Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, August 17, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Kindle

Bear with me here. I know that per the last polling around 45% of you would rather be tasered than part with your paper books in favor of e-books, and thus I would imagine that reading a blog post about the bizarre e-book reading habits of a blogging literary agent can't be much fun for you.

Sorry about that. I would enliven the post by relating the topic to some reality show like The Hills, but, well, I'm sad to report that The Hills and I have officially broken up. It's over. It wasn't The Hills, it was me. I'm just at a different place in my life now. We tried couples counseling and I asked if we could still be friends, but The Hills was like, "THAT NEVER WORKS!" and then stormed off and went in a completely different direction. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

So... you're stuck with a post about my bizarre e-book habits without television show references to save you. Sorry about that.

Ahem. As you know I'm an e-book aficionado. The convenience! The portability! No more printing out of manuscripts!

And I really took to both the Kindle and the Sony Reader: the Sony Reader for its sleekness, touch screen, night light, and overall design, and the Kindle for the insane convenience of e-mailing manuscripts directly to the Kindle, where I can download them wirelessly and read them anywhere. E-reading has changed my life and I feel like it's the way of the future.

You know which e-reader I like the best?

Um. Would you believe the iPhone?

I really, really resisted reading on the iPhone. Just too small of a screen, my brain said. It doesn't have e-ink. Too hard on the eyes. I had an iPhone for a year before I really tried to read a book on one (nevermind that I read blogs on it all the time via Google Reader).

But then I was on the bus one day, I didn't have my Kindle, and I started reading a book on via the iPhone Kindle app.

It wasn't an instant love connection. The screen really is small and took some getting used to. But gradually I began to feel that reading on the iPhone is ultimately the superior experience. Imagine my surprise.

It turns out I really love instantaneous page turns. The Kindle and Sony Reader both "blink" when turning pages and there's a noticeable delay. Not so on the iPhone. It moves quickly. Just tap the side of the screen and the page turns instantly. Or you can swipe the screen and mimic a page turn with your finger and the next page slides smoothly into place. You can also turn the phone sideways and the Kindle reader goes into landscape mode, which I found perfect for reading.

As a result, the iPhone really disappears in your hands like a book.

I also thought it would hurt my eyes to read on a small screen, but I never actually found that to be a problem. Probably this is due to an important iPhone function: the screen automatically dims or brightens by sensing the ambient light, so it's always comfortable on the eyes whether you're in bright sunlight or in the dark. Not so with the Kindle, which needs good lighting to read because there's no backlighting.

What does this mean? Well, I used to think that dedicated e-readers were the future of book reading. But the problem with extraneous devices is that you don't always have them handy precisely at those times when you have some down time and want to be reading. It's also pretty darn expensive to buy a device that does just one or two things. And that brings me to the main benefit of reading on the iPhone: I always have it with me, and although it's expensive, it also comes with, you know, phone capabilities, which are kind of important. It's insanely portable and always there whenever I have ten minutes or an hour and want to read.

I realize that phone reading is not for everyone. But to me it just goes to show how the future of e-books probably doesn't lie in one category-killing e-book reader, but probably some mishmash of devices depending on a reader's particular preferences. Including those strange devices printed on wood pulp and bound in cardboard.

In any event, just wanted to share. Tell The Hills I said "hi" if you happen to run into it. No hard feelings, I hope.






105 comments:

thelittlefluffycat said...

Yes. Thank you. Exactly. Not to mention that you can listen to music while you read, if you so desire. And since I use a touch instead of an iphone, my reading is never interrupted by a phone call, ha! :)

Heather Sunseri said...

Really? I'm having a difficult time believing this. I don't own a kindle. Can I still read on my iphone? Just curious.

Nathan Bransford said...

heather-

Yeah, there are several non-Kindle-related e-reading applications for the iPhone, including one just released by Barnes & Noble.

Margaret Yang said...

I always knew that when there was an iPod for e-books, e-books would take off. Turns out there already was an iPod for e-books.

It's small--so what? So are paperbacks and that's what I like about them. I could read my iPhone while in line at the grocery store. I can't imagine hauling out a big old Kindle while waiting in line somewhere.

Jennifer Roland said...

Me, too! Me, too!

I haven't the dedicated e-readers, but I love reading books on my iPod Touch. Using the various reader apps out there, I can buy my books in whichever format suits me.

I prefer using the eReader app because it has a little status bar at the bottom of the screen that shows me how far into the book I am. I got so upset reading my first ebook in the Kindle app (Pride by Rachel Vincent) because I didn't realize I was on the last page!

