see anything.

  12. JK, I agree…ebooks are great. I started reading ebooks back when I got my first Palm Pilot in 1996. In fact, that was one of the things that spurred my interest in creating MemoWare ( ), which is still a great place to get ebooks in formats compatible with a lot of different devices.

  13. Wiley J

    James, What genre do you read? I have been reading Harry Turtledove’s alternative history series. I started in January 2000 with Peanut Press on my iPAQ.
    Like you said, my reader is with me at almost all times. Maybe an iPhone would be nice in the future so I can have my books with me at all tines
    NW Harris County