Digital books for your mobile device

We’ve written in the past about the Amazon Kindle and the Sony E-Book Reader being great devices to help you reduce book clutter in your home. We’ve also talked about the benefits of audio books and how you can buy them from Audible or even download them for free from your public library. All of these digital options are fantastic ways to acquire literature in non-physical forms.

Over the course of the past few months, more electronic reading options have hit the market and we wanted to bring them to your attention.

If you have an iPhone, you may be interested in checking out the application Stanza. I’ve become a fan of this program, especially when I find myself in a line and I have forgotten to pack my earphones in my purse. I can be entertained by a book and instantly have another to begin reading if I finish one.

A book on Stanza:

If you have any type of smart mobile device, you can access more than 1.5 million books from the public domain at Additionally, Google has struck deals with many publishers to provide current books and magazines to readers.

A book on Google Mobile:

Additionally, Amazon recently told The New York Times:

“We are excited to make Kindle books available on a range of mobile phones,” said Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon. “We are working on that now.”

No date has been set for when Amazon will make digital books available for purchase to any smart mobile device, but we’re looking forward to it.

Please let us know in the comments of additional electronic services or applications that you’ve found useful for your mobile devices.

24 Comments for “Digital books for your mobile device”

  1. posted by sharon on

    Very nice. I use eReader but I will look into Stanza for those classics I have yet to read.

  2. posted by ellis on

    why are these ebooks better than simple pdfs?

  3. posted by OogieM on

    I’ve put PDF files on my kindle of things like my electronic ticket and passport so I had a copy in case of loss during a recent trip.

  4. posted by Kelsey on

    Also, if you have a Nintendo DS and access to European games you can get the 100 classic book collection. And there are downloads of more books online. You can pick from the virtual bookshelf or take a little quiz and the program will give you a list of books you would probably like. They let you use 3 bookmarks which makes this easy to read a bit at a time, and better than simple pdfs.

  5. posted by Jason on

    I wonder why you cannot read this site on a PSP. I just get an error saying “The content cannot be displayed.”

  6. posted by Jason on

    …And by “this site”….I meant the google books site.

  7. posted by another grandma on

    OK, I am a grandma living in a fairly rural area. (Think “over the river and through the woods”, and you’re pretty close!) I do have a DSL connection, but it’s not the fastest, and for an example, the other day I thought I’d watch a movie online and it took forever to do what it does in the beginning, and then didn’t even make it through the opening scene before it needed to make adjustments, and then. . .Well, needless to say, I figured out that it was not an option for me. So can you tell me – in simple layperson terms – if this technology is likely available to me or not? Thank you.

  8. posted by OogieM on has hundreds of classic books avail for nearly every eReader available. The kindle version even downloads direct to the kindle like Amazon does.

    Lots of old science fiction there as well as standard classics.

  9. posted by Sarah on

    Project Gutenberg still works for me, although I just have a Razr, a laptop, and a Zen Micro. Gutenberg deliberately made all their ebooks available as plain text years ago because they foresaw compatibility issues like the ones described above.

  10. posted by Coffee Nuht on

    And don’t forget–PDAs are around, so if you have one of those, you don’t need a specialized book-only reader.

    Programs that convert text, HTML and PDF files for free are out there, too (eReader, MobiPocket, etc). I don’t really like Microsoft’s eBook program because you MUST have explorer on your computer, and you can ONLY download books in their format from Explorer.

    I’ve leaned to Mobibook because of the ease of converting my own files into their format (and I can keep the original version of the .txt or PDF file, too) and load all the books, and the program, onto an SD card on my PDA. They also have adapted their program to cell phones, also (though not the iPhone, yet, I think).

    No, I don’t work for their company. I just really really like their product.