Nathan Bransford said...

jennifer-

Yeah, that is one drawback of the Kindle iPhone app -- you have to click away to see where you are in a book. You also have to actually go to the web in order to buy new books rather than buying them directly through the app.

jscolley said...

The Road would read great on any medium.

clindsay said...

I agree. I read exclusively on my Palm Tungsten E for about six years; it was a great experience. You could add your own fonts and change the font sizes. The autoscroll function meant I could take it to the gym, set it down on the elliptical to read and never touch it to change the page.

When my Palmie died I was heartbroken.

I purchased and use a Sony now and - while I do like the Sontas a reader - the smaller screen Palm was a better reading experience.

I've considered getting an iPod touch just for reading...

Enjoy your iPhone, sir!

clindsay said...

PS -

eReader Pro from eReader.com was the first iPhone reading app and still one of the best. That was what I used on my Palm as well. You might want to try it out!

C-

Karen Schwabach said...

Oh geez. I always thought "The Hills" was something you had made up. It's a real show?

This is very disillusioning.

Laura Martone said...

I love reading books on my Sony - I'm, in fact, reading a PDF version of a fellow beta reader's novel right now... and it's so cool seeing her words in book form!

For financial reasons, I have yet to buy an iPhone. But I'm pretty happy right now with my e-reader and separate cell phone. As if I don't have enough distractions without getting calls on the very device I'm trying to read!

Geez, Nathan, how do you do it? It's a wonder to me, I tell you. :-)

Tami Klockau said...

I just got an iPhone a few weekends ago. Two days before that, Barnes and Noble came out with their free iPhone app. I must first say that I am against e-readers. I don't own one. I love the feel of a book and the "high" I get browsing the store and carrying my purchases to the counter. Okay, now that I've got that out of the way, I LOVE reading on my iPhone! The B&N app comes with a few classics, and I've found myself reading them. On Friday I purchases a collection of Poe, because I figured it's an easy pick up and put down book. Just like Nathan, I get pulled into the pages and am not even aware that the "book" is actually my iPhone.

dan radke said...

I never wanted to say this, but The Hills just brought you down. This break up, it's really for the best.

But guess what? A friend of friend told me that Battlestar Galactica thinks you're cute.

Anonymous said...

So if this multi-device is the way forward and not dedicated e-readers, then in the future, instead of calling them 'e-books', we will call them 'phone books'....? Er, no. I suppose that would be confusing.

Steph Damore said...

Wait, you have an iPhone?

I'm so jealous.

But I do agree with you. I borrowed my brother-in-law's and read Twilight off it during my husband's graduation ceremony this past spring (shhh! Don't tell him) The size of the font wasn't bad at all, especially in landscape mode. Watching movies wasn't bad either (hey, it was a l-o-n-g ceremony).

Laura Martone said...

That's funny, Steph. I read all four Twilight books on my e-reader! Just couldn't bring myself to display the print versions on my bookcase, I guess.

Pamala Knight said...

I've been reading eBooks on my iPod touch for the last year and a half and I agree with all of your reasons. The Bonus for me was when I scored a Kindle for Mother's Day, I just pointed all my downloaded iPod swag to my Kindle2 and BAM (said the lady--sorry Nathan), I'm in business. And the ambient light thing is such a WIN that Kindle3 needs to get on that pronto.

I usually have my iPod with me (in my purse, my bag or strapped to my arm if I'm running) so I'm always armed with some reading material.

Kristan said...

Nathan, to my IMMENSE surprise (and everyone's disbelief) I feel the same way about reading books (via Kindle app or Stanza) on my iPod Touch! My only issue is battery life... I don't usually like reading white text on black (or other similar variations) but I'm thinking about trying that to help me get through more "pages"!

Holly Bodger said...

Jeez Dan. I really can't believe I had to hear the news this way. I mean, Battlestar and I just went out last week!

I guess it's sloppy seconds from The Hills for me...

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I have a new Blackberry bold. It has a screen, though small, to rival the resolution of the Iphone. So far online reading goes fine. Wonder how reading a book would be on that thing? Ok. Gonna have to try it and report back.

Althea Hayden said...

Hi Nathan, thanks for this post! I too have recently discovered the joys of reading on the iPhone - it's addictive!

I have been using the Stanza app. I didn't realize there was a Kindle app out now.

Yaay!

Jamie D. said...

I'll admit it - I laughed when I read this. People think I'm crazy all the time for reading on my Palm TX. "Isn't that screen too small?" Nope. Not at all.

I love it though, and I can get a few pages in wherever without having to carry around a larger or dedicated reading device. I have the background colored a light tan that's easy on the eyes, and just dim the back light when I need to.

Laurie Boris said...

The Hills was never my type from "Hello," but I do love my Kindle. Love it so much that I e-pubbed one of my novels on it. While I do love books...the feel of them, the sound of the binding cracking open, even the smell of the ink...you can't beat taking six or seven books (and a bunch of blogs) on the train with you...and getting updates on the fly. And I'm glad to hear that the iPhone Kindle app isn't totally unpleasant. More users, more readers!

DebraLSchubert said...

Nathan, Fascinating, as usual. I told my husband I want some type of mechanical reading device for my b-day in December. Picking which one, however, is the trick...

Pink Bug said...

I'll let Lauren know you won't be by Nathan. :)

I'm all about multifunctional tools. I don't like to carry too many items with me. But, I can see myself with an iphone. Hmm...I think I'm up for a new phone too. Thanks Nathan! (picks up car keys and runs out the door)

Precie said...

Dammit. I've been trying sooooooooo hard to suppress the devil on my shoulder who keeps insisting I need an iPhone. Must. resist.

Don't need a new phone (but the iPhone would be so much more than a phone!).

My functional old Nokia works just fine (but it deserves to retire after its years of honorable
service.

arghhhh.

I mean, um, thanks for the enthusiastic review. Sigh.

Melanie K said...

i resisted the Kindle for a LONG time for the same reasons most book lovers do: i love books. i love the feel and the smell of books. I like to pet them. i like to shop for them. it's possibly an unhealthy relationship :)

short story shorter: i finally gave in. i LOVE my Kindle. i love that i can just change books when i'm in the mood, no matter where i am.

not sure that i'm ready to read on my iPhone yet--doesn't it get in the way when people text you all day long?

Other Lisa said...

I've been waiting to buy an iPhone for my Treo 680 to finish its long, slow death...(and for Apple to release my favorite Chinese dictionary application from its beta prison) - this is an additional incentive for sure!

Question for those of you using the iPod Touch - what's the deal with that, anyway? I have a video iPod with a click wheel. Am I better off with one of those Touch thingies and a separate cellphone? Or an iPhone and my current click wheel iPod?

Stephanie Faris said...

I still love my paperbacks. I read while on my exercise bike every morning. I'm wondering if the bouncing screen would be a problem, although the backlighting would make it easier to read. Just one more year 'til I have my own iPhone... Have to wait for my Sprint contract to be up.

Loren Eaton said...

I've read one book on my iPod Touch using Stanza. And even though the book was awesome, the eye strain got so bad about halfway through that I wanted to gouge out my peepers with my thumbs.

Nathan Bransford said...

lisa-

iPod touches are basically iPhones without the phone part. You can connect to the internet wirelessly, use apps, and do a lot that click wheel iPods can't.

Now that iPhones come with 32 gig memory, though, if you're going to upgrade it probably makes sense to just go with an iPhone over buying a new phone and a separate iPod touch. You can still use your click wheel iPod to store music that you don't have room for on your iPhone.

T. Anne said...

I have the ipod touch and I use it as much as my kindle! You're right I have it with me everywhere so it's always on hand.

Regina Milton said...

Too true. I read the classics on my BlackBerry with Barnes & Noble's app. My phone is always there and I am always in need of some classic brush-up-ness. I love the Kindle, but the phone is the new thing. It is there with you while you commute, when you're stuck at a boring event, or hanging out with friends who start to watch TV shows you don't care for (yes, The Hills included).

Aerin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aerin said...

I'm not sure I'd have as much fun reading on my iPhone if I couldn't break to play games and make random crank calls. (Yeah, that was me, sorry.)

Vacuum Queen said...

Totally. I don't read books on my iPhone, but I sure do everything else, including reading your blog! I'm curious to hear the Apple eReader's (whatever it's going to be called) reviews. I think the winner shall be my dad's Christmas gift. He refuses to get a cell phone, though...so iPhone is out. Does the iTouch have this app? I'm sure it does...hmmmmm.....

Mira said...

Well, that's a short story waiting to be written. Couples counseling between a T.V. show and a human. Funny......

This was helpful to me personally, thank you. I just got my student loan money. Did you know they give you EXTRA? EXTRA money. It's amazing how much junk is suddenly absolutely essential to my upcoming education.

Like an I-phone. You can call on it. You can read on it. Could there be anything more desirable in human existence? I think not. Not when I have money in my pocket to burn, baby.

But is the I-phone the best option? Well, you convinced me with the ambient light thing. That is SO important. So, thank you. Very helpful.

Scott said...

I suspect that e-reading devices will continue to evolve. I'm anxious to see what Apple's tablet gizmo will do/look like. I think we're eventually going to walk around with something that looks like what Jon-Luc Picard had on STNG.

I have to admit I sometimes wander to Amazon and look longingly at the Kindle. But I just can't part with that kind of cash, espeically when my children keep requiring stupid stuff like clothing.

Anyway, feel free to OCCASIONALLLY update us on your e-reading exploits, Nathan. I'll just have to live vicariously through you for the time being.

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

I adore my Kindle - I don't have an iPhone - I have a Samsung Omnia - it lets me comment mod my site, my Verizon Treo did not. But I digress, as usual.

First thing I asked my agent when we got an offer, "Please make sure it's on Kindle." I'm frustrated now when my favorite releases aren't there. What's the rhyme or reason, or is there any, as to what books get onto Kindle. Some I can pre-order even - others? Just. Not. There. Waaah!

Hobert said...

Does this mean you'll be looking to move your Kindle for some low, low price, Nathan? ;)

Other Lisa said...

Thanks, Nathan! Plus my click-wheel iPod is in great shape, so it seems kind of silly to not make use of it. I kind of like using devices until they die.

Dearth of Reason said...

My iPhone is so cool I wish I could do my writing on it, let alone reading. But it's not ready for that yet. I can type faster than I can think (convenient in many ways until they invented a "send" button), but I can only type with my thumbs on the iPhone. So writing on it will unfortunately require a direct bluetooth link with brainwaves, and that may not come standard until version 3.0, plus we will need USB jacks implanted in our jawbones.

Meantime, my little darling can read to me, play with me, soothe me when I'm down, sing to me. My TV shows are so jealous!

Danielle Thorne said...

The only reason I haven't bought an ereader is because I have an iphone. Not super to read for hours in bed-but on the go, in the car, all the infernal waiting one must do...it's right there in my hand and already paid for. I love it.

Dick Hannah said...

No, "THAT NEVER WORKS". I mean, these people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might, but... but it might work for us.

LCS249 said...

This is really helpful, Nathan. A review by someone who understands.

I've been wondering (suspiciously) about the e-book phenomena and you've helped put it in perspective.

David Pogue, of the NY Times (technology desk) doesn't like them precisely because they lack the traditional attributes of a book ... being able to hold it like a book, being able to pass it on, etc.

Laurie said...

I recently discovered all the reader apps for the Iphone too. I've got Stanza (my favorite), eReader, Barnes and Noble eReader, and Kindle for Iphone. (You don't need an actual Kindle reader to use the apps on your Iphone or Itouch.)

It's surprisingly easy on the eyes. You can increase the font, change the color of the text and background, change the actual font, etc. Reading in bed is much easier. No lights to disturb the significant other. You don't have to prop yourself up because you can hold the phone with one hand and turn pages with a touch of a finger or thumb.

I was skeptical at first which is why it's brilliant that publishers are offering free books on their websites. The apps are free, some of the books are free, you've got nothing to lose.

If I had to pay, I'm not sure I'd have tried it. Now that I know I enjoy reading books this way, I've purchased several already.

Steve Fuller said...

I just bought the new Google Phone. It has a book app called Aldiko (which is amazing).

Welcome to the future.

ryan field said...

Interesting post. I read somewhere that in Japan there's a huge number of books downloaded to phones. I read this piece fast; I could be wrong.

Patrice said...

Nathan,

My sentiments exactly. I read on my iPhone all the time, everyday almost. But you left out the best part: The Kindle and iPhone wirelessly sync with each other.

I'm a busy mommy of four and I run all day. I do take my Kindle with me, if I know I'll be having a little down time. But sometimes, I don't have it with me and soccer practice runs late, or the hockey game ended and the kids are taking forever to get to the car - well, you get it.

The phone's the thing.

PurpleClover said...

There are a few of us willing to read NB's blog from our uninteresting-uneasy-on-the-eyes blackberries despite the fact we don't have an e-reader or even watch The Hills. This is because of the phenawsomeness of this blog.

Jenn via her 1st generation Blackberry Curve.

Kayanna Kirby said...

I love to read on my iPhone. There are many ebook reader apps. I actually read the twilight series on my iPhone using the iceberg reader, which I kinda like more than the iPhone kindle app. With the iceberg reader you can increase the font.

What I am totally digging are audiobooks. I love them. That to me is the next bug thing. I got my brother who dosen't like to read listening to an audiobook which he really likes.

I can work out, clean up, drive, etc while listening to the books. I even fall asleep sometimes while listening to audiobooks.

I listen to audiobooks on my iPhone.

Regan Leigh said...

Melanie K had a good question. Can you turn off the phone function when reading? I can only imagine how many times I would get ticked off because someone called right when Rochester's attic wife is revealed or when Frodo gets to Mt. Doom.

Thanks for more incentive for me to buy an iPhone. Off to convince the hubby...

noamgr said...

I dunno... I love the idea of readers for things like journals, blogs, magazines, cookbooks, etc. It would save a lot of paper. But as far as novels go, I still want to own my books. REALLY own them. I collect antique and used books, and I'd hate the thought of some day newer novels not being available in book form. I love to get a used book and see people's notes and scribbles on interesting passages, or where they spilt their coffee, and to underline my own favorite passages, knowing that it'll stay like that for a long time.

Not to mention questions about sales and piracy.

You see, I might seem like a hypocrite because I support "illegal" music downloading. Ultimately, it helps independent bands and evens out the odds a bit in what was becoming a monopolized top-40 industry. The only people complaining are the Sonys and Universals.

But the reason piracy has had a positive influence on the music industry is that music is something we don't consume just once. Once we like the album, we want to buy it, go see shows, buy the shirts, etc.

Books, on the other hand, we read only once (for the most part). Once someone has downloaded a book illegally and read it, what will their incentive be to ever purchase it, like they would a music album? None. They'll just move along to the next one.

Leigh Lyons said...

I know how hard it can when you and a show split. Heroes and I have been having some problems and I think we may end up splitting if it doesn't turn its behavior around. I miss the days when we first started and the show was fresh and new... aw well...

Anyway, E-readers (iPods and iPhones included) are nice if you have money, but I, a lowly student can't afford them and when I played with one (in Boarders and the iCult store respectively) I wasn't really impressed.

More power to you if you like them though. I"m preparing for a world where I have to print the book myself and probably draw a cover if they don't give your graphics to go with your download.

karen wester newton said...

I moderated a panel on this very topic at Worldcon. I had two panelists on opposite sides of the dedicated eReader vs. multi-use device, altho the multi-use guy was actually thinking more in terms of economics than anything else. The dedicated eReader guy came down on the side of a better reading experience. I have a Kindle myself, and carry it almost everywhere (my new purse requirement is that my Kindle has to fit). I have looked at a friend's iPhone Kindle app and another friend's iTouch, and that screen is too small for me to feel comfortable reading more than 20 minutes or so.

But I'm happy to see I'm not alone in thinking there's an eReader out there for everyone. Us boomers may need e-ink and a larger screen, but younger folks may need multi-use convenience. To each his own. Eventually, people may well use both-- a Kindle-like eReader at home, and a PDA/phone app on the road (I loved the commenter's "phone book" joke). Amazon makes that easy, even today.

It's only going to get better. Now if they would fix the errors in ebooks I coudl be happy.

Andrew Ross said...

great post nathan. there needs to be a bookcase app to house all of your ebooks! when apple hits the right price point, world domination will follow.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Ok snagged it for BB Bold. Pretty cool, actually, though a bit slow to turn pages. Gives me an excuse to read Draculaa again, though.

T.Wolfe said...

I don't have an iPhone yet but I plan on getting one just because the phone I do have is spoiling me with being able to download movies and browse the internet. The only thing my current phone cannot do is download documents from my email which is why I want to upgrade one day. And now with the bonus of reading books ... god, life is going to be great!

Anonymous said...

The lit screen, small size, and adjustable text size make it easier to read on the treadmill too than the paperbacks I used to read. Haven't tried actually running outdoors with it, but can't see why that wouldn't work too.

Jason Branch said...

I just finished reading State of Fear on my iPhone. It's nice because I can read in bed and don't need the light on while my wife is trying to sleep. I don't have a Kindle to compare it to, though.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

I wanted a Kindle or Sony reader but my husband got me an Ipod touch for our anniversary (more practical and versitile he said).
I read a ton on my I pod. I downloaded a ton of free classic novels on it--including Moby Dick and War and Peace. I'm only 6.04% the way through--hoping I can finish, one day.
But, as you pointed out, the portability is great. I bring it with me to appointments and while traveling. Oh, I've also developed the habit of reading on the Ipod right before bedtime. Love the light feature.

