The-first-customer-of-Apples-newest-smartphone-iPhone-6-Mr-Butch_thumb.jpgI think cell phones are going to be the e-book readers of the future. It’s not just that they are getting ever more tablet-like; I have two friends who just got new ‘big’ phones, and both claim to love them. And it’s not only the pricing game, either. Yes, I can get a new iPad Mini for less than $50 more than the fanciest Kindle in Canada. But no. The real reason cell phones will win the e-book war is that almost everybody owns one.

Yahoo News had a fun little post on the still-hot adult coloring trend which highlighted, for me, why this is going to be the clincher. The article looked at the mechanics of actually implementing a hot new trend. Imagine that you are here in this world of adult coloring books—but you are a pencil maker. How do you schedule your factory shifts to deal with this new demand? If you purchase new equipment to deal with the increased need and then the trend fizzles out, what do you do with it all? That is the clincher—with each new trend comes stuff, and the stuff has to be made somehow.

Now, consider the e-books in this light. How many brands have fizzled out already because they couldn’t manage the ‘stuff’ aspect? Kobo killed their tablet brand. So did Barnes & Noble. But e-books are still going strong. Is it because people don’t need tablets anymore? Is it that they don’t need tablets because they have phones? Maybe.

Previous articleThe digital future of children’s books: Launch Kids at DBW ’16
Next articleSerial Box e-serials soon coming to dead trees
"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. I own a iPhone 6s Plus; it’s ok for minor and short time reading – like blogs or maybe a short story. But it would be a slog for novels or non-fiction.

    I prefer the Kindle for fiction. Some non-fiction with maps, photos, charts, et al is better on the iPad Air 2. I would buy a large screen Kindle like the DX if a new model is ever available. If the phone was all I had, I’d probably just read more paper books.

  2. Trucks or sedan, SUVs or sub-compacts…. which will win the transport war?

    Gadgets are the same. The range of tasks I want to do with them is so great, there’s no way one’s going to defeat the others and win. At best, given how unappealing Apple is making its too-thin, too-barebones laptops, I can manage to limit myself to three:

    1. A used iPhone for all my on-the-go activities, particularly listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

    2. A iPad for writing when Scrivener for iOS comes out. Just add a BT keyboard.

    3. A desktop for research, browsing the web and book layout. Gotta have big screens for those.

    Unless someone has a really tight budget or a limited lifestyle, none are versatile enough to drive single gadget use.

    And yes, if I were roaming Europe via rail again, I’d probably just carry an iPhone and guard it very carefully. It’d be a world-phone and unlocked, like my Verizon iPhone 5 is. That would keep my clutter down. That would be absolute great. I could take pictures with it. Navigate cities with it. Email people I meet traveling to stay in touch. It’s the perfect traveler’s tool.

    And I’d only get SIMs for countries where I spend a lot of time. Europe really should fix its cellular chaos. No passport checks but huge roaming fees away from your home country is crazy.

    Books aren’t really an issue with me. For titles in the public domain, I don’t read, I listen thanks to Librivox. For newer books, I wait for a price dip and get a printed copy used. It’s cheaper than ebooks that way, even with shipping.

    It’s not screen size that bothers me so much about reading ebooks. It’s that almost all look uniformly dull and the same. They could be so much better but aren’t because the ePub standards are so limited. I’m starting to suspect that Amazon may soon tweak its proprietary standards and leave ePub behind. A single company often does that, moving far faster than some consortium with committees that meet rarely.

  3. I read everywhere I go. When I have a few minutes of free time, like waiting for a lunch order, I read. I also don’t carry a tablet with me everywhere I go, or my Kindle Paperwhite (my favorite reading device). The beauty of today’s ebooks ecosystems is that I can maintain my usual habit–reading multiple books at a time, such as a novel, an anthology, and one or more pieces of non-fiction–anywhere, and keep everything in sync. That means that absolutely I use my smartphone, because it’s always with me, and I use it for short pieces as well as long pieces.

    Really, it’s a lot like the old adage “the best camera is the one you have with you.” I don’t carry my Olympus everywhere I can, even though it takes much better pictures, and so I use my smartphone for those serendipitous moments. I can’t imagine limiting my picture-taking just because my smartphone isn’t the perfect camera, and I can’t imagine limiting my reading because my smartphone isn’t the perfect ereader.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail