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 eBook Haul

When it rains, it pours. Or in the case of my Nook, when I buy one eBook, I buy ten. I went on an eBook-buying-spree at midnight a few Saturdays ago, and now my eReader is chocked full of things to read. Not that I didn’t have plenty to read on there already.

The Marriage of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King ($0.99)
I cannot get enough of Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes. So it made sense to get a short story about them getting married.

Squirrel Terror by Lilith SaintCrow ($4.99)
I’ve had an eye on this book for a while and finally decided to take the plunge. I’ve already read it and really liked it.

The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter (Free)
The cover got me interested while the summary made me hit “buy”. A mail order bride for a vampire? Count me in.

The Crown & the Arrow and The Mirror & the Maze by Renee Ahdieh (Free)
I enjoyed both The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger, so I decided to head back into the universe with these short stories.

Extracted by Tyler H. Jolley & Sherry D. Ficklin (Free)
I’ve liked Sherry D. Ficklin’s books, so I figured that I’d give this book a try. The fact that I’ve been on a steampunk kick also helped.

Frey by Melissa Wright (Free)
This book is farther into the fantasy genre than I typically stray. However the cover is pretty freaking cool, and I just get a good feeling about it.

Cappuccinos, Cupcakes, and Corpse by Harper Lin (Free)
Again, the cover got me interested enough to read into the summary. It’s a cozy mystery, which I’ve been craving recently. Plus it’s set in my home state of Massachusetts.

The Unread Books on my Nook

When given the choice, I’d much rather pickup a hardcover or a paperback instead of my eReader. But that doesn’t mean I don’t surf through the Nook Bookstore on occasion when there are deals to be had. My newly-bought books just may not be read for weeks… months… okay, sometimes years.

It’s been such a long time since I looked at what’s on my Nook that I decided to remind myself what’s on there. If memory serves me, most of them were on sale at the time of purchase. I just can’t pass up a good deal when it involves books.

. Here’s a look at what’s unread on my Nook:

Zeroes by Chuck Wendig
I bought Zeroes after reading The Harvest Triology but before picking up Blackbirds. It’s a hacker novel that sounded interesting and happened to be on sale last summer. There’s another book set in the universe scheduled to come out later this year.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Back when the Outlander TV show first premiered, the eBook it was based upon went on sale for $0.99. I opened the file once, saw the page count was over 700 pages, and promptly closed it. It’ll get read… eventually.

A Study in Scarlet The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I originally purchased this two-pack thinking it was just A Study in Scarlet. I haven’t read either story in at least ten years, and I’d like to get back into the original Sherlock Holmes stories.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Reviewing YA books for the Gary Forbes Foundation allowed me to read a couple of Maureen Johnson’s books. 13 Little Blue Envelopes has always been one that I meant to check out.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
I’m cheating a bit here. I’ve read Alice in Zombieland before, and it was one of my favorite zombie books a few years ago. So I want to reread it and see if it lives up to how I remember it.

Violent Ends
Delilah S. Dawson contributed to this short story collection and has written about it a number of times on her blog. It sounds interesting: a collection of fictional stories showing different points of view of a school shooting.

Haunting Zoe by Sherry D. Ficklin
I love Sherry D. Ficklin’s Katherine the Great series, and so I snatched up this book when I saw it was free in the Nook Bookstore. The description makes me think it’s a supernatural romance.

Somebody Tell Aunt Tille She’s Dead by Christiana Miller
The title sold me on this book. That and the fact that it was free. It’s another supernatural story with ghosts and demons(?) and things going bad pretty fast. I’m honestly just intrigued by the title.

Do you have an eReader? Do you have any eBooks that you’ve bought but not read yet?

My New eReader

I’ve avoided the eReader craze for quite a while. As a writer, I’m a huge advocate for holding and reading an actual book. I love being able to feel the pages in my hands, judge how long it’ll take me to read while it’s still on the shelf, and smell the distinctive old and new book smell if I put my nose to the pages.

I don’t see books disappearing, ever. There are too many readers who enjoy browsing bookstore shelves. And I know that I love nothing more than coming home with a bag full of books.

Reviewing Act Like You Love Me made me reconsider not having an eReader. Since it’s an eBook, I received it as a PDF in my email. I don’t particularly enjoy reading on my computer. I feel tied down in a way I don’t with paperbacks, and I probably would have been able to convince myself to finish the book faster if I wasn’t being routinely distracted by Facebook and Twitter. 

The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was how easy it would be for me to purchase books. I worried that I might get carried away with buying books without thinking much about it. To buy a paperback or hardcover, I’d have to drive all the way to the bookstore, and then I’d still have the ability to change my mind before I get to the register.

I’d never actually searched the eReader bookstores for free books. I knew that they existed, but I didn’t know how many to expect in the search results. Then I found out that there are over 1.7 million free books in the NOOK bookstore. Sure a large portion of those are erotic romances, but I’ve found a fair number of other genres that I can download. (More on the quality of those books later.)

So I managed to talk myself into wanting an eReader, and I got a Barnes and Noble NOOK for my birthday.

I’m actually quite surprised to say that I really enjoy my new NOOK. Sure it’s been less than a day since I picked it out, but this little eReader is really growing on me. I’m still figuring it out at the moment. I haven’t quite figured out if I can purchase books with a B&N gift card, so that’s my next project. Otherwise I’ll budget myself for a book or two a month, choosing a free one the rest of the time.

I’m not going to be  abandoning my books . I still have a bunch on the shelf that need to be read. I like that the NOOK gives me options: eBooks, self-published, and an entire B&N bookstore in the small tablet. But I won’t be using it on airplanes. Call me old-fashioned, but I love not having to store my book during takeoff and landing.

Do you have an eReader? How does it compare to reading a paperback or hardcover?