Yamile said...

Love my iphone to death! I even read my church's manuals on it because there are apps available, for free too. So if I forget to bring a book along, I always have my B&N free books on my iphone. Miraculous little thing!

Jason Branch said...

Oh, and Regan Leigh, there is an "airplane mode" which would switch the phone part of the iPhone off, to answer your question.

~Jamie said...

I LOVE reading on my iPhone. I don't even want a kindle. The great thing is, with Stanza-you can also view .doc files with TOTAL ease.

What I really like about it is, if I just happen to be standing in line or bored at my daughter's gymnastics stuff--bam--I download a book.

Alison said...

I have very little experience with the Kindle (mostly just fiddling with my dad's) but I didn't care for it - there was the page-turn blink, and I didn't think there was enough contrast between the print and the background. But I liked the idea of an e-reader, so when Barnes and Noble introduced their e-book platform, I gave it a try on my iTouch. I'm kind of in love. I don't see myself giving up paper books altogether, but I can definitely see myself making frequent use of it in the future.

Brooke C said...

"...the iPhone really disappears in your hands like a book."

Precisely. I'm hooked.

robp said...

I HATE phones. They are far too much a part of my life however much I try to avoid them. I like my PC and, as a small magazine editor, read short stories on my monitor regularly.

Books, I like to read on the couch or in bed. My attention span is short, I need to be comfortable to read anything long.

Also, I have thrown a book or two at a loved one's head; try doing that with one of your high tech devices. You will most likely decide that your passion is not worth the cost of your Kindle or Iphone. Whereas a hardback is worth its weight in potential impact.

Donna Hole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

Well, there you go. Leigh mentioned she'd have to "draw" her own book cover; I guess you don't have to worry about getting just the right one for the e-book thing. Talk about putting a whole lot of artists out of work!! How else would an author get to experience a full-blown "agent freakout?" I don't think I care to miss that opportunity.
.......dhole

graywave said...

God damnit man! How am I supposed to resist buying an iPhone when you write posts like this about it?

And I've got a novel soon to be published as an e-book and I might be the only person left in the world who doesn't have a reader to read it on!

The world is conspiring to make me buy this thing!

Kia said...

E-books... Yuk.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this up, Nathan. I'd read something similar elsewhere and downloaded eReader and Stanza and gave them a try. Based on your suggestion, I just downloaded the Kindle app. Funny thing is I find it easier reading books on the iPhone than long formatted emails.

For the folks who don't want to read from an iPhone in the gym--audio books!

It's all about choice, really. Having something at hand to read when you're on the go, having a nice hardcover to snuggle up with for the hour before you fall asleep. Never being without a book.

Helena Halme said...

To be comment number 72! I must get out of bed earlier.

I've resisted an iPhone for many years now. (Ok, just two or three) For good reason. I'm Finnish and they don't let you back into the country without a Nokia phone.

But if you can read on it...

Regan Leigh said...

Thanks Jason! Good to know!

helenf said...

I've only recently discovered the love for my iPhone as an e-reader. I haven't owned any other e-readers, as I'd been waiting for them to become more affordable.

But I already had an iphone and had bought a couple of books in pdf format a few years ago. So I simply installed Stanza (there might be better ones but this is the only one I've tried) which has worked really well so far.

It's great for, ahem, bathroom breaks, or for when you're stuck waiting somewhere without a physical book, whether it's due to the size or whatever - chances are you'll still have your phone.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to lose myself in the book as I would a print copy, but that hasn't been a problem. I still love print and prefer reading that way when possible, but I also like having books on the phone for the random moments it comes in handy.

Dan Holloway said...

100% with you. Cell phones are the reading medium of choice in Japan. And the potential for serialisations and textnovels is incredibly exciting.

Dara said...

While e-books aren't for me--at least not yet--I do see their merits. Not sure I like the idea of reading on a phone, but it's interesting to see how far technology has come.

I suppose I'm one of those old-fashioned kind who only uses her phone for calls and the occassional text message. :P

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the new apps for the iPod. I recently read an article about making bank check deposits. I love this new technology.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Hmm, the IPhone is a new one to me and not so sure my old eyes could handle the small screen.
LOVE my Sony reader--mostly for the nightlight feature and because I can increase the size of the print. (Ya know, for my old eyes) :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for the post. I am one of those die hard paper book fans (can't get to the point where I feel like I could give up the comfort holding a good ol fashioned book gives me) untill 2 weeks ago. I uploaded a book on my itouch with the Kindel app and I'm hooked! I actually had to make a deal with myself. For every book I read on my iTouch I will read 1 paper book I have in my HUGE to be read pile. Oh and I don't have a Kindle...

