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Books for the small screen

Reading books on iPhone

In the Wall Street Journal recently there was an article about the the rise of phone reading, spurred on by the likes of larger phones and phablets. In my case, I’ve typically read on the iPad Mini, but with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus especially (not to mention the countless dozens of huge Android phones), the experience means that many people simply use their phone instead of tablet.

Of course, phones such as the iPhone and Galaxy S6 have become the go-to devices for taking pictures, simply for the added convenience of having a camera with you wherever you are. And it seems that’s what is also driving more people to pick up their phone for a quick read. It’s often difficult to sit down and get quality time to read through a book for a few hours at a time, so it’s undoubtedly more convenient being able to read a few chapters on the train home from work.

Books on Smartphone

The Wall Street Journal articles concurs, saying that:

One reason people are reading on phones is convenience. If you’re standing in line at the deli, waiting at the DMV or riding home on the train, you may not have a print book or an e-reader or tablet. But chances are, you are carrying a smartphone.

The publication also notes that as far as the iPhone is concerned, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have encouraged more people to download books on Apple devices:

Since the release of the bigger, sharper iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, Apple has seen an increase in the number of people downloading books onto iPhones through its iBooks app. Some 45% of iBooks purchases are now downloaded onto iPhones, an Apple spokeswoman said. Before that, only 28% were downloaded onto phones, with most of the remainder downloaded onto iPads and a small percentage onto computers.

Amazon has also noted the development. Among all new customers using Kindles or the Kindle app, phone readers are by far the fastest-growing segment, an Amazon spokeswoman said, declining to disclose figures. Among those who use the Kindle app, more people now read books on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus than on any other Apple device, even the popular iPad Mini.

The WSJ also says that people reading on phones tend to switch back and forth between their available devices, such as using a tablet at home. However in my case, I’m just as likely to use the iPhone for a spot of night-time reading, simply because it’s lighter and more convenient to hold than an iPad.

There are some challenges however to reading on a phone – such as the intensity of the screen (though there is a night mode on most e-book readers). With more people reading on phones however, hopefully the whole experience will be improved and made better in future for us phone readers.

My iBooks
No comments about my choice of reading material please!


If you’re interested, here are a few of the books I’m currently reading on my phone:

  • Wayward Pines – Blake Crouch
  • A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
  • Forever Odd – Dean Koontz
  • Under the Dome – Stephen King
  • Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Are you an avid iPhone (or other smartphone) reader? Let us know in the comments below…

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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