Is a phone an e-reading device?

There was a post on Digital Book World today that caught my attention. The headline read: “Apple Pumps Another 60 Million E-Reading Devices Into Market.”

Whoa. Sixty million. Pretty impressive. The problem is, Apple doesn’t actually make a dedicated e-reading device. And, sure enough, buried in the middle of the short piece are the words:

… publishers should be more interested in the 16 million iPads and nearly 44 million iPhones the company sold last quarter. Each one is a potential ebook reading device.

Yes, note those words. “A potential ebook reading device.” While you can arguably read on a tablet sized device, thinking of a cell phone as an reader is a totally different story.

Personally, as someone who defines an e-book reading device as a device designed or purchased primarily for reading e-books, I find the article’s title rather misleading. Few of us actually purchase our phones for reading. I will certainly argue that there is a huge difference between reading on your phone while standing in line at the grocery store and using your phone for your primary e-reader, particularly if you are a heavy reader of e-books. And I say this as someone who owns a large-screen Galaxy Note II that has almost every e-reading app you can think of installed on her phone! While you certainly can read on your cell phone, using it as your primary e-reader for any length of time is a less than satisfying experience.

I would be interested in seeing current statistics on this as the reading landscape is changing.

So, how about you? Do you use your phone as a primary e-reader?

 

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Amazon Press Conference Coverage

Amazon’s Press Conference at Stage 37 in New York is scheduled to begin at 10 AM, eastern time.  If you are as eager as I am, here’s a guide to those who are live blogging the event:

Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles will be live blogging for Kindle Nation Daily at http://bit.ly/LEN-LIVE-FROM-NY-ON-KTAB.

CNET’s David Carnoy will be live blogging for the tech site at 10AM at http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33198_7-20112398-286/amazons-press-event-wed-7-a.m-pt-live-blog/?tag=mncol;txt.

Harry McCracken will be covering the event for Technologizer at http://technologizer.com/amazon/.

BGR will be covering the event at http://www.bgr.com/2011/09/28/live-from-amazons-kindle-fire-tablet-event.

Find any more? Please leave them in the comments.

Using the Literati

Note: This is a follow up to my previous post “Literati ereader on sale.” 

After trying my new Literati for a few weeks, I thought I would share my perceptions about the reader.

The Literati needs a software update when you start using it for the first time. While I have heard of problems connecting to WiFi, mine connected without any difficulties. The software actually requires two updates and the device needs a restart after the first. The reader does not automatically restart and I had to do it manually.

The Literati is less intuitive and is much more complicated than either my Kindle 1 or My Kindle  3. It took a little time to figure out the operations of the eReader. The input keys are a little too close together in my opinion, especially if I was going to be using the keys more than occasionally. The D-pad control is definitely too small and even after more experience with the device, it still is the cause of most of my operational errors.

The page forward and page back controls are not actually buttons, but are touch sensitive, which is a nice touch. Since the controls are not buttons, there is no noise associated with using them. This is a real plus if you are trying to read in bed without disturbing your partner.

I am used to reading on a Kindle, which has an e-ink screen. The Literati screen is a backlit one. Because I have vision problems, I found the backlit screen very difficult to read on, especially for a long session.

The exception was the Literati’s night reading mode, where the screen is black and the text is white. This mode is truly excellent for night-time reading. In some reviews,  people have complained about not being able to see the forward and back page controls when reading in the night mode. Some have suggested gluing reinforcements on the buttons to be able to feel the controls. I found that if I used my thumb, started at the bottom of the display screen, and moved with an upward motion until I saw the page turn symbol on the display, I could turn pages in the dark just fine. Using the d-pad control and the home buttons in the dark was another story. I have to use my Mighty Bright or my Kandle in order to see those.

The Literati is tied to the Kobo bookstore, which is not as intuitive to use as Amazon. I had a little difficulty in navigating the site and finding the books I wanted. After creating an account, I was able to start downloading the 125 free public domain books fairly easily. The new books appeared on the Literati after I synced the device.

It seems to be hit or miss whether my computers recognize the device via USB. My netbook running XP recognized it and the books I put on showed up in the Literati’s bookshelf  just fine. Vista was able to recognize the device, but books I loaded onto it were not recognized by the reader. After a second attempt, of the two books I loaded, one book was shown on my bookshelf on the Literati while the other was not.  The Calibre software program recognizes the device with no problem.

The Literati is also quite heavy for its size. Because of this, I found that it is easier to read without a cover on. The difference in weight between the Literati and the Kindle is significant.

I haven’t tried the SD card function yet.

I wanted the Literati because it is capable of borrowing library books. After using the Literati, I realized that I would really need another e-ink device if I wanted to borrow library books. Right after I came to that decision, Harper Collins announced that it would limit the number of times an eBook would be allowed to circulate in order to force libraries to buy new copies. Because of this, coupled with the fact the Macmillan and Simon & Schuster do not allow library lending at all, I have put plans for a new eReader on hold.

My final opinion is that this is okay for night reading and as a backup reader. However because the backlighting is really hard on the eyes and the device is very complicated to use, I would not want to be using this for my primary eReader.

This blog entry composed while listening to Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly.

Barnes & Noble Settles Lawsuit with Spring Design

According to eBookNewser, a settlement has been reached in the suit between Barnes & Noble and Spring Design.  The announcement follows the February 22, 2010 news that Spring Design is discontinuing it’s Alex ereader.

Under the terms of the confidential agreement, Barnes & Noble is granted a non-exclusive license for the use of Spring Design’s patents.

RIP, Spring Design Alex

According to an piece in Engadget, the Spring Design Alex reader is no more. The reader looks very similar to Nook and the design similarities between the two formed the basis for a lawsuit between Spring Design and Barnes and Noble.

Since the success of the Kindle and the Nook triggered a spate of companies coming out with eReaders, I will not be surprised to see more companies abandoning product that cannot successfully capture an acceptable share of the eReader market.