  11. posted by Jack on

    @another grandma If you’re just asking if you can read books on your computer, if you can read this site, you almost certainly can. Whether you can use Stanza on your iPhone or read books on your mobile depends on whether you have one and how fancy its data plan is. 😉

  12. posted by Joanna on

    PDFs are terrible because the text does not reflow very well on smaller screens. I prefer plain text like Project Gutenberg which I can then convert to the format of my choosing. I use STanza in my iPod Touch and also eReader because I buy books from They have a lot of sales and often if you buy a new book at full price, they will give you 100% of it back in store credit. So I buy a lot of new books I would normally get from the library and it is like getting it for free because I have the credit to spend on other books. eReader is free software available for mobiles plus desktop machines. And you can download ereader formatted books for free from

    Anothergrandna, what I would do is download free ereader software for your computer, then download free ereader formatted books from Should keep you busy for awhile 🙂

  13. posted by Dorothy on

    @Sarah, you beat me to the shout-out for Project Gutenberg. I’m always surprised that discussions of e-books routinely neglect the oldest, broadest and, in my never-humble opinion, best content source, the grand-daddy of them all. Virtually any “classic” in English (and most other Western Languages) is available completely free via PG. You could easily read great books for the rest of your life and the only cost would be any donation you made to PG.

    And PG’s texts are generally of substantially higher quality than the versions for sale. PG has superb copy-editors (who apparently are volunteers). Many of the Kindle-versions of books I’ve paid for are so full of typos they’re almost unreadable — and annoying at the prices charged. I just read two RosettaBooks versions of Pat Conroy novels. The name of the daughter of the protagonist in BEACH MUSIC is Leah and about half the time the e-text reads as “Lean”. It appears they simply scanned in a paper copy of the text, didn’t bother to copy-edit or spell check it (there are also plenty of errors that are not actual words) and spit it out for unsuspecting reader to buy.

    Three cheers for Project G!


  14. posted by infmom on

    I get tons of free e-books from to read on my Palm Tungsten E3.

  15. posted by another grandma on

    Thank you to those who gave handy, helpful hints. I do so appreciate it.

  16. posted by Frank on

    I use InstaPaper ( a lot on my iPhone. Whenever I come across an interesting article on the net, but it is a bit long to read at the time, I put it in instapaper. Later when I am waiting somewhere I call up instapaper, and read my marked articles (Instapaper also strips out most of the site make up, so I just have the text there).

  17. posted by Cliff on

    Google ugly. Unjustified. Text space “rivers” and “lakes” would inadvertently appear. There’s more to laying out the inside of a book than just letting the text flow from start to finish.

  18. posted by Andy on

    Baen books (mostly sci-fi & fantasy) offers a large collection of free books through their free library ( Additionally, they (and a few other publishers) sell electronic copies DRM free and at reasonable prices through Webscription ( Webscription runs a shelf server that, in combination with the Bookshelf ( reader program for iphones allows you to access any books you’ve purchased straight from your phone.

    In case you couldn’t tell, I love it.

  19. posted by sueradley on is a great site. They have a number of new and old books. They send the text of the book in email form and you can select the length and frequency of the emails. I have a blackberry and this system works great for me.

  20. posted by Tabatha on

    its just not the same as holding a book in your hand and turning the pages…

  21. posted by Ross on

    Another fan of mobipocket here. Not only can you convert the .txt/.html files to something that will work on your device (works on Windows Smartphones as well as Palm formats and others), but the options within the program are nice. I can increase/decrease the font size with a touch of a button for different reading conditions and it doesn’t mess up the spacing/pagination of the book. You can also set it to auto-scroll at whatever speed you want so you don’t have to continuously push buttons to turn pages.

  22. posted by V. Higgins on

    My hubby downloads books onto a Micro SD card which he can put into his Nintendo DS (via an adapter) and read books on his DS. I don’t know the tech specs on it but I’m sure you can Google it.

  23. posted by Rue on

    I downloaded Stanza to my iPhone and was disappointed to find that you have to pay to get current reads. There’s a Sophie Kinsella book on there I want to read but it’s $25! Might as well just buy the real book in paperback for $12 and stick it in my bag.

  24. posted by Recent Links (2/23/09) « The Whippersnapper on

    […] Digital books for your mobile device Oh, SWEET. The iPhone app Stanza supposedly has books on the iPhone, and other apps/companies are getting this functionality in the hopper. Doesn’t give you the same quasi-page-turning functionality as the Kindle, but it’s something… […]

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