How do you read books on your phone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: December 14, 2012

While universal applications aren’t quite a thing yet, there are some apps out there that, thankfully, work in such a way that a purchase through them doesn’t mean we’ll lose that purchase if we switch the mobile platform that we are using. One of those applications happens to be a way to read your favorite electronic books, or magazines. There are plenty to choose from, while some of them bask in the glow of their massive digital library to rise to the top of the application hill.

I own an eReader, it’s one of the only “specific” devices I own. I used to use it quite a bit, but over the last few months I just haven’t turned it on. Indeed, the battery has been dead for quite some time, and I haven’t found the need to resupply it with the needed energy to activate its e-ink display. Why? Because the correlating application has been readily available on every mobile platform I’ve used in the months since I purchased it, and I prefer to use it on my phone.

Why? Because I like the consolidation. Instead of carrying the eReader, which was sold as the device that carriers around hundreds of books, I can just carry the application, which gives me access to the same books I would have on the eReader itself. Thanks to the cloud, my books are wherever I need them to be, whenever I need them.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so perfect.

As I mentioned earlier, the only issue is the fact that “universal” isn’t the accepted standard yet. It’s obvious you need to buy an Android app, and you’ll have to buy the same app on iOS if you plan on switching platforms. Despite the fact that you’re essentially buying a digital production of a book, the formatting is different, the digital rights management is different, and therefore if you buy a digital book in one application, you won’t be able to easily access it from another eReader-inspired application.

To be specific, the books that I’ve purchased in the past on Barnes and Noble’s nook are not accessible through Amazon’s Kindle application. That’s why an application is so much easier than a physical device. Instead of having to carry around two eReaders, or –worse—have to stick to one of them despite the options, I can just download the apps, and have access to the books.

This is a pretty singular situation, though, to be honest. It only helps for previous purchases, as I’m not really sure there’s a reason to have multiple eReader applications on your phone at one moment, especially if you’ve already read all the purchases you’ve made on one of them. Unless it’s your favorite book, of course. Then that would make sense. After all, the app, nor books, take up much space.

So I want to know, Dear Reader, how much money you’ve lost in switching eReaders; whether that was from hardware models, or from strictly usage with the applications, have you lost books in the transition? And, have you re-purchased books that you had on one platform and not the new one of choice? Let me know!