Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

Summary: I spent the last day working on my Amazon Kindle 2 review and while I spent so much concentrated time with my new ebook reader (now my 3rd dedicated device for reading ebooks) I finally realized that a dedicated device for ebook reading is the preferred method for reading electronic books. As readers know I am a user of many, many mobile phones and have actually been reading ebooks on my phones and PDAs since 1997. Dedicated ebook readers offer the reader a way to "get away" from it all and immerse themselves into a book, as books are designed to be enjoyed.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility
14

I spent the last day working on my Amazon Kindle 2 review and while I spent so much concentrated time with my new ebook reader (now my 3rd dedicated device for reading ebooks) I finally realized that a dedicated device for ebook reading is the preferred method for reading electronic books. As readers know I am a user of many, many mobile phones and have actually been reading ebooks on my phones and PDAs since 1997. Dedicated ebook readers offer the reader a way to "get away" from it all and immerse themselves into a book, as books are designed to be enjoyed.

I do have ebook clients on all my devices and do still read books on my phones, however I ALWAYS get distracted by phone calls, emails, social networks, the lure of checking my latest RSS feeds, and more that take away from the book experience I remember enjoying hundreds of times as a kid. I personally feel that books were designed to be read with as few distractions as possible and having a dedicated ebook device like a Kindle or Sony Reader lets you cuddle up in your favorite chair and read for hours and hours. You could be distracted by using the Kindle browser, but it isn't that fast or functional so it is more frustrating than browsing on your phone and isn't as likely to take you away from your book. Also, with the outstanding E-Ink technology your eyes are not strained at all and you get a "real book" experience on these devices.

I do actually still read my Bible regularly on my Windows Mobile devices, thanks to Laridian's PocketBible, but with the new 5-way controller capability on the Kindle 2 (detailed in my review) I may actually be switching to the Kindle for reading and annotations.

A major argument people make about reading books on their phones is that their phones are always with them so they always have books with them to read. That is true and in those cases when you are out and about it is great to be able to read on your phone. If Amazon can bring their Kindle Whispersync technology to phones then you could read a few short sections on your phone when you are out and about and then finish the book in the comfort of your chair or bed on your Kindle.

Do you agree that ebook readers like the Kindle or Sony Reader offer you a better distraction-minimized reading experience or do you think reading on your phone is just fine?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

14 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I haven't read a novel in about 20 years

    Virtually all the reading I've done over the past 20+ years, have been technical or non-novel oriented, and in those cases, PCs and devices have served me well. Dedicated ebook readers do have merit, but I believe ebooks and other publications should significantly evolve to include more multimedia interactivity, which would lend themselves better to PCs and devices as platforms. Hopefully PCs and devices will have screens with increasingly high dpi ratings to increase their readability, and most reading will take place on touch screens of all types (including large display screens used throughout stores and public facilities, PC desktop screens, Tablet PC screens, and Smartphone screens).

    Dedicated ebook readers are interesting, but I believe the future lies in rich, advanced ebook and other publication formats, and the devices which will support them.
    P. Douglas
  • Portable books

    I would agree that a single purpose e-book reader is the best option but I would like to be able to move my books to go with me. When I travel for business I have to take my laptop. I would like to be able to transfer my Kindle books to that for reading in the airport, plane, etc. When I'm stuck waiting on friends to arrive I would like to use the iTouch. Buying the same book three times just doesn't make sense. And I know that I'd never have the right book on whatever device that I had with me at the time.

    Brian
    bmfraley@...
    • The big problem here ...

      ... is the lack of a true portable document format. Sure, that is what PDF is supposed to be but it is too cumbersome for non-computer hardware to support and Adobe licensing is too prohibitive for most small e-book reader vendors to license. This has led to a large number of "thin" but incompatible formats, each with their own DRM scheme and reader software.

      The advantage of a dedicated device (like the Kindle, which would easily fit into the pocket of your laptop case) is that they have no software compatibility problems. And, unlike all those small eReader companies out their who must support a variety of devices, Amazon has a huge selection of books to choose from compared to the small guys.
      M Wagner
  • Tell Jason Perlow

    He was throwing a fit about how the Kindle should be a multi-function device. I completely disagree and your blog posting is why.

    On a related note, I found that when I got my iPhone, I was much, much more likely to read an entire article, i.e. end to end. Why? Simple, it's not like a PC where I can create lots of tabs and fly around with the ease of a mouse and keyboard going here, there, everywhere a.k.a. distractions. This was very much the case at home as I browsed via WiFi (as opposed to AT&T's pseudo-3G lameness which certainly can inhibit your browsing experience at times).

    My experience with the iPhone at home lent much credance to the notion that the Internet has killed people's attention spans.

