Are Tablets and Phones More Popular for Reading Than eBook Readers?

Kindle Paperwhite 3 vs Fire Tablet

There’s no denying the fact that dedicated ebook readers are a niche product.

You’d be surprised by how many people have never used a Kindle, a Kobo or other dedicated ereader. There’s still a sizable percentage of the population that doesn’t even know what they are, much less use them.

But lots of people read ebooks on smartphones and tablets.

For example, Apple doesn’t even offer a way to read their ebooks on dedicated ereaders. Phones and tablets are the center of their ebook business.

In fact iOS devices are so popular that other ebook stores like Amazon go out of their way to make their iOS reading apps as good as possible.

Sometimes Amazon releases new features for their iOS Kindle app before Kindle ereaders even get them, like the new enhanced typesetting engine.

It makes you wonder what percentage of ebooks are bought and read on phones and tablets compared to dedicated ebook readers.

People that own a dedicated ereader are probably more likely to make more ebook purchases overall, but as a whole more people read on tablets and phones than ereaders, and probably by a large margin.

What about you? Do you spend more time reading on a Kindle or other ereader with an E Ink screen or do you prefer to read on a tablet or smartphone?

Tablets vs eBook Readers – Which is Better for Reading?

13 Responses to “Are Tablets and Phones More Popular for Reading Than eBook Readers?”

  1. I like to push a button to advance pages, so was never quite happy transitioning from the Nook to the Kindle Touch. When I found I could use the volume buttons on my Samsung phone to turn pages it became my primary reading device. Now I finally got a Kindle Voyage and use that almost exclusively. The exception is when I’m travelling or know I will be reading in a public place. In that situation I use my smartphone again because I can plug in headphones and listen to white noise while reading (a must on public transport, I have a hard time tuning out conversations, as much as I’d like to). I have a Fire tablet, it would be my last in order of preference of my reading devices.

  2. I prefer reading on my Kindle Voyage. I’ve tried reading on my iPad Air 2, but I prefer my kindle much more. For one thing, the battery life is far superior on the Voyage; It’s also much lighter and easier to carry around. Lastly, reading on a tablet gives me eye strain, and I worry about the long term effects from exposure to blue light.

  3. A long time ago I saw that Amazon and Kindle would be a much better choice for me than B&N / Nook or Apple / iBooks. I knew the ebook reader would be less straining on my eyes so I started reading on a Kindle ebook reader.

    But my favorite way to read is to listen to the audiobook while reading the book. So I got a Dell Venue8 tablet and set it up as a dedicated ebook reader. Besides a super high screen resolution, it has a front facing speaker which is nice since audio is directional (except deep bass) so you want the speakers facing towards you. Now the Kindle app highlights the text being spoken and automatically turns the pages for me.

    I set up an arm that holds the tablet over my bed so I can read in bed without the sore arms of holding the tablet over me. Now the Audible Narration reads the book to me, I read along in the kindle app, and it automatically turns the pages for me. I can focus and read longer. Often the way it’s read to me (tone, inflection, etc.) is different than the way I would have read it and there are sound effects in the audiobook.

    It’s the easiest and most enjoyable way I have found to read a book. My Kindle ebook reader is getting lonely! I gave away my Nook. When I am out and about I use the 13″ iPad Pro or iPhone to read. When my eyes begin to strain I just close my eyes and listen to the book being read to me and “see” the movie playing out in my mind.

  4. when I do read an ebook it’s on a Kindle Ebook reader, BUT I do most of my reading of articles and websites and spend many more hours reading on my laptop… MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014) 🙂

  5. For me there is no competition! It is virtually always my Ereader. I find LCD displays too bright, Phone screens too small. Although I do use my phone to read when unexpectedly delayed and needing a distraction and I don’t have my Kobo with me. For audio books I use my phone.

  6. When I am at work or running errands I have my Kobo Aura with me. At home during daytime hours I read on the Kobo Aura One. Even with the comfort light the screen is too bright for me so when it gets dark and gets closer to bedtime I read on my iPad mini using the night shift mode – black screen orange letters. So really – I like reading with both – though if I was forced to pick – I would choose the Kobo Aura One or Kobo Aura due the crispness of the e-ink screen and less screen reflection. I do at times read on my android phone but that is only when I want to switch to a smaller handbag.

