According to The Economist there are about 5m e-readers in circulation worldwide and double that amount will be sold in 2010. Let’s compare it to touchscreen phones: 184m sold last year, 97% growth is predicted for 2010 (Gartner).
Mobile phone is a music and video player, gaming console or a mobile office, so why not an e-book reader? I’m not talking about one-time chase for a lost symbol. I’m talking about 15-minute read in a found time.
If just a tiny 1% of all new touchscreen users will think of reading a book, it’s 1,84m people who might need some hints. And it’s not only touchscreens which can be used as e-readers.
For all of you interested – check the possibilities, choose your favourite way and enjoy a true mobile reading!
1. Download an app
There are already a couple of multi-platform apps and their number is growing. If you have a phone with Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian or BlackBerry, you can pick up Mobipocket eBook Reader’s version for your OS. Well known Wattpad reading community is fully mobilized. Its applications are tailored for iPhone/iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android and there’s an app for java phones as well. Over 1,000 phone models are supported. Other picks are eReader (for all mobile phone systems) and a new Ibis Reader with a built-in catalog of free books from Feedbooks (iPhone and Android).
The biggest number of e-reading apps can be found in iTunes AppStore. As you’ve probably noticed there is a whole category devoted to books. Single books-as-apps also come here, so the category lists more than 100,000 items! The most popular program is Stanza. The catalog of resources includes free titles from Project Gutenberg and Feedbooks, as well as Smashwords, O’Reilly and Fictionwise bookstores… and many more. Other programs worth considering are Kobo, Txtr and Iceberg. A full directory of Books category at AppStore can be found here.
Users of phones with Android OS – don’t hesitate to download Aldiko, a great application with extended functions to help you download, organize and read e-books. Other Android-tailored apps are FBReader and Word-player, check them at Android Market.
There is also another way to find an app right for you – by a bookstore. Amazon and Barnes&Noble customers can download free apps to their phones. Here is Kindle for iPhone and BlackBerry. Barnes&Noble has two apps for iPhone: e-reading and bookstore.
2. Read in a browser
If you’re connected to web via wi-fi network, it’s also possible to read books (and all kinds of literature) online. You probably know mobile version of Google Books (http://books.google.com/m). It’s worth testing, especially that within a couple of weeks Google Editions bookstore will be launched. It’s very probable that some of the current features and interface elements will be used.
Here is another way, actually my favourite one. It’s a very smart and fantastically mastered site – Cellstories. The concept is simple – one great short story per day. Just go to http://www.cellstories.net and if you have such an option in your mobile browser – bookmark the page. It’s a great feeling to have a new story waiting for you every day.
Wattpad fans, even if you don’t have an app, you can always check in at http://m.wattpad.com. Recently also BookGlutton has announced a launch of a mobile version. Go to http://bookglutton.com and if you use a mobile browser, you’ll be redirected to a mobile friendly version of a service.
3. Send a link
This is a clever idea Scribd recently introduced to make their 10 million books and other publications mobile friendly. When you’re on a book page, just click the “Mobile” button and you’ll be asked to choose your device. Phones with Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Palm and BlackBerry operating systems are supported by default. Just type in your phone number or an e-mail address and in a moment a message will come with a link to a mobilized version of a book.
Sending mobilized links is generally a very good idea you can apply to every piece of literary text found on the web. You can use Google Mobilizer to do that.
Are you using your phone to read RSS news? Do you have RSS reader app installed? Well, just go to DailyLit and add another subscription. Every book will be sent to you in installments. You decide how often and what time you want a new piece to land in your mobile phone.
Actually you can add ANY feed to your mobile RSS reader. Any online fiction community or literary blog can be added and mobilized this way. It’s so easy – you don’t even have to leave a single app. For example you can add a feed for the newest stories arriving at Fictionaut, a community of adventurous readers and writers.