Belinda Frisch said...

So, I guess it's the iPad for you then?

Bane of Anubis said...

Apple is successfully positioning itself to become the universal computer of tomorrow... if Google doesn't get there first.

M. K. Clarke said...

I'm not an e-books reader, yet. When the prices come down for those things--and they figure out how to get it backlit for nighttime reading as well as dim durnig the daylight hours--then I'll consider it. for me, now, it's audiobooks.

Shhh, don't tell my husband or daughter, but I spent a nib over $800 for audible.com's downloads. One reason: It saves on prime RE space in an apartment, it's one less thing I've got to move/clean to dust and clean, and I don't have to spend gas on it by going to a used bookstore, Goodwill or the local library. And no way would I ever toss a book in the trash. That's sacreligious.

But audiobooks? Wow, what a world! My writing's different now because of them; I imagine my words are being read aloud by anauthor, so I write as clear as I can with that in mind. And it's a great thing to listen to while walking the dog. Sure bests the wasteland corporate radio's turned into these days.

Downloadable books are here to stay, my friends. I'm a book-in-my-hands lover, too, but only if you're planning to keep them and pass it down to your kids. For books, oh say, like college textbooks, who wants those collecting dust?

Thanks for the super post, Nathan, as usual. Go, technology!

~Missye

PatriciaW said...

Not having a Kindle, Sony eReader, iPhone, or iPod, I find these discussions very interesting and helpful. Oh I'll buy one day, but the market is still shaking out. Like Betamax vs. VHS.

When it settles down, and I suspect there won't be one clear winner other than the consumer who will have a myriad of choices, I'll jump in, an informed consumer.

Chuck H. said...

Don't got no Sony reader. Don't got no Kindle. Don't got no iphone. All I got is this damned ol throw away phone. Guess I'll have to stick to cardboard and wood pulp. Sigh.

Brandi Guthrie said...

This post has made me seriously reconsider my vow to never get an iPhone (because then I would spend so much time playing with it I wouldn't have a life) but if you can read a novel on one . . .wow!

Must start saving money . . .

Anonymous said...

Alton Brown (awesome cooking tv show host) would agree with you: Monotaskers are terrible.

I also wonder how much the poll results are skewed by people's intentional romanticization of the printed book. Self surveys are great as a crude tool but most people are fundamentally dishonest.

Marilyn Peake said...

Just returned home from an Alaskan cruise. I brought along two books – one hardcover and a paperback to read on the plane. My husband brought along his Kindle. For travel, there just isn’t anything as wonderful as the Kindle or some other e-reading device. I mentioned to my husband that for the first time ever, I could see myself using an iPhone because I realized how easy it would be to keep up with blogs and everything else on the Internet while standing in lines and during other idle time. Although I have to admit, I usually step away from the Internet on vacation, especially in a place like the wilderness of Alaska.

Congratulations on breaking up with The Hills. I tried watching the show because you so highly recommended it on this blog, but I’m not sure it held my attention for even 15 minutes. Years ago, I watched shows like that, but I’ve also moved on. You’ll survive; be strong. Life will get better. You’ll see.

I see THE ROAD is on your Kindle picture. Fantastic book!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this heads-up. I was looking at an iPod touch recently, and this might tip my hand towards that, having not at all considered this perk.

superwench83 said...

I'm so behind on the times. I didn't even know you could read books on the iPhone. But I guess that's irrelevant, because if I told my husband I wanted to spend such a big chunk of change on an iPhone, he'd probably laugh himself silly for three weeks straight. Too bad, because this sounds fantastic. Someday...

Karla Doyle said...

I'm not a phone person, but I love my Sony 505. I'm "the pusher", I try to convince all the readers I know to add e-books to their lives. The convenience, the environment, etc! In fact, I just convinced my 70 year old father today... heh heh.

Kendra said...

I have a Sony, but have been considering the Kindle for it's compatibility with Mac. But I'm still worried the Kindle isn't as sturdy as my Sony. Meanwhile, I do have the Kindle App on my iPhone. My eyes are already prone to dryness, though, so after about 10 minutes of reading, I want to tear out my grainy eyes. But it is great for the times you get stuck in line at the bank or drive through and don't have another reading option. (Yes, I read that much)

Whirlochre said...

