The Pros & Cons of Reading on My Phone

There’s an old school Nook tucked between paperbacks my bookshelf; I can’t remember the last time I used it, and I’m pretty sure the battery is dead. I like it … though it’s not exactly the most convenient. Especially since the battery doesn’t hold a charge for long anymore. I’ve given thought to replacing it with a tablet of some kind, but that’s not in the budget right now.

So I decided to download the Kindle and Nook apps on my phone. After reading a handful of books on them, I’ve come to the conclusion that reading on my phone has both pros and cons.

Pro ~ It’s Convenient as Hell
My phone goes wherever I go. At the store? It’s in my pocket. Work? In my purse. At home? Probably within arm’s reach. That means instead of popping on Facebook or Twitter while I’m waiting for something or need to fill a bit of time, I can read. And there’s no need to make sure that I’ve packed a book or worry that said book hasn’t been bent and crushed by whatever else is in my bag. I just grab my phone, click on the app, and I can pick up right where I left off.

Con ~ I Can’t Hold the Book
Paperbacks and hardcovers have a certain feel to them. There’s the weight of all three hundred or four hundred pages; there’s the smooth feel of the cover and sometimes even the raised lettering; there are the lines of black text dimpled with the imperfections in the page; there’s even accidentally catching a glimpse of the last page and trying to figure out what those lines mean. That’s all missing with a reading app.

Pro & Con ~ So Many Books
I’ll admit that I haven’t read half of the books on my bookshelves. I happen across interesting-looking books for relatively cheap and bring them home. The difference with eBooks is that I don’t have to leave my couch to find a good deal. The positive side is that I can amass a plethora of books for a reasonable price. On the downside, I’m buying books faster than I can read them and now have a dozen books on my phone that I haven’t touched yet.

Ultimately, the convenience factor trumps all. I can read while lying in bed or while at my partner’s place or on my lunch break or while in a waiting room. All without needing to pack a book. I just need to remember my phone.

My eReader: the Good, the Bad, and the very Ugly

After reviewing an eBook at the beginning of the summer and struggling to read the 300+ page PDF on my computer, I decided that I needed an eReader for when physical books aren’t available or practical. I didn’t use it much before heading to Ohio for six weeks; I had a hard time spending money on books that I couldn’t hold in my hands. But I didn’t have room for books in Ohio. The lack of a television except in the common room also meant that I had time to kill. My eReader became my best friend.

Now that I’ve had a chance to really look at and use my eReader, I’ve discovered that it can be a great device. The catch, though, is that I’ve got to be picky about the books I read.

the Good
Reading on an eReader can be addictive. Flicking my finger across the screen to turn the page is much too easy, and I found myself flying through chapters well past my bedtime. The screen also resembles a printed page with just enough of a back-light for easy reading in low-light. I’ve also been able to read a PDF without needing to flip through the whole book on my computer. I don’t think I’ll be buying any books that cost more than a few dollars, but the inexpensive books are certainly fun to read on the eReader.

the Bad
I think my biggest complaint about the eReader is needing to charge it every few days. Sure that’s to be expected with an electronic device, especially when I’m using it for a few hours each night. That can get annoying when I pick up the eReader right before bed and find it dead. With real books, I don’t have to think about battery life. I can read anytime and pretty much anywhere.

the very Ugly
My biggest selling point on getting an eReader was the huge selection of free books in the bookstore. I knew that I wouldn’t be buying a lot of books and that there would only be so many eBooks to review. Once I actually searched the free eBooks, I realized that there was a very good reason they were free. The books seemed to fall into one of three categories: previews of longer books, erotica, or self-published. And there is a reason the self-published books are free. I picked out a couple and couldn’t get through them. They jumped all over the place. The story didn’t make any sense. I couldn’t sympathize or even connect with the narrators. If I want to read anything worth reading, I need to pay for it.

In the end, I’m glad I got an eReader. It’s a great tool as a writer, and I love curling up just before bed to read a book with the lights on low. Plus I don’t get the wrist strain from holding a really heavy book for a long period of time. That in itself is pretty nice.

Do you have an eReader? What’s your opinion on them?