Saturday, October 22, 2011

Love Reading? Now It's Easier Than Ever!

One of my favorite things about smartphones and tablet devices is that they make reading books and magazines so much easier than reading the printed version of same.

Since they’re all good, in no particular order of preference, here are just a few of my best reasons why I love reading on my tablet and smartphone;
·    Adjustable font size: words are easier to see.
·    Self illuminating: you don’t have to have a reading light on so if your partner is sleeping, you won’t disturb him or her.
·    Take them with you: when traveling, it’s no longer necessary to debate which book or magazine to take with you on the trip; you can take them all!
·    Acquire new books and magazines easily: just a few clicks and you can download new books and magazines from anywhere.
·    Read while you’re out and about: If you have a time  while commuting on the train or bus, or you find a few extra minutes while waiting at the car wash or doctor’s office, you can pick up where you left off in that best-seller.
·    Create bookmarks and notes: Depending on the app, you can easily return to a specific place and make notes to yourself. Some apps even let you share these notes with other readers of the same books.

No matter what type kind of smartphone or tablet you’re using, there’s an app that lets you read on it. In fact, there are several. And many of these apps let you sync between devices so you can pick up your place from one to another.

For example, if you’re reading a book at home on your iPad and have to leave the house, you can pick up where you left off in your iPhone while you’re out. And then you can go back to your iPad and the app will sync to the last page you read on your iPhone.

Again, in no order of preference, here are just a few of my favorite apps from the many that are out there.  All them are free to download, but all require that you create an account and have a credit card on file for easy purchase and download.

KINDLE – all devices plus PC and Mac
This is the grand-daddy of book reading apps. It’s available for iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, Windows 7, Mac, and PC. Click on the device that’s right for you and you’ll be taken to the correct download page. If you have more than one device, be sure to download the app for each, that way you can sync back and forth as I mentioned above. You’ll need an account at to purchase books, but the app makes it easy to set up.

Kindle also allows you to borrow and download books from your local library. To read details about how to do this, read my article, “Getting Books From the Library Just Got Easier Thanks to Amazon and Kindle.”

iBOOKS – Apple devices and computers only
Apple has entered the reading books and magazines on-line business with their iBooks app. And now, with their new operating system, iOS 5, you can automatically sync between Apple devices to keep your place.  In addition to books that you can purchase, they have a comprehensive library of free books, many of which are the great classics. You’ll need an account on iTunes (Apple) so you can download to your device(s) and make purchases.

STANZA – Apple mobile devices only
My first e-book experience was on a Stanza app years ago, and I was immediately hooked on this wonderful way to read books. The app is so well-reviewed that it’s worth noting here and I encourage you to look at it as well.

If you’re a Barnes & Noble Nook user, you’ll be happy to know that there’s an iPad app for it, so you can read your Nook books, magazines, and newspapers on this device too. In the spirit of full disclosure, the iTunes user reviews of this app aren’t wonderful, and I’ve had no experience with it. Just sayin’.

ZINIO – Magazine reading app
Apple and Android mobile devices. Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops
This app is one of my personal favorites; I can download, read, and archive my favorite magazines, create libraries of images for future reference, and make bookmarks in each magazine. It lets me carry dozens of magazines with me on my iPad, something that would be impossible to do with the printed versions.

A debate exists about which e-reader app is the best, but I believe that you should try them and see which one suits your needs best. Just like a recommendation about a book, you have to read a bit of it before you know if you’ll like it.

NOTE: Apple's "Newsstand" is now part of the suite of iOS 5 applications that enables you to sync books, magazines, and newspapers between your Apple devices via iCloud. I'll be addressing this in a future article about iCloud, so stay tuned.

Also note: there are literally dozens of apps for reading books to children, but I haven’t included any of them here. It’s just too big a topic for this article. 

UPDATE:  For a link to an excellent article about which are the most popular e-books and why, as well as information about which publishers are supporting this platform, click HERE.

The information contained herein is for guideline purposes only, is not intended as an endorsement of any product, and is no guarantee of the results.

Images courtesy of  Apple, Zinio,, OnlyLink

Copyright © The B. Hammil Company 2011

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