As the digital revolution prepares to absorb yet another of ye olde analogue world's delights into its transmutatoid internexus, I'm guessing that by 2025 all we'll be left with to remind us of the sensual era of real books will be plucking nostril hair and farting.

Or maybe by then the Kindle will have an enhanced Aromagen(tm) facility for gracing the turn of each epage with a waft of classic book odours ranging from 60s Penguin to Fusty Bookshop Fossil.

All I know is — you can't prop up an uneven table leg with an iPhone.

(This is not an anti-ebook rant, btw — just a sorry indication that it's late here...)

Firefly said...

The game changes when you need reading glasses.

Genella deGrey said...

You will love your Kindle until Amazon starts throwing advertising at you because they can.

Just sayin'.

Sony, baby, all the way.

Call me last decade, but I want my phone to be my phone, my camera to be my camera, my music . . . You get the idea. If I had everything possible on one device and happened to drop that device and break it- Well, you know where that would leave me.

:)
G.

Dawn Maria said...

I agree 100%. I still read traditional books more, but the only reason I even tried an e-book was because of the Kindle app. The iPhone may just well be my most perfect relationship.

terripatrick said...

I love the enthusiasm you bring to every post! And yes, I also feel ebooks will be read on screens of all sizes. We're just at the beginning of this wave, and you sharing the news that it's all free with the phone, already, is the best!

Fortunately, for your business, the format of the book will have less impact that the need for agents to find good ones to publish.

mkcbunny said...

Nathan,

First, so sorry to hear about the breakup. I know that I'm a day late on the comment thread, but thanks for this e-reader post.

I can't imagine reading on a small screen like an iPhone, but your enthusiasm makes me think that reading that way could someday be possible for me. The developing options in e-reading are quite exciting, and I appreciate your detailed posts about new technology.

I have a Kindle coming for my birthday and am already addicted to it. :)

Thanks!

Matt Heppe said...

Nathan,

Thank you for making this post. I immediately downloaded the app (and a book) and both are fantastic! Reading on the small screen is no problem, especially since you can slowly scroll to the next page without interrupting your reading.

Jeez, all the time I've wasted playing silly games on my iPhone when I could have been deep into a novel.

Thanks!

Matt

Reesha said...

Oh, great. Now you tell me. My fiance has been pushing the idea of us getting iPhones together, but I just bought a Kindle and a new car and told him no.
If I would've known, I would've not bought the Kindle.
Oh well. I'll still enjoy it just as much.

Jane Steen said...

After some thought I've decided I'm about two years away from buying an e-book reader. Reasons:

1. The Apple Tablet is coming.
2. The Apple Tablet is coming.
3. The Apple Tablet is coming.

(So the experts say, mostly based on the fact that Apple are stringently denying that the Apple Tablet is coming.)

Why two years? It'll take the competition that long to come out with some serious touchscreen-based contenders (once you've done that swipe thing on your iPhone you NEVER want to go back. I find myself trying to swipe all sorts of screens.) And in the meantime Apple will bring out versions 2 and 3. Based on the evolution of the iPod and iPhone, my feeling is that you need to get to at least version 3 before all the issues are worked out and you can really be blissfully happy with your purchase.

Coral Press said...

Ditto what Jane says above. Nathan, I'm sure Apple has already realized everything you touched on in this post and are currently working to make sure they best Amazon in the fight for the e-reader. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple even absorbed the Kindle part of Amazon, if that were possible (?).

Do most agents use some kind of e-reader? I've noticed that many who blog do, but not sure about other blog-less agents.

Terisa Green said...

I completely agree! I read on the iPod Touch and have started collecting free sample chapters from the Kindle store at an alarming rate. But what a great way to decide if I'm going to buy a book. I've also become militant about paper books by cutting some of mine apart at the spine, scanning them into a PDF, and converting them to an ebook (or using a PDF reader on the iPod).

--Karen H said...

Found out that if I get the Stanza app, I can convert my manuscript to PDF, import it to my iPod Touch, and then can read it there. And catch all sorts of errors because somehow it stands out when it looks like a book. Now, if only there was an editing function....

external hard drive said...

When I bought this item I assumed it had the chords written with the piano/vocal score as many others do. My son plays the piano but he reads the chords when he plays. So, I ended up returning it. So, if you don't need the chords I suppose it will be fine for you!

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