About a week ago, when I wanted to try out Amazon’s new bookerly font, I went searching for my Kindle Paperwhite and realized the battery was dead; I hadn’t used it in weeks. Yet in those weeks, I had read several e-books and a plethora of articles – just not on my e-reader. I realized I did most of my reading on my phone.
In a Nielsen survey of 2,000 people this past December, about 54% of e-book buyers said they used smartphones to read their books at least some of the time. That’s up from 24% in 2012, according to a separate study commissioned by Nielsen.
The number of people who read primarily on phones has risen to 14% in the first quarter of 2015 from 9% in 2012.
In the same period, people reading on e-readers dropped from 50% to 32%, and for people reading on tablets, from 44% to 41%.
The article goes on to wade into the complicated and perhaps overhyped argument about whether reading on devices allows for the deep, immersive reading experience print books supposedly provide, but it ends with this hopeful note:
“People should stop worrying about how other people are reading, and be glad that they are,” said Ms. Todd, whose series generated 1.3 billion chapter views and a book deal with Simon & Schuster.
Many readers report being able to concentrate just fine on their phones. (Some turn off their alerts). On Twitter, people have celebrated major feats of reading, accomplished entirely on smartphones, including “Moby-Dick,” “War and Peace,” and “Swann’s Way.”
Personally, I am okay with reading on anything available to me, and I enjoy reading on my phone. I use services like Evernote and Instapaper to organize my notes and highlights of what I read. I also maintain a commonplace book – on paper – to collect and reflect on the most pertinent and interesting passages I read.
I think most readers prefer reading on a smartphone because it’s convenient: If your books and articles are with you everywhere on one pocket-sized device, you won’t have to carry books or oversized devices just to read when you have a few minutes. At the same time, people enjoy the experience of reading in print, and print books will continue to sell. Print books work best for deep, immersive reading sessions or for studying and reference.
I still use my Kindle, despite the drought period. In fact, I read Maloney’s article on my Kindle. But sometimes – a lot of the time, it seems – I prefer to read on my phone.
How do you read? Have you read anything longer than a blog post on your phone, and did you enjoy it?