NokiaUsedAsEbokReader675px-N73_ebookNanny Hampshire uses her cell phone for “stealth reading. When we take breaks in meetings, the sales guys always grab their phones and check their mail. Me? I grab my phone and read a couple of pages of a book.” She shares her confession in a recent thread on MobileRead.

So how about you? Just when do you use your cell phone for reading, and for about what fraction of your reading time? Our comments area awaits you.

Needless to say, cell phones as e-readers on the most up-to-date phones are a lot better than on the old Nokia in the photo.

With me, it’s all over the place—whether I use a phone for e-reading. Depends not only on circumstances but on my mood and maybe even on the book.

I may take my Nexus 6 to the grocery store and listen to text to speech both in the car and while shopping. On the other hand, if I’m accompanying my wife on a visit to the doctor’s and I know it’ll be a long wait, I’ll come with an iPad and read the traditional way. My pet e-reader of the moment is, yes, my Kindle Oasis, which I usually hesitate to take outside with me because of the $290 it would cost to replace (the charger-cover isn’t sufficiently protective). But I’m fickle. Books with long paragraphs may end up on the iPad because of the larger screen. But then again, at other times, I couldn’t care less. Why the difference? Don’t know.

Resolution isn’t a factor in terms of the phone vs. other gadgets, since it’s fine on all my gizmos. My Nexus, in fact, has not only a six-inch screen but also resolution better than that of the Oasis, although my eyes could never tell the difference.

Closer to bed time, I’m partial right now to the Oasis because of its E Ink, although, with the new Night Shift filtering out blue light on my iPad, it might not matter as much.

OK—so how about you, and when and how often you use your own cell phone for reading?

Yes, and while we’re the subject, it’s ok if you also want to share why you use a particular phone for reading? And what are your thoughts are on six-inch screens (showing more at once) compared to smaller ones (a lot more comfortable for you to hold?)?

Related: Read in E Ink but flip through e-book with help from LCD display? New phone cover idea?, a post of mine from last month. Would such an innovation cause you to rely on a cell phone a lot more for e-reading? Also see Chris Meadows’ post People do read long stories on smartphone screens.


  1. I’d always read that phones were too small to read on and I just believed it without really thinking about it even though I used to read on my Palm devices with even smaller screens. I had a Kindle and there was no real reason to consider it.

    A few months ago I decided to read for a month on my phone, an original Moto G without service that I’d bought to have a computer in my shirt pocket. I have a free phone from Medicare so no need for phone service on it. Sure enough it worked out just fine and I’ve been reading on it ever since. It’s always right there in my pocket when my Kindle is often at home.

    The Moto G has a 4.5″ screen so I got a 5″ phone, a Nexus 5, and a 5.5″ phone, a ZTE Zmax 2, to try out different sizes. I find for general use I prefer the larger screen but for reading I actually prefer the smaller screen because it’s more comfortable holding it as I read, although both are very small preferences. I’m happy with all three and I kind of rotate them, using one while I charge the other, etc. Moon+ is my reading app and it syncs my reading position very easily so rotating isn’t a problem.

    I’ve been reading on my Kindle (A Voyage) again, mostly in bed, and reading on the phone the rest of the time. I usually only read a few minutes in bed before going to sleep so most of my reading lately is on my phone.

    I do like the e-ink a lot more than LCD for reading but having it right there in my pocket makes it so much easier and more natural that I’m not really sure I’d replace my Kindle if anything happened to it. I wish there was a pocket sized e-ink device.

    By the way, one of the main attractions of the phone is that with Moon+ I can scroll instead of turn pages. I always used to do that on my Palms and I’d missed it. It just seems a lot more natural. I think when publishers went from scrolls to books they really messed things up for us. 🙂


  2. @Barry: What a helpful description of your phone use. For me, the optimal scenario would be a choice between scrolling and page turning (Moon has it right). As with other things, it all depends on the particular book and my mood.

    I hope others will also share their experiences.

  3. I use my iPhone and Kindle Paperwhite to do my reading, syncing back and forth. Probably 20/80 most of the time but if I’m on the road or out of town it can be as high as 100% iPhone. I went for years before I bought the Kindle reading 100% on an iPhone and before that an iPod and before that a series of Palm devices.

  4. Daily. I read more on my iPhone than I do any other method. It’s always with me, I’ve got hundreds of books ready to go. It replaced my Palm Pilot, which replaced the ever-present paperback shoved in my back pocket.

    At home I read photography books or non-fiction or other books that demand larger presentation or more extended concentration, but I burn through fiction books on my phone at lunch breaks, doctors’ offices, long stop lights, walking the hallways at work…

  5. I hate reading on a phone screen and I really wanted to like it. I downloaded and tried out several reading apps – Kindle, Moon+, Aldiko, FBReader, Google, Kobo and others – but I just don’t enjoy it. I make sure I have my Kindle (or even one of my more generic ereaders I’ve collected here and there) handy wherever I am.

    I love my Kindle Keyboard and if I can learn how to replace a “shattered” screen on my K2 I’d stick with that one as well. I have a Kindle Touch sent as a replacement for another KK I had and only use it for audio and text to speech – my thumbs start killing me after awhile and God knows I never end up where I need to if I try to go to a previous page. I don’t care for the new Kindles tho’ I expect I’ll be stuck with one at some point.

  6. I find myself reading on my phone less than I used to but I think that’s just because I’m busier with other things at the moment.
    My two eldest children, however, are always reading on their phones. Aldiko was one of the first things we installed for them. Both have very cheap smartphones and neither is large by current standards but that doesn’t seem to stop them. My daughter, in particular, reads on it all the time.

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