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Old 07-30-2008, 10:15 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Reading e-books on your phone - why do it?

That's the question asked and answered by James Kendrick at JkOnTheRun today. Turns out he is a big fan of reading on phones (smart phones with a decent screen, of course) because it gives him an always available reading device. So every time he gets a few spare moments he can dive into a book. In fact, this is how he managed to finish six books in the first two weeks after getting his iPhone.
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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.
With all the excitement centered around e-ink, sometimes we forget the other ways to read e-books. Don't get me wrong. I have a Sony Reader e-ink device and I love it.

For those who want to read anywhere, anytime, however, a phone is a great option. Especially for guys who can't just throw an e-ink reader in a purse. Some people even find it is worthwhile to read on a "regular" feature phone with a small screen. I'm almost ashamed to admit it because it seems out of vogue these days, but the Treo is my preferred reading platform. I like the backlight. Plus the never ending joy of having a computer in the palm of my hand. But most of all, I like it because it's always with me.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:38 AM   #2
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I used to read novels on my phone. Now, I pretty much confine my phone reading to RSS feeds. If I'm out and don't have my iLiad with me (rare), or I know I'm not going to have enough time to get at least a few pages of reading done, I'll pull out my phone and knock off a few RSS feed entries.

I still use my phone with Laridian for my Bible study tho. I find e-ink to be a little too slow for effective study and the ability to view more than one work simultaneously is a real blessing.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:33 PM   #3
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I don't read ebooks on my phone. It's a tiny low end Nokia which basically places and receives calls. That's all I want it to do.

I do use a PDA as my standard ebook reading device, in a form factor similar to a smartphone. The PDA supports color, and I have viewers for eReader, Mobipocket, PDF, Plucker, Word, RTF, and plain text formats, so I can handle pretty much any electronic format.

The relatively small screen (320x480) and backlit LCD have never been a problem (and the backlight can be turned off on my device, making it readable out of doors.)

Most important, the PDA does many other things besides display ebooks. It plays audio and video files, handles my address book, calendar, and scheduling, does word processing and spreadsheets, provides my handy reference to just about everything, and oh, yes, plays games. (I can go online and surf the web or check email with it, but usually don't.)

It goes with me everywhere.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:45 PM   #4
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I have a blackberry 8800 with Mobipocket, and even though I love my Sony prs-505 I still keep the blackberry loaded with a couple of books for those "I'm stuck here for 30 minutes, what now?" moments when I don't have the Sony on me, which, contrary to recent accusations by my friends, I do not carry EVERYWHERE. But the 8800 is usually in my pocket.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:09 PM   #5
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After I got my E61 phone and started reading books on it I've read more books in a much shorter time than ever before. It takes the same time for an e-ink device to flip the page as it takes for me to take the phone out of my pocket, unlock it and start reading where I left off (about two seconds). Because of this I read pretty much everywhere; at the bus stop and while riding the bus, while waiting for an elevator and while riding one, whenever I have to wait in some line somewhere, etc.
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:20 PM   #6
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Me, I hate my cell phone. There is nothing wrong with it -- I just hate having to have a cell phone. I dislike it enough that I often forget to take it with me when I leave the house or even to turn it on. If I could get rid of 2 things in my life, the top 2 would be TV and telephone. Unlike my cell phone, I really, really hate TV. If my wife didn't insist on us having it, it would be gone. I watch less than 30 minutes a year (yes -- a year). My wife, however, watches 30-60 minutes of TV a day, and for that I need to own a TV and pay the cable bill.

OTOH, I love my Sony 505 and that goes everywhere with me. It fits neatly into a waist/fanny pack, so it is easy to take everywhere.

So would I ever read a book on my cell phone? Unlikely. The iPhone was tempting but as soon as I read that the battery was not user replaceable, I knew I wouldn't buy it. To me that's like buying a book with DRM -- I'm really just leasing it.
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:36 PM   #7
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I have an iPhone and I won't use it for reading. I may keep some things on it as reference, but not reading.

Compared to my Kindle or a real book, it's just unpleasant to use.
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:47 PM   #8
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I won't use a cell phone for reading eBooks or listeing to music. The reasoning is that doing these things does eat the battery and if I needed to make or receive a phone call, chances are a lot better that I'd end up with a dead battery before too long and bye-bye phone. So yes, you can have a wonderful do-it-all phone, but the battery only lasts so long before needing to be recharged.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post
Especially for guys who can't just throw an e-ink reader in a purse.
Oh, sure you can. Embrace the man-purse! Errr, European Carry-all!