    -M
    betelgeuse68
  • RE: Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

    Well since you can't use Microsoft Reader with the current version of Windows Mobile 6.1 I guess the point is moot. Microsoft is a loser by default. They can't even figure out how to show up. That seems to be SOP for Microsoft, Ready, Fire, AIM!!! Go Kindle.
    ranger1701@...
  • ebook readers? OPRAH wins again.

    First she put a man in the white house. (the number three
    Democrat candidate became #1 almost overnight due to
    the Winfrey's endorsement) Now she's taken technology
    which apparently nobody wanted (since it hadn't sold for
    years), and has made it into a 'hot' item which we all must
    have.

    ebook readers??
    Those things might have been nice... but they sure
    gathered dust on the store shelves until Oprah mentioned
    them on her show.

    Is this just more proof that we're Lemmings in many, many
    ways?
    camcost@...
  • RE: Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

    OK, this is a weird thread. Have folks here tried the Kindle or are these uninformed impressions?

    If you own a Kindle, you can goto your "Manage My Kindle" area online and download any book you have bought to your computer. You can also send it to another Kindle if you happen to have more than one in your family.

    Basically, Amazon has made it easy to read your stuff even if you don't pack your Kindle along.

    With that said, I always pack my Kindle, but I find that it's still hard to block away a bunch of time to read it. When I do, it's great. But having a family with kids that need help with homework and being involved in a startup sucks all your time. In the end my kids use the Kindle the most and they love it.

    So to answer the original question in this thread, Yes I think having a dedicated reader helps.I don't find it very compelling for reading blogs and newspapers as I can get that stuff online for free. I just wish I had more time to dedicate to reading novels and such again.
    songzunhuang
  • Kindling

    I haven't tried the new version. I tried the last version. I'm a fast reader. To me it was completely useless. There is so little on a page that my concentration was on keeping new text in front of me rather than on comprehension. Remember picture books with 6 words at the bottom of each page? That is how I felt about the previous Kindle. I'll try out the new one to see if it is useful.

    Maybe this should be the sales pitch. "It costs less than buying textbooks because it is less useful". I can maybe see it for survey course books but for anything technical, forget it.
    mswift@...
  • Not quite

    An actual Book has fewer distractions than any "e-book reader" with all their buttons and features. If you want to make an column about fewer distractions, why not go all the way and suggest a simple paperback which has no distractions, other than someone peering over your shoulder or engaging in a conversation with you.

    Khyron
  • RE: Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

    Well, I also have (a few) readers on my laptop, but I usually bring them up (IF I'm doing something else), as a time filler, whilst waiting for a page 2 load, or such. If I'm going to read my E-Magazine or such ; I'M GOING 2 READ it!! (possibly cross checking some of the links in it.) There's nothings in e-Mails, or feeds that won't/can't wail, untill I've finished it.
    shadowcat_2
  • RE: Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

    For me, it is the bigger screen that is most attractive.

    I have used the Palm eReader since I got my first Palm in 2000, the Palm IIIxe. I loved it and used it regularly. I've owned four Palms, most recently the TX, which I bought, in large part thanks to it's bigger screen.

    When I got my first cell phone, I almost went with the Palm Treo but alas the BlackBerry provided the better solution for syncing to my work e-mail so Palm lost out. I had been using OliveTree's BibleReader on my Palm as well as the eReader but soon that's all my Palm was being user to do.

    Thanks to the BlackBerry, there was no more reason to sync e-mail, or contacts, to the Palm and I had an iPod for music. Palm's failure to keep up with wireless security made it useless for WiFi as well.

    Once OliveTree moved its BibleReader to the BlackBerry, Palm's fate was sealed. It was all just a matter of time before I found a superior solution to eReader (who still hasn't ported to the BlackBerry).

    Well, the Kindle is it! The Palm TX is being retired as we speak and my eReader library will be moved to my laptop.

    Life is good!
    M Wagner
    • According to ereader . . .

      [i]"eReader Software for Blackberry Devices -
      Ereader software does not work on Blackberry devices at this time. We understand that our users are very interested in this platform and we are currently investigating supporting this device."[/i]

      Hopefully, that doesn't become like Mobipocket's mantra of supporting Linux when they can get around to it . . .
      JLHenry
    • Ereader for Blackberry

      Hey, you're a bit out of date. They released ereader for Blackberry 6 months ago or something.
      gbray1
  • RE: Fewer distractions on ebook readers give you better reading experience than on phones

    I have checked your <a href="http://www.takebankloan.com/car-loans.htm">car loans</a> site and I invite <a href="http://www.takebankloan.com/home-loans.htm">home equity loan</a> others please check it because the information that is available in your site can spell bound any one.and the images that you have shown in this site also very attractive. There is one more site that I have visited, provide me information that is really unique and the service that they offer also I have experienced, really I enjoy this sevice so I request others please visite this and I want to tell you that after enjoying this service you?ll enjoy it again and again its .
    rogergates15