  7. I love my E reader but ever since Marvin 3 for iOS came out I find myself reading more often on my iPad Mini. Yes I know it’s not the same as reading on my Kobo Aura One but it’s just so smooth it’s hard to pass up. Plus the speed the endless customization options with fonts, sideloaded fonts, spacing margins colors, and the ease of drag and drop on iTunes without having to convert to kepub, Plus cloud dropbox function etc etc….basically like you say a ton of options it’s really hard to pass up and let’s not forget about the clarity and evenness of screen. Fonts appear much thicker, sharper and richer on an iPad than on any eReader. You can also read in landscape mode. I could go on and on and practically write a book on all the benefits Of Marvin 3 and an iPad mini. Although I will say that the eReaders will always beat it on battery life, portability, and its easier on the eyes for extended reading.

  8. I have bad OCD on this topic. I currently own and read on, from Most to Least-Used:

    – iPad Pro 9.7
    – Kindle Oasis
    – Kobo Aura One
    – Samsung Tab S2

    I like them all but none are perfect. I use Calibre to manage my book collection and shift stuff between them all since I buy everything in Amazon to start. I don’t mind reading in the iOS Kindle app, but it SUCKS for managing books. The Oasis is love, but sometimes, particularly if I’m reading a history book, just feels too small. The Aura is my vacation/pool e-reader, love it for that, but truly hate the cover. That mousehair felt on the inside of the cover flap is so “bleaugh” to the touch it ruins it for me. I’ve taken to just putting it in a zipper case and taking it out and using it bare when I want to actually read on it.

    What I _WANT_ would be the typography of iBooks in the Kindle APP, with Whispersync to sync that up with a Kindle device the size and waterproofing of the Kobo Aura One. Is that so much to ask? 😀

  9. Backlit screens are fine for computing, writing, games and web browsing because they don’t require focused concentration on the page.

    When it comes to focused reading for periods longer than about 20 minutes, though, the strain from a backlit screen gives me a headache and eye strain. I’ll read on my phone when I’m out and without my Kobo or Kindle ereaders, but I can’t do it for very long.

    I’m grateful for e-ink.

  10. I’ve had an Onyx Boox C67ml for about 2 years now, and it’s great for epub. It runs the kindle app, but it’s kinda slow and it drains the battery very fast. I’ve bought my ebooks from amazon for a long time, so I sprung for a kindle Voyage and it’s great! I also use Marvin 3 on my iPhone 6+, along with the iOS kindle app. Reading on a backlit screen does cause eye strain though. In the end, I much prefer e-ink, and use those the most by far.

  11. I do all my reading of books on my Kindle Oasis or Paperwhite. I do reading of articles on the iPad.

  12. For years, I was searching for a feasible way to get my books along while traveling. I tried reading on the laptop (too much noise, heat and eyestrain way back when), on a variety of mobile phones (with most success on the Nokia Communicators – but even there, not ideal when it’s dark around you), later on tablets and smartphones, but the same problems applied. If you want to do some serious reading, spending more than an hour with a book, it’s either the real thing or something with an e-ink screen. So it was a an ereader for me in the end, a hacked Nook with several reading apps and tablet functionality since I’m a geek. And I live happily ever after…

  13. Lonnie John C Visintainer Reply August 7, 2018 at 2:43 am

    I almost exclusively use the Android app, the experience is improved enough to match my Paperwhite. I also have a blue light filter built into my phone that activates at 7pm, along with utilizing my amient light senser to adjust my back light accordingly. I switch to black background on white text at night and either white or sepia during the day and this all pretty much eliminated eye strain problems. I find that I like the hardware page turn features of Android along with the overall speed when using the Kindles vocabulary builder and search features on the Android. I can read for hours and am happy. Along with being a frequent traveler, its just one less device to carry. I currently read between. Two and four hours a day. Two years ago this would have been different but things have improved quite a bit.