Jan 30, 2010

The iPhone, The Kindle App & Me


In the swirl of debate around the iPad, one of the things I kept reading from iPaddies was that it was "impossible to read books on an iPhone."

And so I feel compelled to point out that's just not true.

I've been reading books on my iPhone for the past six months, using the Kindle app and it's been a very positive experience. I'm reading a lot more in total, able to read in a lot more situations and I'm reading things I might not have tackled previously due to their sheer volume. That's 32 books in total, ranging from history books like Harrison Salisbury's 900 Days, The Siege of Leningrad to business books like Gary Vaynerchuk's Crush It! to novels like the (excellent) City of Thieves by David Benioff and Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. (And yes, reading City of Thieves did indeed lead me to the Salisbury book.)

I did not expect to like reading books on an iPhone. In fact, I'd probably have bet a four-figure sum of money that I'd hate it. But Random House was giving away some books for free, one of which was Whiskey Rebels by David Liss, a book I'd been meaning to read anyway, so I figured I'd give it a try.

I was hooked. Here's why
  • I always have my book with me. No more realizing I left it on the nightstand or on my desk.
  • It's easy to take it out in situations where a full-on book would be unwieldy- e.g. standing on line in a store.
  • It's one less thing to have to carry around
  • I can read at night without having to keep a lamp on and waking up my wife.
  • The app always opens up to the exact page I was at - no forgetting the bookmark and trying to remember what page I was on.
  • The only negative - frequent page turning - is not so negative when you read in small chunks of time - I actually feel like I'm making progress, even if all I've read are four iPhone sized pages. And even when I do read for an hour or two, it's not really bothersome and most times I'm not aware of it.
  • Finding my place again if I skip forward or backward is a bit tricky, but mostly involves remembering what # on the slider bar I was at. More cumbersome than sticking my finger on the page in an actual book, but a minor hassle nonetheless.
  • Kindle samples. Amazon often gives you the first chapter or so to read as a "sample." At which point you can decide if you want to continue and buy the book or just move on.
But of all the above, I'd have to say that the two key pluses were "one less thing to carry around" and "it's always with me." 

PS: Whispersync is one of the sillier tech names out there - it's not like syncing is particularly noisy or anything.

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