I do carry my Cybook almost everywhere, but I still keep some books on my Treo just in case. Just in case the lights go out; just in case the battery runs out on my Cybook; just in case.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:41 PM   #10
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I won't use a cell phone for reading eBooks or listeing to music. The reasoning is that doing these things does eat the battery and if I needed to make or receive a phone call, chances are a lot better that I'd end up with a dead battery before too long and bye-bye phone. So yes, you can have a wonderful do-it-all phone, but the battery only lasts so long before needing to be recharged.
I use mine for listening to audiobooks or music when I'm out walking but that's typically only an hour or two and it really doesn't hit the battery that hard. It's a big honking smartphone so maybe I'm just working with more battery than you are, though. Reading ebooks, on the other hand, is a battery killer. The screen takes a lot of power.
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:54 AM   #11
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I used to use a Compaq Ipaq as a reader for years. When that Gave up the ghost, I switched to a QTek 1010 and later the Imate KJam Smart phone.

Until I Got the Sony they were My primary reading devices. After that The KJam was a backup, for times when I didn't have the Sony with me, or I needed the backlight.

I didn't realise how much I had gotten used to eInk that when I gifted away the Sony, I couldn't go back to reading on a LCD full time. That when I decided to get the Gen3.

I still do use my Phone as a reader in a pinch, as I always have it with me, as it does fit into my pocket, but its not my primary device. More often then not I spend more time reading RSS feeds and reading and posting to Mobileread :-)
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:24 AM   #12
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It seems like nearly everyone on the planet has a cell phone these days, so I think it's reasonable that many people will be happy enough to read on them, but I'm with rhadin on hating cell phones (and TVs). I have a low-end cell phone that works on pre-paid cards, but it's out of minutes at the moment and has become deactivated through lack of use. I tried an auto-renew plan that was supposed to re-activate the phone each month for a low fee, but since I don't have the phone turned on, the particular day it wants to reactivate comes and goes and I still don't have an active phone. Other family members seem upset by the fact that I'm not easily on call. (To me, this seems like a good argument against getting the phone reactivated.)

All that being said, I wouldn't mind an all-in-one device. In fact, I miss using my Apple Newton for that purpose. But it didn't sync with my work calendar (viewable by my coworkers for the purpose of scheduling meetings), so I switched to a Palm Pilot... which is out of batteries at the moment and has been for quite a while.

On the other hand, my iLiad is always charged up and in use nearly every day.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:56 AM   #13
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Other family members seem upset by the fact that I'm not easily on call. (To me, this seems like a good argument against getting the phone reactivated.)
I had a Blackberry cell phone, courtesy of a former employer. I managed to lose the first on on a trip, and made clear there was no hurry to get it replaced. When they did eventually replace it, the Telecom Manager sent a note saying "Now didn't lose this, Dennis!" I replied that I might test whether it failed the Drop Test (tm), survived a dip in a hotel pool, or functioned after being run over by an 18 wheeler. But losing the first was an accident, and those would be deliberate.

These days, I have a tiny low end Nokia on a prepaid plan. I can't read books on it, and don't want to. All I want it to do is place and receive calls. I do my reading on a PDA.

Quote:
All that being said, I wouldn't mind an all-in-one device. In fact, I miss using my Apple Newton for that purpose. But it didn't sync with my work calendar (viewable by my coworkers for the purpose of scheduling meetings), so I switched to a Palm Pilot... which is out of batteries at the moment and has been for quite a while.
Mine uses a rechargeable LiON battery, and lives on the charger at night.

It's the "all in one" aspect that does it for me. I need a device that does other things besides display ebooks.
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:03 AM   #14
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"Especially for guys who can't just throw an e-ink reader in a purse."

Righto...this is one guy who's not about to throw *anything* into a purse. :-)
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:10 AM   #15
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Oh, sure you can. Embrace the man-purse! Errr, European Carry-all!

I do carry my Cybook almost everywhere, but I still keep some books on my Treo just in case. Just in case the lights go out; just in case the battery runs out on my Cybook; just in case.
Pretty much this.

I also have an iPaq that I've had for 5 years that I use as a backup bookreader. It's almost as small as the Treo but has more screen and is more enjoyable to read on. It's old enough that the screen could use noticeable improvement - if I had an iPhone, I'd definitely make sure to have a few books installed on it.
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